How to Sell Used Books Online | Experience Own

Most people love to read, but you may have several books cluttering up your home or office that are just collecting dust. Rather than letting these great reads collect dust, there are several ways to sell used books online and make some extra cash at the same time. Check out the tips below to find out how to sell used books online successfully!


7 Tips to Help You Sell Used Books Online Successfully


It is an expensive hobby, and most people do not think that selling used books can be a profitable venture. However, when you follow these seven steps, it is possible to make money from your collection of used books. And if you are looking for more tips on how to profit from selling used books, here are 7 more ways for you.


1) Take Good Pictures


Before you post a used book online, take a few minutes to get some good photos of it. Most prospective buyers are going to want at least one photo of each side of your book, as well as a picture of both front and back covers. If you’re selling used textbooks or valuable collectibles, you might also want photos with close-ups that show any damage or defects.


Although it takes time, taking pictures is probably one of your best investments when selling books online—and should be done before you price anything. It will save you money in return shipping costs (if people don’t buy because they can’t see what they’re buying) and give potential customers more confidence in their purchase.


2) Packaging is Paramount


When it comes to shipping, most people consider packaging an afterthought. They stick their books in a box and toss in a little packing paper for cushioning, but you don’t want your customers receiving damaged goods—or empty boxes! To protect against both of these scenarios, take care when packaging your books. Use plenty of packing paper and then add another layer of bubble wrap or foam as added protection.


Make sure you seal your package properly so it doesn’t come open during shipping and tape any boxes that are coming apart so they don’t break open. Using these techniques will ensure that your book arrives undamaged and reduce the chances of breakage while in transit, which should help boost customer satisfaction with your service.


3) Don’t Haggle


Don’t start off by pricing your book too low. The Internet is a haggling marketplace and you don’t want buyers to know they can walk away with a bargain. Aim higher than what you think your product is worth so that it looks like a steal when someone comes back offering half of your price tag.


Remember, not everyone can tell if something has been read, so people usually assume books are new even if they’re not. You’ll be able to get at least half of what you want for most sellers; just don’t sell yourself short from the beginning.


4) Set Clear Expectations


One of the most effective ways to ensure that you’re paid fairly for your used books is to set clear expectations upfront. When customers know what they’re getting and what condition it’s in, there’s a much smaller chance of an unsatisfied buyer or a he-said/she-said dispute. Using terms like light shelf wear or two creases on pages will give buyers a clear idea of what their purchase should look like. Another helpful tip is using photographs.


Not only does having photos help you communicate effectively with your potential buyers, but these images can be vital if you ever find yourself involved in a dispute over shipping or quality issues. This may seem like common sense, but many sellers skip taking pictures because they don’t have time or don’t think it’s necessary.


This is where things can get tricky: If you don’t have pictures of your item, then how do you prove its condition? Pictures are worth more than 1,000 words when selling online!


5) Know your Customer Base


It’s important to understand to who you are trying to sell your books. Different markets require different tactics, and if you don’t know who will be most interested in your products, then it may be difficult for you to make a sale.


For example, if you are selling college textbooks on a site like Amazon or eBay, it’s unlikely that kids from high school will be buying them (unless they went on a study abroad program), so marketing efforts should focus on 20-something grad students looking for cheap course reading materials.


If you are selling used books online as an individual seller on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, however, then it’s likely that just about anyone can buy them – although they may have limited funds.


6) Have Realistic Expectations


Be prepared for disappointment. When it comes to selling used books online, there’s always a chance you’ll be dealing with scams and scammers, especially if you sell books on sites like Craigslist or OfferUp. Keep in mind that if you receive a low offer for your book(s), it’s not necessarily because of your book—it may just mean someone is looking for a bargain. Start small: It can be discouraging when it comes to selling used books online.


Don’t let that discourage you from trying! The best way to get started is by accepting small opportunities like yard sales and flea markets, where you have room for error and potential profit without having invested a lot of time and energy beforehand. Make sure you know what you’re doing: Before going out and buying up all your old textbooks, make sure you know how to properly identify them. That means knowing what edition they are (first, second, etc.) as well as whether they include supplemental materials such as CDs or DVDs.


Once you understand what makes one edition different from another, it will be easier to assess which ones are worth more money and which ones aren’t worth anything at all. Research pricing trends: If possible, try researching similar items to find out what people are paying for similar products in similar conditions.


7) Aim High but be Realistic


Price your items competitively but take into account that you won’t always get what you ask for. If you want to sell your books quickly, price them for maximum value. Do a little research online—you’ll quickly discover what your books are going for and how many of those copies have sold on Amazon.


Pricing higher than usual is OK as long as you can show that they’re in excellent condition, complete with all their pages, or have some sort of special edition (illustrated, signed). Keep in mind that if a new copy pops up at lower than market value, it might be difficult to sell yours without taking a loss.


Aim high but don’t burn bridges. Remember: You may need to return to these sellers later for more inventory. It’s also worth noting that booksellers who buy from individuals tend to focus on hardcover books, so expect fewer bites if you’re selling paperbacks only.




As e-readers and tablets become more popular, many people are looking for ways to profit from selling their old books. While you can always make money by selling books at a used bookstore or on Craigslist, it’s much easier (and more profitable) to sell your used books online. Follow these tips and you’ll soon be sharing in thousands of dollars worth of free publicity from Amazon! Happy selling!

Leave a Comment