Sell Your Books


Selling Your Books Here is Easy


Do you have books to sell? Bring them in between 11am and 4pm, Monday through Saturday.

No appointment is necessary, though on Saturdays in July or December, you might want to call and make sure there isn't a waiting line.

We'll go through the books while you wait, select the ones we'd like to purchase, and make an offer promptly. Please allow ten minutes per box, more for unusual or very old books.

If you are selling a collection or are not able to bring your books in to the shop, you may call and have us visit your library on a Sunday. Available Sundays are limited; please call at least a week in advance and have at least two dates free.

We stock a wide variety of books, but we do not purchase:

- Former library books
- Condensed or abridged books
- Encyclopedias or magazines
- Romance novels
- Books with water damage, mold, broken binding, or missing covers or pages.

Thank you for sorting your books in advance.

We offer cash payments or store credit. Prices paid are based on condition, scarcity, and many other factors. If you call or email in advance, we can give you a rough idea of what we would pay for some types, but we do need to see them in person to make a purchase offer.

We do not carry new books. If you are an author or publisher looking to place your books with an independent bookshop in Iowa City, please contact Prairie Lights.

We are not currently visiting collections outside the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area. We apologize for the inconvenience.

What We Want Most Right Now

Academic philosophy, eastern religions (especially Buddhism and Shinto), nature and ecology, Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance history, Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Trans issues, African history, Japanese history, books in Latin, ancient Greek, and Spanish, mythology and folklore, classic through 20th century poetry (especially from small presses).

We are always interested in well-written books, whether fiction or nonfiction, and we buy academic work, though not undergraduate textbooks. We particularly love essays about nature, books on writing, sciences, all religions, art history, award-winning and classic literature, poetry, and plays, books about Iowa, graphic novels, world history, military history, political science and economics, children's books (fiction and nonfiction, picture books and chapter books), young adult fiction (especially Newbery and Alex winners).

We do not buy textbooks, hardcover mystery novels, romance, westerns, manga series, teen vampire books, self help, motivation & inspiration, current events prior to 2012, travel guides, magazines, newspapers, books published by magazine companies (Reader's Digest, Time-Life, Better Homes & Gardens), audio books, movies.

Store Credit

If you are bringing in books for sale or trade, we can offer you store credit as payment. We usually offer more in credit than we would in cash. Credit can be applied toward the purchase of any books in the store, and sales tax does not apply to credit purchases. (Credit can only be applied to book purchases, i.e., not cards, toys, etc., because of tax rules.)

Credit need not be spent immediately, and setting up an account is quick and easy. (We do not share account information with anyone except the account owner(s), so it's also hassle-free.) You can designate other people (partners, family members, friends) to share your account. Credit can also be converted to gift certificates, but cannot be converted to cash.
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