How to Earn Extra Money for Vacation with Bookscouter


The college semester is almost over! Time to have some fun and take that exotic trip you’ve been dreaming about the whole year.

But wait! Hold on! There’s a problem…

How are you going to pay for your vacation activities?

If you’re like a lot of college students, your vacation fund is probably a little… sparse at the moment. That’s understandable. College is expensive and between dorm room fees and food costs (not to mention those expensive textbooks!) your expenses have been draining your wallet for the last few months.

Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way to raise some money before your vacation time starts – and it can be done anytime, anywhere with minimal expenses.

It’s called selling books online with Bookscouter.

Making Money for Vacations with Bookscouter

If you’re already a subscriber to my blog, you’ll know that most of my articles show readers how to generate a steady source of income by selling books online using Bookscouter, a free price comparison website that reveals which book buyback companies will pay the most for your used books.

What’s cool about this unusual way of making money is that it can also be done on the short term – for people who aren’t necessarily interested in making a career out of online bookselling, but do want to earn a few hundred (or even a few thousand) dollars to pay for upcoming holiday expenses.

Because selling books to book buyback companies allows you to immediately sell (and profit) from all the used books you buy, you don’t have to invest any time, money, or space into storing your books and waiting for them to sell (which you would need to do if you tried selling them on Amazon).

Instead, you just pack your books carefully, ship them out (using pre-paid shipping labels supplied by the buyback companies), and wait for your payment to be deposited into your PayPal account (usually in two weeks or less).

This is a fantastic way for college students to sell their textbooks for extra cash – plus since this is peak buying season for buyback companies if you go on Bookscouter right now, you’ll likely find a lot of great offers for your books (I personally recommend selling your books to, Sell Back Your BookCash4Books, and/or Valore – they give good prices and fast, reliable payment).

For those of you who want to earn some serious vacation money (as in a few thousand), buying cheap used books and selling them immediately using Bookscouter is the best way to build a vacation fund short-term.

I have personally known people who used this method to raise enough money in a couple months to pay for an African safari. I myself have used this method to take trips to Disneyland, pay for Christmas gifts, and enjoy extra-long weekends hanging out with friends.

If you’d like to read a detailed explanation of how to use Bookscouter to make extra money selling books online, please read How to Make Extra Money Every Day “Flipping” Books Online. For now, however, I’d like to offer the following tips for using Bookscouter to raise money on the short-term.

Tip #1: Start Saving Money For Your Vacations Early

Considering that I’m writing this article at the beginning of December, this tip might not seem helpful now, but it is true that if you start selling books online early in the year you can raise a tremendous amount of money by your next vacation time.

I personally say you should start selling books online right now – and definitely when January comes around. This is peak buying time for a lot of book buyback companies (so you’ll enjoy higher-than-normal prices for your books).

Frankly, if you start investing just a few hours a week right now selling books online with Bookscouter, you can probably still raise some money for some holiday activities – and you’ll definitely have plenty of extra cash on hand when Spring Break and summer vacation come around.

Tip #2: Keep to a Bookscouting Schedule

Professional online booksellers like me can spend four or five days a week (or more) searching for profitable books at thrift stores and library sales.

Obviously you don’t want (or need) to invest this kind of time if you’re just selling books online short term – but it definitely pays to make and keep to a set schedule when you’re searching for good books to sell.

Make this schedule something you can stick to easily. For instance, if you pass by some thrift stores when you’re commuting to school or work, you can make it part of your regular schedule to spend a half hour searching through their bookshelves.

Alternatively, you can invest one day out of your week to check out all the thrift stores and library book sales in your area until you raise enough money for your vacation. You’ll be surprised how quickly this allows you to earn money — especially if you keep an eye out for sales.

Tip #3: Set a Goal for How Much Money You Need to Fund Your Vacation

How much money do you need for your next vacation? $500? $1000?

Work out all of your vacation expenses in advance – and then estimate how long it’ll take you to earn that much money based on the type of books you’re finding and selling.

Setting a goal will help motivate you to keep using Bookscouter until you’ve raised enough money for your trip and/or activities – and give you an idea of how much time you’ll need to invest to reach your target figure.

Keep in mind that not all of your book hunting days are going to be super-profitable (I’ve earned as little as $30 and as much as $300 shopping at the same thrift stores on different days), so you’ll need to keep that in mind when creating a time table.

That said, if you’re consistently not finding enough books to sell at your usual shops, you may want to check other libraries and thrift stores to see if they offer better books that can help you raise money quicker.

Tip #4: Keep a Separate Vacation Account

Once the money starts rolling into your PayPal account, it’ll be tempting to spend that extra cash immediately on a new pair of shoes or a night out with your friends.

Resist that urge. If you spend your money as fast as it comes in, you’ll never raise enough money for your vacation.

Keep the money in a safe place – you can keep the cash in your PayPal account, open a new bank account and deposit the funds there, or take out the cash and keep it with you until vacation time comes around.

Optional: Invest in Better Bookscouting Equipment

It doesn’t take much to start making money with Bookscouter – just a cell phone with a good data plan (I recommend Verizon) and a free barcode app you can download from Google PlayStore.

That being said, if you’d like to speed up your search for profitable books and/or find more books to earn more cash, you can invest in a professional barcode scanner.

I recommend the SP-2100 – it’s saved me a ton of time and increased my profits substantially. You can read my entire review of the scanner at Making Selling Books Online Easier with the SP2100 Laser Barcode Scanner.

Optional: Consider Selling Books Online for Trade Credit

If you shop online a lot and/or if you’re raising money to buy Christmas gifts, you can choose to sell your books for Amazon trade credit.

This is a great strategy that’s really reduced my holiday expenses over the last few years. You can learn all about it at my article Should You Sell Your Books for Amazon Credit?

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How to Use Bookscouter’s Pricing History to Find Books That Rise in Value

Price History 2

If you’ve been earning extra money by using Bookscouter to sell books online to textbook buyback companies, you’ve probably noticed that many buyback companies tend to purchase the same book titles throughout the year.

These books (which can include classic literature, self help books, and popular science texts) are known as “backlist books” and are considered required reading by several colleges, universities, and book clubs. As a result, buyback companies purchase these books on a regular basis, since they know there’ll always be a market for them.

