Selling Used Books Online

Selling Used Books Online (Guide)

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on selling used books online. Whether you’re looking to make some extra cash or start a profitable business, selling used books can be a fantastic option. With the rise of online marketplaces and the demand for secondhand books, it’s easier than ever to turn your old books into money. Let’s explore the world of online book selling and discover how you can make the most out of it.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose from a wide variety of genres and sell books for cash online.
  • No need to create your own website – sell on existing platforms like Amazon.
  • Evaluate book condition and set competitive prices to attract buyers.
  • Consider using fulfillment programs like Amazon FBA for hassle-free logistics.
  • Explore other online platforms like BookDeal, Powell’s Books, and BookScouter for additional selling opportunities.

Getting Started with Selling Books Online

If you’re looking to start selling books online, follow these steps to get started:

  1. Decide on your inventory source: You have several options for sourcing books, including selling books you already own, purchasing books in bulk from wholesalers or distributors, or finding them at local used book stores, thrift shops, auctions, or online sources.
  2. Evaluate book condition: Before listing your books for sale, it’s important to check the condition guidelines of the selling site you plan to use. Make sure your books meet the criteria, as different conditions like new, used-like new, used-very good, used-good, and used-acceptable may apply.
  3. Choose an online platform: Consider selling your books on popular platforms like Amazon, BookScouter, eBay, Etsy, or Decluttr. Each platform offers different features, fees, and fulfillment options, so choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.
  4. Set competitive prices: Research the prices of other booksellers to determine the market value of your books. Set your prices competitively, taking into account packing and shipping costs, to attract buyers while still making a profit.
  5. Decide on fulfillment: You can choose to manage fulfillment yourself by storing, packing, and shipping the books, or you can take advantage of programs like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) where Amazon handles the storage, packing, shipping, returns, and customer service on your behalf.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to successfully selling books online and leveraging the ecommerce tools available to reach a wider audience and maximize your sales potential.

Selling Books on Amazon

Selling books on Amazon can be a lucrative endeavor, thanks to its wide customer base and efficient fulfillment options. Whether you’re a seasoned seller or just starting out, Amazon provides two fulfillment methods to choose from: FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) and FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant).

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

With FBA, Amazon takes care of the storage, packaging, shipping, and customer service aspects of the selling process. You simply send your book inventory to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and they handle the rest. This method offers convenience, scalability, and access to Amazon Prime customers, who often prioritize FBA listings. Additionally, Amazon handles returns and provides customer support, freeing up your time and resources.

Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM)

FBM allows you to manage the entire fulfillment process yourself. You store the books, pack and ship them to customers, and handle any returns or customer inquiries. FBM provides more control over inventory and fulfillment, making it a suitable option for sellers who prefer a hands-on approach. It also allows for greater flexibility in terms of pricing and customization.

When selling books on Amazon, it’s important to choose the right selling plan that aligns with your selling volume.

Amazon Selling Plans Monthly Fee Selling Volume Advantages
Individual Plan No monthly fee Less than 40 items Low upfront cost, suitable for occasional sellers
Professional Plan $39.99 monthly fee More than 40 items Access to advanced selling tools, bulk listing capabilities

Choosing the right plan depends on your selling goals and expected sales volume. If you’re just starting out or selling a small number of books, the Individual plan may be a good option to minimize upfront costs. However, if you anticipate selling more than 40 items per month and want access to additional features, the Professional plan offers greater flexibility and growth potential.

Regardless of the fulfillment method or selling plan you choose, selling books on Amazon provides an opportunity to reach millions of potential customers and tap into the platform’s robust infrastructure. Take advantage of Amazon’s seller tools, customer reach, and fulfillment options to maximize your success as a book seller.

Other Online Platforms for Selling Books

Besides Amazon, there are other online platforms where you can sell your used books and make some extra cash. These platforms provide additional options for selling your books online and receiving payment, offering convenience and flexibility. Here are some of the best places to sell used books online:

1. BookDeal

If you’re looking for a simple and straightforward way to sell your books, BookDeal is a great option. With BookDeal, you can sell your books by entering the ISBN and receiving offers based on the book’s condition. It’s a quick and easy process, allowing you to sell your books for cash without any hassle.

2. Powell’s Books

Powell’s Books is a popular independent bookstore that also accepts online bookselling. They not only buy used books but also offer a vast selection of new and used books for sale. Selling your books through Powell’s Books gives you the opportunity to reach a wide audience of book lovers and earn cash for your used books.

3. BookScouter

If you want to find the best price offers for your used books, BookScouter is a valuable tool. It’s a search engine that helps you compare offers from different book buyers. Simply enter the ISBN of your book, and BookScouter will provide you with a list of buyers and their price offers. This allows you to choose the best option and maximize your earnings.


If you have college textbooks that you no longer need, is the perfect platform for selling them. specializes in buying back college textbooks. You can easily sell your used textbooks online and receive payment either through account credit, PayPal, or check. It’s a convenient way to recoup some of the money you spent on expensive textbooks.

These online platforms provide you with different options for selling your used books online. Whether you prefer a straightforward selling process, reaching a wide audience, comparing price offers, or targeting college textbooks, there is a platform that suits your needs. Take advantage of these options and turn your used books into cash!

Selling Used Books in Person

If you prefer selling books in person, there are several options available that allow you to interact directly with buyers and potentially negotiate prices. Here are some avenues you can explore:

1. Half Price Books

Half Price Books is a well-known bookstore chain that buys used books. They have stores across the country and specialize in buying and selling secondhand books. Selling your used books to Half Price Books is a convenient way to monetize your collection while supporting a local bookstore.

