How to Sell Your Used Textbooks

University student in libraryListing your textbooks online is a great option for most students. However, it is hard to decide which website to use. You will want to look at the fine print when signing up. Different websites will impose different levels of fees, from membership to selling fees. Some websites may offer shipping cost assistance, while others won’t. Consider the top two websites and their “fine print.”

Both websites offer the potential of millions of buyers. Yet, their fees are a little bit different.

1), an E-Bay company, will offer you reimbursement for shipping costs, but does impose a selling fee. Inventory is only accepted from the United States. If you are an international seller, use instead.

There are no start up, membership, monthly or listing fees. Instead, Half will take a certain percentage once you sell the item. For a textbook selling for $0.75 to $50.00, Half will take 15%. For a textbook selling between $50.01-$100.00, the fee is 12.5%. For $100.01-$250.00, they will take 10%.

For the typical hardback book, Half will reimburse you $3.07 per item if shipped through USPS ground mail. A paperback book will get you $2.64.

Payment for sold books is issued via direct deposit into your checking account on the 15th and the last day of the month. Basically you can calculate your payment in this formula:
Selling price of items sold – commission + shipping reimbursement

For example, consider you sold a hardback textbook for $20. Their commission would be $3.00 (15%). They would reimburse your shipping costs for $3.07. So, a total deposit of $20.07 would be placed in your checking account.

One tip to remember is that shipping costs for a hardback book will usually be more than $3.07. For a fairly heavy book, shipping costs could be $10. You need to consider this when listing your book.


At Amazon, you can choose between “Sell Professionally” or “Sell Your Stuff.” The later option is best for students only selling a few items at a time. With this option, there are no membership or monthly fees. However, they will include a referral fee, a per item closing fee, and a variable closing fee.

The referral fee is basically the fee they charge for listing your item. For textbooks, it is set at 15%. The variable closing fee is a fixed dollar amount. For textbooks, this amount is $1.35. There is also a per item closing fee of $0.99.

Amazon will give you a shipping credit if you use standard domestic shipping. This credit is $3.99 for textbooks.

Payment is direct deposited into your account every 14 days. Basically you can calculate your payment in this formula:

Selling price of items sold + Shipping Credit-Variable Fee-Fixed Closing Fee-Referral Fee

For example, consider you sold the $20 hardback textbook on Amazon. Their referral fee, set at 15% would be $3. You would subtract this and the $1.35 variable closing fee, as well as the per item closing fee of $0.99. You would then add on the $3.99 shipping credit. (20-3-1.35-0.99+3.99). A total of $18.65 would be deposited into your account.

When considering between Half and Amazon, you should calculate which one would offer you the most. If you are selling a textbook over $50 or $100, Half may offer you more because of a lower commission.

Remember, just because you are listing your textbook, does not necessarily mean that a buyer will purchase it right way. If you list your textbook on Half for a few months and it doesn’t sell, consider listing it on Amazon instead.

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