Students at public four-year colleges spend about $1,225 a year on textbooks. It's an unavoidable expense, but that doesn't mean students can't get their money back. Some savvy students have even found ways to make profits when reselling their textbooks. Try these five ways to make money from your textbooks so you'll have extra cash for other expenses.
Sell Used Textbooks to Your College Bookstore
Most college bookstores will buy back used textbooks, especially if professors plan to use the same text next semester.
Pros: Bookstores will often pay you cash within minutes. Some people feel that convenience is worth more than money.
Cons: If you sell your books to a bookstore, don't expect to turn a profit. College bookstores need to make money reselling the books they buy from you. That encourages them to pay you as little as possible.
Sell Your Textbooks Online
Many students buy textbooks online to save money. If you already have books, you can use those sites to sell books to other students.
Pros: Websites like CampusBooks make it easy to compare buyback prices so you don't get ripped off. Selling online is also really easy. Just enter the book's information, wait for it to sell, and collect your profits.
Cons: Shipping textbooks might be inconvenient if you don't live near a post office. The good news is that some websites will pay your shipping expenses.
Sell Used Books Directly to Students
Some of your underclassmen will need to get the same textbooks you bought last semester. You can sell your books directly to these students.
Pros: You can potentially make a profit by cutting out the middleman.
Cons: Finding a buyer isn't always easy. Even students who want to save money might feel uncomfortable paying you for textbook. There's also the possibility that students will drop some classes. When that happens, they may come to you for a refund. You don't have to give them their money back, but it's an awkward conversation that can make you look like the bad guy on campus.
Auction Textbooks Online
Use auction websites to advertise and sell your old textbooks.
Pros: If you have a popular textbook, you can make a tidy profit from buyers who bid against each other.
Cons: Since students who use auction sites expect to save money, they're often unwilling to pay the full value of textbooks.
Rent Your Textbooks During the Semester
You can rent your books instead of selling them.
Pros: Students are willing to spend more money on textbooks when they really need them. By renting your textbooks during the semester, you can get money from students who didn't plan ahead. You also have the opportunity to make more cash by renting your books several times.
Cons: There's no guarantee that you will get your books back. Even honest people might simply forget to return them when they're done. That means you'll have to waste time finding them.
With a little planning, it's possible to make a profit reselling your textbooks. Which method works best for you?
Image via Flickr by CalEvans