Last week I was browsing books on Amazon (but not buying since I’ve already given them enough money!) and I noticed a little box on the right side of my screen. It said, “Do you own this book? Trade it in for $24!”
Seeing that triggered a memory from several months ago, when I was going through my Amazon spending history and cringing at how much I’ve spent over the years. At the time, Amazon had recently introduced its trade-in store, where you can send in books, DVDs, and video games (they’ve since added electronics) for a set price.
I was one of those people who kept every single college textbook related to my major, thinking I’d use them all the time in my career. And in case you’re wondering, I haven’t touched any of them since I finished grad school. I wonder if I could get any money for those old textbooks, I thought.
How Amazon’s Trade-In Store Works
Amazon’s trade-in store is an awesome service. You enter the name of your textbook, compare ISBNs to make sure it’s the same edition, and add it to a running list of items to send in. Textbooks need to be in “good” condition, which means no water damage, no name written inside the front cover, and no missing pages. I pulled all my old college books off my bookshelves and started searching to see how much money I could get.
Since I’ve been out of college for 7 years, many of my books were outdated and ineligible for trade. Surprisingly, though, 22 of them were still current enough to get a decent trade-in price. I got $460 for the 22 books, or an average of about $21 each.
Once you’ve added all your trade-in items to the list on Amazon’s site, you get a prepaid shipping label and packing list to print out. The quoted prices are only good for a week, so you have to get the items shipped out within that timeframe. If for some reason the books aren’t in good enough condition to be accepted, you can ask that they be sent back to you.
I took my books to the closest UPS store – I wanted to make sure they were boxed up correctly and that the weight didn’t exceed the UPS limits. It cost $4 for the box and tape, which (for me) was worth it because I knew there wouldn’t be any problems in transit.
The box shipped out last Tuesday, and I got an email from Amazon on Friday saying my books were all accepted and my account had been credited with $460. SWEET!
Is the Trade-In Store Worth the Effort?
Personally, I LOVE the Amazon trade-in store and had a great experience. The good things:
- You can go through your items quickly to find out whether or not you’ll get a good price.
- Amazon pays the shipping.
- You don’t have to post the items for sale and wait for a buyer/ship them separately.
- Rates are comparable to other sites (for textbooks, anyway).
- The gift card is credited to your account quickly.
- They aren’t too strict on their definition of “good” condition.
The negatives (because there are always a few!):
- You get Amazon credit instead of cash.
- Some of my books were ineligible, leaving my bookshelves as overcrowded as ever.
- I’m addicted and I want to send in all my other books (non-textbooks) now.
Have you ever used a service like Amazon’s trade-in store? What did you like or dislike about the experience? Any suggestions for better or easier ways to profit from unwanted stuff?