The Amazon textbook buyback program was first launched in 2011, and for nine years, it was a huge success. Millions of books and textbooks were traded in, so many students benefited from it. Thanks to the program, Amazon accumulated an impressive inventory that it can now offer for rent.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and so did the Amazon Trade-In program, which was closed in 2020. However, this doesn’t mean there is no way to sell textbooks online—textbook buyback hasn’t ended with the end of Amazon’s textbook buyback program. In this article, we’ll tell you about the best online platforms where you can sell your books now.
Amazon Textbook Buyback—Why So Popular?
It used to be a convenient option for students who wanted to get rid of their old textbooks, get a gift card, and use this in-store credit money to buy textbooks for the next semester. The program’s in-store credit had both pros and cons: while it allowed students to buy things on Amazon without the need to use their credit cards, you didn’t get any cash, so you could only use your gift card on Amazon.
Another great advantage was that Amazon Trade-In promised as much as 70% of the purchase price back on your old textbooks. While not every book could be sold with such a good profit, that was a very attractive promise. All in all, the Amazon Trade-In program for college books was extremely popular.
Here is what the Trade-In interface of Amazon looked like in 2015:
And in 2013:
You could scroll down and check the list of the textbooks that were accepted, or you could enter the ISBN of the book you want to sell and check its buyback price offer individually. At the moment, we can no longer access any page with price offers; however, here is what the list of some textbooks participating in the Trade-In program looked like:
Why Was Amazon Textbook Buyback Program Shut Down?
Amazon ended its textbook buyback program on April 1, 2020, without any explanation or public notice.
While the company offered no official comment on the subject, there are a few possible reasons behind the closure.
Digitalization and Other Industry Changes
One of the possible reasons is the spread of eBooks and overall digitalization. Another one is that students on a budget (the majority) will always prefer a cheaper option, and eBooks together with rented books usually fall into this category. So at some point, Amazon must have decided against the program’s continuation, as over the years, the company accumulated quite an extensive textbook library that they can now successfully provide for rent, and they might have also decided that focusing on eBooks is more profitable.
One more reason that may have played a crucial role in shutting down the buyback program was the issues with counterfeit textbooks. Apparently, Amazon couldn’t check all the books they received for authenticity, so perhaps, they decided to shut the program down to avoid possible problems with publishers.
We may never know the actual reason why the program that allowed students to sell books to Amazon ended. But the important thing is that you still have plenty of options to keep selling your textbooks online. Keep on reading to know the alternatives.
How Can I Sell Textbooks to Amazon Now?
Right now, you can’t sell books to Amazon anymore, but you can become an Amazon seller yourself:
“You can sell common book formats such as hardcovers, paperbacks, or ebooks on Amazon. Whether you want to list and sell books from your brick-and-mortar store, resell non-fiction books you’ve already read, part with beloved comic books, list rare hardcover collectibles, or get rid of children’s books, you don’t need to look any further.”
Amazon offers two options you can utilize depending on the number of your sales, your needs, and your plans:
- Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN), most commonly known as Fulfillment by Merchant or FBM—You list your books on Amazon, pack, and ship orders to customers yourself.
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)—You list books on Amazon, and it does everything for you: storing, packing, and shipping.
So now, you can’t sell textbooks to Amazon directly, but you can still sell your books and textbooks via Amazon and on other bookselling platforms. Here are other options we’d like to highlight for you.
Amazon Textbook Buyback: Book Trade-In Program Alternatives
We recommend checking BookScouter first. Though not a direct seller, it’s an online price comparison platform that provides the most up-to-date information about book prices. If you have a book to sell, you can check its 30+ vendors and compare their price offers at once. One of the great things about BookScouter is that the prices are regularly updated, so you get the most recent information. Also, you don’t have to check all the sellers manually by going to each of their websites individually and typing in the ISNB of the textbook you want to sell. For instance, if you are looking for the best offers for Atlas of Human Anatomy (Netter Basic Science), simply enter its ISBN, author, or title in the BookScouter search field, click Scout, and get all the offers for this book available at the exact moment:
You can then proceed to ValoreBooks and sell your Anatomy book to them. This vendor has been in the industry for quite a while; it’s a renowned and reliable bookseller. With ValoreBooks, you get an instant quote and 14 days to ship your book to them. In return, you get paid by check or PayPal.
A good offer for this textbook is also from BeerMoneyBooks, an online vendor located in Texas. They accept buyback orders with a total value of $25 or more. If you are not a “volume seller” or plan to sell a book or two from time to time (their possible limit for a monthly profit, in this case, is $2,000), you can check their website. They accept “a large variety of publications, including but not limited to textbooks, laboratory manuals, study guides, student solutions manuals, and working papers.“
We also recommend checking AbeBooks, which is a great place to sell used textbooks. The platform is Amazon’s subsidiary and is great if you are planning to launch or have an established bookselling business, large or small (go to their Start Selling page and check their seller terms firsthand). AbeBooks also has an option for listing individual items—their Book Buyback program is carried out by TextbookRush (used textbooks) and Ziffit (new and used books)—where you can sell different books, including hardcovers, paperbacks, and more.
While the Amazon Trade-In Program can’t be returned, don’t forget about good old eBay, where you can always put your copy of Anatomy up for auction or sell it at your price. Surely, it may not be the most convenient option nowadays, and you’ll have to wait for the buyer eager to pay what you requested or just sell it to the person who places the highest bid (which is not always as much as you expect). Besides, you have to ship it yourself. Nonetheless, don’t dismiss eBay right away; perhaps, it’ll help you out one day with your used textbooks.
We’ve already mentioned TextbookRush as a place to sell your textbooks; let’s take a closer look at it. While they are not currently buying the Anatomy book we’ve chosen as an example, the website can be used to sell various textbooks and books. You simply enter the book’s ISBN in the search field and check how much you can get for it.
Another alternative to the Amazon Trade-In program is the Alibris Book Buyback program. Enter the ISBN of the book you want to sell, and get the price quote—it’s easy, and the website offers quite an attractive price for the book we’ve been checking throughout the article—$33.75—so far, it’s the best offer.
Last but not least buyback program we’d like to highlight is Empire Text. It is “a small, family-run business located in Central New York.” Don’t get skeptical at first if you’ve never heard about this website before; they have a solid buyback program that accepts textbooks, and it’s possible to find good price offers. Besides, we’ve got a useful alert about the book that we’ve been using all along as an example, “9780323393225 – Atlas of Human Anatomy (Netter Basic Science) by MD: We are unable to accept this title as there is a high rate of counterfeits in circulation.” So we recommend adding Empire Text to your list of textbook buyback alternatives, just in case.
As you can see, closing down of Amazon textbook buyback program was sad news, but it’s not the end of the world. Nowadays, there are alternatives, and some of them are even more convenient and profitable in terms of earning extra cash, especially considering some past features of the Amazon Trade-In program for textbooks. Many currently active buyback programs offer payment via check or PayPal, which is way more convenient than the gift cards Amazon used to offer, as it’s solid cash you can use in any way you want. Also, with the help of online price comparison platforms (e.g., BookScouter), you can compare all vendor offers and sell your textbooks at the best price. So, happy selling!