That said, there will be certain times in a year (or even a month) where the price quotes for these backlist books will rise dramatically in value as buyback companies seek to replenish their stock. So depending on when you sell your book, you could be earning anywhere from $5 to $30 for the exact same copy of the book.

Things get trickier when you come across backlist books experiencing a temporary “dry spell” where no buyback company wants to purchase them – but which may still get a dramatic rise in price a few weeks or a month later.

This leaves you with a dilemma – naturally you don’t want to waste your money on books you can’t sell, but you also don’t want to pass up on a chance to buy several bags of books for pennies and then sell them all for huge profits a few weeks later.

That’s where using Bookscouter’s Price History features can really help you decide which books can help you make the most money.

Studying a Book’s Price History

If you go to Bookscouter’s home page right now and search for a book with its ISBN, you’ll notice two features that show the book’s price history.

The first is the View Price History feature, located right below the book’s publication information. By clicking on this feature, you’ll see a list revealing the maximum price, average price, and number of price quotes for that book over the last couple years.

The second is the 52-Week Pricing History graph that appears above all the buyback company price quotes. This graph shows the average price quote for that book for every week in the last year.

I recommend using the 52-Week Pricing History graph when you’re debating on whether or not to purchase a potentially profitable book. You’ll be able to see, at a glance, if that book has been selling for high prices in the past. This will let you quickly decide whether to buy the book or leave it.

One thing I love about using the 52-Week Pricing History graph is that you’ll be able to find books other online book scouts will pass up. Since most book scouts only look at the current price quotes offered by buyback companies when looking up prices on Bookscouter (and not their potential future price quotes), you’ll be able to buy more books to sell for money, which will vastly increase your profits.

Using the 52-Week Pricing History Graph to Make More Money

When looking at the 52-Week Pricing History Graph, you’ll want to watch for certain key signs.

First, check to see if there are any dramatic rises and falls in the book’s price – and if these price fluctuations show up on a regular basis. If the graph reveals that a book consistently sells for $20 every three weeks but then dips down to $2 between these high points, then you’ll probably want to buy the book and wait for it to rise in value again.

On the other hand, if the graph reveals that a textbook was selling for $20 six months ago but has been steadily dropping in value over the last several weeks, you’ll probably want to pass it up (or sell it quickly if you can still make a profit).

Also, don’t underestimate your own hunches. If you’ve been selling the same copy of the book multiple times to buyback companies over the last several months, odds are that title will continue to be in demand – which should factor into your decision to buy or pass up a book.

Selling Potentially Profitable Books

If you do end up buying a bunch of potentially profitable books, be sure to keep them in a box next to your laptop. You can look up their current price quotes on Bookscouter while you’re selling your other books – which will help make sure you sell them for their highest price.

And if you find you can’t sell some of these books – don’t worry. You can still profit off of them (read my article How to Make Money From Books You Can’t Sell Online to find out how).

Final Thoughts

In general, while I find Bookscouter’s Price History feature to be a useful way to spot more books to sell online for cash, it can be confusing for someone who’s just started selling books online. For this reason, I consider using Price History an intermediate technique for book scouts who are already comfortable making money by selling books online and want to increase their profits even more.

So if you’re new to this business – stick with learning the basics. Read my article How to Make Extra Money Every Day “Flipping” Books Online to get familiar with the concept of “flipping” books for profit. Learn which buyback companies are the best ones to sell to (I recommend, Sell Back Your Book, and Cash 4 Books) and pay close attention to the condition these books should be in to make you money.

Then, once you start making some money by selling books online (trust me, it won’t take long), start using more advanced techniques like Bookscouter’s Price History. You’ll be amazed by how much you’re profits will increase!

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How to Earn Money When You Can’t Sell Many Books to Buyback Companies


Hey guys! It’s been a while since I’ve posted an article, and I wanted to share something that’s allowed my book dealing business to generate a constant cash flow even when I can’t find many books to sell to buyback companies to earn fast extra cash.

The strategies I describe here are especially relevant if you want to make online book dealing a part time (or even full time) business – but “casual” booksellers can benefit from the tips I share as well.

As those of you who have been following my tips to earn extra money by flipping books may have realized, summer is a very busy time for buyback companies since they need to purchase a lot of books to sell to students when the school year begins.

For online book dealers, this is both good and bad. On the plus side, if you can find a lot of untapped thrift stores, library bookstores, and garage sales and buy hundreds of popular books cheaply, you can make a lot of money fast by going to Bookscouter and re-selling those books to buyback companies that offer the best prices for them.

Unfortunately, summer is also the time when finding good books to sell is difficult since a lot of people who don’t normally sell books online (especially college students reselling their textbooks) are using Bookscouter to make extra money from books for their education and vacation funds. This means the pickings at your favorite thrift stores can get sparse as your competition rises.

For those of you who encounter this problem – take heart. Much of this competition is temporary and you’ll soon find you can buy tons of books again to resell to companies like, Sell Back Your Book, Cash4Books, and Valore for quick cash.

In the meantime though, how can you still make money selling books online during these potentially “lean” times?

The answer lies in doing something very simple throughout the year.

Using to List Your Stockpile Valuable Books

Much like a squirrel stores nuts to prepare for the winter, the smart book dealer doesn’t sell all the books he or she finds for an immediate profit. Instead, he or she lists the really valuable books on Amazon, realizing that sometimes, it makes more sense to wait weeks, months, and yes – even years for the right book to sell for the right profit.

If you read my article Should You Sell Textbooks on Amazon or to a Book Buyback Company to Make Money? you’ll see I provide a detailed explanation for when you should sell your books to a buyback company like Valore, and when it makes much more sense to list your book on Amazon and wait for it to sell for a higher profit.

For now, however, you should realize that keeping a collection of highly profitable books listed on Amazon is the best way to ensure your books continue to make you money even when you can’t find a lot of books to sell to Bookscouter’s buyback companies.

I’ve personally sold several hundred books on Amazon during these “lean times” for several times the profit I would have realized if I’d sold them immediately through Bookscouter. (Most of the books I sell through Amazon give me a nice net profit of $20 – and I’ve sold several books for hundreds of dollars via Amazon that most buyback companies would have only bought for $15).

