Here’s the scenario. There’s a stack of books you want to get rid of. You can either donate to the local centers or sell the books with Bookscouter. It’s not a bad idea, considering that the items get recycled for better use. Plus you get to make back some money too.
However, before getting your hopes too high, let’s lay down some facts that can be expected when dealing with such trading. At the end of this article, there’s even a suggestion to help beef up your pocket so stay tuned.
Bookscouter – Operation at a Glance
Launched in 2007, Brandon Checketts founded Bookscouter to help a friend sell used college textbooks for cash. Back then, there weren’t any convenient platform so he created one instead. Today, Bookscouter has become an established intermediary between sellers and book companies such as Amazon and Powells.
While it’s popular among students, small businesses and non-profit organizations use it often too. The platform acts like a search engine that compares prices among companies and there’s currently 29 vendors participating in the buyback, reselling as well as rental services.
The most specific way to search for an item is through the ISBN number but you can also use the book title or the author’s name. When the database finds a match, it will pull out a comprehensive price list and show the best place to sell, buy or rent the books.
For example, with this Harry Potter collection, the item is valued between 30 cents to $26.
Choosing the highest offer is the obvious choice here but you can also view the price history to see the changes in values over time. This can reflect on whether they offer you are getting is worthwhile or not.
How Do You Make Money
If you are happy with an offer, click on the SELL button and that should lead you to the vendor’s site for check out. Over there, you’ll decide whether to accept payment through check (3-7 days) or PayPal (1-3 days) and the company will provide the shipping label, usually for free. In most cases, what you see on the price list is what you’d get. In the case of Amazon, just keep in mind that payment comes in the form of gift cards instead.
Alternatively, you can also use the Bookscouter mobile app (available in Android and iOs) and scan the ISBN to find out the market value. I did this with some of my old books as well as some academic books at my workplace and was surprised to see the results. I will discuss more on this later.
Selling used books, however, isn’t the only way to make money here. Bookscouter offers a paid apprentice position that hires current users to work with them for at least 10 hours per week. The candidate must be self-motivated and have an interest in Business Operations or Marketing.
The other method is through their affiliate program whereby you get paid a certain sales percentage (not sure how much that would be) when referring a new user to the buyback platform. The process involves submitting a simple form and most importantly, a website that you are planning to use for promoting Bookscouter.
Having a website is crucial for affiliate marketing because advertisers want to see you are legit and committed to their program, rather than some random Joe who shares affiliate links anonymously. It’s also a great avenue to show people what you know about the world of books or as in this case, cashing in on second-hand items.
With a blog site, you can also be part of other programs such as affiliates to these well-known bookstores. All these will add to your revenue streams and help build your authority in the niche. If you don’t know how to set up a blog or never have any luck getting one to run smoothly, try this tool below to create a WordPress site for free.
Is Bookscouter Worth Your Time?
Overall, the platform is pretty neat and easy to use. I could see how it serves good purposes for the following situations.
1) If you are a student who has just graduated and running low in pocket money, selling your textbooks is a great way to recoup what you’ve spent all these years. The more books that are in good condition, the more vendors are going to want and pay for them.
2) The platform makes it convenient to move books out quickly rather than collecting dust and waiting forever for a buyer. I wish there were such services available back when I was a college student.
3) The transparency of the vendor’s ratings makes it easier to decide which one to sell to and which one to avoid. Ideally, 4-5 star companies are the ones you want to deal with because others have had good experiences with them.
- Book Byte
- Books Cash Fast
- Buy Back 101
- CKY Books
- Rent Text
- TextBook Experts
- Book Monster
4) Creating an account is very straightforward. There’s no need for email verification or sign up for membership (although they do have one available). And if you don’t have the patience to key in those long ISBN numbers, simply use the mobile app to scan. Easy peasy.
After scanning some of my old books, I came to realize the reality of the second-hand economy. Just like the selling of gently-used clothes, there are limitations and even risks to consider from the very start of the process.
1) Despite millions of books distributed worldwide, the platform is only relevant to those living in the US. Books are heavy items so I don’t see how free shipping could apply to other regions if the buyback companies are based here.
2) You need to take the high vendor’s ratings with a pinch of salt. Not all of them are perfect and there are situations whereby payments could be longer than expected or that they ended up paying less than the amount promised. It has happened and if you aren’t happy, do you want the shipment to be returned or relinquish the ownership? These are the situations most people got caught into.
3) The resale value of a book is determined by several factors. The year of publication (must have ISBN number), the author and the popularity. In general, coffee table, self-help and academic textbooks carry more values than the typical fiction based ones.
I can confirm this because while scanning my old fiction collection, only 3 out of 20+ items have a resale value that ranges between 10 cents to $1 per piece. Not a lot of buyers and very little money there.
My college textbooks, on the other hand, fetch higher prices, most within the range of $10 to even $40+ AND Amazon actually wants them. So if you are a heavy fiction reader, there won’t be much offered here.
4) Application review for the affiliate program could take anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks which I find to be pretty long. Considering the company’s good reputation, I do hope the approval rate is high to compensate for the long wait.
If for whatever reasons, you don’t get into the program or don’t have the patience, I would recommend searching for book-related advertisers from the following networks. Chances are, you would hear from them much faster and then, you can decide on what to promote through your blog.
The way I see it, selling books with Bookscouter is a legit way of making some extra cash when you have unused but valuable books lying around. Just keep in mind that price offers can differ greatly amongst vendors and depending on the genre, you may or may not get a lot out of the sales.
This tool is particularly useful for bookstore owners to clean up their inventory and replaced it with new ones as well as for students who have recently graduated. For most of us, it doesn’t serve a long term purpose because book trends change very rapidly and you need high volumes in order to make anything profitable.
Meanwhile, audiobooks are becoming more popular due to convenience and affordability. I am guessing more fiction books are likely to fall into this category in the next few years, so that’s something to look into if you are planning to dive into more reading. Amazon Audible and the Scribd app are just some of the companies that also offer affiliate programs so creating a blog around these brands isn’t a bad idea for long term monetizing too.
Anyways, I hope this review has been knowledgeable. Maybe now, you know what to do with those textbooks or better yet, finding new ways to start making money online. For more guidance on that last part, do visit my recommended training program for details.
Have you ever sold used-books online or got involved in the book-niche business? We would like to hear from you in the comment down below.