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I have some used books and I would like to figure out their market value. Does anyone have any suggestions for how I should do that? Should I use prices on Amazon? If so, what formula should I use?

I have noticed bookstores in my area just use a simple formula of half the listed price for most of the cheaper books.

For books that were originally in the $100 range, there seems to be a bigger discount and no fixed formula. I have a mix of books, some textbooks or technical books and some regular.

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Books are priceless, even Playboy. Bump the guy who halves the prices of books, it is an invaluable commodity. – DumbCoder Dec 8 '10 at 12:35
I used to love bookshops that did this. You could buy 1960s James Bond books for 5p, because their cover price was two shillings. – DJClayworth Dec 8 '10 at 15:43
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Half of original MSRP at Amazon is a good option for books that are in good condition. Another option would be to use eBay, specifically

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Regarding the textbooks and technical books, it might be worth checking out sites like or other textbook rental websites. They might buy it from you directly versus trying to sell it on an ebay or amazon.

For fiction or nonfiction, amazon and ebay can be tough, but probably worth a look. See what comparables are for your books or similar titles, and if it works, try selling a few. The big problem is that so many sellers are on Amazon these days, that major discounts are commonplace. I've bought hardback 1st editions for less than the cost of economy shipping, so the profit margin is dwindling at best if it's an unpopular or low demand book.

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Text Book values drop rather rapidly and fluctuate quite a bit based on when you are selling (January and August-September when semesters generally start) them. I generally sell my old text books on Amazon for 10-15% less than the peak price over the last 6 months or a year if that much data is available (I use to get historical data). They generally sell pretty quick so I would say it is a fair price.

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