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Make Money Selling Used Books

Could you use some extra money? One of the best ways to clean out your house and make money at the same time is to sell some of the old things that you don’t use anymore. Like books.

The problem is that holding a yard sale is time-consuming and difficult. Plus, there’s no guarantee that anyone will want the things you’re selling.

In this review, we will discuss BookScouter, an app which helps you sell your used books. Think of it as getting paid to clean out your bookshelf.

Summary

BookScouter is easy to use, and you don’t have to pay to ship books to vendors. Its main drawbacks are that it locks some of its features behind an expensive subscription, and there’s no guarantee that you can make money if you don’t have the right books. Still, the service is free to try, so there’s no risk.

Pros

  • Easy to use interface
  • Sell books in bulk
  • Compare price from multiple vendors at once

Cons

  • Payment time can take a while
  • Do not accept all types of books

What is BookScouter?

BookScouter is a smartphone app and a website that can help you sell books to companies that buy used books. The site can also help you find books to buy or rent.

The site is particularly popular and useful for college students. It can help you buy required textbooks, which often cost hundreds of dollars, at half the price or less. When you finish your classes, you can use BookScouter to find the best price to sell your book(s).

You can also use BookScouter for regular books. For instance, some of your older books, especially things like cookbooks, might be worth more than you expect.

How Does BookScouter Work?

BookScouter doesn’t buy or sell books itself. Instead, it partners with dozens of other websites to direct customers looking to buy or sell books.

If you want to sell a book, you can open the BookScouter app on your phone and scan the barcode on the back of the book. You can also use the BookScouter website and search by ISBN or title.

BookScouter will automatically give you a list of websites that want to buy that book. Click the link, and it will bring you to that site. Then the book is added to your sell cart automatically.

It’s important to note that each vendor has its process for selling books. If you wind up building a list of books to sell and need to send shipments to a few different companies, keep this mind. 

Making a bit less money by consolidating your parcel to ship to just one or two buyers might be worth it if you avoid having to send a dozen different packages.

You can also use BookScouter to buy or rent books. Just search for the book on BookScouter’s app or website, and you’ll get a list of places to buy the book and the price.

How Much Money Can I Make?

How much money you can make by using BookScouter varies widely. It mostly depends on the books that you own and the amount of work that you’re willing to put in.

In general, the most valuable books on BookScouter are textbooks, cookbooks and other rare or out of print books. You’re not likely to find anyone willing to pay more than a few cents for a novel you can buy at a bookstore.

If you have a well-stocked home library with textbooks you’re looking to sell, you could make a good amount of money. Many textbooks sell for $50, $100 or more. If your home library is mostly full of mass-market paperbacks, you’re unlikely to make much.

As with almost any money-making app, there’s an opportunity for people willing to use side hustles to increase their profits.

If you’re at a used bookstore or college book fair, you can use the BookScouter app to scan the barcodes of the books that are on sale. You might be able to find a book for less than you can sell it on BookScouter.

For example, if a used bookstore is selling a book for $20, but someone on BookScouter will pay $30 for it, you have an opportunity to make a $10 profit.

As you use the app, you’ll gain a sense of what books command high prices, letting you check bookstores’ inventories more efficiently, increasing your profit per hour.

How Does BookScouter Make Money?

BookScouter is completely free for people to use, which might make some suspicious. How does the app make money if it doesn’t charge people to use it?

One way is through referral and advertising fees. When BookScouter connects you to a vendor selling or renting books, that vendor may give BookScouter a commission for referring a paying customer.

Another way that BookScouter makes money is through its subscription service, BookScouter Pro.

BookScouter Pro

BookScouter Pro is a subscription service that costs $29.99 per month. Subscribers get access to a variety of useful tools that can help them increase their profits.

Deals

Deals lets you easily view the buy and sell prices for any book that BookScouter’s partners carry. With this tool, you might be able to find situations where one vendor is selling a book for $25 while another is willing to buy it for $30. All you have to do is reserve your $30 sale price, buy the book for $25 and make a $5 profit.

Notifications

You can set up notifications to inform you when a book passes a specific buy or sell price.

For example, you might want to sell a textbook, but not be willing to sell it for less than $50. You can set a notification to get an email as soon as a vendor increases its buy price for that book to $50 or more. This feature helps you keep track of prices without having to open the app to check manually.

Historical Pricing

Typically, BookScouter only shows the current prices for books. You can’t see what the book was worth in the past. With Pro, you can see charts outlining the book’s price movement, which can help you predict whether the book is gaining or losing value or if it regularly experiences seasonal changes in price. 

For example, textbooks tend to be most popular around the times when students buy books for the new semester, which can lead vendors to pay more for used copies.

Tracking

BookScouter Pro automatically tracks your activity on BookScouter, showing you the books you’ve sold and their prices. This feature can make it easier for you to track your earnings over time.

Bulk Search

BookScouter typically limits you to searching for a single book at a time. Pro lets you do bulk searches for dozens or hundreds of books at once.

Pros and Cons of BookScouter

BookScouter is a solid app for people who want to buy and sell books. But like any service, it has pros and cons.

Pros

There are a few good reasons to use BookScouter.

Free to use

One of the best aspects of BookScouter is that it’s completely free to use. While you can sign up for a Pro subscription, there’s no requirement to pay and you can sell books for the same price even if you don’t have a Pro subscription.

The fact that the service is free means there’s no risk to trying it out.

Compare sale options

BookScouter makes it easy to find the best buyer for your books. The app works with dozens of sites and automatically shows you the most paying sites, so you don’t have to search multiple sites to compare pricing.

Make money in your spare time

Once you sell the books in your home, you can still use BookScouter to make extra money. Whenever you’re at a bookstore or a yard sale, you can scan the books available to see if there’s a chance to buy one for cheaper than you can sell it for.

Cons

BookScouter does have a few drawbacks to consider.

Doesn’t accept all books

Just because you have a book doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to sell it. If no one wants to buy the book, BookScouter won’t be able to connect you with a buyer. If you don’t own the right books, you won’t make anything from BookScouter.

Make sure the condition of your books are sellable. Obviously books that are torn, moldy and in poor condition warrant question.

You may make more money on your own

BookScouter connects you with large vendors that are willing to repurchase books from customers. The reason these companies are buying books is so they can sell them for a profit later.

That means that you could make more money outside BookScouter. If the best buy offer for a book is $40, you might be able to make $50 by selling it on Craigslist, eBay or directly to someone else. It’s just a question of whether the extra profit is worth the effort.

What About the Competition?

BookScouter is just one of many places that you can use to sell your books. For example, you might be able to sell your books to your local used bookstore or directly back to the publisher.

One major incentive to use BookScouter is that it is one of the only websites that makes it easy to compare the prices that multiple vendors will pay for books. There are few real competitors in the space. That, combined with the fact that BookScouter is free to use, makes it worth trying out.

Summary

BookScouter is an app that matches you with businesses that are willing to buy your old books. Depending on the books you have, you could make hundreds of extra dollars while cleaning your home. 

There’s also the opportunity to quickly flip books that you find for sale. Some people have made a living from flipping things online, giving people willing to hustle a chance to boost their earnings.

Have you used BookScouter or another app to sell old books? Were you able to make money by doing so? Let us know in the comments below.


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