As an added bonus, packing and shipping one $200 book you sold on Amazon is a lot faster and easier than packing 20 or 30 books to ship to a buyback company (which is something you’ll appreciate when the summer heat picks up!).

To ensure you have this stockpile (and keep profiting from it) please follow these tips:

Make Listing Books on Amazon Part of Your Regular Routine

To ensure you find those valuable books (which I like to think of as rare “diamonds” or “golden nuggets” you find among the “gold dust” books you sell to buyback companies), make sure you get a free Bookscouter account.

This will ensure that you can see what that book is selling for on Amazon as well as to buyback companies (sometimes the price difference can be quite extreme). Be sure to buy these books even if they aren’t selling a lot on Bookscouter (just make sure they’re in at least good condition).

Then when you get ready to check your books on Bookscouter to sell them to buyback companies, make sure to set aside the books that command a high price on Amazon (you may want to double check these prices on the actual Amazon website as prices can fluctuate quickly).

Make sure to list these books on your Amazon Seller Account as quickly as possible. As long as you make this a regular part of your bookselling routine, you’ll soon have a substantial collection of books selling on Amazon for high prices that will keep your cash flow constant.

Check Periodically To See if Any Amazon Books Can Be Sold Through Bookscouter

Since prices can and do go up and down quickly on both Amazon and Bookscouter, you may want to compare the price of your Amazon books against the current bids for that book on Bookscouter.

This will enable you to still profit from your book if it starts to depreciate quickly on Amazon – and gives you another stockpile of books to sell to buyback companies during those lean periods where you can’t find a lot of books to sell through Bookscouter.

Want to receive more tips and tricks for how to sell books online for extra money? Subscribe to my blog!

Do you have a question or suggestion for a future blog article? Email me at

2 Great Book Buyback Companies to Sell Textbooks To

Dollars in the Books RESIZED

With the school year just about to end, I thought I’d create another blog article promoting even more of the great book buyback companies I’ve sold books to. This list is geared particularly towards students since I know you guys are looking for good places to sell your textbooks to for extra cash over summer vacation.

These buyback companies tend to pay high for textbooks and have a long and reliable history of paying quickly for books, so they make a good choice to sell your end of the year textbooks to for extra money.

As always, you can find these buyback companies on Bookscouter!

Blue Rocket Books

Blue Rocket Books is located in update New York and pays very well for books – if you go to their website, you’ll see they’ve paid anywhere from $80 to $90 (and more) for textbook buyback packages of only 2 or 3 books.

Aside from textbooks, Blue Rocket Books will also buy books on religion, philosophy, computers, art, literature, travel, hobbies, gardening, and science (among other subjects) so students in a wide variety of majors can usually sell some or all of their books to this buyback company.

Minor highlighting, underlining, and written notes that appear in less than 20% of the book is considered acceptable (although workbooks should obviously be free of any writing). Make sure to include any CDs, DVDs, and/or computer codes that were in your book originally.

Blue Rocket Books does not accept ex-library books (if you have any ex-library books to sell consider sending them to, Chegg, or Sell Back Books.)

As always, water damage, stains, strong odors, missing (or torn) pages, major wear to the binding, and smoke damage all make a book unacceptable to Blue Rocket Books (or any buyback company).

This company has a $15 minimum buyback order amount which is slightly higher than other buyback companies, but since Blue Rocket Books offers high price quotes for books, this generally isn’t a problem (some of the books I sold to them in the past sold for $10 or more a piece).

Blue Rocket offers free USPS or UPS shipping labels (with tracking numbers that let you know when your books have arrived at their warehouse). Make sure to ship your books as soon as you finish your buyback order so you can get paid faster!

Payment comes in the form of PayPal or mailed check – and I’ll just add that I’ve never had a problem with being paid by Blue Rocket Books.

K-12 Book Buyer

I’ve only sold a few book packages to K-12 Book Buyer – however when I do, my payments tend to be larger than most of my other buyback orders and payment always comes promptly.

As the name indicates, K-12 Book Buyer purchases textbooks. While most buyback companies tend to purchase mostly college textbooks, K-12 has bought grade school, middle school, and high school textbooks from me in the past, so if you’re a teacher and/or home school parent with a lot of extra textbooks and clean workbooks, it might be worth it to see if this company will buy your books.

Aside from textbooks, K-12 Book Buyer purchases fiction, literature, and art books, as well as books on religion, philosophy, computers, travel, science, technology, hobbies, crafting, and cooking.

K-12 Book Buyer does not buy ex-library books (again consider selling those to, Chegg, or Sell Back Books) and you should make certain that any workbooks you send them are free of any writing, notes, underlining, or missing pages. Supplementary materials (like CDs or DVDs) should also be included in the books if you want to receive the full quoted price for those books.

K-12 Book Buyer has a minimum buyback order policy of $10 (which is pretty standard) and offers free USPS shipping for its packages. Payment comes via PayPal or mailed check (I recommend PayPal if you want to receive your money sooner).

Final Thoughts

I hope this gives you a few more options to sell your textbooks for cash once the school year ends. As always, you should become familiar with their policies before selling them your books, so be sure to visit their websites.

And if you’re interested in learning more about the best places to sell books online, be sure to read 8 Great Book Buyback Companies to Sell Books To and 2 More Great Book Buyback Companies to Sell Books To.

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How to Sell Books Online for Extra Cash to CKY Books


Hey guys! This is the second in a series of interviews with textbook buyback companies that pay cash for books you sell to them online.

Today, we’ll be talking with Todd Bradley, the Account Manager of CKY Books. Located in Central Kentucky, CKY has been a reliable book buyback company for several years and has provided me with fast, efficient transactions for all of the buyback orders I’ve shipped to them.

Let’s hear what Todd has to say:

How long has your company been in business and how long have you offered a book buyback program?

We started selling books online in 2001, through Amazon, Alibris, Ebay, Half, etc…[but] sourcing new inventory was always challenging. In 2004 we decided to create a venue where the average reader could sell their used books for a fair price and repurpose their books at the same time.

How can I sell my books online to CKY and earn extra money?

