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How to Get the Most Money for Your College Textbooks

For many college students, paying hundreds of dollars for textbooks seems like the biggest scam. Probably more so for those students that find that they barely use those said textbooks in their classes. Then the final insult comes when trying to sell those textbooks back to the college bookstore and getting a buyback offer that is hilariously low. For the savvy student there are ways to getting the most back from selling the textbooks.

Find out now: Can I afford my student loan payments? 

Condition and Edition

Two of the major factors that are going to determine a textbook’s value is the edition and condition of the book. The newer edition of the books are going to be worth more, that’s just an unfortunate truth. Always check and see if there is a new edition of the textbook, and look at how much the edition you have is going for. Finding out which edition you currently have is easy, normally the edition number will be right on the cover or spine of the book. If not there, check the title page or the back of the title page where the publishing and copyright information is.

Condition comes down to having the book in working order. As diehard fans of Pawn Stars will be able to tell you, the better the condition the better the price. This means no tears, the cover is intact, the edges haven’t been scuffed up, and most importantly there is no writing in the book. The last one is completely avoidable, if not inconvenient. Try not to underline or highlight anything, but rather try to use post-its and things of that nature when note taking. Remember Book Sox? Those book covers and other like them will help to protect the cover from getting messed up.

Choosing Where to Sell

The easiest option is likely heading down to the campus bookstore and selling your books there. This will definitely limit the potential price for the textbooks. The first place to look to sell is the internet. There are a number of sites where you can unload your textbooks. So rather than wade through all the sites, check out Bigwords. Bigwords is an aggregation site that helps students find the best deals on textbooks. The site also tells you what you can get from popular sites like Amazon, Half, as well as some others. Be wary of the major difference between selling on Amazon versus Amazon Marketplace, namely if you sell to Amazon you get an Amazon gift card. Chegg also offers to buy back textbooks and gives the option of either getting Chegg credit, for future textbook purchases or rentals, or an American Express prepaid digital card. Chegg only accepts books that are in very good condition and do not take international editions or teacher editions.

Now, you don’t have to go on the internet to sell your textbooks. If roommates or friends are taking the same classes next semester, getting them to buy your books can be an ideal situation. Or, if you’re particularly brave, ask the registrar for a class list for next semester. Trying to sell to those students can also work, albeit probably a lot more risky than selling to friends. If your school has a classified section, post on there, although that may take awhile to move. Finally, sometimes campus bookstores do have specials such as an additional percentage on top of their valuation. Be sure to check at either the end or start of the semester. This should be the absolutely last place to go, as it’s still a long shot to get a better price than selling them yourself.

Photo Credit: greenasian

Vijay Maharaj Vijay Maharaj is a writer who covers a variety of personal finance topics for SmartAsset. Vijay is an expert in all things higher education, home buying and credit.
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