So you’ve finished university, either for the summer or for good, and you have got a whole three months of idyllic sun to look forward to. The only problem is you’ve got no money to go out and enjoy yourself.
Well fear not!
If you’re looking for a way to earn some money then why not sell some of your old university books? It’s win-win for everyone! You get rid of books you don’t need, and someone else gets their core texts for a reasonable price.
Read on to find out on the steps you need to take…
Although pages stained with coffee and spines splintered by speed reading show your customer that your textbooks have been well used, wear and tear is not the best selling point.
It’s therefore a good idea to split your books into
- those which can be classed as new or in good condition
- and those that are worn
While some buyers may be happy to accept books overflowing with genius annotations, online retailers view them as damaged. It’s therefore important to check with your customer what their expectations are as sometimes a few helpful commentaries are exactly what a fellow student is looking for.
Even if your books are not in the best condition, don’t give up hope because some may be even more valuable that those that look brand new. This is because some obscure scholars could be out of print, making your copy a rare treasure.
But if you’re still at university, make sure that you cross-reference your bookshelf with your future reading lists as you don’t want to be getting rid of something you might actually need in the coming year.
With courses such as computer science, it also pays to remember that text books often need to be updated very regularly. This means that you might have a limited window in which to make your money as the longer you leave it, the more outdated your book will become and the more it will depreciate in value.
eBay and Amazon are classics when it comes to market place selling, and although they are extremely popular and so stand to get you a speedy sale, they do come with some hidden costs.
- Think about how many books you want to sell at one time as listing your items on eBay is only free so long as you have 20 or more up for sale at one time.
- You will incur charges if you list your item in more than one category.
- eBay charges you for having more than one photo per listing.
- eBay takes 10% of your total sale.
- Payment via PayPal also costs you £0.20 per transaction and 3.4% of the total sale price.
If you sell your books on Amazon, they also sneak some small charges into the deal:
- A £0.75 fee on each book you sell,
- A “referral fee” which is 15% of your sale item,
- A “closing fee” which can range from £0.43 to £1.32.
While Amazon do contribute £2.80 towards your postage, there is a maximum amount of £3.25 that you can charge for delivery and this means that you will have to foot the bill for the heavier items. Amazon is therefore best used when trying to get rid of a load of slimmer volumes as books of 300 or more pages can cost you as much as £7.50 to post.
Whilst eBay and Amazon allow you to set your own price for your books, you have to be realistic about how much you can make, once you have factored in the extra costs of commission, add-on charges and postage.
Starting prices vary dramatically from £0.01 to £20.00 for a second hand book and its safe to say that you will make some money, but not enough to make a profit.
batch book buyers
Other sites such as Ziffit.com seem to be more tailored to students’ needs. These simple steps enable you to exchange books for cash:
Step 1: find the ISBN number on the back of the book and enter it in to the online evaluator.
Step 2: compare the amount offered with other online buyers.
Step 3: continue to the checkout and select which payment method you would prefer.
Step 4: print off your pre-paid postage label that will be emailed to you and send off your package.
Step 5: wait five working days for the money to be put into your account.
Online book buyers don’t necessarily offer a better deal than Amazon or eBay but they do save you from the extra costs of delivery and commission charges. They are also easy and efficient and so save you time which can be more valuable than money.
be careful with online sellers
It’s important to be careful however, as student targeted sites often give you quotes that don’t reflect the book’s worth. For example, Hodder sells new OCR History A Level text books at £15.99 while WeBuyBooks only offers £4.09 for them. Sociology by Anthony Giddens, a 1,000 page textbook used for degree level social sciences, retails at £29.99 and AbeBooks set the selling price at £2.87!
Theology students might be familiar with Kelly’s Early Christian Doctrines which, with 499 pages, sells at most academic book shops for £31.99. Below we have compared offers from top online dealers:
- Ziffit – £3.53
- FatBrain – £6.35
- WeBuyBooks – £3.31
- UniList – £11.50
- AbeBooks – Not currently buying this title.
Make use of your university departments to advertise your books and stick up messages on lecture noticeboards. This can be the perfect place to snare ill-prepared students who will probably accept you books for a fair price and won’t need postage.
Fellow students may even be prepared to pay more for books in a less than perfect condition if they are filled with helpful scribbles and annotations.
You’ll also save on advertising costs as you’ll be allowed to display posters for free and your university printing allowance may even cover your expense! Even though it can be hard work, it can pay dividends as there’s nothing like insider trading to give people confidence in your items.
As soon as sixth form students accept their university offer, they are usually added to official and non-official Facebook groups that give you a great forum for book sales. As a second or third year student, you are also in a great position to offer advice and this means that your used book could be exactly what a first year is looking for.
Facebook also has generalised groups set up to sell books such as “The BIG Uni Book Selling Page” and “Uni Books Page Buy and Sell Preston”. These can be a great place to find people in your area who want to buy your books although you have to be careful as Facebook does not offer protection from scammers.
Also, make sure that the group you join is based in the UK or you could find yourself committing to a sale in Australia that costs you money!
Have you made money selling university books? Or can you think of another way that university students can make money for summer? Let us know by leaving a comment below.