Craigslist is one of the largest local, community-based classifieds websites, with millions of listings posted per month. Spanning 700 cities, 70 countries, and categories ranging from job listings to housing to personals, there are plenty of opportunities for you to find potential buyers for your textbooks.

By following these simple steps, you can increase the chances of successfully selling your used textbooks on Craigslist.

The main page of Craigslist will automatically direct you to the local site for your closest major location. Under the “for sale” section, select “books” to see current listings for books in your area. By searching for the title of your textbook, or for textbooks in general, you can get a sense of the going prices in your area and what you can reasonably ask.

It’s important to make sure your textbook is in the best condition before you put it on the market. A few minutes spent sprucing it up can go a long way, attracting buyers and commanding a higher price.

Once potential buyers have located your listing, photos are the first thing they’ll look at to assess the condition of your textbook. For that reason, you should provide as much clear visual information for them as possible.

Avoid using cell phone cameras or other low-quality cameras. Instead, opt to use a DSLR digital camera if possible, or other high-resolution camera.

Take direct, head-on photos of the book’s front and back cover, spine, some of its first pages, and any areas of damage, folding, writing, or highlighting.

If the book is in its original packaging or has never been opened for reading, you can describe it as new or like new. Otherwise, the book should be considered used.

A book with signs of wear no more extensive than a slightly creased spine can be described as excellent.

If it has some wear on the cover or light marking within the book, list its condition as good.

In the case of heavy highlighting, notes, or a few folded pages, it should be listed as fair.

Do not list a book with water damage, extensively cracked binding, or torn and missing pages. The condition of such a textbook is unacceptable.

Choose your asking price based on the condition of the book, as well as its relative rarity on the market. If you’re the only person selling a copy of this textbook, you may be able to charge a higher price. On the other hand, if your textbook is commonplace, you may have to lower the price to increase the chance of a sale.

While your title can be longer, include the most important information within the first 30 characters so it is fully visible on mobile browsers, leading with the title and edition.

In the description, list only the most pertinent information, such as the textbook’s year, authors, publisher, ISBN, details of any damage, information on CDs and DVDs or other media resources, and history of book ownership. Any excessive or irrelevant text can distract and deter potential buyers.


When selecting a deadline, take into account the urgency you want to convey with your listing. Shorter deadlines may encourage buyers to choose your book while they have the chance; longer deadlines are better if you have some time and are open to negotiating.

Craigslist allows you to repost your listing once every 48 hours, and it can be good to post about twice a week: once on a weekday, and once on the weekend. This will ensure that as many people as possible will see your listing.


Include details such as your neighborhood, name, and phone number to give buyers a sense of your trustworthiness and a better idea of where you’re located.

Unlike more standardized classifieds sites, Craigslist allows delivery to be set up directly between the seller and buyer. When a potential buyer contacts you via Craigslist, make sure to answer any of their questions promptly. Once you’ve located a buyer and agreed on a price, they may opt for either shipping or in-person delivery. In any case, be sure that you’ve received payment before delivering the book.

If you’re meeting in person, stay safe by following a few basic precautions. Arrange to meet in a public place, like a restaurant or plaza. Tell friends or family where you’ll be, and let them know who you’re meeting. If possible, have a friend come with you. Most buyers on Craigslist are honest and trustworthy, but it’s always important to keep your safety in mind.

Try to avoid phrasing your listing as a question, or using excessive punctuation, which can make your listing look like spam.

Before posting your listing, take an objective look at your textbook’s condition.

Try to find a source of good natural light, and turn off your camera’s flash.

If you prefer, a flatbed scanner can be used to create high-quality scans of the book and its content.


Don’t take pictures in dim lighting, or harsh off-color indoor lighting.

Wipe down the cover softly to clear off dirt and scuff marks.

If the dust jacket is damaged, try to find a new one to replace it.

Unfold any dog-ears or other folded pages, uncreasing them and pressing them flat.

Find the CDs, DVDs, or access codes for online resources that originally came packaged with your book. If these are missing, it could negatively affect the sales price.

Selecting the “map” option will display some of the textbook listings on a local map, allowing you to see which sales are occurring nearby. Make a note of which textbooks are currently popular, and how much they’re being sold for.

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