Once you create an account you are ready to create an order to sell CKY books, games, movies and music.

Creating an account with us is very simple – all we need is your name, address, email address and your preferred payment method [PayPal or check]. We don’t ask for phone numbers or any financial information.

You can enter the ISBNs/UPCs [of your books, DVDs, games etc.] into our site and see the amounts we are offering. Once you get to a total of at least $20.00 you can finalize the buyback and access the free shipping labels. You pick your shipping method. Print your packing slip and shipping. Pack your books and send them to us.

Can anyone sell books to CKY?

Almost anyone. You need to be over 18 years of age [but] it is pretty common for a parent to create an account for a child to use with the adult supervising.

You need to have a US mailing address as our FREE inbound shipping only works from inside the U.S.

However we do have some small percentage of accounts where people find ways around this. Some Canadian customers somehow ship books from a U.S. address but have their checks sent to a Canadian address. Same for some other countries.

What types of books does CKY buy through its buyback program?

Current textbooks are almost always being bought, same with the newest fiction releases. Religion, Political, History, Art, Self Help, Parenting, Medical. CKY buys a bit of everything

On any given day, we are buying roughly 3 million titles. We have purchased between 500k-900k items each year over the last 7 years.

What types of books does CKY never buy through its buyback program?

Well, I never like to use the word never, because as soon as I do I will find an exception to the rule. Generally though, romance novels are bust. Popular fiction that is more than a year old usually has very little value. Everyone reads that stuff, me included, so the market is flooded with it.

There are many TYPES of items we cannot buy, including Teacher’s or Instructor’s Editions Textbooks, International/Foreign Edition Textbooks, Custom Edition Textbooks (textbooks printed for a specific school or university).

Advanced reading copies, uncorrected proofs, and promotional copies of books (books that state “review copy”, “free copy”, “sample copy”, “examination copy”, “complimentary copy”, “not for resale”, or “not for sale” anywhere on the book.

Books with one-time use access codes & subscription/registration-based software/online course materials.

Partial sets or incomplete sets (i.e. only volume 1 of a 2 volume set) cannot be bought.

Items where the ISBN the customer used does not match the ISBN of the item.

Pornography or otherwise offensive and explicit material.

Dated materials/books, calendars, daily planners, dated diaries or journals (this includes code/tax guides that are now obsolete or have been superseded by a newer version).

Book Club Editions and rebound books also cannot be accepted.

Are there certain times in the year when CKY buys more books?

CKY’s biggest buying times coincide with the beginning of college semesters due to the large numbers of textbooks. So January, May, and August are usually very busy.

Acceptable and Unacceptable Book Conditions

I understand you accept books with some highlighting, notes, and underlining in them. How much highlighting/writing and underlining is considered “okay” by CKY?

Great question. CKY does buy books with highlighting and underlining. [But] explaining how much is acceptable is the hard part. The determination of how much is too much is left to our inspectors and their experience in handling hundreds of thousands of books.

We tell our customers this, “If you look at the book and wonder if it has too much highlighting/writing or underlining, then we will likely have the same questions and you are better off not sending that item.”

Do you buy ex-library books with library stickers and stamps?

Yes, we do purchase ex-library books but your payment amount will be 30% less than the quoted price – please note that ex-library books frequently have issues and they make up the largest portion of all rejected items.

When is a book not considered in “good condition” – and unable to be sold to CKY?

This is again based on experience selling used books. Our inspectors thought process runs like this: they are trained to buy as much as they can while reducing or rejecting as little as possible. They understand that with every rejection or reduction we might lose that customer.

That being said, if we see a book that is visibly stained, or has pages that are wrinkled from water/liquid damage, we are not going to buy that book. If it is missing pages, we are not going to buy it.

Think of it this way, if you would not want to buy the book you are selling to us because it is in poor condition, we are not going to want to buy it either.

What do you do with books sent to you in poor condition?

Books that are rejected are held for 15 days in a special holding area. After 15 days they are either put on a pallet for donation or they are destroyed. It depends on the issue with the book and they type of book it is.

If you decide to not pay for a book will you send the book back to the original seller?

YES. Items not accepted/rejected by CKY will only be shipped back to the Seller at the Seller’s expense. Items not accepted will be held for 15 days; after that time, these items will be recycled, donated, or used to support the community and environment at CKY’s discretion.

CKY will post a notice of any deductions for items not accepted via email on the seller’s account after the customer’s order has been processed.

If the Seller would like their unaccepted items returned, the Seller must contact CKY promptly, through email ( or phone (877-311-9544), to provide payment for return shipping costs.

Packing Books to Ship to CKY

What should sellers pack their books in when shipping books to you?

We prefer sturdy boxes unless you are just sending a book or two.

What type of free shipping do you offer?

We offer FREE Shipping via United Parcel Service (UPS), Federal Express Ground (FedEx) or United Postal Service (USPS – Post Office).

I would personally like to suggest that all customers use either FedEx or UPS as they are fast and reliable. Last year FedEx lost 5 shipments out of roughly 11,000. Last year UPS lost 13 shipments out of roughly 15000. Last year USPS lost/damaged 312 out of 2100 shipments.

Do you provide any shipping insurance for packages sent through your buyback program?

Yes. FedEx and UPS are both insured for $100 per package.

CKY may provide a fee paid FedEx/UPS shipping label. CKY does not accept responsibility for packages lost by the carrier.

CKY can file a claim for damages/loss on the shipper’s behalf if requested. It is the shipper’s responsibility to maintain a record that may assist with filing any claim that may arise. This might include photos of the items and packaging or other documentation. Failure to maintain such a record can result in rejection of the claim by the carrier.

Postal packages do not have insurance. We encourage customers to purchase shipping insurance at their own expense if they wish to use this service.

What are the biggest pet peeves you have about the types of books you receive through your buyback program?

Our biggest pet peeve is poor packing of the books for shipment. You would be amazed at how many packages we get with a single $100 textbook tossed into a big screen TV box with no padding or protection. Please take a few minutes to package your items safely for travel to ensure your get paid your full amount.

Selling DVDs, Music, and Games to CKY

What other products does CKY buy?

