With over two million students enrolled in public and private colleges in Canada, there’s a fairly large market for used textbooks.
Since they’re required for classes, college bookstores often charge hefty premiums for brand-new books. To save money, many students prefer to buy lightly used textbooks instead.
If you’re looking to flip your old textbooks for cash, then you’re in the right place!
Below, I’ll explain everything you need to know about selling textbooks in Canada. I’ll show you how to sell your old textbooks both online and locally. Finally, I’ll give you a few great tips to get the most money for your used textbooks.
Are you ready to put some extra cash in your pocket?
Recent statistics show that around 70% of students prefer to buy used textbooks over brand-new textbooks. Purchasing used textbooks is a great way to save money and can help students save hundreds or even thousands of dollars compared to buying brand-new books.
For the most part, you shouldn’t have any issues selling textbooks in Canada. As long as the books are in good condition and up-to-date, then it’s not hard to find a buyer.
Some buyers may even offer to buy your entire collection at once. The most common textbooks subjects to sell in Canada include:
- Foreign language
Textbooks needed for trades are also in very high demand.
The main problem that you may encounter is when colleges update their class curriculum. While this doesn’t happen too often, it can definitely throw a wrench in the works.
When classes update their curriculum, they’ll often switch to an entirely new textbook or require students to have the latest version of the textbook (which often features new information or online access features).
If you’ve been out of college for a while, then you may want to double-check with the college or students to make sure that your textbooks are still being used in classes.
How To Sell Your Textbooks In Canada: Step-by-Step
Here’s a quick rundown of how to sell your textbooks in Canada.
If your old textbooks are already in great condition, then you’re good to go! However, if they’re a bit dirty, have a scent to them, or have some dog-eared pages, then you’ll want to take a few minutes to clean each book up before you try to sell them.
Flatten the pages and use a microfiber cloth with a bit of rubbing alcohol to wipe off any dirt or stains. If the books have a musty or smoky smell to them, you can place them in a sealed plastic container with an open box of baking soda.
Most of the smells should transfer from the book pages to the baking soda, leaving your books clean and odour-free.
Now that your textbooks are clean and ready to sell, it’s time to take some pictures of them. This is especially important if you’re going to sell them online. You’ll want to include high-quality pictures of:
- The front of the textbook
- The back of the textbook
- The first page of the textbook to show the version
- Any damages (stains that won’t come out, torn pages, etc.)
Take the pictures in a clean, well-lit environment to make them look more professional.
I recommend talking to some students or looking through the current college curriculum to make sure that the textbooks you have are still in use. If not, then you may have to sell your old textbooks for a reduced price.
If they’re still in use, though, then you can get a premium price for selling textbooks in Canada.
Now, it’s time to sell your textbook for cash. The easiest way of selling textbooks in Canada is to sell your books online. You can also sell them back to college bookstores or to other students in person.
Below, I’ll show you the best websites to sell your textbooks online in Canada.
If you’re looking for the easiest, most hassle-free way of selling textbooks in Canada, then I recommend selling your old textbooks online.
There are a variety of online platforms that allow you to sell old books and textbooks.
You’ll be responsible for shipping and handling costs, but you can usually pass shipping costs off to your buyer. With that in mind, here are the best platforms for selling textbooks in Canada online.
- Link: SellMyTextbooks.org
SellMyTextbooks.org is, by far, one of the easiest ways to get paid for your old textbooks. It claims to be the largest used textbook broker in the world.
Unlike some of the other platforms I’ve mentioned below, which allow you to sell your textbooks to private buyers, SellMyTextbooks.org will buy your books directly from you.
SellMyTextbooks.org also has walk-in locations throughout North America (in both the US and Canada), where you can sell your textbooks.
You’ll typically get a little bit more for your textbooks compared to selling them to most college bookstores.
According to the website, the organization offers to pay up to 50% of the current retail value. On average, they offer around 37% of the retail value, though, depending on the condition of the textbooks.
- Note – You’ll likely get more money for your books if you’re selling them to a private buyer. However, this website makes it super-easy to sell your textbooks, so you don’t have to deal with uncertain buyers or negotiate your prices.
- Link: eBay Books & Textbooks
eBay is one of the largest platforms in the world for buying, selling, and auctioning used books and textbooks. Anybody can create an account, list their textbooks for sale, and ship them out to the first buyer.
If you want to have a bit of fun, you could also try to auction your textbooks off to the highest bidder. Personally, I’m a bit impatient. So I prefer to sell items outright. I’ll leave this up to you to decide, though.
- Link: Amazon Books Canada
Amazon is currently ranked as the sixth largest public company in the world. You can buy and sell almost anything on the platform. However, many people forget that Jeff Bezos first created Amazon as a simple online used book store.
Today, Amazon remains one of the top online platforms for selling textbooks in Canada. You can use your existing account to sell textbooks on Amazon, and you don’t have to worry about creating a separate seller’s account.
