Thursday, July 28, 2011

Earning Money: How to Sell Your Books

When I was young and just starting college I felt it was very important to buy fresh new textbooks. Do not ask me why I thought I had to have a brand spanking new book in order to get a good grade. As I am sure most of you know, I paid a fortune for those books. By purchasing used texts, I could have saved a lot of money and by looking at alternate options (more on this in another post) I could have saved even more.

Alas, my undergraduate folly left me with a large stack of aging textbooks that I would never use again. I did not even use some of them for the actual class I purchased them for! They were on the recommended list so I felt this "need" to purchase them but I never used them. I quickly learned that selling these texts was the best way to recoup some of my losses. After I switched to buying used books I sometimes made back my entire investment! So if you have books sitting on your shelf that you have no possible purpose for, you might think aboout selling them. It can bring in a lot of cash and clean out space at the same time. Here are my tips for getting the best price on your books.

1) Sell FAST - Textbooks have a shelf life. Manufacturers want to keep making money so they keep putting out new editions, and most students want the newst edition. Plus the information in some textbooks, like science texts, gets outdated quicky. The sooner you sell a book the better price you will get for it.

2) Sell within you school first - You will not have to pay shipping or comission if you seel directly to a student. The best way to find these students is by looking within your own program - if you needed that book for a class those taking that class next semester will likely also need it. And they will be looking to buy it used off someone. If your school has a message board or email list - use it!

3) Give details about the condition - Do not just write "new" or "very good". The more detail you give, the more likely you are to attract a seller. Is there underlining? Highlighting? Is the cover creased? 

4) Use recycled packaging material - If you are selling the book on an internet site like Amazon or ebay, you will have to ship the book to the purchaser. Recycle boxes and envelopes from packages you might have received. We get tons of padded envelope packages at work. These envelopes would go into the garbage, but I totally reuse them. Just make sure to remove all old address material, pad the package well and seal with a lot of tape because the post office sometimes seems to have elephants running over the packages or something.

5) Offer expedited shipping - The purchaser has to pay the shipping fees so there's no extra cost to you and it can help you achieve a sale. If you sell a book standard shipping send it the cheapest route - media mail or standard depending on the zoning.


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