How to Get Rid of Used Books (And Make Some Money Doing it!)

Clean out your bookshelves and make a few bucks doing it? This is something I should do once a year.

Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with books?

There is a lot to love about pages of words that transport you into another world or teach you how to write a software program or show you pictures of creatures you’ll never be able to see in real life.

When it’s time to move, however, there’s a lot not to love about books. They’re heavy to transport. They take up a lot of space to store. They seem to multiply every time you turn around. (or … does that not happen to you?)

Books are the first thing I tackle when I move: They are easy to pack, easy to sort, and easy to get rid of for a little bit of cash. If you’re moving over a long distance, it’s also cheap to mail them via media mail — which gets them out of your way and on their way to your new home while you focus on other packing.

After the initial sorting and packing phase, where I sat in front of our five bookshelves and packed up the books we wanted to take with us to our new home,* comes the money-making part. All of our unwanted books went into a pile.

1. Send in your books for CASH

Grab your smartphone, download the BookScouter app, and find out how much those books are worth. Scan each ISBN with your phone and BookScouter will tell you what each book buyback store will pay you for the book. Put the book in a pile according to the store with the highest payout.It took me about 20 minutes to get $30 for this pile of books.

After you sort through all the books, log on to the buyback store’s site and enter the ISBNs.

I got over $30 for selling my used books.

These books got me the highest payout.

You will probably find that two or three stores continue to pop up for your books, and there are a few books designated for other stores. Many stores have a minimum number of books or payout that they will accept, so you may need to re-sort those books into a different pile.

Tip: Don’t Wait to Send the Books. After I scanned all of my books and sorted them into piles by buyback store, I waited a few weeks before going back to those sites and accepting the buyback offers. I wish I hadn’t, because the offers changed — and all for the worst. Next time, I’ll scan and immediately send in the books.

To give you an idea of the payout, here is a list of the books CKY Books bought from me. The biggest payout was a hardcover set of the Divergent trilogy, and a random software programming book was a close second. They bought half of these books for less than $0.20, but because I was sending in a box of books anyway, I figured I would get a few cents for some other unwanted books.

Bookscouter earned me over $30 when I sold my books!

CKY Books Payout Receipt

Ready to see how much money you can get for textbooks and novels collecting dust? Sign up here.

2. Trade in your books for other books

For those books that are in good condition and no one will buy, I upload to Paperback Swap — a site for swapping used books. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up
  2. Type in the ISBNs of the books you want to get rid of
  3. Earn 2 credits for the first 10 books you list on the site
  4. If someone else wants a book, she will request it from you.
  5. Print a shipping label, wrap up the book, and mail it from your local post office.
  6. Receive 1 credit for each book that you send.

As soon as you have a credit in your account, you can “spend” the credit on a book. I have used Paperback Swap not only for my own reading, but for giving high quality used books to others.

TIP: Use the Wishlist Function! Whenever I add a book to my Amazon wishlists, I always add it to my Paperback Swap list too. Sometimes it’s a book for Mr. Stapler or my parents — all of them like used books as much as I do, so if I can get them a great read for the cost of shipping out a book to someone else, it’s a done deal. Now is the time to start adding to that PaperBack Swap wishlist.

Ready to swap some unwanted books for books you want? Sign up here*

(that’s my affiliate link — I get book credits for each new member I refer)

3. Donate your books for a tax write-off

If no one has requested your PaperBack Swap books within a few weeks, you may be ready to get them out of your house. The quickest way is to donate them. My favorite place to donate books is to my local library. They have a semi-annual book sale that I love. It happens to also be my favorite place to get new-to-me books.

As a renter, I never itemized my tax deductions, so I had no need to track our charitable donations. Now that we pay more mortgage interest than I care to admit, itemizing our deductions is a no-brainer.

Kay Bell, over at Don’t Mess With Taxes, explains how to value the books you’re donating and what kinds of entities you can donate to, here. Check it out, and don’t forget to save your donation receipts!

If you’re anything like the Stapler family, you probably have bookshelves brimming over with good books, unread books, old college books, and books you never seemed to finish. It’s hard to part with them, for several reasons, but it’s worthwhile to lift that physical weight out of your space and psychic weight off of your “to do” list.

For more ways to sell your unwanted stuff, books or not, as well as other ways to make money check out these articles.

How to Make Money Selling at Consignment Sales
Ingenious Ways To Make A Living Online
Facebook Yard Sales: Worth the hassle?

Have you ever tried any of these ways to clean out your bookshelves? What did you think of the experience?

*If you do manage to get rid of your books, don’t fallback in the habit of accumulating new ones. Instead, follow the example of the crew at saving advice and check out youtube, or to get some free resources.

5 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Used Books (And Make Some Money Doing it!)

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