Friday, August 21, 2009

Selling Books

Like any self-respecting, overeducated individual with two Master's degrees, I have a lot of books.  

I am ready to part with many of these books.  The question then becomes, "what is the best way to do so?"  Here are some of the options:

1. Yard Sale--The family yard sale is in a couple of weeks

Positive:  Little preparation or research needed.  Throw (gently place, of course) the books on a table marked $1.00.

Negative: Likely to get very little monetary return.  Many books will likely not sell.

2. company owned by ebay

Positive: Much larger audience than our yard sale.  Can set own price.  Likely to get a little bit more than yard sale prices.  Reimburses sellers for shipping costs.

Negative: Have to research market price.  Must package and ship the books as they sell.  If books don't sell, I still have them in the house. charges a commission of a percentage of the selling price.  15% for the price range my books would be in ($0.75-$50.00)  

3. to  Amazon collects a commission of 6-15% of sale price, 0.99 per transaction, and a variable transaction fee ($1.35 for books)

4. have a sell online feature.  Type in the ISBN, and almost immediately a price is returned for what they will give you for the book.  You can get the credit as cash paid via PayPal or as a credit in the Powells store.  The store credit is twenty percent more than the cash option.

Positive: Powells pays for shipping.  No pricing research required, no listing or packaging to different customers necessary.  Make more than at a yard sale or library donation.

Negative: Make less per book than potentially with and  

5. similar to Powells online buy book feature

6. Library Donation--The local library is having its annual book sale soon and is soliciting donations. 

Positive: All I have to do is drop the books off at the library.  Done deal.  They are out of the house--all of them in one fell swoop.

Negative: No monetary return.  Many of the books will likely not sell at the library sale, leaving the library trying to figure out what to do with them. 

Conclusion:  I know some people really get into listing things on ebay, amazon, etc., and I do not doubt there is money to be made if you are willing to put in the work.  For me, right now in my life, I think I am going with the Powells/Abebooks option.  At least I will get a little bit of money for the books.  For those that Powells/Abebooks will not take, I may investigate whether ebay or amazon would be good options.  Otherwise they are going in the yard sale.  If not sold there, then on to the library.

Quite frankly, the whole textbook industry burns my ass.  I pay $40 for a used book.  I can sell it back for $5, and then the book store resells it for $35.  

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