The INSIDER Summary:
• If you have old books in your house you’ll never read, get rid of them!
• You can make money and declutter your home.
• These are the three best methods, based on how much effort you have to put into it.
If you’re like me, you have a lot of old books sitting around your house that you’re never going to read again.
One way to get rid of your books is to give them away. Potential places that accept used books include a local school, shelter, senior citizens center, or some other place that maintains a library — check out Freecycle to find local places that take donations, and here’s a good list of global literary charities.
But if you want to make some cash, there are a few good ways to do it. These three methods are the best ones and have varying levels of convenience.
1. Offload them at a local used bookstore (low payout, high convenience).
A local used bookstore, if you have one, is the easiest way to get rid of your books. The guidelines differ from store to store, but generally you can cart your boxes of books to their desk and they will buy them from you.
While this is the easiest book-selling method, it also yields the least cash. Bookstores will scan each book and find out how much they sell for online — and then pay you less for them. They have to make a profit themselves, after all. So you won’t make as much money compared to selling the books directly to customers yourself.
But there’s also an upside: Instead of cash, booksellers often offer store credit at a higher rate. For example, if a bookstore pays you 10% of the cover price of each book in cash, they might also offer you 15% of the cover price of each book in store credit instead.
If you were planning to sell your books to buy more, this could be a good option. Plus, you’ll be a patron of a local book store, which always feels good.
2. Sell your books on Amazon (high payout, low convenience).
You can sell your books on a lot of sites, like eBay and Abebooks. Amazon, though, is the biggest and most-trafficked bookstore in the world, so it’s the best place to sell your books.
By selling books yourself on Amazon, you can list your book in the “New & Used” section of a book’s Amazon page. And with this method, you’ll be notified when someone buys a book from your listing and you can ship it yourself. For each book sold, Amazon takes a flat $0.99 fee and also pays for a portion of the shipping costs.
To sell things, you need to sign up for an Individual Seller Account with Amazon. Make sure you don’t sign up for a Professional Seller Account, or you’ll be hit with a $40 monthly fee.
Once you do that, it’s easy to list a book. Punch in the ISBN of the book you want to sell, and it will pop up on the website.
After that step, select the condition of the book (new, used, etc.). Amazon will show you the lowest price available, so you can match it or go lower. Amazon already knows how much the book weighs, so they will calculate the expected shipping cost for you.
And that’s it! The book is listed alongside the other ones in the “New and Used” section. If someone buys it, you’ll be informed and you have to ship the book to them.
3. Let Amazon sell your books for you (medium payout, medium convenience).
This is the method I prefer. It takes some work upfront, but you don’t have to constantly ship out books on your own. And once you set it up, you can stand to make a solid percentage of your books’ value back.
You can do it with a program called “Amazon Fulfillment Services.” The way it works is you itemize all of the books you want to sell and ship them in a box to Amazon’s warehouse. Then Amazon sells them for you, takes a fee, and pays you the difference.
Because of the fee, if your book has a very low value, you can actually stand to lose money, so don’t use this method to get rid of worthless books. Also, you should sell your books before six months, or else you’ll have to pay a few cents more for Amazon’s warehouse to store your books.
To sell your books, go on Amazon Seller Central and list all the books you want to sell, as you would do with the second method in this article. Just be sure to check “I want Amazon to ship and provide customer service for my items if they sell.”
Then go to “Manage orders” in Amazon Seller Central. From there, you’ll be able to print out a shipping slip and an itemized list all of of your books. Put the list in the box with the books ship it off to the address Amazon gives you.
And that’s it! Amazon handles the rest, and notifies and pays you when a book is sold. If you want to fiddle around with the prices of your books, you can do so from the “Manage Inventory” page.
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