Used Book Exchange

1. What is a used book exchange?

A used book exchange is a purveyor of gently-used books.  The ‘exchange’ part comes from the customer loyalty program usually practiced by these businesses, where a customer can bring their used books in and ‘exchange’ them for others, usually on a credit system.  For instance, the bookstore may choose to allow people to give two books and receive one in return.  Or the customer may receive credits towards the purchase of books when they drop off their used books.

By creating a second life for used books, used book exchanges keep books out of the landfill or the recycle bin.  It also provides a better price for customers than a new bookstore, though the selection and quality may be slightly less.

2. What required knowledge or skills are necessary?

There are no formal educational or training requirements for this job.

3. How much money is required to start?

$-$$   (on a scale of $ to $$$$$)

4. What is the income potential?

$-$$   (on a scale of $ to $$$$$)

5. What is the best location for a used book exchange?

Urban (best), semi-urban (very good), suburbs (fair), rural (fair/poor).

6.  Three best questions to ask yourself to find out if this business is right for you (if you can answer yes to all three, this business might be for you):

Do you enjoy books and have you always been a bookworm?
Do you have retail experience that will help you set up and maintain an attractive shopping experience (some used book stores get scarily overloaded to the point that people can’t find books they’re looking for)?
Are you a fairly organized person who can use software to maintain your ever-changing inventory of thousands of books?


Interested in starting one in your community? Where do you begin?  What permits do you need?  Who is your target customer?  How do you find them?  What is the best use of your limited advertising dollars?  What’s the best way to attract a great employee or volunteer?  What does an average day look like?  What strategic tips do veteran eco-entrepreneurs suggest for startups like you?

There’s a lot to think about.  Rest easy.  Our mission is to help you succeed, so drop us a line (  We’ll get you a business planning document to get you on your way for ONLY $199!  We also guarantee our work, so if you are not satisfied, you get your money back!*

Take a look at a sample table of contents and a few sample excerpts from similar plans here.   In essence, we’ll provide you the What, When, Where, and How…you provide the Who!

*Subject to the terms of our Licensing Agreement.

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