CKY also buys games, movies and music. What you earn is based on the value of what you sell. Newer games and movies etc are worth more than older ones.

Do you need a different account to sell non-book items to CKY?

No. You can use the same account to sell anything you might have.

If you have a lot of books, movies, CDs, and games to sell, can they be shipped in the same package, or should different products be shipped separately?

They can all be shipped together, to consolidate shipping. Just remember to pack them securely so nothing gets broken. We cannot pay for broken items.

Thanks Todd! Remember, if you’d like to contact CKY with more questions about selling your books for extra cash, you can reach them via email at or their Toll Free Phone number (877-311-9544).

CKY also has a “Leave a message” box on their website, in the bottom right corner that can double as a live chat feature.

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Do you have a question or suggestion for a future blog article? Email me at

How to Pack Your Books and Ship Them to Buyback Companies


One of the biggest pet peeves buyback companies like and CKY Books have is when people send books in poorly packed boxes that get damaged in transit, resulting in torn up or even missing books.

The reasons for this damage can vary. Maybe the seller shipped the books in a flimsy box that fell apart on the way. Or maybe the box was too big for the book, causing the book to bounce around inside the whole trip until its binding broke and the pages tore.

Regardless, the end result is the same – buyback companies can’t pay for missing or damaged books, meaning you won’t get your money.

This can be a costly problem – especially if you’re a student who just sent out a textbook you expect to be paid $100 for, only to be informed that your book was damaged in transit and can no longer be accepted.

To keep you from encountering these problems with any of the buyback companies you might send books to through Bookscouter I’m going to take you step-by-step through how you should pack your books and ship them.

Please take the time to read through this article carefully – it could mean the difference between a nice payday and no money at all!

Step 1: Assemble Your Packing Materials

In my previous article, Finding Free Boxes for Shipping the Books You Sell Online, I showed you how to find, select, and store free sturdy cardboard boxes that are ideal for shipping books.

Once you’ve stored your boxes, you’ll want to keep the following items close by:

  • Strong Packing Tape: Be sure to buy a few rolls of strong packing tape, along with a tape dispenser if you don’t already have one. This is something that really makes the difference between a sturdy and flimsy package, so be sure to buy high quality tape. Never use scotch or masking tape.
  • Newspaper: Get in the habit of storing the newspapers you’ve already read in a separate box. You can also store junk mail (just remember to tear out any identifying information).
  • Plastic Bags: Fill up another box with plastic bags you saved from your trips to the grocery or thrift store. Make sure they’re all clean, dry, and free of any smells.
  • Scissors: You’ll need these to size up your shipping labels

If you want more high-quality packing material, you can also buy some bubble wrap or packing paper to secure your books.

One type of packing material you should never use is packing peanuts (those plastic or Styrofoam pellets some people use for packing household appliances). They’ll constantly shift in transit, resulting in damaged books. Shredded paper is also considered a poor packing material for the same reason – it won’t provide enough support.

Step 2: Choose a Box for Your Books

Once you’ve completed a buyback order and printed your packing slip (which lists all the books you’re selling and the prices the company will pay you for them) and your shipping label, it’s time to start loading your books.

Select a box for your books and fold up the bottom flaps so you can see how well the books fit inside the box.

The books should fit easily in the box – you shouldn’t have to squeeze them in (and possibly damage the edges). Make sure the box isn’t too big for all your books. Check out the photo below to see how the books should ideally fit:

books in box

If your box looks too big or too small, switch it out with another until you find a better fit. Once you’ve selected the box, seal up all the bottom flaps, including those at the sides, with packing tape.

Step 3: Secure Your Books

Take out each stack of books and slip them into a secure plastic bag (be sure to put the packing slip in with the books). Tie the bag and put the books back into the box. This will protect the books from the newspaper you’ll use to later pad the box.

Wrapped Books

Step 4: Pad the Edges and Top of the Box

Take a few sheets of newspaper and crumple them into some plastic bags to form some packing cushions for your books. Be sure not to over stuff the bags – the cushions should squeeze easily into any gaps in the box to keep the books from shifting.

Packing pillows in box

Now stuff one more bag full of newspaper and lay it on top of the books – this will protect the books from being damaged when the box is cut open.

Packing Pillow on Box

Putting the newspapers in plastic bags will keep the books from being stained by newsprint – however, if you’d like to use more quality packing material, you can use bubble wrap or packing paper.

Step 5: Seal up the Top of the Box

Tape the top of the box with packing tape the same way you sealed up the bottom – be sure to tape up all the sides of the flaps to keep the box from popping open.

Sealed Box

Step 6: Attach Shipping Label

Use the scissors to trim the shipping label to size and attach it onto the box with packing tape. (Be sure not to cover any barcodes with tape).

Take the package to your closest UPS, FedEx, or USPS drop off (depending on the shipping label you used). You’re done!

Final Tips

  • Try to limit the amount of books you put in each buyback order to keep your packages from weighing too much – 10-20 books per order should be okay.
  • Once you’re done packing your books, pick up the box and shake it a few times – if the books don’t rattle inside, they’ve been properly cushioned.
  • If you’d like to make your boxes look “cleaner” you can always turn them inside out – however I’ve never had any problems with sending my packages with markings on the boxes.
  • That said, do not turn the USPS Priority or Express mailers found at the United States Post Office inside out and use them for boxes. The free shipping labels provided by most textbook buyback companies will not cover the cost of priority or express shipping and the mailer must pay the extra cost.

I hope this article informed you on how to pack your books. If you’d like to receive more tips and tricks for how to sell books online for extra money, please subscribe to my blog!

Do you have a question or suggestion for a future blog article? Email me at

Finding Free Boxes for Shipping the Books You Sell Online


If you’ve been reading my interviews with buyback companies like and CKY Books, you’ll know that one of the biggest pet peeves these companies have is when people send them books in flimsy boxes that get damaged during shipping.

Amateur book sellers have been known to stuff books into cereal boxes, shoe boxes, even used pizza boxes, only to have those packages get torn apart and shredded mid transit – resulting in a bunch of damaged and lost books that buyback companies can’t pay you for.

It seems these sellers are just too lazy or plain clueless when it comes to selecting good cardboard boxes for packing and shipping books. They just grab whatever box is lying around the house – no matter how flimsy or dirty – and then act surprised when their books get damaged during shipping.

