Make Some Extra Cash: Sell Your Books


I love to read and as a result I have a ton of books–the majority of them things I’ve read once and never plan to read again. Until now they’ve just gotten dusty on my bookshelf.

Since I’ll be moving in a month, I’ve been downsizing all my possessions, including my books. I’ve also searched for ways to make some extra money and it turns out selling my books is a good way to do it.

Most communities have used book stores or college bookstores that will buy books for cash or store credit, so I definitely recommend checking to see if there’s something in your area that will work for you.

If not, I have a few recommendations for websites where you can sell your books online.

1. Beck’s Book Store

A chain of college book stores here in Chicago, they also buy other books besides textbooks. The great thing about their website is you can enter in the ISBN numbers of all your books and then get a quote on how much they’ll buy the books for. Then you can edit the list and decide what you want to sell and what you don’t.

At this point you can either print out the list and take it into to one of Beck’s 8 Chicago locations and receive cash or print out a free shipping label to mail your books in and get a check back. They do have a minimum buyback of $10 to send books by mail.

2. Powell’s Books

This Portland area bookstore also buys books in-store and online. The difference from Beck’s is that you can’t get a quote online to sell your books in store.

To sell them online, again enter the ISBN numbers and then you’ll get your quote. If you enter more than one book at once, they’ll only give you a total quote and not the individual price for each book.

They pay via Paypal or store credit, and they also pay the shipping costs.

4/15/09 ETA: I just received payment from Powell’s for books I mailed on 4/1. So it took about 15 days total. I did receive the full amount I was quoted.


This online bookstore buys textbooks (and some regular books). Again, enter the ISBNs and you’ll get their price quote. They pay for shipping and then send you a check, or you can select direct deposit for your payment.

Another option they have is a marketplace where you can list your books and sell them. They don’t charge listing fees, but they take a 15% commission when your book sells.


I’ve been unable to sell anything to them thus far (they say they look primarily for textbooks, non-fiction, business, and professional/technical books), but they work in same way as the others. Enter the ISBNs, they give you a quote, print the prepaid mailing label, and then send in your books. They pay via check or Paypal.

My recommendation (if you have the time and patience) is to get quotes from all the sites and then sell each book to the highest offer. I understand if you don’t have the time for all that.

From my experience, Powells & Beck’s usually offered the most money and were interested in the most books (including textbooks, fiction, and nonfiction books).

Have left over books you couldn’t sell? Donate them to a thrift store like Goodwill or Salvation Army (along with any other unwanted items you may have). Get a receipt and your donations are deductible from your taxes.

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