Is Amazon Textbook Buyback Worth the Hassle?

Amazon offers reasonable prices for textbook trade-ins, but they're picky about the quality and edition.
Laptop with Book Background

Students know the high cost of textbooks all too well. Though many university bookstores host buyback events at the end of the semester, they won't take every book. And you probably won't get a fair price for the books they do take.

Have you considered selling your textbooks to Amazon? Read on to learn all about the Amazon textbook buyback program.

How Does Amazon Textbook Buyback Work?

While Amazon Textbook Buyback used to be a standalone service, the megaretailer now accepts textbooks through the Amazon Trade-In program. Selling your books works just like selling your electronics. Here's the process:

  1. Go to Amazon's Trade-In page.
    Note that books are trickier to find here than electronics, because Amazon doesn't do much to highlight its book buybacks.
  2. Scroll down to "Other Trade-In Categories."
    Then click on "Books" to bring up a search.
  3. Enter the textbook's ISBN.
    You can find the ISBN on the back cover of the book near the bar code. Many textbooks have two ISBNs listed; be sure to try both.

The textbook edition makes a big difference in the sale price, so take particular care to select the right book in your search. If nothing comes up in your ISBN search, Amazon isn't buying that specific book.

What Textbooks Will Amazon Buy?

Amazon primarily wants the latest-edition textbooks in excellent condition. However, there are no hard-and-fast rules on which books Amazon will buy. It doesn't hurt to find out whether they want yours!

Amazon primarily wants the latest-edition textbooks in excellent condition.

What Will Amazon Pay for Textbooks?

Sometimes Amazon offers the best price for a book, and sometimes it offers the worst price — or won't buy it at all. Unlike electronics, which tend to have competitive trade-in prices no matter where you sell them, textbook prices are all over the map.

SEE ALSO: Will Amazon Trade-In Give You a Fair Price?

As with electronics, Amazon Trade-In's convenience factor may win out over price. If Amazon offers a reasonable price, it's a very easy way to sell your books. However, it's always important to compare prices when you're selling textbooks.

Do Your Books Have to Be in Good Condition?

Amazon doesn't offer a range of prices for textbooks. If they're in good condition, Amazon will likely buy them. If they're falling apart, it won't. Amazon is relatively demanding about the quality of textbooks.

Instead of offering lower prices for damaged books, Amazon simply won't buy them.

The cover and binding must be intact, without torn pages or water damage. There can't be any notes or names on the cover, and the interior of the book can't have "excessive" writing or highlighting. Instead of offering lower prices for damaged books, Amazon simply won't buy them.

Where Can You Check Textbook Prices?

You have a lot options when it comes to selling textbooks. Barnes & Noble, Chegg, and BooksRun are all good alternatives to Amazon.

However, you can save a lot of time by using BookScouter. This site checks textbook resale prices on a multitude of options at once.

DealNews Contributing Writer

Originally working in IT, Elizabeth now writes on tech, gaming, and general consumer issues. Her articles have appeared in USA Today, Time, AOL, PriceGrabber, and more. She has been one of DealNews' most regular contributors since 2013, researching everything from vacuums to renters insurance to help consumers.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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