Make Money

Flipping Books Side Hustle: The Ultimate Guide

flipping books
Author Image

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission when you click on them, but this is at no extra cost to you. Read our privacy policy for more information.

Want to Make Extra Money Now?

Trying to make some extra cash in your some spare time? Flipping books for cash is a great way to earn some side hustle money.

While the profit on each book that you flip may be small, it can quickly add up to make you a few extra hundred dollars a month. Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

Table of Contents

What Books Should I Buy?

Finding the right type of book is probably the most important factor when it comes to flipping. If you type in the word “book” on Ebay, you’re most likely to be hit with a wide variety of search results getting anything from novels to video game manuals.

In order to make sure that our flipping process is going to be efficient, the only real profit that you will make will be on textbooks, and here’s the main reason why:

1. Textbooks sell at a much higher price than other books.

This means that you can find a great variation in price. If we were to buy a novel at $3 dollars, we probably wouldn’t be able to mark it up much. We might be able to make a dollar or two. After factoring in time, we’re actually losing money.

2. These books are always in need.

At the beginning and end of every quarter, students will be rushing to buy and sell their books. Provided that the version you purchase is up-to-date, you can always sell it. This way you won’t have to worry about the price every dropping too quickly.

How Do I Know What Price Books Sell For?

Before we even purchase a book, we want to guarantee that we can make a profit on it. Selling the book on auction sites like Ebay can’t give us a definite selling price.

That’s why we use this handy online tool called

Simply go to the site and type in your ISBN number and it will direct you to a list of sites that will buy your used book. The majority of sites on BookScouter will give you a prepaid shipping label so that you don’t have to worry about any additional costs.

Where Do I Find Books to Sell?

Now that we know how much we can sell a book for, we can go to Ebay and see if there are any great deals. Here’s a great example of what I found this morning searching through their listings.

searching ebay for textbooks

After shipping costs, this book will cost us a total of $86.03 cents. I copy the ISBN number listed on the Ebay ad and paste it into the BookScouter search bar. Here’s what the results show:

textbook purchase

By reselling this book to ValoreBooks, we can sell it for $95.19 making a nice little profit of around $9 dollars. The retailer pays for shipping so that all we have to worry about is getting the book shipped out and collecting our money on PayPal.

While this might not be much, there are other buyers on Ebay trying to do the same thing you are, so it’s going to be difficult to make a large profit on one item.

Complete this method for a 10-20 books a month and you’ll make an extra $100. I usually check Ebay for 5 minutes every morning for any quick deals, not costing me a lot of extra time.

What Should I Be Careful About?

Although we can visibly see what we can resell books for thanks to BookScouter, there are still a few things to look out for:

  • Don’t buy books at the end of the calendar or school year. This is normally when a new version is likely to come out, and older versions quickly drop in price.
  • Don’t buy international versions of textbooks. International versions are much more difficult to sell and always sell at a lower price. Read the description before you confirm your purchase.
  • Check the book’s condition. If you’re using, you will only be able to sell books in good condition or better. You want to make sure that the book your buying is eligible for resale.
  • Be careful of PayPal Fees. According to PayPal’s fee structure, there is no fee when purchasing a good or service. However, as a seller on BookScouter, the fee can amount to 2.9% plus $.30 cents per transaction. Make sure to be updated on all rules before making a transaction.

Are There Any Additional Ways to Save Money on Flipping Books?

If you become a frequent book flipper on Ebay, there are some things you can do to increase the amount of cash you bring in by a few percentage points.

The first way is by getting cash back through credit cards. On the PayPal checkout screen, you can choose to purchase a book using a credit card. Currently the Fidelity American Express Card gives you 2% in savings on all purchases.

Secondly, you can use a shopping portal to get some money back. By going through ShopatHome, you can get an extra 2% on everything purchased on Ebay.

Last but not least, buy in bulk. The one additional cost that you’re going to incur is for packaging. You can find these great mailer envelopes on Amazon for books at $9 dollars for a 100 count. This means your total cost per book will only go up 10 cents.

You can also save time by making only one trip to the post office after you get a couple of books ordered. Tell us about your experience flipping books in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Hey there! 👋

Want to learn how to make an extra $1,000 per month?

Download our free guide to the 10 best side hustles. What's included:

  • 10 Side Hustles to Make $1,000/month
  • Worksheet for setting money making goals
  • Resource List to help you succeed