Please don’t adopt these bad habits! None of the buyback companies you’ll find on Bookscouter will accept books damaged in transit – meaning you need to find strong boxes to ship all of your books in!

Fortunately, sturdy cardboard boxes are not only incredibly easy to find but also 100% free – if you know where to look.

Here’s how I find, select, and store my free boxes for shipping books.

Visit Discount Retailers

If you’ve ever shopped at a big discount retailer (particularly Walmart and Target), you know they unload boxes of merchandise every day to restock their shelves.

Guess what? Once the merchandise is unpacked, employees are more than happy to let you have the boxes for free. It makes their job easier (since they don’t have to throw out as many boxes) and gives you a steady supply of sturdy cardboard boxes for shipping books. Win-win!

These stores unpack most of their boxes late at night (around 11pm or midnight) so be prepared to make a few nightly visits two or three times a month to load up on boxes. Be polite and ask the employee on duty if you can take a few boxes (I haven’t met an employee yet who said no).

Selecting the Best Boxes for Shipping Books

Be sure to get cardboard boxes made of corrugated cardboard. This is a thicker type of cardboard made from two layers of cardboard with a third ridged layer sandwiched between them. It’s very sturdy and will easily support the weight of all the books you’ll load into them.

Do not get boxes made of a single layer of cardboard (like cereal boxes). These are way too flimsy and will tear apart during travel.

Also, make sure the flaps on the boxes fold up completely to seal both the bottom and top (some boxes used for storing canned goods and cereal have open bottoms and/or tops, which makes them impractical for shipping books).

Choose small and medium-size boxes that can hold anywhere from 2 to 20 paperback books. Refrigerator-size boxes and most computer boxes are too big for shipping books.

I’ve found my best boxes for shipping books in the office supplies and plastic utensils sections of discount retailers. These boxes (which were originally used to ship notebooks and plastic forks) are sturdy and ideally shaped to securely transport several books.

Do not get boxes that were used to ship detergent, scented candles, or other items with strong odors. These smells cling to cardboard and will get into your books.

This is especially important when you ship books to companies like Powells and Sell Back Your Book which insist the books arrive in the same excellent condition they were in when you packed them – even if the box protected the books, any strong odors will damage the books and prevent you from getting paid.

(Be sure to double check your boxes for any strong odors when you’re ready to store them – strong smells can seep into other boxes and make them unfit for shipping).

Storing Your Boxes

Most of the boxes you’ll find at Walmart or Target will have the tape on their bottom and top flaps cut off, allowing the boxes to be folded flat. Keep your boxes this way – they’ll be easier to transport in your car and store in your house.

Find a cool, clean, dry place like a closet to store your boxes until you need them.

I like to divide my boxes into two piles – small boxes (that fit 1-3 books) and medium boxes (that can fit anywhere from 5-20 books). This’ll make it easier for you to select the type of box you need when you’re ready to start packing.

Finally, keep a supply of strong packing tape in a container near your boxes to seal them up again when you’re ready to start packing your books. You’ll also want to keep your other packing materials in that same container I’ll cover exactly what you need and how to use them in my next article How to Pack Your Books and Ship Them to Buyback Companies.

I hope this article informed you on how to find better shipping materials for your books. Want to receive more tips and tricks for how to sell books online for extra money? Subscribe to my blog!

Do you have a question or suggestion for a future blog article? Email me at

Finding the Best Data Plan for Selling Books Online with Bookscouter


One of the biggest concerns I have when using my tablet or phone to find books to sell online is how good my wireless provider’s network coverage is.

While using Bookscouter helps me find a lot of books to sell online and earn extra money, if I shop in places where my wireless carrier’s network coverage is spotty or slow, I waste a lot of time waiting for bids from buyback companies to appear on my tablet or phone. That’s time I should use finding more books to sell for cash – not waiting to see if a single book is worth buying or not.

This is a problem for online booksellers since we shop for books in many different cities, towns, and buildings to resell online. Just because a wireless provider’s network coverage is good in one city doesn’t mean it’ll be great in another – if you want to make extra money selling books online you need reliable coverage everywhere.

So for the past several months, I’ve been testing out data plans from multiple wireless providers to compare their network coverage.

I’m happy to report that Verizon Wireless is by far the most reliable and cost effective wireless provider I’ve encountered so far, and allows me to find hundreds of books with Bookscouter in multiple locations quickly and efficiently.

Here’s my wireless carrier comparison of Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless based on my personal experiences.

Data Plan Cost

When I started testing out data plans from different wireless carriers, I was attracted to no-contract data plans offered by companies like Virgin Mobile and T-Mobile. Since I just wanted a reliable network to find books to sell online via Bookscouter, I went with some basic plans.

Virgin Mobile charged me $38.10 a month and provided me with unlimited data. While I appreciated their data plan it was difficult for me to see all the pricing information on the small screen of my phone. Plus, holding the phone in my hand so long eventually gave me carpal tunnel syndrome (please read How to Make a Hands-Free Cell Phone or Tablet Platform to learn how to prevent that).

T-Mobile offered an attractive $20 monthly 4GB data plan that I could use on my tablet. This looked like a great deal, but their spotty in-building coverage soon forced me to waste most of that data just waiting to look up prices on Bookscouter. After a while, the aggravation wasn’t worth the lower price.

I’m currently paying $31.19 a month to Verizon Wireless for a 2GB data plan (Please note that plan rates can change so this actual figure might be different when you read this).

While this might sound like I’m paying more for less, Verizon’s faster and more reliable network allows me to spend less time scanning books and looking up prices so I don’t need all that data – and can actually perform my work much faster, sometimes cutting an hour from my workday.

Unlike Virgin Mobile and T-Mobile’s no-contract plans, Verizon requires you to enter a 2 year contract to use their network. I was a bit apprehensive about such a long-term agreement but I’m now satisfied that their network offers me a good return on my investment.

Verizon now offers another perk for entering into their contract – an Ellipsis 8 Tablet with a SIM card that connects the tablet directly to their network. Previously, I used a T-Mobile Hotspot to connect my tablet to T-Mobile’s network – which was a hassle since the hotspot gave me another device I needed to keep charged. Because of this, I recommend getting tablets with SIM card slots if you want to use a mobile network.

