That aside, you will undoubtedly come across not just formal "textbooks" in your travels, but all sorts of books that are taught in classes and, therefore, bought by online textbook firms. These are the big players: Textbooks.com, Powell's Books, Chegg, etc. However, I never go directly to these websites. Instead, I always start with Bookscouter, where you put in the ISBN and they automatically search 44 different companies and give you comparative prices.
There are a number of distinct advantages to dealing in textbooks:
- Guaranteed Profit: If they offer you a price and you accept it, you know you'll make a profit. These are guaranteed sales.
- Prepaid Shipping: The legit companies offer shipping, all you need to do is print off the label and slap it to a box (more on strategically shipping).
- They're usually books you can't sell elsewhere: They are softcovers, recently written, etc. This means you're not drawing from your carefully selected stock of beautiful old books.
- Prices Change: Most of these websites are seriously sneaky and are constantly changing their prices. Hence, don't sit on the books, buy them and sell them that night in order to lock in the price. The exception is Textbooks.com which guarantees their prices for a month.
- Minimum Orders: Every one of these sites has a minimum price or number of books (usually price), below which they will not buy your books. They don't want to ship your single copy of The Merry Wives of Windsor across the country as it cuts into their profit margin. These minimums are different for each site and you should make note of them.
- General Sleaze: The textbook companies are bottom-of-the-barrel parasites. I don't feel particularly good about working with them.
Make sure you check the ISBN of any book you buy.