Used Book Sales Statistics

  • As of 2022, the market for second-hand books is at a net value of $24.03 billion.
  • This shows a year-on-year growth of 5.5% from $22.78 billion.
  • According to projections, the market is expected to reach $45.53 billion at the end of 2032.
  • North America has a market share of 27.8% ($6.68 billion) within the global second hand books market as of 2022.
  • 63% ($15.14 billion) of the second-hand books industry globally is within the adult segment.
  • 41.6% ($10 billion) is estimated to be within the children’s segment.
  • Across the book publishers market globally, second hand books held a share value of 15% as of 2020.
  • For consumers who are either interested in or have purchased used items, books (81%) are more popular than fashion items (74%).
  • Consumers look to used books due to their lower price (92%) or for environmental reasons (83%).
  • As of 2016, 70% of students purchased used books instead of brand new copies.

Used book sales by region

  • More than half of consumers within the US & UK choose to buy more second-hand than new books.
  • As of 2022, North America’s market share within the global second hand books market is 27.8%.
  • Europe holds a market share of 25.1% globally within the second-hand books market.
  • For the same market, East Asia holds a market share of 16.3% globally.
  • At a slightly lower rate, South Asia holds a global market share of 15%.
  • With an increased focus on education and literacy, the Asian market regions could increase their global market share.

Best selling used books

#TitleAuthorYear publishedPages
1The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleStephen R. Covey1989432
2To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee1960336
3The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald1925110
4Their Eyes Were Watching GodZora Neale Hurston1937219
5The Catcher in the RyeJ.D. Salinger1951234
6The Five Love LanguagesGary Chapman1992208
7The Kite RunnerKhaled Hosseini2003400
8NightElie Wiesel1956120
9Lord of the FliesWilliam Golding1954224
10Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsJ.K. Rowling

Used books and higher education

  • Publishers have started to introduce electronic codes to prevent students from reselling their books.
  • The codes give users access to ebook versions for a given time period. 
  • Once used, the code cannot be redeemed again.
  • By encouraging students to rent instead of buying books, it places limitations on the supplies of used-books.
  • In September, campus stores look to stock new books at much higher prices than those available second-hand.
  • However, at the end of a term, students will often look to sell their books, increasing the supply of used books and lowering fees.


Why are used book sales increasing?

  • Used book sales are increasing due to an increased focus on education and literacy around the globe in recent years.
  • This results in an increase in the overall number of readers, creating a greater demand for used books.

Which used books are the most valuable?

  • Often the most valuable used books are classic literature first edition publications.

Why are used textbooks more popular with students?

  • Used textbooks are more popular with students as they are much cheaper than new books.
  • Used textbooks allow students to participate in essential course activities that rely on the publication.