Your book and you have enjoyed a good relationship for the weeks you’ve been together. You never spilled coffee on it. You didn’t highlight text, dog-ear pages, or drop it, face down with the pages open. In short, you respected your book and treated it appropriately.

All that tenderness will pay off as you prepare to sell your book to a buyback vendor. Companies in the business of buying and selling used books are very picky about the condition of the books they buy. The more your book resembles a like-new work, the more money you will likely receive. Remember: a pristine condition earns the most money.

So, here’s what you need to check:

  1. Outside. Is the cover marked with ink or pencil? Is it scratched or stained? Are the corners intact? How about the book’s spine? Is it broken or damaged? Did you ever drop the book and loosen the glue or the binding on the signatures? If not, good for you. Vendors will be happy.
  2. Inside. Did you ever spill water on the book’s pages? Or, heaven forbid, coffee? Let’s hope not, because stained pages or sticky pages are definite turn-offs for vendors wanting to buy your used biology book which cost $251 at the bookstore when you bought it last year. Did you highlight the part about miosis? Scribble notes in the margin near the section on chondrichthyes? Tsk, tsk. Writing on pages is never a good idea, and it will result in less money from any vendor.

Be honest when you tell a vendor about your book’s condition. If you’re not, here’s what could happen: you’ll send in a slightly abused book, only to find that the $50 you thought you were getting has fallen to $10 or even to $0. Typically, a vendor won’t return a book in poor condition. End of story: You’re upset, the vendor is upset, and your piggy bank is upset. If you’re less than thoughtful with your book, say so up front so the vendor can set an appropriate price.