Places online doing textbook buybacks

We love sharing info on how to maximize selling your textbooks for the top price. There is always going to be a “transaction cost,” as an economist might say, to selling something DIY.

Besides your time, you will also need a computer or smart phone, bank account or PayPal account, the ISBN number’s of the book and access to a printer to print the shipping label.

Still, maximizing your textbook budget is worth it for some books. Especially if you have more time than money

From each of these sites have their own time cost so its good to balance out the costs of direct selling in time. If you just want to try this 🙂 check out Bookscouter and type in the numbe ron the back that begins with 978, known as the ISBN number.

Need more guidance? Follow along.

Cash 4 Books

Very good app and service, they offer free inbound shipping, through FedEx or the USPS. If they accept your book, then the payment is done through PayPal. They have quick service and will let you send up to a 40 pound box. However, they aren’t always the highest paying option. 

Here are the steps for selling a book to them but this process is very similar to most of the other textbooks stores we reviewed, with varying levels of user experience.

The first thing you do is scan the barcode into the Cash4Book app.


If it is an acceptable book an instant quote is made and your prompted to add it to your list.


Once you’ve added it to the list, the app will store it while you repeat the process with your other books. Cash4Books will accept up to a 40 pound box although that does change. You may be prompted to create an account at this point.

When you click Checkout, this screen will appear. 


Click “Sell my books” and it will lead to the screen to create and print a free shipping label. 

After that, all you have to do is drop it off to be sent in. Easy. It will save the list if you want to come back to it and add some books, but the quotes can change pretty quickly so I recommend trying to do it all in one session.


Bookfinder is a specialized search engine which will get buyback quotes from seven or eight different buying partners. It works very similarly to other options, where you scan (or type) the ISBN number in.

textbook finder march 2016

It will then automatically show you offers from a variety of textbook buyers.

bookfinder-comparison screen

Bookfinder advertises that all partners provide free shipping labels for your inbound shipment of books.

Most times Amazon will have the highest value returned BUT they are giving you store credit/gift certificates, which while conveniently tied to your Amazon Payments account, doesn’t give you the flexibility of cash.

BookScouter is another similar comparison search engine for textbooks.

used textbook value

Textbook Recycling

Textbook Recycling is a good option if you have multiple books because they have a minimum order of $50 BUT are consistently one of the highest paying outlets for textbooks online. 

Textbook Rush

Also a higher paying online outlet, they won’t accept books with more than 25% underlining or highlights. Free shipping and they also will give you a bit more in store credit if you want. 

I suggest you not assume that Amazon or your local college bookstore is the best place to sell your books. In researching this, I realized that I was assuming a bit too much. A book I would have gladly sold to Cash4Books for $13 actually can be traded in for $31 somewhere else! 

textbook buyback online - range of values March 2016

Ironically, traditional textbooks are probably best sold through one of the other options discussed in this review, BUT really does a nice job on marginal titles and popular fiction and non-fiction books. For example I sold back, Crucial Conversations, a popular self-help right now and the Publications Manual of the American Psychiatric Association at a profit. That’s way more, and in cash, than local buyback stores near me such as 2nd & Charles and Black & Read, a local media trading store.

Keep in mind that different outlets have different condition restrictions in terms of underlining within the book or wear on the cover. 

P2P Options

Student2Student is a Google Chrome app that allows users to post textbooks directly to other students on the same campus, presumably eliminating shipping costs and wait times. It has really spread quickly.

Occupy the Bookstore is more of a hacking than sharing tools but pretty awesome nonetheless. A Chrome app that will overlay the pricing on your college bookstore website and compare pricing automatically to the wider internet. 

Mivy – Strong in northeast colleges, the goal of this iPhone app, is to increase buyback prices by giving students a platform to skip the bookstore. Launched in December, 2015, they charge 7% and are a competitor to Student2student, for those who prefer mobile apps to desktop apps. Mivy users are clustered in the Northeast.  An Android version is in the works according to the team. 

Remember you can also become a DIY book seller on Amazon (easier than it sounds) and make even more from your textbooks although just like an economist would say the time cost of listing, providing customer service and shipping will weigh on your decision. Not to mention Amazon’s 15% commission on sales. 

If you’d rather skip all this or don’t have a bank account, or a way to print labels easily, Book Driver is here to serve Denver and Boulder students who just want a quick and fair buyback option locally.

Matt Johnson