August is the Time to Sell Textbooks

August is the month when students are gearing up for school. For some, they want to unload their old textbooks so they can have some money to buy the new. For a book reseller, it’s a win-win. Sellers want to unload and buyers are willing to pay more for used because it’s still much cheaper than buying new.

Use Craigslist

I tend to look at Craigslist to find out if there are any deals. There are some students (or their parents) who just want to get rid of the texts - Once I understand the specifics of the book (ask them for ISBN number and whether or not it i a custom edition), then I can check to see what it is selling for used on Amazon or through a book reseller – I check on BookScouter or CampusBooks. I need to turn a profit, so I look for books that are only a few years old and see what the seller is offering. Since I have nothing to lose, then I may offer a lot less to see how much we can negotiate. Remember, when all is said and done, I want to earn at least $5 when all the dust has settled (postage, seller fees, etc.), but for textbooks I tend to raise my own expected profit margin. Sometimes when negotiating, I’ll start low and then offer a few more bucks for them to ship. Yes, there is the risk that they may collect my money and never ship, but so far I have not been burned.

It’s Still a Deal

In the law of supply and demand, I do not consider low-balling particularly sleazy. I just want to find out how quickly a seller wants to sell their textbook. I’ve seen it the other way too, where a college student expects to charge a bunch, which is far more than someone could get used on Amazon. Once I buy a textbook, I usually attempt to sell on Amazon. If I use a book reseller, of course they offer much less, but it’s a guaranteed sell. I’ll often factor the age of the text before I make a decision. If I use Amazon, I can still charge the least amount so I beat the big boys and still make a nice profit. Of the nine textbooks I’ve sold in a month, my average net profit is $33, which is much more than other books or merchandise I try to resell.

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