Used Books

Visit Our Used Book Basement

Downstairs in Harvard Book Store, you'll find thousands of used books, including works of classic and modern literature, children's books, books in other languages and nonfiction works on history, art, architecture, religion, science, and much more.

As you browse the shelves, take a minute to look on the end of bookcases and on the walls—posted are the ephemera we find in used books we’ve bought from customers. There are bookmarks from around the world, ticket stubs from events, including one from the Republican Convention of 1948 and a piece of stationery from the Sheraton Hotel on which someone wrote "I cannot contain my loathing for Kant." 

A Temporary Pause in Buybacks

Our beloved Used Books Department has an overflow of books at the moment, so starting June 16 there will be a temporary pause on all buy-backs until August 13. To apply our policies to everyone fairly, there won't be any exceptions during this 60-day pause. Of course our Used Department will stay open for browsing! If there's more room on the shelves, that means the overflow will be browsable sooner. Any questions or concerns can be answered at or


The used book buyers have total discretion to decide which books to buy, based on current inventory, as well as knowledge and experience regarding which books appeal to our customers.


We only buy paperbacks* in excellent condition. We do not buy books with broken or creased spines, notations, water damage, highlighting or underlining. We do not buy hardcovers* (see below for a few exceptions to this rule). In order to comply with State and Federal tax regulations, you must present a photo ID when you sell books. We do not accept donations. We pay 15% of the cover price in cash, or 20% in store credit. 


We are primarily interested in books on the following subjects:

  • Chess
  • Classical studies (ancient Latin and Greek literature)
  • Foreign language fiction
  • Linguistics
  • Math
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Science
  • Sheet music

We consider books on the following subjects:

  • Business (published in the last 3 years)
  • Contemporary Romance
  • Cookbooks (published in the last 5 years)
  • Crafts and hobbies
  • Eastern Religion, Islam, and Judaism
  • Essays
  • Fiction 
  • Young Adult Fiction (published in the last 5 years)

We do not buy the following types of books:

  • test prep books 
  • Textbooks
  • ex-library books
  • galleys/advanced readers copies
  • Large print
  • computer programming
  • travel guides more than 2 years old
  • rare or antiquarian books

*we consider the following types of hardcovers:

  • Academic books that are not available as paperbacks 
  • Cookbooks (published in the last 5 years)
  • Art books
  • Everyman Library, Library of America, Modern Library, Loeb Classics
  • Gift editions of classics

Questions? Email us at, or call us at 617-475-8305. We do our best to answer emails and voicemails within 1 business day.  

We do not accept donations

Here are just a few local options if you are looking to donate your books: