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    9 Tips For Selling Your Books Online

    Take it from me, a lady who just sold a bunch and is now $50.72 richer for it.

    Hi, my name's Elizabeth and I REALLY love books. But not like people lie about on dating apps. Or in the way Joe does from You. (Yikes.) I love 'em and I've come to own a lot of 'em.


    I moved apartments two years ago and didn't have the guts to get rid of my hefty book collection then. Needless to say (but I will!), I have quite the penchant for buying books — which is what got me into this storage-starved situation in the first place. Come January, I realized that the shelf space in my one-bedroom apartment all those previously read books were occupying would be better served by storing my crafting supplies. Plus, at this point, they would be of better use to some new owners! Also, uh, making a little cash in the meantime sure wouldn't hurt.

    So I sold dozens of my beloved books. And here are the tips I think will help anyone mulling over doing the same:

    1. Know from the start that you're not going to even get CLOSE to recouping your book-buying costs.

    Universal Media Studios

    And that is FINE, because you know what? You read those books, lent them out to friends, and admired them sitting on your bookshelf awhile. They've served their purpose for *you* and now someone else can enjoy them!

    Or at least that's what I told myself when I found myself sitting on my floor, surrounded by stacks on stacks on stacks of books. Which brings me to...

    2. Set aside a weekend afternoon or some other large chunk of time (at least three hours!) to sort through your books and run 'em through the selling possibilities.

    Put on a true crime podcast, rewatch a season of Real Housewives, whatever. You'll need something to keep you occupied in the background and make the task go by faster.

    3. Use to see where your book will earn the most dough. You simply scan your book's ISBN (through the app) or type it in to look up where you can sell it.


    It is VERY easy. It does a big chunk of the work for you (bless it). Every resource I consulted on the internet to see where I should sell my books pointed me in this direction (h/t to Budget Girl). I downloaded the app (available on Apple App Store and Google Play) but ended up mostly using the desktop version.

    As you can see, the excellent tome Circe was worth some $$$ in comparison to some other books I sold for a mere $0.16. But those pennies add up to dollars.

    BTW, this is where you can find the ISBN on your book.

    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    This is for a wonderful book called Welcome to Hell World that I am *not* selling right now.

    4. Many buyback sites have minimums for sales. For example, Powell's requires a minimum of seven books or $9 total for a buyback bid. So you can mix and match your selling bids with different sites to meet shipping minimums.


    For example, I sold back 18 books (two of which I didn't get any cash for due to "water damage") to Powell's for $23.25. And I sold four books to for $10.30.

    You do not have to do what I did (which is why this isn't a tip itself!), *but* I made a Google spreadsheet with the book title, ISBN, and how much each site would give me for the book to help mix and max combos. It was a WHOLE lot of extra work and would be a good idea if you're selling more than a few dozen books. But any fewer than that, it'd just be extra labor on your part.

    5. Some sites give you the option to earn more money in site credit than cashing out. But the difference is very small, and I recommend going for that cold hard electronic PayPal cash.


    To keep using this wonderful book (seriously, it's great!) as an example, cash out here is $5 and in-store credit is $5.25. Would I have used that on Nah man! I used it for a breakfast burrito smothered in enchilada sauce and cheese.

    6. Lots of books that you think are perfectly desirable will get you $0.00 on these sites. And that's fine!


    But don't get personally offended. Those book bbs can still go to a good home! More on that later...

    7. You won't get paid until the books are shipped and their quality is assessed by an actual person.

    In total, I had three books deemed to have "water damage" once all was said and done. Which means that the retailer kept the books and recycled them or did whatever it is they do with them. All three were paperbacks, so make sure those paperbacks are in excellent condition!

    8. Skip trying to sell your unsold books at an IRL bookstore.

    Assembly Film and Television

    Once you've finished selling your books online, dragging your unsold books to a for-profit bookstore to make more money will be a total waste of time. I've done it many times in NYC and, let me tell ya, it's always a little humbling because they barely buy anything and the trouble isn't worth the few measly bucks you gain as a result.

    Depending on the bookstore, they may take your books they were going to give you $0.00 for off your hands to populate bargain areas of the store. I've reaped the benefit of many $1 book hauls, so I really shouldn't complain.

    9. Donate your unsold books to a local charity book shop or other deserving organization! You already emotionally parted with them, so there's no use in holding onto them.

    I had a *hefty* tote bag of books that I hauled to The Book Cellar, a local book shop in my library branch that's run by the friends of the library. I'm there most every Saturday, picking up a new hold and dropping off books I've read. So I was thrilled to realize that I could help out my branch and offload books I was no longer enjoying.

    Some resources to explore at your local level include local friends of the library chapters, shelters, and schools, just to name a few possibilities. Ask around!

    And if you itemize your taxes, get a tax receipt if the recipient organization offers it!

    And in case you're wondering, here are my totals by site of books I sold (all found through Bookscouter).

    - Powell's: $23.25 (16 books)

    - eCampus: $10.30 (4 books)

    - $17.17 (22 books)

    Here's to putting that extra cash toward your next great read!