The Complete Guide to Selling Used Books In-Person and Online

As a small business consultant who has helped entrepreneurs successfully sell used books for over 5 years, I‘ve explored the ins and outs of nearly every book selling platform, marketplace, and option imaginable. In this comprehensive guide designed specifically for you, I‘ll leverage my expertise to break down the 15 best places to sell used books with key data, tips, and insights in an easy-to-digest format.

Let‘s dive in!

Top Places to Sell Used Books

1. Amazon Marketplace

With over 197 million monthly visitors, Amazon reigns supreme as the #1 marketplace to sell used books online. While referral fees range from 15% to 45% per sale depending on the category, their unmatched access to buyers is hard to beat. Optimal book categories: textbooks, bestsellers from the last 5 years, niche non-fiction.

2. eBay

eBay sees over 1.5 billion listings per year, making it another highly trafficked option. Their book category referral fees range from 14-15%. An auction-style format allows you to potentially drive bidding wars. Optimal categories: rare, antique, niche, and signed books which attract collectors.

3. BookScouter

Over 500k monthly visitors use this price comparison site‘s ISBN book valuation engine. Receive instant offers from 20 top buyback vendors. No fees aside from discounted buyback prices and free shipping means nice profits. Optimal: recently released textbooks still in-demand with students.

TIP: Always compare BookScouter offers against Amazon and eBay to maximize earnings per book.

4. Half Price Books

With over 120 brick-and-mortar stores across 17 states and a popular eBay store, Half Price books buys used books in-person and online. No fees, but average offer prices only ~10-30% of retail value. Optimal categories: mass market paperbacks, general fiction/non-fiction.

5. BookFinder

Specializing in rare and antiquarian books, BookFinder sees 850k monthly searches. Connect with collectors and serious buyers but be aware there are listing fees starting at $1 per book. Optimal inventory: first editions over 100 years old valued at $50+.

6. AbeBooks

Owned by Amazon, this site sees 60 million used, rare and out-of-print books listed and 6 million monthly visitors. $1 per book listing fees and 5-12% commissions. Has an international audience. Optimal inventory: vintage paperbacks in very good + condition.

7. BetterWorldBooks

As the largest philanthropic online bookseller, BetterWorldBooks donates a portion of each sale towards literacy non-profits. Free signup and listings plus only 15% referral fees makes it worthwhile. Optimal inventory: critically acclaimed fiction andchildren‘s book classics.

TIP: Download their free Household Donation Boxes to easily send your books to them for resale and checkout their teacher‘s grant program.

8. Local Bookshops + Libraries

Support your community by selling directly through local channels. Independent bookstores typically offer 20-30% cash or higher store credit for desirable books in excellent condition. Expect to earn less than online venues but make meaningful connections.

9. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook‘s hyperlocal platform allows you to list books available for local pickup only. Best for highly scouted genres and bestsellers priced at 75% off retail or lower. Interact directly with buyers via messaging before meeting up.

10. Local Auctions

Well-advertised regional auctions focused on antiques, collectibles and rare items are great for clearing multiple higher-value books lacking niche demand online. Expect commissions between 10-25% of hammer price.

11. Friends of Library Sales

Often held quarterly or annually, these massive multi-day sales organized by library volunteers feature thousands of donated books priced affordably for the community. It‘s a beloved local tradition that supports the library.

Key Steps to Prepare + Price Inventory

⭐ Carefully assess condition – Note any tears, highlights, missing dust jackets, etc. The closer to "like new" the higher premium.

⭐ Identify rare finds via sites like BookFinder – First edition Mark Twain from the 1800s? Price accordingly if verified.

⭐ Research recent sold prices on eBay and Amazon Marketplace – Gain pricing insights based on actual sales data.

⭐ Determine fair FMV (fair market value) – Average multiple data points from your research to establish competitive yet profitable pricing.

⭐ Adjust pricing based on fees – Ensure final payout meets profit goals after accounting for all taxes, commissions, etc.

⭐ Photograph creatively – Clear, well-lit, high resolution photos on a neutral background are vital.

⭐ Write detailed descriptions – Articulate any flaws clearly while spotlighting highlights that add value for buyers.

⭐ Compare venues – Regularly analyze to identify best-performing channel based on sales velocity, profitability and ease of use.

Ready to Get Selling?

As you can see, there is truly a thriving ecosystem of book lovers eager to buy used books across in-person and online channels. Now that you‘re equipped with expert insights and actionable tips for maximizing sales and profits, you can confidently list your used book inventory far and wide. Many bookworm treasures await new readers out there thanks to your decluttering efforts. Happy selling!