Whether you want to offload old textbooks, declutter your house, or make money selling used books, you have great choices in 2023. Technology has made it easier than ever to make money selling books, but there are still great ways to sell used books in person.
We’ve found 5 of the best platforms for selling used books online, and you’ll learn how to sell used books on each of them, pros and cons, and more. You’ll also learn about the best ways to sell used books in person and tips for selling.
Amazon is a top choice for many used sellers, and you’ll be able to reach a wide range of customers. There are a few more steps to selling books on Amazon than other options on this list, and some new booksellers might feel it’s too complicated. But it’s honestly one of the best places to sell used books.
Here’s how to start selling used books on Amazon
First, you need to open an Amazon seller account, and you can register as an individual or a professional seller.
- Individual sellers: This is a pay-as-you-go plan that gives you access to basic listing and order management tools. You don’t pay fees unless you sell something.
- Professional sellers: You get access to advanced selling tools and pay a monthly subscription fee that you pay whether or not you sell anything. The Professional selling plan comes with inventory tools that make it easier to upload batches of books at a time.
Most sellers start with the Individual plan, and you can upgrade to Professional when you’re ready.
Next, decide how you’ll fulfill orders, and you have two choices:
- Fulfillment by Seller (FBS): You inventory, pack, and ship books independently. The most active method of the choices.
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): You ship the books to an Amazon Fulfillment center, and they handle storage, packing, shipping, customer service, and returns. Your books may be eligible for the Prime badge when you use FBA, which is a perk for many customers.
Fees for selling used books on Amazon (dependent on the selling method you use):
$0.99 per unit sold (you only pay when something sells)
$39.99 per month (pay whether you sell books that month or not)
15% + $1.80 for each item sold
Varies by size and whether you use FBA or FBA
You get to set the prices on the books you sell — you’ll want to do some research to see what other booksellers are asking for — and you can go back and adjust your prices as needed.
Despite being slightly more complicated, Amazon has a lot of tools and online resources to help you learn how to sell used books. There are tons of used booksellers out there who have created tutorials that walk you through each step of the process.
Pros and cons of selling used books on Amazon:
Decluttr’s name says it all — it’s a site to declutter and sell used books, cell phones, tech, CDs, DVDs, games, and more. The site is easy-to-use, but you’re not going to get top dollar for your books.
Here’s how to sell used books on Decluttr
- Start by going to Decluttr, and click on “Sell Books.”
- Enter the barcode on your book or scan it if you’re using the free Decluttr app.
- See the instant price that Decluttr is willing to pay you for your book.
- If you want to sell, Decluttr gives you a prepaid shipping label so you can ship it to them for free.
- Receive your payment via PayPal or direct deposit the day after Decluttr receives your book.
Decluttr asks that your books have no visible damage or discoloration, no substantial damage to the cover or spine, and no missing or damaged pages. Hardback books will need to have the cover or dust jacket to be accepted.
Decluttr is best for people who want to sell a few books at a time, not serious side hustlers who want to regularly sell books to make money. Again, it’s really easy to sell on Decluttr, but they’re particular about book condition, and they set the selling price.
Pros and cons of selling used books on Decluttr:
If you want to make money selling used textbooks, BookScouter is a solid and easy option. It’s a top pick with college students who are ready to offload last semester’s coursebooks, but side hustlers who have a lead on used textbooks enjoy its simple selling process.
Here’s how to sell used books on BookScouter
- Search for your book: Enter the ISBN number of your used book and Bookscouter will search more than 30 different buyback vendors.
- Compare prices: You get to see what each vendor is willing to pay for your book, compare feedback, and choose who you want to sell to.
- Ship your book: Shipping is free, and you get paid within 1-3 days of receiving and checking your shipment.
Bookscouter has a mobile app that lets you quickly scan the ISBN’s of a bunch of books at once. There’s also a subscription service called BookScouter Pro that’s $29.99/month and gives you access to even more selling features, like bulk searching and historical pricing trends.
Besides textbooks, you can also sell regular books on BookScouter, specifically cookbooks or older books.
Pros and cons of selling used books on BookScouter:
AbeBooks is a global platform to sell rare books, textbooks, fine art, collectibles, maps, comics, and paper collectibles. Because this site is known for rare books, it’s a good place for people who want to sell first editions, antique books, vintage magazines, and more.
How to sell used books on AbeBooks
There is a minimum $25/month membership fee to start selling, and that’s for 0-500 books listed on the site. The tiered pricing goes up from there, all the way to $500/month if you have over 50,000 books in their system.
Sellers need to describe, store and ship the items themself, and you also get to set your own shipping rates and speeds. Anything you list is automatically listed on their six international platforms for a much wider reach.
If you only want to sell a few books — like you want to offload some rare books you inherited from your great aunt, or you want to sell last semester’s textbooks — AbeBooks has a buyback program. They work with TextbookRush for textbooks and Ziffit for everything else.
