Tips for Selling Books on eBay

Turn old books or magazines into extra cash

Woman on couch with dogs in home library
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Technology has changed the way some people read books, but that doesn't mean books don't sell on eBay. People who love books always will love books, and there is something appealing about cuddling up with a hot beverage, a book, and the family pet while spending an hour reading words on actual paper instead of a screen.

The number of books for sale on eBay typically ranges well into the millions, including everything from popular fiction to children's books to textbooks. Some types of books sell better than others, though.

Don’t Bother With Mass-Produced Fiction

If a title is stacked 25 high at Costco, it won't be a good seller on eBay.

A large supply typically means there isn't much demand. Books by popular authors like John Grisham, James Patterson, Stephen King, or Danielle Steele usually don't sell for much on eBay. This isn't to say these authors' books don't sell. They're just easy to find anywhere, which lowers their value on eBay.

Bibles Are Great Sellers

Many Bibles have beautiful leather covers or family histories written in them, and people buy them for their religious use, historical value, and for home decorating. Some people collect Bibles and are always on the lookout for beautiful pieces to add to their collections.

Demand Is High for Textbooks

If you have a child in college or you're in college yourself, you know how expensive textbooks are. The good news is that you can recover some of your initial investment by selling them on eBay. In addition to college textbooks, popular sellers on eBay include titles that cover:

  • Review for SAT, ACT, or LSAT
  • Nursing certification
  • Real estate certification
  • CliffsNotes
  • Hooked on Phonics
  • Teachers' manuals

Homeschool supplies—curricula, workbooks, planners, dictionaries, and more—are also good sellers.

Back Issues of Magazines Can Be Popular

Before you throw out stacks of old magazines, check eBay for their value. They don't have to be vintage or collectible. Environmentally conscious and frugal people buy them cheap and don't care if they're a few years old. Some people buy them to use for crafts like decoupage, school projects, or just to let their kids cut out pictures. 

Some magazines with celebrity covers can go for twice the cover price even if they aren't very old. For example, some magazines with Taylor Swift on the cover sell for $50 or more on eBay. 

Magazines can be sold in lots if they aren't worth much individually. You can fit a few into a padded flat-rate mailer and ship for about $7 to anywhere in the United States.

Weird, Unusual, Rare, or Niche Books Attract Bidders

If mass-produced books are in plentiful supply and not worth much on eBay, it stands to reason that a rare or unusual book would be worth money. Rare does not always mean old. Books written for a niche audience are going to be worth more than something produced for the masses based on simple supply and demand.

Some niche topics that can fetch a high price on eBay include:

  • Hobbies
  • Specialty cooking and diet
  • Religion
  • Specific animals
  • Travel
  • Design
  • Architecture

These and more attract specific audiences that are willing to pay more for books on topics of high interest to them.

Simply listing your books is no guarantee of a sale. If you're new to selling on eBay, be sure you know some best practices for successful selling on the platform.