If you’re anything like us, you have a pile of books sitting around at home—both read and unread—and have found yourself wondering, “Could these be worth anything?”
Depending on what’s on your bookshelf, the answer may be yes! Though not all books are worth the time and effort it takes to resell them, some types of books can earn you a pretty penny.
According to market data from top used booksellers and reselling marketplaces like Amazon, these are the best books to resell—some of them may surprise you!
The first entry in our list of the best books to resell may seem like the most obvious: textbooks. Considering that academic publishers charge students exorbitant prices for their necessary reading materials, it makes perfect sense that the used textbook business is booming. Not all textbooks are valuable, though. These are some of the qualities buyers are looking for in used textbooks:
- Up-to-date information. Though there is some value in historical textbooks, most buyers are looking for textbooks that have been published in the last 3 years—or more recently, depending on the subject.
- Access codes. This is where things get tricky, as many modern academic publishers now include access codes along with new textbooks, which allows students to access important class information online. Some access codes are transferable, but most access codes are simply “rented” and cannot be sold. Do your research to find out if you can offer an access code with your used textbook.
Students are always looking to purchase their academic materials at a discount, making textbooks one of the best books to resell by far.
Self Help Books
We could all use a bit of help from time to time, which is why self-help has become one of the most popular genres in publishing today. Psychology books, especially self-help books, are also some of the best books to resell because of the nature of the reader—most people read a self-help book, make notes and take them to heart (or not), then never pick it up again. This is great news, as buyers prefer gently-used books to ones that have been demolished over many reading sessions. These are a few of the bestselling used self-help books from the past few years, making them some of the best books to resell:
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… And It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
Though these used books fly off the shelves, there is a self-help book for nearly every niche, as self-help books aimed towards financial literacy and management are also extremely popular. If you have a used self-help book in good condition, it is well worth your time to list it online.
Like textbooks, students of every age are always in need of literary classics to assist with their academic pursuits. Since most students require a copy that they can use and abuse, filling each page to the brim with notes, used literary classic books can be sold in nearly any condition. That being said, books in good condition (especially hardback books) will sell for more than a damaged, paperback copy. In fact, literary classics are the most in-demand type of books, second only to textbooks, making them some of the best books to resell. Just check out this list of the bestselling used books in recent years from AbeBooks—the list is composed of almost all literary classics!
Book Sets and Series
Many people believe in the mantra of “all or nothing”—readers are no different. This is why one of the best books to resell is not a singular book at all, but multiple: book sets. Those that find themselves enjoying the first few installations of a series will likely want to purchase the rest of the novels, but since book sets are costly, they turn to used book resellers.
As with nearly every other type of reselling niche, a whole set is far more valuable than just one piece on its own, so if you have a full series of books in good quality (bonus points if they still have the original set packaging or box), you can earn a tidy profit. If you have a book set that is in demand, like a bestseller such as the Harry Potter series, you may have more luck than if you are offering a set of encyclopedias.
Faith-Based and Religion Books
Since the majority of the most popular religions across the world revolve around a book (or books, or scrolls, etc.), it stands to reason that religious people are perfectly comfortable with reading. This idea is held up by the fact that religious and faith-based books—including faith-based fiction, self-help, devotionals, and the like—make up a large portion of the bestselling used books of all time. Of course, this also makes religious and faith-based books some of the best books to resell.
That being said, religion textbooks and books are plenty on nearly all reselling marketplaces due to their sheer demand, making it a difficult niche for sellers. If you are looking to sell religious books in order to turn a profit, you will need to ensure that each of your copies is in very good condition and offers enticing extras to buyers, such as discounts or free shipping.
The Best Books to Donate: Use Your Best Judgment
Book reselling is not for the faint of heart, as it is a competitive and oversaturated niche. For many resellers, the secret behind their success is not knowing what to resell, but what not to resell. Here are a few of the worst books to resell, which are better left in the donation box:
- Out-of-Date Nonfiction: Whether it be a textbook or a nonfiction novel, if the information within is no longer relevant (and the book isn’t old enough to be considered of historical importance), toss it out or read what to do with outdated books.
- Children’s Books: Children’s books are a popular bookselling category, but many people are reluctant to purchase used children’s books due to the simple reason that kids have germs. Children love their books, but as loving toddler hands turn every page, they wipe snot and Dorito dust on them, potentially infecting future readers. Donate children’s books to libraries with sanitation procedures instead.
- Well-Loved Books: Though you may feel a certain camaraderie with previous readers when checking out a library book that has been dog-eared and had notes written in the margins, you don’t want to purchase a marked-up or damaged book. If your book is beyond repair or if it feels too sentimental to sell, don’t bother creating an Amazon listing for it. Donate it!