Is the Book Condition of Your Textbook Good Enough to Make Extra Money?


What’s the first thing you should do when your Bluetooth Cordless Hand Scanner and tablet/cell phone tell you the book you just found is worth a lot of money?

If you answered, “Jump up and down and squeal like a little girl” – sorry, but you’re wrong (and seriously, what’s wrong with you? That kind of behavior can get you thrown out of the store! Well, unless you are a little girl…).

No, what you want to do is check to see if the book condition of the textbook or popular fiction book you found is good enough to sell online to buyback websites (or Amazon).

Here’s the deal – while you can find valuable books for cheap prices at thrift stores and garage sales, a lot of these books have been treated pretty badly. Pages get marked up and/or torn out, bindings get broken, and water damage can make turning pages a nightmare.

And if you make the mistake of sending these books to a buyback website to make extra money? Sorry, but you’ll usually end up losing money – sometimes a lot.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, here are four common problems with book condition that should make you think twice before you try and sell them online for cash.

Water Damage

Ugh! These are the most common defects in used books. Sometimes the previous owner spilled a drink in his or her book, making the pages stain, stick and/or warp.

Obviously these books will be rejected by all buyback websites – the problem is sometimes it’s not easy to spot water damage at first glance.

Get in the habit of flipping through a book’s pages before you put it in your cart to buy. If you notice any warped, wrinkled, or discolored pages – put it back!

Broken Binding

Books with deep wrinkles running down its spine may have a broken spine where the pages are starting to separate from the cover.

Sometimes, broken binding is hard to spot (especially in hardback books) since the cover might look fine and hide any internal damage. Naturally, buyback websites won’t buy these books.

The same test you use for water damage can help here – books with broken bindings usually reveal their weak spots when you flip through the pages.

Marked Up or Missing Pages

Textbooks and workbooks can fetch a high price on buyback websites – especially if they’re recent editions.

But before you throw that book in your cart, check to see if the book has any quiz questions or fill-in-the-blank pages.

If you spot any writing, circling, or filled-in multiple choice slots, put the book back! Likewise, if you find any pages missing, put the book back! Buyback websites will not buy those books for cash!

Books that have a little highlighting, underlining, or even notes in the margins are a unique case. As long as the book only has a few markings (usually on less than 25% of its pages) and the text is easy to read, some buyback websites – including Cash 4 Books, Chegg, TextbookRush, and Valore – will buy these books.

But be careful! Study the book condition guidelines provided by these buyback websites before you send them anything, and be careful not to send them anything that might make it difficult to resell (like filled in quiz questions)

Missing Supplemental Materials

These days when you buy a book, you’re not always just buying a book – you’re buying a multimedia experience thanks to the CDs, DVDs, computer codes, and/or CD-ROMs that come with the book.

Make sure all these supplemental materials are in the book – buyback websites will not pay for a book that doesn’t have all its extra materials. Does the cover advertise a CD? Check the inside covers to make sure it’s in its plastic sleeve (and free of scratches).

Have the computer codes in the book been torn out or opened? Then you probably can’t sell the books for cash to a buyback website.

Other Problems with Book Condition

If you make sure to check for the four common book condition defects listed above, you should be able to make significantly more extra money selling books online.

That said, there are still other qualities that you should keep in mind when assessing book condition that will affect whether or not you can sell the book online for cash.

If you buy a lot of books at library sales, for instance, you should find out first if the buyback website you want to sell the book to accepts ex-library books (some buyback websites pay a lot of money for ex-library books, others will reject them, and still others will only pay half their quoted buyback price for them).

Because of this, it’s always a good idea to review each buyback website’s policies on book condition before sending your books to them for cash. Trust me – you’ll make more money this way and save yourself a lot of frustration.

Once you know your textbooks and/or other books are in acceptable condition for the buyback website you want to sell to, it’s time to cash in! Find out where you can sell your books for the most money in Best Books to Sell Online to Buyback Companies and The Best Places to Sell Textbooks Online Besides Amazon Part 1.

And – as always – remember to subscribe to my blog to receive updates on more tools and tricks to make more money selling books for cash online!