By Stephanie Hyland, Storage.com

College is as full of new adventures as your car is on the day you move in to your dorm. Storage.com can help you tackle your college career with helpful tips or by providing you a safe storage solution for summer breaks.

With the end of the spring semester on the horizon, college students are preparing to sell back the mountain of textbooks they purchased this school year. Most students want to know how to get the most bucks for their books when it comes to selling that 300-page chemistry textbook or the stack of novels they needed for an English class.

college student with textbooks

Unfortunately, the university bookstore where you bought the book is not always the best choice when it comes time to sell it back. One problem that many students run into when selling their textbooks back to the campus bookstore is being told that the edition of a particular book they bought for a certain class has changed for the upcoming year. When this happens, the university typically does not buy back the textbook they sold you at the start of the school year. Another problem that can arise is that there are so many individuals returning the same types of books that the refund amount can drastically decrease if you wait too long to sell back your books and you end up in a low-demand time frame for a particular book. Luckily, there are a variety of online and local businesses that provide buyback programs for college textbooks, giving you more options for recouping some of your money.

Are you overwhelmed with the process? Storage.com is here to help!

Research Online Marketplaces

If your main concern is convenience and avoiding long lines, selling your textbooks through an online marketplace is going to be the easiest thing for you to do since you can upload a picture and describe the condition of your textbook without ever having to leave home. With top e-commerce websites such as Amazon, eBay, and a variety of other websites such as Half.com, BookFinder.com, Chegg.com, and Affordabook.com, just to name a few, selling or trading in your textbooks has never been easier.

These websites allow the seller to easily upload photos, add a description, print shipping labels, and compare listing prices and ISBN numbers with other users. Many of these websites such as Amazon, Chegg.com, and Half.com, also have smart phone apps which can streamline the process and make your buyback experience even faster.

student researching online markets for selling textbooks

Besides the convenience factor, another major draw to these online retailers is the guaranteed buyback price for trade-in books. Unlike selling your books online where your profit comes from your listed price after you take into consideration what it costs to ship the books you sold, websites who do trade programs, such as Amazon, will guarantee the seller a certain percentage back as long as the book is received in the condition it was described and the ISBN numbers match. For example, Amazon guarantees that sellers will receive at least 80% back on their trade-in as long as the book is received in the same condition it is described and is the correct book. This type of guaranteed trade-in price is a comforting thought for many students who are looking to factor a specific amount of their textbook refund into their summer budget.

However, selling or trading in your textbooks through an online marketplace may not be the best option if you’re looking to sell your textbooks for cash. Many online marketplaces will prompt you to set up an automatic deposit to your bank account or will put your textbook refund on a company gift card or will credit your account once your books have been sold.

Explore Local Bookstores

If a little extra spending cash in your wallet is what you want when selling back your books, research your area for new and used book retailers who have buyback programs. Finding a local bookstore that has a buyback program is the best option when looking to sell college textbooks for quick cash. Many large campuses support additional bookstores beyond the on-campus university store.

selling textbooks at bookstores

A major benefit to selling your books at a bookstore is that your refund is immediate. You will not have to visit an ATM, wait on a check to come in the mail, or be forced to use your refund on a website you do not want to. You can enjoy that cold, hard cash as soon as you walk out of the bookstore. Most online marketplaces have at least a 10-day processing window, in addition to the time it takes for them to receive your textbooks, before you can enjoy the perks of the buyback program.

However, the risk you run with selling your textbooks at a bookstore is that the amount of your refund will be heavily determined by the store’s current stock. If they have too many copies of a particular edition, they may not accept yours. If your edition is overstocked at a particular location, they may still accept your textbook, but will do so for a lot less money since the demand is low.

Find a Friend on Campus

Another option for finding a new home for your college textbooks at a price you can stomach is to explore other possibilities on your college campus. If you’re not comfortable with the price your college bookstore has offered you, consider asking a friend or classmate if they’re taking the class that requires the book you are trying to sell.

students finding on-campus groups for selling textbooks

Don’t know anyone off-hand taking this class? No problem! Many universities have students who have set up their own buyback program on Facebook or other social media outlets. By logging on and giving a brief description of your book, you can usually find a fellow student who is in need of the book you are trying to sell. By exploring this avenue, both the seller and the buyer can can avoid the long line at the campus bookstore and can settle on a price both are comfortable with.

Research to find a buyback option that works best for your current situation, and you can recover at least a portion of the a small fortune you spent on college textbooks this year.