How a Textbook Buyback Service Works

By Joe Waynick

Setting up a textbook buyback program can be a good way to make money online.

Used text books are easy to find. College students have a large supply available at the end of every semester or quarter.

Most students are looking to get rid of at least some of their used textbooks, instead of having to take them home or put them in storage.

Almost all campus bookstores have a college textbook buyback program, but they usually only offer a small fraction of what student pay at the beginning of the semester.

The used books are often resold by the campus store during the next term at a much higher price. A lot of students resent this process, and that can benefit you in two ways.

Learn How To Compete

First, you can buy used textbooks at prices similar to the bookstore's prices. Some students will, as a matter of principle, accept that price from an independent dealer but not from the campus bookstore.

Second, you have the option of buying used textbooks at a higher price and reselling at a lower price than the bookstore. In this case, you are simply taking advantage of the bookstore's greed by accepting a lower profit margin on each item.

Students depend on cheap college textbooks to help keep expenses as low as possible.

Students selling at the end of the semester benefit by getting more money back for their books. And students buying at the beginning of the following semester benefit by getting cheap text books and saving money.

How To Get Started

A textbook buyback program can be promoted a number of different ways.

For instance, if you live near a university campus, you can set up a table at a nearby location and sell law books for less than the campus book store. This could be in front of a popular student bar or restaurant (with permission, of course), or on a public sidewalk (in accordance with local regulations).

You could also post flyers on or near campus letting students know you are buying used textbooks. Don't forget to try to sell while you're buying too!

For example, while buying biology books from one student you may find yourself simultaneously selling a business book to another.

Another option is buying online. This option works whether you live near a campus or not. It's a simple matter of building the Web site and getting the word out to students. One advantage to this is that you can obtain used textbooks from anywhere, not just the local schools.

A final way to obtain used textbooks is to visit a Trash to Treasure program. Some universities hold events during the summer in which the general public is invited to claim items abandoned in the dorms. Used textbooks are always one of the items available at these events and they can be very profitable for a discount bookseller.

Selling Your Textbooks For Cash

After completing your textbook buyback, the next step is to turn the books into cash if you haven't already. The best way to do this is to sell books online.

This can be done through an auction site like e-Bay, or on a fixed-price marketplace like Amazon.

Swap sites are another possibility; instead of selling books online, they can be traded for other merchandise that can be sold. Over time, you'll build up positive feedback and ratings on these sites.

This will make it even easier to sell your used books because you'll be an established college book seller with a good reputation.

Your customers may include students needing the book for a class or individuals interested in a particular topic. If demand for a particular book is low you can always donate it to charity and take a tax deduction.

Study your local market before selling your first book to a student. Make sure the books you're buying for resale are in demand at colleges and universities in your area. That way you know you have a ready-made market for your inventory.

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