Homeschool Used Book
Selling & Shipping Guide


5 Essentials to Selling Your Used Books

Presentation means a great deal when it comes to attracting customers to a product. Fortunately, it isn’t hard to present your used books well. It simply requires a bit of intentionality in a few key areas.

Good Preparation

It’s always frustrating to get into a project, only to find that you’re missing required components. On Homeschool Used Book, book weight, photos, categories (grade, subject, publisher), tags, and a condition statement are required for any listing to be published. Missing just one of these components will prevent your listing from publishing and cause you frustration. So, prepare well by having all of this information gathered before you begin your listing.

Accurate Weight

Product weight is one of the most commonly needed and most commonly missed aspects of selling online. It is a critical factor for calculating shipping costs, so it’s necessary to collect weight information before beginning your listing. Regular bathroom scales are usually not sensitive enough to accurately report the weight of books, and vendor sites frequently either do not include a weight or report an inaccurate weight (one that includes packaging).

If you intended to sell regularly on Homeschool Used Books or any other online site, consider investing in a solid kitchen scale that will allow accurate weight measurements for books. Alternately, you can load up everything you wish to sell and head to the post office. Many branches will have a shipping scale in the lobby for customer use.

Good Photos

Clear photographs make all the difference when selling a used product online. If possible, use a white background to photograph each book. This can be as simple as a sheet of white poster board. If you are using a phone or other touchscreen device to capture the image, tap on the white background directly behind the book to sharpen the white and better highlight the book cover.

(Note: Do not use stock photos. Customers need to be able to see the exact book they are purchasing.)

Once you’ve taken your pictures, make sure they are well cropped and the file sizes aren’t too large. Free sites like iloveimg.com allow you to crop, resize, and compress images easily.

Proper Categories

We’re often tempted to heighten visibility by including our products in as many categories as possible. But, accuracy is more important than wide-open visibility. As you list a book, use only the publisher’s recommended grades, unless there is a specific reason to add an additional grade. Take the same approach with a subject. Perhaps you used a particular living book for history, science, and language arts, but is there one place where it really fits? If someone else were looking for that book, where would they look first? Finally, be sure to include the publisher, as many buyers are looking for products from specific publishers and will be searching accordingly.

Product Number

With a variety of editions floating around for any given homeschool resource, many customers search for books based on an ISBN. When creating a product listing, include a product number (sku) that begins with the ISBN to help customers find exactly what they’re looking for.


Although categories need to be kept simple, using a wide variety of tags can be very effective for making sure your book shows up in a customer’s search results. Ask yourself specific questions about your book: Does it work best with a specific learning style or teaching method? Who is the author? Is it a hardcover or paperback? Does it fit with a specific time period of history or could it be labeled more specifically than just “science”? Evaluate your book and think of one- or two-word descriptors that people might use to search for an item like yours. Include those descriptors as tags.

Good Pricing

When considering how to price your book, remember that Homeschool Used Book customers will see the following guidelines to help them determine the condition of the books they are shopping for:
A: Like New – A book in perfect condition.
B: Well Loved – A well-loved book that has had limited use and remains in great condition.
C: Good – A book that shows wear from use, but remains in good condition.
D: Worn – A book that shows extensive use.

The standard suggestion for price for each condition category is as follows:
A: Like New – 60% of the retail price
B: Well Loved – 50% of the retail price
C: Good – 40% of the retail price
D: Worn – 30% of the retail price

Pricing decisions ultimately come down to a judgment call that compares the price you would like to receive with the price customers are willing to pay. By using the above standards, you can ease the stress of making that judgment call.


Shipping Tips to Guarantee Delivery

No online sale is complete until a customer has received their product and is satisfied with it and its condition. While you can’t control every aspect of customer satisfaction, good shipping habits go a long way toward ensuring that an order reaches its destination in a timely manner and in good condition.

Use the Right Container

Boxes or padded bubble mailers are a must when it comes to protecting books during shipping. Never use a plain, unpadded, or unlined paper envelope.

Use the Right Size Container

If books have to be forced to fit or have too much space to move around, the chance for damage is high, resulting in a dissatisfied customer. Use a box or mailer that is large enough for the book(s) to fit easily without being forced, yet small enough for a secure fit.

Add Padding

Use packing paper, newspaper, bubble wrap, or other padding to fill any gaps in the packaging and ensure a secure fit. Once you have packed the order, but before sealing it, shake the box to make sure that the books do not move. If the books do move, add additional padding, then try again until you are confident that the fit is secure.

Tape Well

Once the fit is secure, tape all sides of the package with packing tape to make sure that the box or mailer will not split or pop open. If there are any tears or gaps in the packaging, cover those with tape as well to protect the packing from further tearing or from exposure to elements.

Secure Label Well

If you print a paper label, secure the entire label with tape to ensure that the address cannot be smudged in any way. If you’ve printed the address on a self-stick label, check very carefully to make sure that the label is sticking well and will not smudge. When in doubt, secure it with more tape! A lost or smudged label will guarantee a lost package.

Be Timely

Be sure to mail the package within 48 hours of order placement to ensure timely delivery. If, for some reason, there is a delay beyond the 48-hour mark, communicate the delay very clearly with the customer and get the order mailed as quickly as possible. Timely mailing of a well-packaged product can make a huge difference when it comes to customer satisfaction.

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