General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What's the best way to sell my books?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (33255points) May 20th, 2011

I live in a small city on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and I have a library of quality books. There are only 2 used bookstores in town.

Should I approach them first?

Should I try to sell them on eBay or Amazon or one of the other sites for books? Or would that be too much of a hassle in the end?

(I’m not selling my whole library. I wouldn’t be able to breathe without my babies.)

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21 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

All the used bookstores in my area don’t even take donations, much less pay for books. So I think if you want money, you have to go to Amazon or

Bellatrix's avatar

Jake, I would do as MyNewtBoobs said and go to Amazon or perhaps even try ebay? Second-hand book sellers don’t give you much if anything in my experience.

augustlan's avatar

There’s a huge used bookstore in my area, and they buy loads of books (because they also sell them online). They don’t pay very well, though. Have you considered just having a yard sale?

AshlynM's avatar

Usually if you sell your stuff to local stores, you don’t get very much back, whether it’s books, games or clothes. So I’d skip the local book stores and go straight to Amazon or Ebay, you can sell them for a little bit more if you’re needing the money. I’d advise in checking Amazon’s and Ebay’s policies and rules about selling, fees, and receiving payment methods before signing up.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I would try the local stores first, simply because being on Hawaii, rather than the mainland, I would imagine that the actual volume of used books is different. When people move from Florida to Kansas, loading up a library and moving it by truck is a lot different than shipping all of your possessions by sea. I know my neighbor is getting ready to move to Hawaii with the army this fall, and they are downsizing their possessions for the move.

Depending on the titles and genre, you may do better on e-Bay or amazon, but unless the titles are highly desirable or first editions, you may find that, with the interest in Kindles in the last year, the market for used books is not what it was. You may do better donating the books to the library and taking a tax deduction for the donation. Either way, you are going to have to inventory what you are selling.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@BarnacleBill I’ve seen both rare and extraordinarily common books going for not bad used-book prices on Amazon. Used books are often cheaper than a Kindle book, which are often more expensive than a new paperback (so ex. used- $5 new $7 Kindle $9).

BarnacleBill's avatar

You may want to also consider selling through Alibris

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I thought this meant that you were writing books.
I think shipping will be brutal if you choose to sell online. Is your interest in finding a way to get rid of a large number of books, or is it profit? If it isn’t profit, you should just have a yard sale. Or, flea market sellers will sometimes purchase books. Just a thought.
Otherwise, Amazon isn’t a bad idea by any means.

gm_pansa1's avatar

I’ve never sold my books, I just gave them away.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf $3.99 is supposed to cover all shipping fees for books, if you do it via Media Mail.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs ohh, well that is a completely different story. Good to know.

Cruiser's avatar

I would try Craigs list to sell to the locals in your area first.

MissAusten's avatar

Another option is to list them at You can also sell movies and video games at Glyde, and the set-up of the site makes it very, very easy. You list the items you have for sale and their condition. Glyde suggests pricing and shows how much you would earn from the sale. Typically it isn’t much, because of shipping costs, but if you have high-demand things you could do OK. When someone buys something of yours, Glyde sends you an addressed, prepaid mailer. You put the item in the mailer, drop it into your mailbox, and get paid when the buyer receives it. The money you make from each sale is deposited into your Glyde account. You can then have it transferred to a Paypal account, mailed to you as a check, or use it as credit to buy something you want at Glyde.

What I like about Glyde is the simplicity. I don’t have to worry about having packing materials, buying postage, or going to the post office. The site is extremely easy to use and it takes only seconds to list items.

The downside is the wait for items to sell. I’ve had books for sale on Glyde for months. When a few things sell, I end up using whatever money I’ve earned to get another book or a game for the kids.

There’s also a site called where you trade books, games, and DVDs directly with other people. It’s a bit more involved because you have to pack up and ship things yourself, but you can print postage right from the site. If someone fails to ship you an item in a trade will send you the item so the risk with trading is quite small. You don’t make any money, but you get to pass on things you no longer want to get things you do want.

That being said, I typically just drop used books at Goodwill because anything else is too much effort or involves too much waiting. :)

mazingerz88's avatar

You may want to check out

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I recommend along with @MissAusten. I’ve used it before and was very happy with it. Although, if your aim is to make more space in your house by getting rid of your books, that wouldn’t be the way to go necessarily.

If you want to make money, try Alibris. If that’s not important, just donate them! :)

lillycoyote's avatar

Another option is Powell’s Books

If they want your books they will pay for the shipping to them. It says “within the United States.” I’m assuming that the island in the pacific you live on is Hawaii. The site doesn’t specify within the continental U.S. but you might want to check with them to make sure.

TheIntern55's avatar

You might want to ask your bookstores if they have a points program. I gave all my old childrens’ books to a used bookstore near me and I was able to use store credit to get new books.

drdoombot's avatar

Since you sound like a book lover, the best option might be . Trade in the books you don’t want for books you do!

I’ve added no less than 65 books to my library in relatively short time (and sent off about as many).

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@drdoombot PBS is so mean! They get so mad at your if maybe you don’t have the money to pay for shipping, or some other reason why you just can’t do it right then. At least is sorta “hey, when you have time, if you wanna….”.

Stinley's avatar

What about ebay or amazon but say Hawaii postage only? Or if you are feeling philanthropic why not find out if your local library takes donations?

Bellatrix's avatar

Hi Jake

Another thought inspired by @Stinley, over here the prison system is always looking for books. Why not check if there is a book donation system in your area? There may be restrictions on what you can donate but if you aren’t wanting to lose the books to make money, you could do something charitable with them?



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