I listed some books on eBay but had little interest (few pageviews/few bids etc.) meaning that I would make an untenable loss on them (I'm not selling them for profit, but I want a reasonable price for them).

I've sold other products on eBay before, so I'm not after advise on how to sell more effectively there. My question is, what are the 'best' (i.e. most profitable) ways to sell chess books online?

  • I think ebay is fine. I've bought a lot of chess books on there in the last year or so. I tend to buy only lots, unless I'm looking for a specific title. The main reason I will pass on bidding, is when the lot consists of several unrelated subjects or openings.
    – Herb
    Jan 28, 2018 at 14:08
  • 1
    I sold my library a few years ago. Easy to sell at 10 cents on the dollar. Feb 20 at 22:16
  • Oh for Pete’s sake - another perfectly reasonable question closed. And one of the closers is a person who was happy to collect 7 points for answering the question before. Some questions in this complicated world require judgment and experience to answer, but that doesn’t mean the answerer has to be opinionated. Why do you find this so hard to understand?
    – Laska
    Feb 22 at 13:44
  • Thank you for re-opening this question
    – Laska
    Feb 23 at 7:59

6 Answers 6


If you live in the UK I would suggest the English Chess Forum. They have a "For Sale" thread. That way you are advertising to a dedicated audience. If you live in another country I would suggest you look for an equivalent forum in your country.

I would add that opening books devalue very quickly. A 10 year old opening book probably has value as a doorstop or paperweight only, unless it is a rare ancient first edition.


I have bought and sold about 800 books on eBay (about 650 sold, and 150 bought), and it is still probably the single best place to get a wide chess-playing audience for your books that are for sale.

The real issue is if your books are really any good. I bought two books from eBay that I am waiting for right now: One is just a book that is near-and-dear to my heart, that is a first edition hardcover from 1964 in like-new condition, and the other is a very coveted book by Igor Khenkin about checkmating patterns in like-new condition. The problem is that most of what I see on eBay is junk, often in fair condition at best, and then on top of that, it is overpriced.

If your books are in nice condition, and somewhat valuable (search sold listings on eBay to get an idea what it is really worth, and also used listings on Amazon, although they are prices from dealers, so a bit high, but they can still give you an idea if is is a $10 book or a $200 book, or worthless), then it can be worth it to sell them individually.

If you have a bunch of old Dover or Tartan books that were mass produced, then they are not going to be worth much. Typically, these were cheaply made, and thus, they did not wear well over time. You need to realize that they might only be worth a couple of bucks each, and thus, you should bundle them, and price them accordingly. There are a lot of people out there with these books trying to sell them, so there is a lot of competition, so price will be king.

One last factor is the material in the books, and this relates to the age of the books. Today's books are better than ever, and much better at teaching, so not only will they be in better condition since they are newer, but they will have more coveted material. They will be worth more. Opening books do not age well unless they explain well, and are aimed at mid-level players, rather than cutting-edge analysis.

Craigslist is just a step up from yard sale prices, and unless your books are those junk books to be sold in lots, I would not recommend it for selling collectible, or any decent book.


I sold mine on Craigslist and for an acceptable price given their age. I named my price and took nothing less.


Selling used books is tough.
Selling specialized old used books is even harder.

ebay is not a good way to go.

Craigs list can work IF you have chess players in your area. Possibly through clubs if they would post a notice on their site. Maybe craigs list in big areas if you can get enough to also pay for shipping.

Give them away and take a tax break?

Take them to big tournaments and display them where many people can see them.

Sell en masse to a book dealer.

Whatever you do you will not get much for them. Unless you are desperate it is hardly worth the effort.


If it were me, I'd use eBay or any eBay alternative because I live a hundred miles from the nearest large city. If I were back in the New York City, for example, I would go to a used bookstore or take them to a club or tournament and try to sell them there.


Realizing this may be too late for the OP, but hoping to help folks in the future ...

Facebook has a group called Chess Book Collectors. Admittedly, I'm not a member, but it seems to be a place where old chess books are bought and sold (amongst other things).

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