Textbook Buyback Comparison

Selling your textbooks, whether online or in person, can be a difficult and inconvenient task. With so many options, how do you decide where to sell them?

First, you need to decide what’s most important to you when selling your books. Do you want fast payment? Do you want an easy transaction? Or do you want the highest value for your books?

Once you’re able to answer these questions, take a closer look at the pros and cons of popular buyback programs so you can confidently decide where to sell your books. Or choose what’s right for you based on our comparisons.

Options for selling textbooks: pros and cons


Our family-run book buyback service purchases textbooks online, and sends customers a payment within 24 hours of receiving the book.


  • When you sell your textbooks to Cash4Books, it’s easy to get an instant price quote. Just input your college textbook ISBN and we’ll give you a quote.
  • If you have any questions or concerns when selling your college books, our customer care team is here for you every step of the way — whether by phone, email, or social media.
  • Fast payment is another key benefit of selling directly to us here at Cash4Books. When we get your books, we’ll send your cash within 24 hours!
  • When you sell us your books, shipment to us is free! You already paid money to get your books, so you shouldn’t have to pay to sell them, too.
  • Our mobile app allows you to get college textbook price quotes on the go. If you’re in the school bookstore buyback line, try checking with Cash4Books before you sell.
  • Or avoid the bookstore buyback line altogether! The most convenient aspect of online selling is the ability to do it from the comfort of home.


  • Because we’re a family-owned company, our prices aren’t as high as the credit offered by larger organizations like Amazon.
  • Cash4Books isn’t always able to buy back all of your books, depending on when they were printed or published.

The pros and cons of selling textbooks to Amazon.


Large online stores like Amazon offer textbook buyback programs in addition to selling college textbooks.


  • Selling textbooks to Amazon is convenient. Their large infrastructure and size allow them to purchase the most textbooks of any buyback service.
  • Their size also allows them to purchase your books for direct resale. This means they can pass some of those savings onto the customer, resulting in higher price offers when buying your books.


  • While Amazon will sometimes pay higher prices for your books, they typically only offer credit toward their goods as payment, rather than cash. This restricts how you spend your cash. Whether you want to save up for a new car, or use that cash at the bar down the street, Amazon’s credit can be prohibitive.

Selling textbooks to campus bookstores or other brick and mortars.

Brick and mortar stores

Physical bookstores are another avenue for students to sell their textbooks. Whether a store on their college campus, or an independent bookstore, this method offers students the chance to get cold hard cash for their books.


  • Selling your book to a physical store gives you the satisfaction of instantly redeeming your books for cash. This immediate transaction gives you instant cash, or credit, in your pocket.


  • Bookstores get to set their own prices, so the amount you make selling your college textbooks is much lower than online prices.
  • Stores sometimes have two types of payment: a lower cash amount, or a higher value in-store credit. This ambiguity makes students either lose part of their book value, or get locked into purchasing from the same store in the future.
  • Lines for the textbook buyback at the bookstore can be long, especially during optimum bookselling periods. With limited bookstore employees and hundreds of students, getting to the front of the line to sell your books can be a challenge — not to mention time-consuming.
  • Students can’t check the prices of their books before standing in long lines.
  • Bookstores can’t buy back every book they’ve sold. Just because you purchased your college textbooks from the bookstore doesn’t mean you can sell them back at the end of the semester.

Selling textbooks at Book Scouter and other third-party referral sites.

Third-party comparison sites

Comparison sites like Book Scouter pull prices from various websites and allow the user to compare prices in one place.


  • Referral sites allow you to compare prices between different book buyback companies so you can try to make the most money in the end. This avenue saves customers some research time.


  • Referral sites often don’t have real-time prices, and each price quote is not guaranteed or locked in until students click through to individual company sites.
  • Apart from the price quote, referral sites don’t give any information about individual companies, such as mailing costs, time for payment, or customer service availability.
  • Referral sites can pull quotes from competitors offering gift certificates instead of cash. Gift certificates don’t translate into hard cash.

Get tax deductions by donating your books.

Donation Sites

Another way to get rid of your books is through donation sites like Goodwill or Better World Books.


  • Organizations often give your books to less fortunate students, or sell them and use the profits for their mission. In return, students can get tax deductions for the amount of books they’ve donated.
  • Students and parents also get the immediate satisfaction of doing a good deed and helping others.


  • This avenue doesn’t put cash in your pocket, or your bank account.
    You also must find physical donation sites and transport the books yourself, rather than mailing them.

There is a multitude of selling options for getting rid of your old textbooks. Depending on what you want from the transaction, the most convenient for students is usually an online method. Be sure to always compare your textbook buyback options and decide which program is right for you!


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