Monday, February 1, 2010

How to Sell Used Books Online: Part 2 - How to find books

This is part 2 of a multi-part series on selling used books online. It is based on my personal experience and is not a complete guide.  Click here for part 1 of the series. Please watch each week for a new installment. Thanks!

In my previous article, I outlined types of books that can easily and successfully be sold online, and other types that might be more difficult.  But where do you get the books to sell in the first place?  Here are a few ideas:

Your own bookshelves - This is probably the best place to start.  Don't we all have many books straining our shelves that are never read and just clutter up the home?  Go through the books that you have and identify books that might be good candidates.  Selling these books will also help you see if you enjoy the process of selling books online, before branching out to other sources.

Your children's bookshelves - There may be many books on your children's bookshelves that they have outgrown.  Although you and they might want to keep some for sentimental value, others may be valuable.  Check to make sure that these books, and any children's books, have all the pages (my kids used to rip books), have no marks in them, and are in generally good condition.

Friends and family - Books are undoubtedly cluttering the homes of your friends and family, as well.  Let them know you're on the lookout for extra books.  They may have a huge pile available for the taking.  I have a relative who regularly sends me a box of books she's already read for her book club.

Thrift shops - Lots of thrift shops sell books for a song, others for a price that would make it difficult to make a profit on reselling.  Take a look at thrift shops in your area and see what the pricing is like.  My general rule of thumb is that I won't pay more than 25 cents per book.  If the store's regular pricing is too high, ask if there are days when discounts are given, or if there are special sale days.

Libraries - Libraries will often sell books that they no longer want for their collection or that patrons have donated to them.  These sales might be available all the time; they may have a once-a-week sale, or perhaps just one or two times a year.  Ask your librarian about when book sales occur.  Again, you need to watch prices on these sales.  Also, I would disclose in my book sales if the book was an ex-library copy, since some collectors do not want these books.  Besides libraries, other non-profit groups, such as hospitals and philanthropic groups, may also hold book sales.

Yard sales - This can be a great place to find books to sell.  You can often negotiate prices, especially if you are taking a large number of books.  Instead of going from sale to sale, burning gas and wasting time on sales that don't have books at them, I prefer to go to community-run yard sales where sellers purchase a table or parking spot to sell their wares from.  This way, I can hit many sales at once, skipping ones without books or with non-negotiable prices, and lingering over sales with valuable, cheaply-priced books.  I will bring several large cloth totes to carry the books, making a side visit to my car to drop off books now and then.

Part 3: Where to Sell Books

Check out Frugal Friday @ Life as MOM, Frugal Friday @ Stockpiling Mom, Tuesday's Tip Jar, Madame Deals, Money Saving Monday, Tuesday's Tips, The Thrifty Home, and Tightwad Tuesday for more frugal tips.

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Rebecca February 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM  

Our local library is having a book sale and it made me think of you!

Happy Tuesday!

Kaye February 3, 2010 at 9:30 AM  

Great list. Some I have thought of and some I haven't. It's given me a lot of good ideas. I just started cleaning off our home shelves via Amazon and have a decent amount of luck with it.

Similarly...if they are a blogger, they can get free books to review on their blog and then sell if they don't want to keep or give as a gift. I actually used that as my WFMW today.

Thanks again!

Leslie February 4, 2010 at 11:20 PM  

We have liked doing this when we have books that we are done with and you can definitely get more money for books this way than a yard sale.

Jen February 9, 2010 at 4:37 PM  

What a timely post for me. I just cleaned out a huge box of books from my kids rooms. Can't wait for next week!

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