Working from home in lockdown opened up plenty of opportunities to organise our homes and spring-clean our unwanted tech, clothes, old books… and all of the clutter we once thought we needed. But with books, it’s easy to become attached to your favourites and harder to let go of the ones you or your family once loved.
Your bookshelves could be worth quite a decent chunk of cash if they’re in good condition to sell – so why not take this opportunity to make money from your old books catching dust?
Here’s our easy guide to help you find the best places to sell, buy and swap your old books online and cash in on the best deals around.
Before parting with your old books
You’ve poked around all the books in your home, picked up the ones you’ve never read, thought you were one day going to read, and cleared the bedside table. So, hopefully, you’re now ready to sell! Great news.
But before you put these books up for sale, it’s important to check your books for anything hidden inside. Bookmarks, cards, notes, receipts, anything personal that may have slipped in needs to be taken out before you lose them for good.
It’s also important to check the condition of the books you want to sell. Any scratches, notes, highlighted sections, water marks, burn marks, old spines and rips in pages might cause your books not to sell. If your name is written inside, it might be best to scribble it out (neatly!). Be prepared to be honest about the condition of the book. Hiding flaws will leave you with returns and unhappy online reviews!
Where to sell online
You’re able to sell your old books on all the usual suspects – but different sites offer different deals dependent on the edition, publishing year, vintage or modern text, and whether the author is in high demand.
Not part of our brand but we’re aligned in our money making goals! Music Magpie buys all kinds of technology, DVDs and games, and books as well as textbooks.
It’s easy to start selling. Enter the barcode of the book so that the site can identify the title, author, edition and year it was published. If you download their app, the app can scan the barcode for you so you don’t have to fumble about with the numbers! The minimum order minimum is £5, and you can have a maximum of 500 items in one order. If the amount of old books you want to sell reaches 500 that’s impressive!
A firm favourite when it comes to selling books online. eBay makes it easy for second hand books to be sold, and offer good prices compared to established sellers like Amazon. Their conditions for books range from ‘used’ to ‘new’, but if the spines are worn, there’s writing in the text, or any other scribbles it’s best to labelled them as ‘used’.
Check out the eBay guidelines about editions, authors, and book specifics to make sure you’re getting a good price.
This site does what it says on the tin! It’s a speciality second hand retailer. Type in a book’s barcode or ISBN number (usually found on the back of the book), for an immediate valuation. If you reach a value of £25, you get 5% more on your trade!
WeBuyBooks also helps recycle books, as they are accredited by the Environment Agency.
Momox is another great tool to use to get quick cash for your old and used books. The portal works like an online flea market, giving the same momentary valuation of how much your edition is worth, and guarantees a fair price. Free delivery’s included, which is great for those clunkier text books or coffee table books.
Peter Harrington Antique or Vintage Books
For more rare, vintage or antique books that are sat on your shelves and cases, try a specialist like Peter Harrington. These services make sure you’re selling your antique books ethically, responsibly, and that you get a good price for them.
They offer an in-person valuation for rare or antique texts, so it may take more time to see the cash come in. First editions of popular texts offer a true goldmine opportunity to make money from your old books, too!
Use apps to sell old books locally
If you want to trade directly with buyers, try using an app that connects you with local buyers. It’ll save on travel or postage costs, too!
NextDoor specialises in organising swaps, trades and bargains with locals and neighbours on your street, town, borough and county. Encouraging more community build, this app can help you sell anything to those immediately around you, as long as the item is in good nick!
We’ve seen books go for as little as 50p, but the drop-off is nearby so you’re not paying postage costs. Compared to eBay, this saving on postage means a strong possibility of good returns.
A great way to use the social media platform Facebook is to sell your books to locals in your area. People sell all sorts using the Marketplace function, including cars and even pianos, so it’s a great place to sell your old books and make money from them, instead of letting them catch dust.
School and university books
If your child is still at school or completing compulsory education, then it might be worth chatting to school librarian’s or even tutors about selling old textbooks back to the school as a way to make money. This ultimately gives the school more resources and means you’re making money of your child’s old books and helping someone else save on the cost of a brand new copy.
University Facebook groups
Nowadays most courses and departments at universities across the UK have specific Facebook community groups and chats. If you’ve just finished one year or even graduated, using these groups to sell course required texts to students in lower years helps offload the tomes and makes cash.
Most students will also be grateful for your little notes that can help them get better grades!
Not on Facebook? Look for noticeboards in your campus library to advertise your texts. Alternatively, if your faculty has a newsletter, Whatsapp group, or online forum, post your books for sale on there.
book Swapping schemes
Consider swapping books with family, friends and those around you to save money and help the environment by reducing waste. Many family members buy the same book twice or three times, so if you’re able to swap copies then that’s even easier!
Many book swap schemes have cropped up in local parks, train/tube stations, and in community cafes that enable you to drop and pick up books at your own leisure. It’s a great community builder and means you walk away with popular sold-out titles, too.