How to Sell Your Used Textbook to Another Student on Your Campus

If you think buying books from your campus bookstore is a rip-off, wait until you try reselling them there. Your bookstore likely won't buy back some books at all, and for those that they will take, they'll offer you but a pittance. Want to recoup a little more cash from your books? You may be able to sell your textbooks directly to another student, so that he or she will get a good deal and you'll get a fair price. All you need is a little research, a flier, and a plan, OR a locally-focused textbook exchange website.


  1. Image titled Sell Your Used Textbook to Another Student on Your Campus Step 2
    Determine the resale value of the textbook. Your local and/or campus bookstore will be holding a buyback at the end of the semester. Find out how much they'll give you for each book as well as how much they're selling the books for. Write these numbers down. You can also get a quote from an online bookstore or two.
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    Evaluate the market for each book. You'll have the best chance of selling books that are going to be used in the next semester. You can usually find this out at the bookstore, or you can ask your professor or check the class web page. Some books that won't be used again on your campus may be used at another school. If this is the case, you might get a better price if you try to sell the book online.
  3. Image titled Apply for the CBAP Exam Step 6
    Price your book to sell. You are competing with local bookstores, online sellers, and even other students. Evaluate the prices and buying options available--include considerations such as shipping costs and the condition of your book compared to others. Price your book higher than the lowest online offer, yet lower than the used book price the bookstore is offering. If you want to sell really fast, set your price lower than any other option. Just remember to keep your price high enough above the bookstore's buyback price to compensate for your time and any advertising expenses.
  4. Image titled Become a Home Health Aide Step 6
    Create an attractive flyer. This can easily be done in most word-processing software programs using text art, or you can make one by hand and photocopy it. Put a big, bold headline such as "Book for Sale" or "Buy My Book". Include detailed book information, such as author, title, ISBN, edition, publisher, copyright date, and price of the book. Include what course it is used for, and describe the condition of the book (e.g. good shape, minor shelf wear, some highlighting). Provide your contact information, such as a campus email address or phone number. Make it easy for a potential buyer to contact you by making the bottom edge of your flyer a section of tear-off tabs with the book title and your contact information (History Book,
  5. Image titled Arrange Bail at No Cost Step 4
    Post your flyers. Print off several copies, at least a dozen. Locate places on or around campus which are high traffic areas and which have a bulletin and/or announcement board. Examples include the campus cafeteria, departmental offices, and the student activities center. Get approval from the administrator of the bulletin board before you post your flyer; otherwise it may be removed. Make a list of the locations where you post your fliers so that you can take them all down when your book is sold.
  6. Image titled Sell Your Used Textbook to Another Student on Your Campus Step 7
    Place an ad in your school newspaper. If you're able to inexpensively place an ad in the paper or, better yet, place a free ad, do so. Include the same information as you did on the flyer, but shorten it if you have to.
  7. Image titled Become Successful in Your Network Marketing Business and Have Fun Step 3
    Make a plan to meet your buyer. Once you are contacted, you will need to meet the potential buyer to sell the textbook. Decide when and where. Pick a public place that is safe and convenient for both of you. Be sure to tell them what payment options you will accept.
  8. Image titled Help Improve the Situation for Beggars in India Step 4
    Sell your textbook. When a buyer contacts you, be polite, and make arrangements to meet. Bring some cash in case you need to make change. Bring the book. Meet the buyer, accept their money and give them the book.
  9. Image titled Apply for a Marriage License in New York Step 5
    Take down your flyers and remove your advertisements. Be a good citizen and don't waste other people's time. You also probably don't want to continue to get calls or emails about a book you've already sold.
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    Alternatively, you can avoid the flyer process altogether, or at least augment it considerably, by posting your book for sale on a free, university-focused textbook exchange website.


  • To add extra visual appeal to your flyer, include a photo of your book. You can take your own picture, or you can easily download an image from an online bookseller or from the website of the publisher of the book.
  • You can use your word processing software to create vertically oriented tear-off tabs on the bottom of your flyer. Then, you can simply take scissors and cut between the tabs to separate them.
  • There are some campus websites or websites which host a bulletin board or marketplace for students to buy, sell and trade textbooks.
  • If you have several books to sell, consider putting them all on one flyer to save paper, time, and money. The best potential buyers become those with the same major you have.
  • Sell your textbooks online.


  • If you got a lot out of the class, maybe you should keep the book. Buying a book with the expectation that you will re-sell it at the end of the semester is not always prudent. Some texts, particularly specialist references, have become more valuable over time and extremely hard to find.
  • Some campuses may not allow you to post flyers. If this is the case, locate a place off-campus that will allow you to post your flyer or simply stick with advertisements in your school paper.
  • The buyer may try to haggle with you and offer you less than your asking price. Feel free to negotiate, but know your sale price boundaries and stick to them.
  • Meet in a safe location. While it's highly unlikely that someone posing as a buyer will try to rob or otherwise harm you, it's possible.
  • Beware personal checks. If someone pays you with a check that bounces, you'll likely be out of the money plus any fees your bank charges you.
  • Don't invest too much time and money into making your flyers and doing research. If you can only expect a few extra dollars over the bookstore's buyback price, you might as well just take their offer.

Things You'll Need

  • Used textbook to sell
  • PC with printer, or paper and markers
  • Patience

Article Info

Categories: Budgeting and Financial Aid for College