I Sold Some Books at Half Price Books – What to Expect When Selling

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sell books at half price books
This weekend my wife and I were doing a little cleaning and decided to clear out some books, movies, etc. that were basically just clutter. We like going to Half Price Books because you can find some great deals there on used books, movies, and other forms of media (check out their bargain bin!). They…

This weekend my wife and I were doing a little cleaning and decided to clear out some books, movies, etc. that were basically just clutter.

We like going to Half Price Books because you can find some great deals there on used books, movies, and other forms of media (check out their bargain bin!).

They also buy things to stock their store. We hadn’t sold anything to them before, so I figured we should give it a try.


We took a large box filled with a couple of DVDs, The Star Wars collection on VHS, several hardcover books, several paperback books, and some old textbooks. I think we must have brought about 30 books and other items into the store.

They evaluate your items while you shop around, then they call you up to the counter when your offer is ready.

How much was our offer?


That was lower than I expected, but I was not surprised. I’m sure there is some proprietary software they use to determine how much they can resell the items for.

Turnover for most of these items is low and it takes them a while to recoup their expenditures. I estimate they offer only about $.25 on the dollar, depending on the popularity of the items.

They also told me the textbooks would go straight to the recycling bin because they had no resale value (they were all over 10 years old), and the libraries would not even want them.

Some of the hardcover books we brought in were actually purchased from their dollar clearance rack, so I wasn’t expecting much for them either (even though they were good books!).

I ended up accepting their offer, but my wife and I purchased some books and DVDs from the store, so it ended up being a coupon and not cash! I know the value of our items was a lot more than what we were paid, but it came down to a matter of convenience.

I was already there, and these were items we didn’t want in our house anymore. I estimate the retail value of our items would have been around $60-75, so we got a little less than we would have had we donated them and received a tax deduction.

While I love shopping at Half Price Books because of their bargains and proximity to my house, I do not think I will ever sell to them again. For the paltry sum of money we received (which we didn’t actually receive as we spent it right away), I would rather give the books and other items to friends and relatives or donate them to the library or Goodwill.

The last two places will give a receipt which is good for a tax deduction. I think I also would have felt better had I donated them, not just for the tax deduction, but because I enjoy giving. Next time, I may give them away.

If you are looking to sell your books, movies, music, and related items, then it’s worth checking with Half Price Books to see what they offer. But you should also check online to see which other options are available a better offer selling your textbooks to some of the online stores that specialize in buying textbooks.

Selling Books for Extra Money

If you’re like most people, you probably have a lot of books sitting on your shelf that you haven’t read, and you’re probably never going to read. If you’re looking for a simple way to make extra spending money, blow the dust off of those books and sell them.

While I wouldn’t suggest Half Price Books, there are plenty of ways that you can sell back your books without having to have a garage sale or put them on Craigslist.

One simple way that you can make some money is to participate in the Amazon buyback program. They say that they are going to give you up to 80% of the value of a book. If you can get 80% of the value for your books, that much more than you’re going to get just about everywhere else.

The one caveat is that you’re going to get all of your cash on Amazon gift cards, but you can literally buy anything with those gift cards. Because of how easy it is to sell your books on Amazon, this would probably be my first suggestion for anyone that’s looking to unload those unread or used books.

If you would rather not have your money on Amazon gift cards, then you can sell your books on eBay. You probably know all about eBay at this point, so I’m not going to bother explaining how the site works. One of the obvious disadvantages of eBay is that you don’t know how much money you’re going to make with your books.

If you have some old textbooks sitting around from college, I highly suggest that you sell them. The problem with textbooks is that they are constantly updating and printing new editions, which means that old editions are not going to be worth nearly as much.

While getting something is better than getting nothing, you probably won’t get as much for those textbooks as you would like. There are DOZENS of websites that you can sell your textbooks to.

Chegg Books will take just about any textbook that you want to sell. If you’re struggling to get rid of your textbooks, then Chugg is a great option.

They take just about any textbook and you will get your money within 10 – 15 days. There are a couple of disadvantages that you should be aware of when you’re looking for a way to sell your textbooks.

One of the biggest drawbacks of Chugg is that you’re going to have to pay to ship. With some hardback textbooks, it’s going to be expensive to ship them.

One of the other pitfalls is that they have very high standards for their textbooks. They will allow you to have some highlighting marks in the textbook, but just about anything other than that they won’t accept.

Another popular site for textbook sales is Textbooks.com. With such an original title, you can guess what they specialize in. They will buy just about any book, and they also offer free return shipping.

Not only that, but they also have a 30-day lock-in buyback quote. If you decide that you want to accept their offer for your textbooks, then you have 30 days to mail in the textbooks to get your money. Just like with every other site, there is going to be some disadvantages.

One of the biggest ones with Textbooks.com is that they are strict standards for the books that they accept. They won’t take any books that have tears, writing, or any stains. If they don’t accept your book, it’s going to be recycled.

You may also find better returns for some items through a buyback service like Decluttr. They buy electronics, music, movies, textbooks, and even Legos.

Most households have thousands of dollars of junk and old stuff just sitting around. This weekend, take some time to clear out your bookshelf, your old electronics, and any of that stuff that you have crammed into your closets, this will not only help you find things to sell to make some extra money, but you will save money by spending quality time together at home.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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  1. Cynthia says

    I sold thirteen popular NYT’s fiction bestsellers and got $10. Just not worth it. I’ll give mine to the Friends of the Library next time.

  2. Kathy says

    We foolishly thought that at least the books we dropped off would have a better chance of being resold. So I was prepared to get a little less – but we had 9 boxes of books and they gave us $25. Really a huge rip-off. Will not use them again

  3. Laura Yarzebinski says

    What a rip off! Great place to buy books, but they really don’t pay well for books. You’d be much better off donating them. HPB is a taker not a reasonable place to do business with. Not worth the gas or time to get there.

  4. Jeremy says

    I dislike all the complaints I see about paltry offers from HPB. Of course they offer you low. That is why you go there and get great deals on the books you DO want. Why not sell to Half Price Books at a loss just to keep them thriving? They sell new books at literally half price, and they also sell great values for used books, so when you sell to them for cheap, you know you are just helping others in turn down the line that end up buying your books. I think that the US could use more brick and mortar used book stores, so I figure support them as much as you can, and if you can buy from a physical store instead of off Amazon or some other online seller, then go for it.

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