Overall, I’m very happy with the cost of Verizon’s wireless network and feel it offers a good middle-of-the-road option in terms of reliability and affordability.

Network Coverage

Virgin Mobile’s network coverage was decent but its speed was slow in places with low ceilings – which included many of the library bookstores and thrift stores I shopped at. I sometimes had to wait ten or twenty seconds for Bookscouter to look up the price quotes of one book.

T-Mobile’s network was extremely spotty. I couldn’t get a signal in certain parts of thrift stores and had to move around the store trying to work out where I could access the Internet. This made looking up book prices slower since I had to move my books from one part of the store to another just to look them up on Bookscouter.

Verizon Wireless’ network is lightning-fast and can access the Internet anywhere I take my tablet. I visit a total of 25 different thrift stores and library bookstores every week in 5 different cities and I can look up the price of any book on Bookscouter within two seconds in any of these areas. The difference is striking since I know both Virgin Mobile and T-Mobile’s networks can’t match Verizon’s speed in the same locations.

Data and Battery Usage

One nice thing about Virgin Mobile was that it offered me unlimited data so I didn’t need to worry about using up my data plan. On the other hand, my cell phone’s battery did run low after a few hours, so I had to invest in a portable charger.

T-Mobile’s 4GB plan seemed like it could provide me with enough data for the month, but since its spotty network coverage forced me to spend more time looking up prices, I ended up using more data every month. My tablet’s battery did last for several hours without issue, but the T-Mobile Hotspot ran out of power constantly.

Because Verizon Wireless’ network is much more reliable and faster than Virgin Mobile or T-Mobile’s, I can get my work done faster and use up less data and battery life (this month alone, I’ll be using less than 1.5 GB of my 2 GB data plan).

That said, there are some important steps you should take when using a mobile network to make sure you don’t accidentally consume too much of your data or battery life. I cover these tips in a separate article, 3 Tips for Saving Data and Battery Life on Your Tablet or Phone. Please read this – it’ll likely save you money!

Keep in mind also that I only use my tablet to sell books online through Bookscouter, which makes it easier for me to use less than 2 GB a month. If you use your tablet or phone more often, there’s a chance you’ll need a bigger data plan.

But when it comes to selecting a reliable wireless provider with great network coverage that can help you find more books in less time to sell for extra money there’s no contest – go with Verizon Wireless!

Do you have your own opinion about which wireless provider offers the fastest and most reliable network coverage? Email me at

And remember, you can receive more tips and tricks for how to sell books online for extra money by subscribing to my blog!

3 Tips for Saving Data and Battery Life on Your Tablet or Phone

 Tablet 2

When I switched my wireless provider to Verizon, I found that, while Verizon’s network coverage was much faster and more reliable than my previous wireless providers, it also limited my data usage to 2 GB for $31.19 a month – and charged a $15 overage fee for every additional 1 GB I used.

So I really needed to keep an eye on my data usage and conserve as much data as I could when using Verizon to find books I could sell online with Bookscouter.

After just one day using Verizon’s network on my Android tablet, however, I checked my data usage and was shocked – I’d used over 0.3 GB of data! At that rate, I’d burn through my entire 2 GB in no time, and would soon be racking up a huge bill in overage fees!

More bad news – even though I’d charged my tablet’s battery the night before, it was almost completely dead after just a few hours of use.

Disappointed, I did what I always do when I’m frustrated – get on the Internet and research the problem.

Surprise! Turns out there were some very simple steps I could take that would not only dramatically reduce my data usage but also conserve my battery life.

I applied these strategies, and was amazed by how little data I used in the following days and how long my battery lasted. I realized I only needed a little over 1 GB of data every month to find hundreds of profitable books with Bookscouter, make more extra cash with Verizon’s faster network, and save a lot of money in overage fees in the process.

Here are some of the best ways I found to conserve data and battery life:

Check to See Which Apps Are Draining Most of Your Data

One easy way to save data is to first find out which of the apps on your phone or tablet are draining the most data.

For Android tablets, go to “Settings” on your tablet or phone and click “Data Usage.”

You’ll see a list of different apps and web browsers, along with estimates of how much data they’ve been using over the last week.

If you see a lot of unnecessary apps draining your data (Candy Crush etc.), shut off any you don’t need when you’re using Bookscouter. A lot of open apps send and receive data even when you’re not using them, which not only wastes data but also drains your battery.

Make Sure Your Device Automatically Connects to Your Secure Wi-Fi network

If you have a secure Wi-Fi network at your home or office, make sure your tablet or phone automatically connects to it when its in range.

Just go to Settings, click on “Wi-Fi” (under “Wireless & Networks”) and log on to your home or office’s wireless network using your password.

Once your device automatically connects to your secure Wi-Fi network, you can use this Wi-Fi for activities that require large amounts of data usage – like downloading music or streaming videos. Since you’re using your Wi-Fi network, you won’t be draining data from a mobile network like Verizon.

One app you definitely want to only use when you’re on a secure Wi-Fi network is the Google Play Store App. This app automatically downloads updates to apps on your tablet or phone. While updating apps is good, it also consumes huge amounts of data, slows down your device, and can prevent you from doing things on your device.

To keep Google Play Store from draining your data, do the following:

Go into Settings

Click on Data Usage

Find Google Play Store

Click on Google Play Store

Click on “View App Settings”

Click on “Auto-update apps”

Select “Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only”

Now Google Play Store will only update apps when you’re on any of the secure Wi-Fi networks you connected your device to. This will save you a huge amount of data (I cut my Verizon data usage in half just by doing this).

Do NOT Use Google Chrome as your Internet Browser

My tablet had Google Chrome as its default internet browser which, despite being popular for its speed, is a huge drain on your battery. My tablet’s battery was almost completely dead after just a few hours of usage.

Luckily, there are plenty of more energy efficient Internet browsers that you can download onto your phone or tablet, including Opera, Dolphin, and Mozilla Firefox. You can add any of these browsers to your device by searching for them in Google Play Store and downloading them. You can then click on the new browser icon and access Bookscouter through it.