The biggest downside of selling used books on AbeBooks is the selling fees, which are steeper than most sites. Here are the fees:
- $25/month+ monthly membership fee
- 8% commission
- 5.5% credit card processing fee
On the upside, you get to list your books on a site that’s known for rare, vintage, or collectible books, and those books are listed internationally at no extra charge. That’s why it’s possible to list your books on AbeBooks for more than on other sites.
Pros and cons of selling used books on AbeBooks:
5. Powell’s Books
Powell’s Books is the world’s largest independent book store, with brick-and-mortar locations in Portland, OR, and a large online marketplace.
How to sell used books with Powell’s Books
- Head to Powell’s Books website and click on the “Sell Books” button.
- Enter the ISBN number of your book.
- You will immediately receive an offer, which you can accept or decline.
- Powell’s will send you a prepaid shipping label if you accept the offer.
- You’re paid in-store credit to Powell’s books or via PayPal
Powell’s is picky about the book condition, so if your book isn’t in good to excellent used condition, they may send your book back. They also don’t accept book club editions, old library books, and anything marked “not for resale.”
You will need to sell at least 7 books or reach $8.99 in credit to sell to Powell’s. So it’s not the best option for people who want to sell a book or two at a time. Because of how similar Decluttr is, they would be a better option if you want to sell less than 7 books at a time.
Pros and cons of selling used books on Powell’s Books:
Where to sell used books in-person
Not everyone wants to sell their used books online, so check out these in-person options if you want something local:
- Half Price Books: This is a national chain that buys used books and sells them in store. You can drop off a bag or box of books and get same-day cash for your books. Half Price Books is picky about what they buy, so it’s unlikely they’ll take everything you bring. They want good to excellent condition books, collectible books, and recent bestsellers.
- Facebook Marketplace: You can use this online platform to sell books locally. You set the prices and can set your pick-up options to local only.
- Garage sale: A good way to offload a bunch of books at once is to host a garage sale. You probably won’t make a lot of money, but it will be all cash.
- Used book stores: Most large cities have at least one used book store. Google what’s near you and contact them about their buying policies.
Tips for selling used books
If you want to make money selling books or become a reliable bookseller, here must-follow tips:
Be honest about the condition of your book
While you can definitely sell books with damaged covers or a little wear, you need to be clear about the condition before selling it and set the price accordingly. Buyers want to know what they’re getting, and being transparent about the condition builds trust. You can get negative reviews or returns if you misrepresent the book’s condition.
Remember, not all sites accept gently worn books. Places like Decluttr and Powell’s only buy books that are in good to excellent condition.
Be careful when you ship
Make sure your books arrive at the buyers in the condition listed online. Books are pretty durable, but you’ll still want to pack them so nothing is damaged in transit. If you use an envelope for shipping, consider sandwiching the book between two thin pieces of cardboard or a little bubble wrap for added protection.
Offer to pay for shipping
Sites like Decluttr do so well because they cover the cost of shipping, and it’s something you can do when you sell on Amazon, AbeBooks, or anywhere else. Picking up the shipping costs makes your listing more appealing, and you can build the shipping cost into the listed price.
If you decide to sell books on Amazon, selling on Amazon FBA can earn your listings the Prime badge. That means shipping is covered by Amazon, an added benefit to buyers.
Consider shipping via Media Mail
The cheapest way to ship books is a great option for affordably shipping books, and it’s usually the cheapest option. USPS Media Mail is designed specifically for shipping books, CDs, audiotapes, and other forms of media.
The final word on how to sell used books
If you’re interested in selling books to make extra money, here are my two top picks:
- Amazon is a solid choice for people who want to build a side hustle
- Decluttr is a good choice if you want to sell a couple of books at a time.
For anyone who is interested in selling books as a side hustle, you can find books for sale at garage sales, thrift stores, and you can even find giant bulk listings of books for cheap on Facebook Marketplace. Amazon has selling tools that make it easy to scan barcodes to see how much you can expect to make from each.
The only downside about selling used books as a side hustle is that it can take a little time to establish yourself. For more side hustle ideas, check out 40 Best Side Hustle Ideas of 2023 | Make $1,000+ A Month.
Selling books on Amazon is one of the best ways to make money. You can are in control of the price, and if you use Amazon FBA, they will store and ship the books. Plus, Amazon FBA means they process customer service requests and returns.
Selling used books on Decluttr is the best way to sell a few used books at a time. You won’t make a ton of cash, but it’s easy and you get paid the day after they receive the book. Plus, DeCluttr covers shipping.
UK sellers recommend WeBuyBooks.co.uk because they pay for postage, offer next-day payments, and have a hassle-free selling process.
You can sell old books on Amazon, and AbeBooks is a great site it you want to sell old, rare, or collectible books.