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Frequently Asked Questions

Q.) What does this site do?

There are many sites that buy used textbooks, but the prices these site offer vary widely. In some cases, one site may buy a book for one or two dollars while another site might offer $20. Obviously, it's worth looking around to make sure you’re getting the most money for your used books.
BookScouter makes this process easy by quickly searching all those sites for you. Our technology submits the ISBN to each of the sites, just as you would. It then displays the prices from those sites so you can see the range of offers and decide where you want to sell your book.

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

The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a 10-or 13-digit number usually displayed above or below a barcode, typically on the back cover of a book. Occasionally, it appears on a book’s front pages. The ISBN may have one or more hyphens, and it may end in an X.
Most books published since the early early 1970's have an ISBN. Older books do not.

Q.) What is a preferred merchant?

Preferred merchants are those whom we believe to be reliable and reputable. We’ve shipped books to them and have had a good experience. Plus, we usually have a contact at the company who may be able to help with 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 before 1970, it may not have an ISBN, and this site won't be useful for determining who is buying it. In these cases, find a local bookstore where you can rely on experts. If you believe your book may have some relatively high value, you could try looking for similar copies on eBay or AbeBooks.com.

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 there’s no 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 speak with them in person.

Q.) How do ratings work?

Anybody can leave feedback on this site to let others know about their experience with a particular vendor. If you’ve sold 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 with a five-star system on many of the pages.

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

Please let us know about it. The goal of BookScouter is to list 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 brief form to let us know what you’re thinking about.

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

Found in the Apple App Store, the iOS Mobile Application runs on an iPhone, iPod, and iPad. Internet connectivity is required (using either Wi-Fi or data connection through your cellular carrier). If your device has a camera, you can scan a barcode rather than type each ISBN manually. The app is compatible with most Bluetooth scanners.

The BookScouter Android Application runs on Android-compatible devices and is available free in the Google Play Store. Internet connectivity is required (using either Wi-Fi or data connection through your cellular carrier). The app can use the device's camera to scan a barcode in real time. The Android app is also compatible with most Bluetooth barcode scanners, making scouting faster and easier.

iPhone users can use the BookScouter iPhone App available in the App Store. Users of other mobile devices can use a simplified version of the site available at http://m.bookscouter.com/

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

Vendors will have their individual guidelines for what they'll take and what they won't. You'll want to review each of these carefully as you choose where to sell your books. Every vendor should buy books that are in new or in almost new condition. Books are rejected for having missing pages, broken spines, excessive writing or highlighting, and water damage.

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

Every vendor has a different payment schedule. Most, however, will pay you within one to three days of receiving and checking your shipment. Your method of payment also determines how long you must wait before you see payment. The quickest payments come via PayPal. If you prefer a mailed check, expect to wait an additional three to seven days.

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, you need only a tight-fitting, sturdy cardboard box. In a loose-fitting box, the books moves around during shipping, sometimes resulting in damaged corners, spines, and pages. To protect them from water damage, place books inside plastic wrap before placing them into the box. When you’re shipping multiple books, wrap each one in plastic, stack them nicely in a box, and pad any extra space tightly with newspaper. It doesn’t hurt to seal the box well with tape, adding extra tape around corners where water may easily get inside.

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

BookScouter has recently changed the way we present vendors. We now take into account 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 BookScouter.com is a good one.

Q.) How is vendor rating calculated?

Vendor Rating is a rolling two-year average of user ratings on BookScouter.com. To view individual ratings and comments, visit the vendor page to know the good and bad that other BookScouter users experienced with a particular vendor. We moderate these to exclude defamatory remarks and personal information, but we try to remain neutral when moderating the comments so users can shape their own opinions without factoring in the emotions of another user.

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

If BookScouter is unable to find any prices or it lists 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 that have little or no value.