Bucks for Books (aired 4/24/04)

Are there a lot of old books cluttering up your house? Maybe it's time to turn those dusty treasures into ready cash. Consumer Reports' Money Adviser says selling your old books is a whole new world these days.

Used book stores like this one used to be just about the only place to sell your old books. But boy, how times have changed. Consumer Reports says now anyone can sell books online for fast cash. But you need to know the basics before you try to turn your books into bucks.

"The first thing you need to know is which types of books are worth your time, because you won't be able to resell every title."

Mass market paperbacks won't fetch much. Neither will hardcover titles that have since come out in paperback.

Consumer Reports' Money Adviser says your best bets are books like The Da Vinci Code that have been on recent bestseller lists. Lots of literary fiction is also worth selling — think Oprah's book club. And while there are many sites that sell used books, Consumer Reports says stick with eBay and Amazon.com because they have the most customer traffic.

"Another benefit is that these sites have a third party payment system. And that takes the hassle out of collecting you money from the buyer."

There are some differences between the sites. It costs less to list your books on eBay, but its auctions only run ten days. Amazon costs a little more, but lists books for 60 days — giving you a better chance to find a buyer.

With selling books online, you'll have to open a seller's account.
Then you decide on a price — check around to see what others are charging. You'll be notified by e-mail when there's a buyer.
Then you wrap the book in a bubble wrap envelope and mail it.
It does take a bit of work, but if you're a real bookworm, it can pay off.

Consumer Reports says to set up a seller's account on eBay and Amazon, you'll need to give personal information to the sites. And if you have the buyer's money deposited directly into your bank account, you'll have to supply the account number. If you're worried about security, stick with Amazon. Its policies ranked much higher in Consumer Reports' security assessments.

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