Given the highly competitive nature of Amazon, you may need to list your textbooks for a bit cheaper if you want them to sell quickly.
4. Second Bind
- Link: Secondbind.com
Second Bind is very similar to SellMyTextbooks.org, but they offer a far more modern website and have a simpler user interface.
Second Bind also has an Android and iOS app, so you can sell your textbooks on your phone, without having to worry about signing onto your computer.
The sales process is simple:
- Scan and upload your textbook ISBN numbers
- Get a quote for your textbooks
- Mail your textbooks to Second Bind (they cover shipping)
- Get paid
After receiving the textbooks and verifying their condition, Second Bind will either mail you a paper cheque or pay you via PayPal.
- Link: AbeBooks Canada
AbeBooks is kind of like what Amazon would have become if it only focused on books.
The platform has grown into one of the best resources for finding rare books, signed books, high-quality textbooks, and affordable used books. As a side note, if you ever need to buy a required reading book for class, AbeBooks is a great resource!
As far as textbooks go, you’ll be able to choose between two different methods:
- Listing your textbook for sale
- Use one of AbeBooks’ textbook buyback partners to get paid faster
If you’re patient and have time to wait on a buyer, then the first option should allow you to get the most money for your used textbook.
However, if you’re looking for fast cash, then AbeBooks’ textbook buyback program is probably a better option.
6. Book Power
- Link: Book Power Canada
Book Power is affiliated with the Canadian School Book Exchange, which helps to verify the authenticity and condition of the textbooks that you trade in.
Book Power doesn’t allow you to sell your textbooks to individual buyers. Instead, they offer a textbook buyback program.
The only downside to Book Power is that you won’t get paid immediately like you would with Second Bind.
You’ll have to wait until your books are sold to get paid. After Book Power sells your books and takes their cut, they’ll write you a cheque.
7. Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble is one of the largest brick-and-mortar book retailers in North America. The company also has an online textbook buyback program that allows you to trade in your old textbooks in exchange for cash.
Compared to other platforms, Barnes & Noble doesn’t offer the best rates. The amount you’ll get paid for your textbooks varies depending on the demand, book condition, and the company’s current stock of the particular textbooks.
- Note – You must have at least $10 worth of textbooks to trade in to participate in Barnes & Noble’s textbook buyback program.
8. Textbook Smart
- Link: Textbook Smart Canada
Textbook Smart is almost identical to Second Bind. You can get an instant cash offer for your old textbooks just by uploading the ISBN numbers of each textbook.
As long as they’re approved, Textbook Smart will send you a shipping label (yes, shipping is 100% free) and tell you where to drop the books off.
Once Textbook Smart has received your books, they’ll initiate an EFT (electronic funds transfer) directly to your bank account, allowing you to get paid within three to five business days.
The only downside of using Textbook Smart is that the company doesn’t offer PayPal or cheque payments.
- Link: Bookseeker.io
Bookseeker is one of the newer textbook buyback programs available to Canadians. The platform is very similar to Textbook Smart and Second Bind. All you have to do is upload your used textbook ISBN numbers to receive a quote.
Your quote will be locked in for seven days, giving you time to reconsider or find a better quote on another platform.
Once you accept the quote, Bookseeker will send you a shipping label so that you don’t have to worry about paying for shipping.
Once the company receives your books, you’ll be able to choose between a mailed cheque or a PayPal transfer.
Although it’s not quite as popular as Second Bind, BooksRun has a reliable textbook buyback program that allows you to enter your textbook ISBNs, receive a quote, and get paid once the books are received.
Shipping is also free, so you don’t have to worry about paying the expensive shipping fees that heavy textbooks would otherwise require.
Once BooksRun receives your textbook shipment, they’ll offer to send your payment via PayPal or a mailed paper cheque.
I recommend using PayPal since it’s faster, easier, and you don’t have to worry about your cheque getting lost or stolen in the mail.
Most of the websites I listed above operate textbook buyback programs. However, some of them allow you to privately sell your textbooks as well. Both options offer their own benefits and drawbacks.
Here’s a quick comparison of both methods of selling textbooks in Canada, so you can decide which is best for you:
|Textbook Buyback Program||Private Textbook Sale|
|Upload your ISBN numbers, get a quote, mail your books, and get paid.||Upload textbook images and ISBNs, create an online listing, and wait for a buyer.|
|Quote locked in for several days, allowing you to compare offers from other textbook buyback programs.||Sell your textbooks to the first buyer.|
|Allow you to get paid faster.||You may have to wait several weeks for a buyer.|
|No shipping costs.||You (or your customer) will have to pay shipping costs, which can be expensive for a heavy book order.|
|You’ll usually get between 30% and 50% of the textbook’s retail value.||You may be able to get between 50% and 75% of the book’s retail value.|
If you’re just looking for fast cash, then I recommend using a textbook buyback program. However, if you have some time on your hands and want to get top dollar for your used textbooks, then creating a private listing is likely the better option.