After testing multiple browsers, I found both Dolphin and Opera are the best browsers to use with Bookscouter. Both of these browsers can look up a book’s buyback quotes in three seconds and use less than half the battery power that Google Chrome does. Opera also advertises that it uses less data, which may affect your decision if you aren’t saving enough data already.

Mozilla Firefox was considerably slower, requiring six seconds to look up a single book’s buyback quotes. Firefox also uses less battery power than Google Chrome, but the extra time it takes to look up book prices will force you to spend more time looking for books than you need to.

How Much Data Can You Save?

After instituting these changes, I checked to see how much data I used the next time I spent a day shopping for books with Bookscouter – and was pleased to discover that I only used 0.12 GB – almost a third of what I used when I was on Google Chrome and allowed the Google Play Store to automatically update my apps.

Thanks to this, I can easily visit dozens of thrift stores a week, use Verizon’s faster network, and make selling books online quicker and more profitable – all without having to pay more than 2 GB of data each month.

These are very simple strategies that I highly recommend you use on your own devices. Not only will they save you a lot of money in overage fees, they’ll also make earning money selling books online much easier if you use a reliable network like Verizon.

Do you have your own tips for saving data and battery life? Email me at

And remember, you can receive more tips and tricks for how to sell books online for extra money by subscribing to my blog!

How To Make Sure You Get Paid for the Books You Sell Online


Recently, I encountered a problem everyone who sells books online dreads. My payment for some of my buyback orders wasn’t sent to me.

This is something you’ll encounter every now and then if you sell books to buyback companies on a regular basis. While the companies you find on Bookscouter are usually reputable, even these companies encounter occasional glitches that delay your payment.

This is why it’s so important you keep good records of all of your buyback orders (something I cover in How to Record Your Sales When Selling Books Online) and keep track of which of your orders were paid and which are still unpaid.

To make sure you get paid for all of your books, please follow the following tips:

Learn How Buyback Companies Pay Before You Sell to Them

Most of the buyback companies you’ll find on Bookscouter are good businesses that pay quickly and efficiently.

That said, different buyback companies pay in different ways and on different time tables, and you should always make sure you know each company’s payment policies before you sell them any books.

Most buyback companies like, Valore, Chegg, Cash4Books, and Sell Back Your Book pay via PayPal and deposit your money within 1-2 weeks into your PayPal account. (If you don’t have a PayPal account and/or don’t want to open one, most companies will mail your money via check – but this can take a month on average).

A few companies like Sell Back Books offer to deposit money directly into your bank account (which requires that you share your account numbers with them). Sell Back Books also offers the mailed check option.

And still other buyback programs, like’s Trade-In Program, pay in trade credit (not cash) and deposit your payment in your personal online trade credit account. While most people prefer to be paid in cash, trade credit does come with advantages that I cover in Should You Sell Your Books for Amazon Credit?

Make sure to review each buyback company’s website to learn their personal policies on payment. Many of these companies also have policies on the type of books they will buy that may affect which companies you can sell to. I cover many of these issues in my article 8 Great Book Buyback Companies To Sell Books To.

Bookscouter also offers a five-star rating system and a place where sellers can leave reviews of their experiences with different buyback companies. You can find these reviews by going to Bookscouter, clicking the “Vendors” link, and clicking on any buyback company you’d like to research. Read these reviews before selling your books to a new company – they might alert you to any unexpected polices regarding payment.

Email Buyback Companies That Haven’t Paid You

Okay, but what happens if you do all your research and a buyback company still doesn’t pay you?

First, double check your Buyback Order Records to see how much time has passed. If it’s been two weeks since you sent your order to this company, wait a few more days – sometimes a company can experience a slight delay as it processes your order.

If it’s been over a month and that company promises payment in two weeks, however, you need to contact the company. Go to the company’s website, find their email address under the “Contact Us” link and send them a message informing them of the situation.

Make sure to inform the company of when you sent your buyback order, the buyback order number, and the total price quote the company gave for your books. (You should have this information in your records – your online account on the buyback company’s website should have the information as well).

Politely inform the company of how long it’s been since you sent your order and ask them when you can expect to receive your payment.

Here’s a sample email that I use for these situations – feel free to modify it for your own use (I’ve marked the critical areas in bold).

Hello XYZ Books

Last March 21st, I sent a buyback order (Order #123456789) with the quoted price of $35.

It has been over a month since I sent that order, and I have still not received payment.

Could you please let me know when I can expect to be paid?


Usually, this is all it takes for a company to fix the problem – in the situation I described above, both buyback companies (Sell Back Books and CKY Books) responded politely to my emails in less than a day and sent my payments in full immediately.

By the way, if the company resolved your issues quickly and politely, please leave some positive feedback for them on Bookscouter. Just click the “Vendors” link on the top of the website, find the company, and click on “Leave Feedback.” (Both CKY and Sell Back Books got good reviews from me).

If The Company Refuses to Pay

Sometimes, a buyback company may refuse to pay for some or all of your books – claiming the books did not meet their criteria for books in good condition.

This doesn’t mean the buyback company is trying to cheat you – if you sent them a lot of books without checking them closely, it’s possible some were water damaged or had excessive markings inside, making them impossible for the company to resell. In these cases, you just need to be more careful about the books you sell.

In other situations, however, a buyback company will flat-out refuse to pay you with no explanation – and may even fail to respond to your emails at all.

Sadly, this happened to me with a new buyback company I tried to sell to – and I wound up losing several books I could have sold to other buyback companies.

Unfortunately in these cases, it’s virtually impossible for you to get paid – which is why you need to be careful about selling to new buyback companies that don’t have a proven track record of paying quickly for their books.

If this happens, you should leave a review on Bookscouter informing others of your bad experience – this will warn others against doing business with that company and can get Bookscouter to remove that company from their website if enough people give them low ratings.

Fortunately, such experiences are rare – after over six years in the business, I can honestly say that I’ve only encountered two companies like this. As long as you research good buyback companies, keep good records of your buyback orders, and communicate with your buyback companies, you’ll easily generate a steady stream of reliable income from your online book sales.

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Do you have a question or suggestion for a future blog article? Email me at