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You can Make Money Buying and Selling Books. Here’s How to Do It

how to make money buying and selling books

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If you have had the displeasure of shopping for textbooks then you will know how pricey they are. As much as $150 and more depending on the subject. I am not lying. And not just textbooks. Novels and nonfiction books among other genres too are expensive.

But there is a silver lining to this- making money selling books. Here is the biggest question though; how to make money buying and selling books?

The thing is, no matter what type of book one buys, the content will still be the same. Whether it is brand new copyright from the shelves of a bookstore or an old used copy picked at the thrift shop.

Most book users will not mind. And this is where your money making opportunity comes into play. Buying and selling used books online.

The industry is not a million dollar one where you start selling books online and you are a millionaire in a fortnight. But every buck counts, people! If you are patient enough though, you can make a couple of dollars to cater to your bills.

The secret to making money buying and selling books is knowing how much the book will go before you even buy it. Failure to follow this rule, you will end up with a pile of books you bought and there is no one to buy. Your capital will just be lying idly in your house. We do not want that.

Now that you know the secret to buy and sell books, here are the books to buy and sell.


The largest market share of textbooks might be college students. Considering how expensive some of these textbooks can be, most students do not mind getting a used copy.

But college students are not the only ones buying used textbooks. This means that there is a large number of buyers out there, and you should focus solely on college students.

Since you will not be selling your own textbooks, you need to know where to buy these used textbooks. The deal is to buy the textbooks at a low price and sell them for a profit.

Campus Books gives you a nice platform to compare textbook prices.

Out of Print Books

The list of books that have gone out of print is endless. But being out of print does not mean people no longer read them. In fact, people still do come across a book they would love to add to their collection. Unfortunately, the “out of print” bit slaps them on the face. It is a huge disappointment.

I recently realized that a “friend” of mine, who I gave some books like 2 years ago, might not bring them back. It took me almost 3 months to accept this- after asking for them back on countless occasions. So, I decided to order them from a bookshop in the city.

The shock on me when I was told that one of the books was out of print! I am still recovering. I would have to wait for 2-3 months for it to be shipped and at a price of $30!

Moral of the story- most of the out of print books have a market too. Take advantage of this and make money buying and selling used books that are out of print.

It is not going to be easy though. The competitive prices and fees on the online selling sites such as Amazon makes hard to profit from these books.

If you can buy a book at $2 and sell it off Amazon at $6, the chances of making much from it are narrow. When the shipping and packaging charges are deducted there will be not much left for you.

This should not discourage you though. What you can do is take the ISBN of the book, check the price on Bookscouter. The site also gives insight on which buyback Company gives more money.

First Editions (Modern ones)

This list encompasses any books published in the last 30-40 years. You would be surprised how many book lovers out there are willing to buy such books, even at a higher price. Some buy just because they think they will go out of print some day in the near future.

This will, of course, make the book a collectible. Others buy these modern first editions just so they can keep a collection of the favorite books and authors.

The longer the book has been in the market, the harder it will be for you to find it. Also, the higher will be the price of such a book.

Antiques and Collectibles

Apart from the modern first editions, there are individuals out there willing to buy antiques and collectible books. Most of these will include the old books, some of which might be out of print but book lovers treat them as antiques. Others are collectibles. Book lovers would do anything to get them. If you can get such books, there is a high chance that you will sell it for a very high price.

Here are places to hit if you want to buy used books:

Garage sales

people do garage sales every now and then. They are either trying to get some extra bucks or to get rid of old and unused items. Take it as an opportunity to make some extra bucks for yourself. The prices are usually low and you might get a couple of good textbooks to sell.

Thrift shops

They are not there to only sell used clothes and household items. Some sell used books too. If there are any thrift shops in your neighborhood, check them out. You can even strike a business deal with the seller for them to notify you when they get used textbooks.


This is a very good place to hunt for textbooks. Are you near a college? Great, that is a very nice place to start with.

Loved ones

If you have a loved one with bookshelves full of books maybe ask them if there are any they want to get rid of. They do not have to hand them in for free. But if you can get them for free the better. If not, try negotiating for a lower price than you would get them from anywhere else.

Online sellers

This includes eBay and Amazon. The prices may be a little bit high but you can compare the prices between the sites and see where you can get at a low price. Then turn around and sell it on the other site for a small profit.

Where to sell used books

Now that you know where to buy the used books, where will you sell them?


eBay and Amazon are great places to sell used books. However, Amazon might not be such a great place to sell modern first editions compared to eBay.


If you have bought any textbooks, you can sell them here.

Campus books

Not only can you buy textbooks here but also sell them.


Chegg is also a place to go to sell any textbooks you have bought.

For those wondering how to make money buying and selling books, I hope this article was helpful. Have you sold books online? How do you do it? Tell us your story.

While we are on books, here is a list of personal finance to look for.


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