Selling Textbooks After The College Semester Is Over

Final exams are finally over, and you are looking to sell your textbooks for the most money. Most students either sell them back to their college bookstore for cash, or they list them on Amazon as a third party seller. The common complaint from students looking to sell their used textbooks back to the college bookstore is that they are never offered enough money for their buybacks. And if you have sold textbooks in the past on Amazon as a third party seller, it may not be as easy as you remember. For quite a few popular textbooks Amazon has placed selling restrictions on who is able to sell these titles. Here is the new process for listing popular textbooks:

  1. You search on Amazon for the textbook you are looking to sell, either by title or by ISBN. Look for "Have one to sell?", and click on the "Sell on Amazon" button. You will then be prompted to log into your Amazon seller account. You must have an Amazon seller account to sell on Amazon.

  2. One you are logged in, Amazon may display "Listing limitations apply" for the book you are looking to sell. This means that this title is gated, and only certain sellers can sell the book. Click on the "Listing limitations apply" link, and Amazon will most likely give you two messages:
    a) You are not approved to list this product and we are not accepting applications at this time. - This means there is no hope for you to sell your textbook on Amazon.
    b) Request approval - Click on "Request Approval", and Amazon will either automatically approve you based on your previous selling performance, or they will require you to submit invoices for your book. A college bookstore receipt for your book will not suffice, they are looking for invoices directly from an established wholesale supplier or directly from the publisher. Best case scenario is that you receive automatic approval for selling your book.
    If once you signed in, and you are automatically brought to the product listing page, the product is not gated, or you have been previously approved to sell the textbook.

Some examples of textbooks that have been gated are:
Introduction to Business Law, ISBN 9781285860398
Essentials of Investments, ISBN 9780077835422
Biological Psychology, ISBN 9781305105409
Principles of Biochemistry, ISBN 9781429234146
Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design, ISBN 9780073398204
Understanding Psychology (11th Edition), ISBN 9780133908923

The reason that Amazon started gating certain popular textbooks is because some sellers, both knowingly and unknowingly, were selling books that were not authentic. This means that the book was not published by the publisher, but by another third party. This violates copyright law, and Amazon is only looking to protect the consumer from receiving and paying for items that are not authentic.

There are other options for selling back used textbooks. In addition to the college bookstore and Amazon, there are textbook buyback companies such as that will buy textbooks. To sell back your textbook to, you first enter the ISBN number into the search window and hit "Lookup Books". You will receive a quote for your textbook. Complete the buyback checkout process. will provide you with either a free UPS or USPS shipping label. The books are shipped to them for free, and they issue payment either by check or PayPal. Once you ship your books, they typically receive the shipment in 3-5 business days. Once the books are received, they will send out a Received email, notifying you they received your books. They typically issue payment within 3-4 days of sending out the Received email. Books must be in at least good condition, and they do not purchase Instructor's or International edition book. They also purchase loose leaf textbooks, but if selling back a loose leaf textbook, make sure you use the correct ISBN number for the quote.

Good luck with finals, and happy hunting for the best place to sell your textbook!