Does Amazon Buy Books & Textbooks in 2024? (Do This Instead)

I know you‘re wondering, as a fellow bookworm myself – does Amazon still buy back used books and textbooks in 2024?

The short answer is: unfortunately, Amazon no longer directly purchases used books or textbooks from sellers as of 2023.

I know, it stinks, doesn‘t it? I used to love being able to quickly trade in my old textbooks and get an Amazon gift card in return. But in April 2020, Amazon stopped running their textbook buyback program.

While not as convenient as a direct trade-in option, there are still a couple ways you can potentially sell textbooks through Amazon‘s marketplace. I‘ll explain more on that later.

First, let‘s take a quick walk down memory lane and see why Amazon shuttered their popular textbook buyback service to begin with.

Why Amazon Closed Their Textbook Buyback Program

Up until 2020, Amazon operated their own standalone textbook buyback program. As a fellow student, I found it super convenient.

Here‘s a quick refresher on how Amazon‘s old textbook trade-in process worked:

  • Search for your textbook – Enter the ISBN, title, or author to see if your book qualified for trade-in.

  • Check trade-in value – Amazon provided an instant estimated buyback price based on demand, condition, and other factors.

  • Print free label – If you accepted the offer, you could print a prepaid USPS label to mail your book back.

  • Get your payout – Once Amazon received and verified your textbook, your earnings were deposited into your Amazon account.

It was nice being able to easily trade in old textbooks and get 20-50% of the value back in the form of an Amazon gift card or direct deposit.

So why did Amazon quietly retire this once-popular program in 2020?

There are a few likely reasons the company decided to pull the plug:

  • Shift to rentals – As rental textbooks grew in popularity, fewer students needed to resell books after their course.

  • Risk of counterfeits – Fake textbook trade-ins may have become a problem.

  • Competition – Other specialized textbook buyback companies emerged as alternatives.

While their reasoning was never explicitly stated, textbook trade-ins are clearly no longer an area of focus for Amazon.

But don‘t fret – while not as seamless as Amazon‘s old textbook buyback service, there are still a couple ways you can sell used textbooks through their marketplace.

Let‘s look at how to trade in textbooks on Amazon now.

How to Sell Textbooks on Amazon in 2024

Without a dedicated textbook trade-in program, Amazon no longer directly buys used books back from sellers and students.

However, you have two options if you want to resell textbooks through Amazon:

1. Amazon Trade-In Program

Amazon still runs a trade-in program for select electronics, video games, and books – but most textbooks aren‘t eligible.

Still, it doesn‘t hurt to check the Amazon Trade-In homepage and search for your textbook‘s ISBN, title, or author.

If your book pops up, you‘ll see a trade-in offer and can print a prepaid shipping label. But generic textbooks likely won‘t qualify – it‘s mostly niche books traded in.

2. Sell as an Amazon Seller

Realistically, the best way to sell used textbooks on Amazon is to list them yourself as a third-party seller.

Here‘s an overview of what‘s involved:

  • Sign up – Register for an Amazon seller account as an individual or professional.

  • List textbooks – Create listings for each textbook you want to sell with title, ISBN, specs, condition, etc.

  • Price competitively – Research similar Amazon textbook listings to set a competitive price.

  • Choose fulfillment – Decide to ship yourself or have Amazon handle packing and delivery for a fee.

  • Get paid – Amazon pays out your earnings every 1-2 months minus any returns.

Now, selling as a textbook merchant on Amazon is more work than their old trade-in program. But it opens your inventory up to Amazon‘s vast marketplace.

I‘d recommend targeting in-demand, niche textbooks – things like obsolete engineering editions or specialized medical textbooks. Generic Intro to Economics books won‘t fetch much.

Pro Tip: Always check textbook buyback sites first to see which of your books are worth selling online before listing on Amazon!

Next, let‘s weigh the pros and cons of reselling textbooks online.

Should You Sell Textbooks Online?

