Frequently Asked Questions

Q.) What does this site do?

There are many sites that buy used textbooks. The prices that these site offer vary widely though. In some cases, one site may buy a book one or two dollars when another site might offer $20.00. Obviously, it is worth looking around to make sure that you are getting the most money for your used books. makes this process easy by quickly searching all of those sites for you. Our technology submits the ISBN to each of the sites, just like you would. It then displays the prices from all of those sites so you can see the range of offers and decide who you want to sell it to.

Q.) How do I find the ISBN number on my book?

The ISBN number is a 10 or 13 digit number usually displayed above or below a barcode. It is usually found on the front or back cover of a book, or sometimes on one of the first few pages. The ISBN number may have one or more hyphens, and it may end in an X.
Most books published since the early 1970's have an ISBN. They may be found in the first or last few pages of the book, or on the front or back cover. Older books may not have a barcode.

Q.) What is a preferred merchant?

Preferred merchants are those that we believe to be reliable and reputable. We have personally shipped books to them and have had a good experience. Additionally, we generally have a contact at the company who we work with and who may be able to assist in case there are any problems

Q.) What if my book doesn't have an ISBN?

First of all, double-check that there is no ISBN on the front or back cover, or in the first or last few page of the book. Older books may have just the ISBN listed without a barcode. If your book was published prior to 1970, then it may not have an ISBN, and this site won't be useful for determining who is buying it. In these cases, I'd recommend finding a local bookstore where you can rely on the knowledge of experts. If you believe that your book may have some relatively high value, you could try looking for similar copies on eBay or

Q.) How do I sell rare, collectible, or antique books?

BookScouter is not very useful for selling rare, collectible, or antique books. These books usually don't have an ISBN, so don't have any good way to determine their pricing. AbeBooks and Powell's Books both deal with these books. Additionally, you might consider finding an ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America) Seller near you so you can visit somebody knowledgeable about such books and speak with them in person.

Q.) How do ratings work?

Anybody can leave feedback on this site to let others know of their experience with a vendor. If you have sold any books to any of these vendors, please leave feedback (good or bad) so that others know what to expect. An average of all of the ratings for a site is displayed using a 5-star system on many of the pages.

Q.) I found a site that you aren't searching yet

Please let me know about it. The goal of this site is to be a comprehensive listing of all book buying sites.

Q.) I've got an idea that goes along with this site

I'd be interested in hearing about your ideas. Please fill out this quick form to let me know what you are thinking about.

Q.) Do you have a mobile version of the site?

iPhone users can use the BookScouter iPhone App available in the App Store. Users of other mobile products can use a greatly simplified version of the site available at

Q.) What condition should my books be in to sell?

Each vendor will have their own guidelines as to what they'll take and what they won't. You'll want to review each of these carefully as you choose who to sell your books to. Every vendor should take books that are new or in like new condition. What causes many books to be rejected are missing pages, bad spines, excessive writing or highlighting, and water damage.

Q.) How long before I'll be paid?

Each vendor varies on how quickly you'll be paid. Most, however, will pay you within 1-3 days of verifying and receiving your shipment. Your method of payment also determines how long you must wait before you see payment. The quickest payments come via PayPal because the postal service is not involved. If you prefer a mailed check, expect an additional 3-7 days for transit.

Q.) How must I pack my books to protect them from damage?

Our general rule is to pack your books the way you'd want them to be packaged if you were buying them for yourself. In most cases, a tight-fitting cardboard box is all that is needed. Loose-fitting boxes allow the book to move during shipping and can damage corners, spines, etc. To protect from water damage, place books inside a plastic wrap before placing it into the box. When shipping multiple books, wrap each one in plastic, stack them nicely in a box, and pad any extra space tightly with newspaper. Seal the box well with tape and extra tape around corners where water may easily get inside doesn't hurt.

Q.) Why is the highest priced vendor not listed first?

BookScouter has recently changed the way we promote or present vendors. We now take into account our user ratings, speed, payment and shipping options, and our personal experiences selling to these vendors. We test each vendor ourselves regularly to ensure the experience from to each vendor is a good one.

Q.) How is vendor rating calculated?

Vendor Rating is a rolling two-year average of user ratings on To view individual ratings and comments, visit the vendor page to know the good and bad that other BookScouter users have to say about a particular vendor. We moderate these so no defamatory remarks or personal information is shared, but we try to remain neutral when moderating these so users can read facts and experiences to shape their own opinion, and not the emotions of another user.

Q.) What do you mean by vendor speed?

We've recently added a measure called "Speed" that indicates how quickly or slowly a vendor is to pay out. This is the time from when you actually ship your books and when you see payment into your account. Because we don't have full insight into all transactions, this is an average of only a fraction of the transactions through BookScouter. This will become more accurate over time as we accrue new data.

Q.) What does it mean if no prices are listed?

If BookScouter is unable to find any prices or list vendors as all paying $0.00 for your book, your book does not currently have a resale value. You're welcome to try selling it on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, but chances are you'll spend more time and money in fees getting rid of it than it is worth. In that case, we recommend you donate or recycle your used books with little or no value.