Textbooks. Let’s be honest—nobody really likes them. They’re super expensive, they’re generally only good for one class, and after-the-fact, they’re basically useless. This app, however, could help to solve some of this problem by giving you access to vendors who might buy your textbook back at a decent price. But can you really make money with the BookScouter app?
This is a question that we were determined to answer.
Here’s what we found out.
Getting Started With BookScouter
First of all, I feel that it’s important to clarify that I am not currently a student—so I don’t have any textbooks laying around that I need to sell. So for the purposes of figuring out if this app is really useful or not, I looked at two things.
First of all, I looked at how the app itself functioned. Does it work well? Is it user-friendly? Is it clunky? Does it crash? Is it irritating? Does it look good? These are all questions that I sought to answer as I used it.
I also looked up a textbook that I could use as a reference tool, just to compare prices and to find out how difficult it was to look up a book on the app (but I’ll talk more about this later on).
Secondly, I researched user-reviews to figure out what other people thought of it. Did they like it? Did they get good prices? Was the app worth the time required to download and use it?
And obviously, the number-one question on my list was about whether or not this app could really be used to make any extra money.
These were the types of questions that I sought to answer—and I feel that I came to some pretty good conclusions by the time I finished my research.
With that being said, here is some introductory information about BookScouter.
The app has been downloaded over 50,000 times, has been reviewed by just over 200 people, and has a Google Play Rating of 3.8.
No, these stats are not the best. But it’s also important to understand that this is a pretty niche app. Not every cell-phone user is a college student, and not every student is so strapped for cash that they need to sell their books to buy things like shoes and food.
So… from the get-go, we have to take into account that there is going to be a pretty limited range of users for an app like this.
Still, even giving it the benefit of the doubt, 3.8 stars for an app that was designed based on a very simple concept isn’t very great at all.
But this didn’t deter us. We plodded onward.
Before we get into the app, let’s first discuss exactly what BookScouter does. The official website for this company is BookScouter.com, and the site was basically designed to help you find the best vendor prices when the time comes to sell your textbooks. It accomplishes this by comparing what all of the major textbook vendors are currently paying for books of that title.
Basically, this site just helps you to get as much money for your textbooks as is possible. They don’t set the prices for the books. Rather, they just connect you with all of the vendors and their buying prices for the textbook in-question. You can then make the best, most monetarily-advantageous decision about who to sell your books to in a short amount of time—and in turn, earn some cash at the same time!
The app is connected to the same database as the website—but it allows you to use your phone camera to scan barcodes, while the website makes you type in the ISBN. So using the mobile app seems to be a lot more efficient.
Opening the app revealed a pretty simple screen with two different options on it.
This was a simple, yet very straightforward page. A drop down menu in the upper right hand corner gave us a few different options, like access to the company FAQs and contact information…but all in all, the app gets right to business with two different input methods for finding the prices on the book you want to sell.
I didn’t have a textbook on hand—so I did a quick search that would at least allow me to type the ISBN of a recently published textbook into the field, just to see how it worked.
I came up with this book…
Organizational Behavior and Management – 10th edition
Just out of curiosity, we checked out some prices on it, and found out that it tends to cost students about $112 nowadays… depending on where you order it from, and whether or not it’s in stock.
So we typed the ISBN into the app, and here’s what we ended up with for buying prices…
I’ll be honest—I was pretty impressed with this. It seems pretty obvious that you’re not going to be able to sell your books for an actual profit—but you could certainly pass this book off for a decent portion of what you paid for it with little to no hassle using this app.
Doing a Google search to determine who the best buyer would have been could have taken hours. But BookScouter allowed us to do it in minutes.
What Are Other Users Saying About The App?
I did a quick run-through of the Google Play reviews, and came up with some pretty enlightening opinions on both sides of the line. It seems that the vast majority of people prefer the app—but there were certainly some complainers among those who left reviews. Here are some examples of both good and bad reviews that I found in the Google Play Store.
One thing that I realized was that BookScouters does a pretty good job of trying to differentiate between reputable sellers and those with less ‘well-known’ track records. These are called ‘preferred merchants,’ and it seems that some of the reviews on the site really back up the idea of choosing these over the lesser-well-known buyers.
This just seemed like an important detail, so I thought I would include it. If the number-one buyer on the list isn’t very reputable, you might want to go for the best preferred seller.
I’ll also say that I was impressed that BookScouter put this much effort into hooking their users up with quality buyers. Many kudos deserved on this front!
Our Concluding Thoughts About BookScouter After Our Test And Research
First of all, I must just say that I was more than impressed with the layout and design of this site. It was super-simple, but it did an outstanding job. It’s user friendly, simple, elegant, and tasteful. The colors are perfect, the buttons and controls are awesome, and I loved how stress-free it was to operate.
I also feel that this app does an awesome job at hooking you up with vendors.
Can you make any money off of it?
The answer to this question is a yes—but only if you have a book that’s worth anything to sell. Textbooks, cookbooks, coffee-table books, and other similar types of titles are all possible money-makers. Fiction books and the like, however, tend not to be worth anything to a lot of these vendors.
With all of that being said, it is important to remember that this app doesn’t set the prices. It just points you toward a list of buyers that you can check out—which is pretty cool.
I personally feel that this app makes the textbook selling process as easy as it could possibly be. I was a huge fan, right from the beginning—and my tests and research only confirmed my initial instincts.
If you have some textbooks and you need to move them, then this app is an excellent tool.
Not every textbook is going to be readable by the app, and it won’t find every single title that’s out there. This is, perhaps, a small limitation—but it isn’t the fault of the app, in my opinion. BookScouter simply seems to work as a go-between for the vendors—and if the vendors aren’t looking for a particular book, it stands to reason that you would not be able to locate the book on this app.
This makes sense to me, and I don’t consider it a downside.
I believe that this app got marked down a lot because people couldn’t locate their books on it. But once again, I don’t see this as a huge downside. The app is free, and if you don’t find a buyer for your books on it, you won’t really be missing or losing anything. The app is so fast to use that it will literally take you 5 minutes to check and see.
This could earn you a lot more money in the long run, especially if your books are newer.
Our Final Thoughts… Should You Download And Use BookScouter On Your Phone?
Honestly, when you calculate the time spent trying to make money with apps, it rarely works out to be more than a few dollars per hour. Most of the time, you'll only make a few dollars per month. Personally, I think my time is worth more than that!
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