2. Local Bookstores

Aside from Half Price Books, many local bookstores also buy used books. Check with your neighborhood bookshops to see if they accept book trade-ins or offer buy-back programs. Selling your books to local bookstores not only helps you connect with the reading community but also supports small businesses in your area.

3. Yard Sales

Hosting a yard sale is a traditional method of selling various items, including books. Set up a table with your used books, display them attractively, and advertise the sale in your neighborhood. Yard sales can be a great way to reach local book lovers who enjoy browsing physical copies before making a purchase.

4. Local Book-Buying Markets

Some communities organize book-buying markets where individuals can sell or trade books directly with other book enthusiasts. These events provide a space for book lovers to come together and share their passion for reading. Look out for local book clubs, libraries, or community centers that organize such markets or fairs.

Selling used books in person not only allows you to declutter your book collection but also gives your books a chance to find new homes within your local community.

Pros Cons
Direct interaction with buyers Negotiating prices may be time-consuming
Supporting local bookstores Limited reach compared to online platforms
Opportunity to discover local book-buying markets Dependent on local demand and market availability

Table: Pros and Cons of Selling Used Books in Person

Selling books in person can bring a sense of connection and community that may be missing in online transactions. Consider your preferences and the availability of local options when deciding on the best approach for selling your used books.

Preparing Books for Sale, Donating, and Recycling

Before selling used books, it’s important to prepare them for sale by ensuring they are clean and in good condition. Be honest about the book’s condition to avoid issues with buyers. Here are some steps to help you prepare your books:

  1. Clean the books: Dust off the covers and pages using a soft cloth or brush. Remove any stickers or price tags carefully.
  2. Repair minor damages: Fix loose pages, torn covers, or broken spines if possible. Use bookbinding glue or clear tape for simple repairs.
  3. Inspect for stains or markings: Check each page for stains, highlights, or notes. Erase pencil markings gently or use a mild solution of water and dish soap for stubborn stains.
  4. Organize the books: Arrange books by genre, author, or series to make it easier for buyers to browse and find what they’re looking for.

If you have books that are not suitable for selling, you don’t have to throw them away. Consider donating them or recycling them responsibly.

Donating Books

If you want to give your books a second life and support a good cause, donating them is a great option. Here are some places where you can donate books:

  • Local libraries
  • Children’s hospitals
  • Schools and educational institutions
  • Charitable organizations

Donating books not only helps others gain knowledge and enjoyment but also reduces waste and promotes sustainability.

Recycling Books

If you have books that are in poor condition or cannot be sold or donated, recycling is a responsible choice. Recycling ensures that the materials in the books can be repurposed rather than ending up in landfills. Here are some options for recycling books:

  • Local recycling centers
  • Paper recycling programs
  • Book recycling programs

By recycling books, you contribute to environmental conservation and resource preservation.


Selling used books online can be a lucrative venture, whether you’re looking for a side hustle or a full-time business. By leveraging the right platforms, sourcing inventory strategically, implementing effective pricing strategies, and choosing the most suitable fulfillment methods, you can transform your collection of used books into a profitable enterprise.

There are several online platforms you can consider, such as well-known giants like Amazon, BookScouter, and Powell’s Books. These platforms provide a wide reach and access to a large customer base. Additionally, don’t overlook the potential of offline channels like local bookstores and yard sales for selling your books in person.

Before listing your books for sale, it’s essential to properly prepare them to ensure they are clean and in good condition. Honesty about the condition of your books will prevent any issues with buyers. For books that are not suitable for selling, you can explore donation opportunities with local libraries, children’s hospitals, or charities. And if you have books that are in poor condition or can’t be sold, recycling them is an eco-friendly option.

With the right strategies and resources, you are now equipped to embark on your journey of selling used books online. So, gather your inventory, do your research, and start turning those pre-loved books into extra cash. Happy selling!


Is selling books online a profitable venture?

Yes, selling books online can be a profitable venture, whether as a side hustle or a full-time business. With the right platforms, inventory sources, pricing strategies, and fulfillment methods, you can turn your used books into cash.

Where can I sell used books online?

There are several online platforms where you can sell used books, including Amazon, BookScouter, Powell’s Books,, and more. Each platform has its own features, fees, and payment options, so it’s important to research and choose the one that aligns with your goals and preferences.

How do I determine the condition of the books I want to sell?

When selling books online, it’s important to evaluate the condition of the books. Different platforms may have different condition guidelines, typically ranging from new to used-acceptable. Take the time to carefully inspect the books and classify them into the appropriate condition category based on the guidelines provided by the selling site.

How do I set competitive prices for my books?

To set competitive prices for your books, it’s important to research and monitor the prices of other booksellers on the platform you’re using. Take into account factors like the condition of the book, shipping costs, and any additional fees associated with the platform. By considering these factors and adjusting your prices accordingly, you can attract potential buyers.

What are the fulfillment options when selling books on Amazon?

When selling books on Amazon, you have two fulfillment options: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). With FBA, Amazon handles the storage, packing, shipping, returns, and customer service. With FBM, you are responsible for managing all aspects of fulfillment, including storing, packing, shipping, and customer service.

How do I prepare my books for sale?

To prepare your books for sale, ensure that they are clean and in good condition. Remove any stickers or price tags, and ensure that the pages are free from annotations or markings. It’s important to be honest about the condition of the book to avoid issues with buyers.

What should I do with books that are not suitable for selling?

If you have books that are not suitable for selling, you can choose to donate them to local libraries, children’s hospitals, or charities. There are also options for recycling books that are in poor condition or cannot be sold. Properly preparing and disposing of books helps reduce waste and gives them a chance for a new life.

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