I know it can be tempting to simply toss your old textbooks in the recycling bin when you‘re finished using them. But as a decade-long Amazon seller, I‘m here to share that you can actually earn a nice profit reselling those books online.
The catch? Amazon no longer directly purchases used textbooks from customers like they used to.
However, with a bit of effort, you can sell textbooks on Amazon‘s Marketplace yourself as an independent seller. In this detailed guide, I‘ll walk you through exactly how to maximize your profits and avoid rookie mistakes.
Why Amazon Shut Down Textbook Buyback
First, let‘s discuss why Amazon discontinued its textbook buyback program in early 2020 after years of allowing students to easily trade in books for cash.
There were a few key factors at play:
Mass shift to rentals. Rental services like Chegg exploded in popularity, reducing demand for used textbook buyback.
Risk of counterfeits. Direct textbook trade-ins increased chances of pirated books entering Amazon‘s supply chain.
Competitive pressures. Chegg, Barnes and Noble, college bookstores competed for buyback market share.
As an experienced seller, I saw this sea change coming. Students began focusing on renting and buying only the cheapest used books possible. Amazon likely felt managing a textbook buyback program no longer made good business sense.
But now, third-party sellers like you and me can list used textbooks on Amazon‘s Marketplace. You just need to put in some legwork upfront.
How to Sell Textbooks on Amazon as a Seller
Selling as an independent seller gives you full control and more profit potential versus trading in. Here is the step-by-step process:
Step 1: Sign Up as a Seller
You can sell as an individual or professional seller. Either way, you‘ll provide:
- Identity information
- Bank account for deposits
- Tax information for 1099-K form
It takes about 5 minutes to complete Amazon‘s registration form online.
Step 2: Prep Your Textbook Listings
Treat each textbook listing like its own product page. For each book, you‘ll want to:
- Verify the edition is not already listed
- Enter details (title, author, edition, condition, ISBN, etc.)
- Write a compelling book description
- Take high quality photographs showcasing the book‘s condition
- Price competitively based on similar listings
Pro Tip: Check sellerswap or mentors to estimate current demand and pricing for niche textbooks.
Step 3: Choose Your Fulfillment Method
You have two options for fulfilling textbook orders:
Sell it Yourself
- You handle shipping books directly to buyers
- Manually enter tracking info, manage returns
- No monthly storage fees
- More work, but bigger profit margin
Fulfillment by Amazon (Recommended)
- Books ship from Amazon warehouses when purchased
- Amazon handles storage, packaging, shipping
- Pay ~15% referral fee + storage fees per book
- Prime eligible for free 2-day shipping
As an experienced seller, I highly recommend FBA – it simplifies the entire process for you.
Step 4: Get Paid!
You‘ll receive payouts every two weeks with earnings directly deposited into your bank account.
Amazon takes a referral fee of around 15% per book sold. You pocket the rest!
Now let‘s get into the finer details of pricing and optimizing your Amazon textbook listings.
Pricing Textbooks Profitably on Amazon
Setting the right price is crucial when selling textbooks on Amazon. You want to stay competitive but still make a decent profit.
Here are my top tips for pricing used textbooks successfully:
Start lower than rental cost – If your used book is cheaper than renting, it will be more enticing.
Check recent sold prices – See what other similar condition books have recently sold for.
–Be prepared to negotiate – Many students will reach out to bargain on price.
Undercut other sellers – Stay vigilant and lower your price to outrank competitors.
Account for fees – Consider FBA fees when pricing so you still net a profit.
Re-list frequently – This gets your books back to the top of search results.
You can easily net $10-15 profit per used textbook sold with the right pricing strategy. Those profits add up quickly over time!
4 Key Factors That Impact Textbook Value
As you price your textbooks, keep these factors in mind that influence perceived value and buyback rates:
- Current edition = highest value
- Old editions = little to no value
- Check the edition before buying to resell!
2. Subject Matter
|Engineering||High||Niche, retain relevance|
|Nursing||Medium||Rapid curriculum changes|
|Humanities||Low||Information doesn‘t change quickly|
- Like New = 70-100% original value
- Good = 40-60% value
- Acceptable = <20% value
- Out of print – Potentially very valuable
- Special editions – Can also drive up prices
By checking these factors before buying textbooks to resell, you can better judge if they are worth investing in.
3 Pro Tips for Textbook Sourcing
As a seasoned pro, I‘ve refined my textbook sourcing strategy over the years:
Tip #1: Buy at the end of each semester
- Prices bottom out as students sell back excess inventory.
- Shop college Facebook groups, Craigslist, and garage sales.
Tip #2: Invest in niche subjects
- Textbooks on engineering, math, and sciences retain value.
Tip #3: Bulk buy/sell editions
- Buy up full sets of older editions for consistency.
- Students prefer buying all books for a class in one bundle.
With the right sources and strategy, your textbook selling can be extremely lucrative. Let‘s look at realistic sales scenarios.
Examples of Successful Textbook Sellers
To give you ideas of actual results from reselling textbooks, here are a few examples:
Marie Sold $358 After One Semester
Marie sold her nursing textbooks on Amazon FBA after completing her first semester of nursing school.
By pricing competitively and showing the like-new condition in her photos, she sold all 6 textbooks within 3 weeks for a total payout of $358.
James Profits $47 from Garage Sale Finds
James found 3 French textbooks at a garage sale listed for $20. He scanned them on BookScouter and saw $85 in potential buyback value.
James sent the books to Chegg‘s buyback program. After accounting for shipping and fees, he profited $47 from his original $20 investment.
Sarah Sells Locally via Facebook for $80
Sarah listed her Medical Coding textbook for $80 on her university Facebook group and sold it just 4 hours later.
By meeting up locally, she avoided all seller fees and made a nice $80 profit.
As you can see, with the right strategy, you can earn solid side income selling textbooks online or locally. Now let‘s go over some common beginner mistakes to avoid.
Top 10 Textbook Selling Mistakes To Avoid
After seeing countless new textbook sellers make these mistakes, I wanted to share my top tips to avoid headaches and maximize your profits:
Assuming current edition is most valuable – Check edition first!
Letting condition deteriorate – Keep books pristine.
Forgetting to photograph defects – Disclose any flaws.
Not checking prices across sites – Values vary greatly.
Overpricing your listings – Researchcompetitive rates.
Waiting too long to relist – Bump listings frequently.
Shipping internationally without tracking – Risky without tracking.
Using stock images – Always photograph the actual book.
Selling books you need later – Avoid buyingback at higherprice.
Not specializing – Build expertise selling textbooks in your field.
Avoid these missteps, and textbook selling can be a lucrative side hustle or full-time business.
Key Takeaways to Sell Textbooks Profitably
Here are my top tips to recap as an experienced textbook seller:
Amazon buyback is gone – But you can sell yourself as a Marketplace seller.
List competitively – Match or beat rental and buyback prices.
Leverage FBA – Worth fees for reliability and Prime shipping.
Check edition – Current editions hold the most value.
Maximize condition – Like new books sell best. Disclose flaws.
Specialize – Build niche expertise with subjects you know.
Source strategically – Target end of semester sales.
Ready to Turn Old Textbooks Into Cash?
As you can see, with some effort and the right strategy, you can earn excellent profits reselling textbooks online.
The key is signing up as an independent seller, listing competitively, optimizing your listings, and using FBA for fulfillment.
Amazon‘s textbook buyback may be gone, but now is your chance to keep even more textbook resale profits for yourself!
I hope this guide better equipped you to start successfully selling textbooks on Amazon Marketplace. Let me know if you have any other questions!