Now that you’ve seen the various online textbook selling and textbook buyback programs in Canada, let’s take a few minutes to overview the best ways to sell your textbooks in Canada locally.
11. Facebook Marketplace
- Link: Facebook Marketplace
Statistically, Canadians are some of the most active Facebook users in the world. This means that Facebook Marketplace is one of the best options for privately selling textbooks in Canada.
All you have to do is create a listing, upload pictures of your textbooks, write a brief description of the textbooks, and set a price. You offer an in-person sale or you can offer to ship the books as well.
To get the best price for your textbooks on Facebook Marketplace, I recommend mentioning the ISBN numbers as well as the textbook edition numbers in your listing.
- Link: Kijiji Classified Ads
Kijiji is one of Canada’s largest and longest-standing classified ads platforms. All you have to do is enter your province or territory, create a listing, and wait to hear back from shoppers.
When I was in college, I actually purchased most of my textbooks from Kijiji, thanks to the great deals I found!
Kijiji isn’t quite as simple to use as Facebook Marketplace, but it’s worth trying all the same.
If you’re having trouble selling your textbooks on either platform, then I recommend listing them on both platforms to expedite the process.
13. Trade Into Your College Bookstore
Before the internet came around, the easiest way to sell your old textbooks in Canada was to sell them back (or trade them in) to your college bookstore.
Today, most college bookstores have a buyback program and will offer you cash upfront in exchange for your textbooks, as long as they’re in good condition.
The advantage of this method is that you’ll get paid the same day, which can be helpful. However, college bookstores are notorious for lowballing students when it comes to textbook buybacks.
You’ll typically get paid far less than if you were to use an online textbook buyback program.
14. Sell To Other Students In Person
If you’re looking for fast cash, but don’t want to accept the low offer provided by your college bookstore, then you can offer to sell your textbooks to students in person.
To find buyers, you’ll usually want to hang out around your college campus before classes start and look for new students who are enrolling in the classes that you took the previous year.
Ask them if they’re looking for a good deal on used textbooks, and explain that you can give them a better deal than they’ll find at the bookstore.
This method takes a bit of sales savvy and communication, but it is fun, allows you to meet new people, and become a better salesperson.
15. Post A Flyer
If you’re not on Facebook and don’t feel like using Kijiji, then you can always go super old-school and post a flyer on your local community bulletin board.
Often, small cafes, college dormitories, and other communal spots allow you to post small printed flyers.
Post a couple of pictures of your textbooks, along with some basic information about the quality of the books, ISBN numbers, and edition numbers.
Then, post your email address or phone number so prospective buyers can get in touch with you.
Tips To Get The Most Money For Your Old Textbooks
Whether you’re selling your textbooks online, in-person, or trading them back into your college bookstore, here are the best tips to get the most money for your old textbooks!
1. Protect Them While You Have Them
I always tell people to be proactive about their investments. If you have a home, take care of the property. If you have a car, keep up with preventative maintenance.
Similarly, if you have textbooks, take care of them while you have them! Every time you throw your textbook on the ground, in your dirty backseat, or shove it into an over-packed backpack, you’re decreasing the resale value of your textbooks.
You can purchase vinyl book covers to protect the front and back covers of the textbook.
Also, avoid eating or drinking around your textbooks, as stains can drastically reduce their value. Lastly, don’t fold the corners of pages or use pens and highlighters.
2. Gently Clean Them
Before you try to sell your textbooks, gently clean them with a soft cloth and a bit of rubbing alcohol. This should remove any dirt, dust, and germs.
3. Flatten The Pages
If your pages are a bit crumbled up, you can flatten them by placing a large stack of books on top of the old textbook. After a few days, the pages will be a lot flatter, making the textbook look better.
4. Take Good Product Photos
When listing your textbook online, take some good photos. Make sure that the photos show clear details, are taken in a well-lit environment, and show the condition of the textbook.
The more pictures you can post, the more trustworthy your listing will appear.
5. Write A Great Product Description
Last but not least, if you’re selling your textbooks on a classifieds site or an online marketplace, write a great product description for your book.
Don’t make the customer have to question the title, edition, year, or class that it’s required for.
By including all of this information, you’re showing respect for the buyer’s time and ensuring that you’re their number one choice.
Can I Sell Outdated Textbooks?
Let’s just say that your textbooks are no longer in use by most Canadian colleges… What then?
The good news is that there’s still a market to sell your used textbooks. Even though Canadian colleges may have updated their curriculum, other English-speaking colleges around the globe may still want them.
Sometimes, they might even be purchased by home-schooling parents who want to give their children a head start by introducing college subjects to them.
There are lots of options for selling textbooks in Canada. By far, the easiest is to use an online textbook buyback program.
However, if you have more time on your hands, then you can fetch a higher price by listing them for sale privately.
Looking for more great ways to make some extra money on the side?
Keep on reading and check out my list of the best driving apps to make money in Canada next!