Selling used textbooks online allows you to recoup some cash and prevent books from gathering dust. But is it ultimately worth the time and effort?

Here are some things to think about:

Potential Pros of Selling Textbooks Online

  • Make back some textbook costs – You can recover a bit of what you paid for expensive books.
  • Exposure on Amazon – Tap into Amazon‘s vast customer base.
  • Convenient – Easy to mail in books rather than having them take up space.
  • Rare editions – Niche or obscure textbooks may fetch higher prices from buyers searching for them.

Potential Cons of Selling Textbooks Online

  • No simple trade-in process – Not as easy as Amazon‘s old textbook buyback program.
  • Low demand – Many common textbook editions have minimal resale value.
  • Time-consuming – Photographing, listing, packing, and shipping textbooks takes time.
  • Slow sales – Some textbooks may take a long time to sell, if at all.

Reselling textbooks on Amazon certainly isn‘t as straightforward as it used to be. But focusing on niche, high-demand textbooks in great condition can net you decent cash.

Badly highlighted introductory textbooks with existing cheap editions available probably won‘t generate much interest or earnings, though.

By the Numbers: Textbook Costs

To give you an idea of how expensive textbooks are – and why reselling them is appealing – here‘s a quick data table:

Average Textbook Cost Statistics $ Amount
Average annual textbook spending per U.S. college student $1,200
Average cost per textbook $80-$100
Average cost for one university‘s engineering textbooks $500-$600

With numbers like these, I can understand the draw of making back even $10-$20 per book by reselling online! But will Amazon be your best bet?

Amazon‘s Share of the Textbook Market

Amazon dominates the overall book market, with over 80% of print textbook sales and around 60% of eTextbook sales.

Here‘s a data table illustrating Amazon‘s massive hold on the textbook market:

Amazon‘s Share of Textbook Sales Print Digital
New textbooks 82% 61%
Used textbooks 75% N/A

As you can see, Amazon moves a ton of college textbooks. So in theory, tapping into their vast customer base seems like a solid way to resell unwanted books, right?

Well…that brings us to weigh the alternatives.

Alternatives to Selling Textbooks on Amazon

While Amazon gets plenty of textbook traffic, here are some other options I‘d explore for trading in used books:

Textbook Buyback Sites

Specialized textbook buyback sites like BookScouter, and ValoreBooks make the selling process super easy.

Just punch in your ISBNs and you‘ll get price quotes from over 35 textbook merchants ready to buy your books. Compare offers and print out shipping labels.


eBay has a thriving used textbook marketplace. Around 35 million textbooks are sold on eBay each year!

Pricing competitively and offering free shipping gives you a good shot at connecting with bargain book shoppers.

Facebook Marketplace

Listing textbooks for local pickup on Facebook Marketplace taps into students right in your area.

Meet in public for safety, and payment via Venmo, PayPal, or cash makes transactions smooth.

Campus Bookstores

Many college campus bookstores buy back textbooks at the end of each semester. Trade-in rates can be low, but it‘s super convenient for students.


For lightly worn books with minimal resale value, donating to Little Free Libraries, thrift stores, or charity drives clears clutter.

The Bottom Line

I hope this guide gave you a helpful overview of your options for trading in used textbooks on and off Amazon! Let‘s recap the key points:

  • Amazon no longer directly buys back textbooks – Their former textbook trade-in program was discontinued in 2020.

  • You can try reselling as an Amazon seller – Listing yourself allows you to sell textbooks through Amazon‘s Marketplace.

  • Focus on rare, niche textbooks – Generic editions won‘t have much resale value.

  • Consider other outlets too – From buyback sites to eBay to donating, you have alternatives to Amazon.

  • Selling helps offset textbook costs – Recouping even part of the ridiculous prices we pay for course materials is a plus!

Hopefully these tips will help you declutter used textbooks and make back a few bucks in the process. Let me know if you have any other questions – happy textbook selling!

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