5 Tips For Selling Back Your Textbooks In College, Because You Could Use A Little Extra Spending Money

There are few bigger bummers than stepping into your college bookstore for the first time all excited for the semester, and then realizing that you have to drop a fortune just to get your books. And with textbook prices so outrageous, I’ll bet you’re wondering if there are any tips for selling your textbooks back. Hey, when it comes to quick cash, any little bit helps. Luckily, there are a few ways to get your money’s worth, so to speak, that won’t make you want to pull your hair out.

Any college student will tell you that on top of the rising tuition costs, paying $200 for a book you might not even use is basically the worst. Even buying a used book can cost you a pretty penny these days, so I’m sure you want to be able to get the most out of it — and get the most out of selling it back after you’re done with it. Honestly? My best tip is that you should only buy a textbook if you absolutely need it. Don’t be afraid to show up on the first day of class empty handed — once you take a look at your syllabus and judge how much of your tests and lectures will be based on the book, then you can determine whether or not it's worth it to buy it. If you do end up purchasing a text, just make sure to keep it in good shape. It's possible to sell it back at the end of the semester — just follow these five tips.

1. Don’t sell your books back to your school

Speaking from experience, your school is the worst place to sell your textbooks. Chances are that you’ll get the least amount of money from your campus' book store, even if you bought the books brand new. There are a lot of reasons for this — quotas, revenue, incentives from publishers and professors — but typically, you’ll get maybe half of what you paid for the book. And that’s a big maybe.

2. Do your research

Even if you’re considering selling your books back at your school’s buyback days, make sure you do your due diligence before you hand over a potential gold mine. My suggestion is that you check out Amazon, Chegg, and other buyback websites before heading to your campus’ buyback events. If your school’s price is less than what you researched, take your business elsewhere.

3. Keep condition in mind

If you’re buying books new, there’s a good chance you’ll get top dollar when you sell them back. Even if you buy them used, you can still get a good amount for them, but you have to keep them in good condition. I know it might be tempting to highlight, write in, or fold the pages of your books, but don’t if you’re planning to try and sell them back at the end of the semester. The better condition your books are in, the easier it is to get some cash back. Use sticky notes to mark things instead.

4. Don’t wait too long to sell them back

Most campus buyback days happen the week of finals, and while it's OK to hold off on selling yours for a little bit longer than that if you want some extra time to study, the sooner you can get rid of them, the better. Usually, online sources will buy back books up to a few years after original purchase, depending on if the book is still in use. However, if you want to get the best deal possible, don't wait too long to sell those books back, especially for classes that change reading materials constantly.

5. Communicate with other students

If you’re looking to help out fellow students and make some money, try selling your textbooks back to actual people face-to-face. You could put up signs in your department's building, or advertise on your school’s forums via social media or newspaper. Maybe you’ll get a bite. It’ll be cheaper for them than buying from the bookstore, and you stand to make a little money from the deal, too.

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