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  1. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Selling used books

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by BrianIff, Aug 12, 2015.

    So after years of holding on to dreams and withstanding temptation, I've decided to part way with some or most of my collection of books. They're mostly non-fiction, but I'm wondering how people calculate the prices when selling their collection to a another collector or wholesaler. Would your formula change from small numbers to big numbers? Looking for a variety of perspectives, but it is the debate room, so feel free to disagree.

    ETA: In case you're wondering, the books are mostly printed 1950-2000, both texts and original author, classics and crap, a grab bag.

    ETA: I've set up a meeting with a buyer, and am reasonably comfortable with my formula, but want to field the question.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
  2. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would itemise them all individually and list them on eBay. A laborious task but I would suggest it would be the best way to get a halfway decent return on them. Have a 'buy it now' price and remember to research and include your shipping costs in addition to the price.
    In terms of pricing, be realistic. Unless it's some rare first edition you're selling, I wouldn't expect to get more than a few pounds for each book.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Look them up on eBay but check sold not list price. People list some stuff at absurd prices. I also check completed to see how many of the books actually sold. And for books, condition and which editions they are make a huge difference.
     
  4. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Okay, but suppose you're selling to a retailer or wholesaler, would you take a percentage of the eBay price, or? I've checked some of them on alibris and abe, and I know what's dollar bin and what's more in a used bookstore.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    I have no idea without knowing what you are selling. Taking books to the half price book store you are going to get pennies on the dollar, literally. If they are rare books that are highly sought after, the buyer's margin is going to be slimmer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    This is difficult to answer. For any given book, it depends on the age of the book, rarity, whether it is still in print, and other factors. Without doing some looking into each title, there's no way you can be sure that you're setting the price appropriately.
     
  7. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Thanks for replying, but would you say the same if they would all retail between $1-10 used (some I have worth more, but I'll definitely look at them each) and you were dealing in the hundreds of books? For example, I'm thinking 25% of the retail price used since he's coming to my place to pick them up. The gold standard used book chain in Toronto offers 1/3 cash for their store price, but I'm wondering how much ground I have to cede if he takes hundreds of books.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    That seems reasonable to me. A place here in town offers a very low flat fee of $.50 for mass market paperbacks. That's very low, of course, and I think for your average used book that has no special monetary value 25% of retail is reasonable, particularly is a store is offering 33.3%. Another factor may be whether he has an upper limit on what he's willing to spend on the entire lot. If I were selling a large collection of old books that didn't have any specific value (due to rarity or what have you), I'd be pretty happy with 25% of the retail price if someone offered it.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    The issue is not what they retail for, nor what they are worth to you. The issue is going to be if the buyer thinks they are titles s/he can resale. You are talking about books that are 15 to 65 years old. What makes them worth 33% of list price? :confused:
     
  10. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I was introduced to him online, so I don't know if it's for his own collection, if he's opening a store (or has one or works for one), or whatever. The store that I mentioned has a high rejection rate, no doubt, but I've dealt with them in real life and called the other day and got a quote for 1/3 of the store's retail. If he plans on flipping them to such a store, then yeah, I would just go to the store directly.

    A lot of them are ones you could find in 4 out of 5 stores and aren't special at all, but I do have a lot of original stuff, like psych for example, I have stuff by Freud, Jung, Rogers, Allport, Piaget, Erickson, even Pavlov. Those sell easy anywhere near a campus.
     
  11. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I've been thinking about your post -- a couple things. First, I remember that you do business on eBay, so when you buy stuff, what margin do you expect to make in profit if you could sell them within a month or two? And second, I'm not a 100% certain you mean that 33% is too high. If they can make a 200% return on investment minus other expenses, that's pretty good for them.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    Not if they are out of date.

    By all means let us know what happens.
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    For the average book, 33% of a book's original value is highly unlikely. What you are forgetting is the person who buys large lots of items is NOT counting on selling every one of them and certainly not by rapid turnover.

    I'm currently selling a houseful of board games on eBay. The vast majority I paid $1-2 for at thrift stores and garage sales. Some of them sell for a lot, $100 or more. Sometimes if you don't sell them when they are hot, you miss the chance and the game that went for $100 will sale for a low price if at all. An average a buyer will spend ~$20 but 10 of that is shipping. So for games that might sell for a couple bucks, eBay is not a good platform because shipping isn't cheap enough. I'll probably sell those in bulk on Craig's List but I've not gotten around to it yet.

    You don't sell by margins, you sell by what people are willing to pay.
     
  14. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Maybe there's a miscommunication somewhere; the store makes up their prices which are consistent with selling them for triple what they give you in cash. I paid a few bucks for a first ed Jane Goodall book with dj that's listed over a hundred at alibris and AbeBooks. I'm not going to percentage that.

    I can walk away from the deal but if I do, I'm hoping to be reasonable.
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    If they sell every single book they purchase, but that isn't going to happen when they buy in bulk.

    You wanted opinions. Now you are arguing with them. Don't worry about it. When the guy gets there you'll find out what s/he'll pay.

    It's always fun to find treasure like that.

    Just an FYI, 1st ed Goodall books don't sell on eBay for the high prices they are listed for. Out of 46 listed, 10 sold. The highest unsold price was $179 for: JANE GOODALL SIGNED - REASON FOR HOPE EASTON PRESS NEW LEATHER FIRST ED. One of that seller's two copies eventually sold for whatever the best offer was under $149. The other is still for sale.

    All the other 1st ed Goodall books listed that sold were signed and the highest copy went for $27.89.

    There are a lot of 1st ed signed Goodall books out there because she's done lots of lectures/book signings.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  16. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Thanks for the research. I didn't realize I was arguing though -- I meant to clarify because my initial claim of 1/3 the price was ambiguous.
     
  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    No worries. I forgot to add though, the books on eBay may not include the one you have if you have a 1st ed of one of her early books from 1969 or 1971.
     
  18. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Do the old books have ISBN numbers? If so you can take all your books and enter them into the site : www.isbnsearch.org and it will give you the prices from new place, used place, and even for places to rent online if it is available. These place include eBay's half price book story and several other sites.
     
  19. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    http://www.alibris.com/booksearch.detail?invid=12608859739 That's the Goodall I got for $4, so I win no matter what :)

    I actually had one guy come to my place with a mini scanner that was hooked up to his phone for that -- really fast. But most of my books are middle value and can be guessed easy enough. There's definitely a few titles I'll run through that site though. Thanks.
     
  20. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    No problem it gives a list of 7-10 or so sites for each book.
     
  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Looks good, is it a first printing of the first edition?


    I see these guys in the thrift stores all the time scanning hundreds of books. Looks tedious but I imagine they find the valuable books very quickly.
     
  22. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    It's 1971, but BCE, I just noticed. Like my Salem's Lot. Oh well, at least neither was autographed by the previous owner.
     
  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I see. I know the feeling, I found a first edition Gone With the Wind in an abandoned house and thought I had a two thousand dollar book. That's when I learned about first printing. This one wasn't. It's worth about $20.

    My other book find was a first edition first printing of Atlas Shrugged. It was on a top shelf in the library book store glued to a row of books they had made a decoration out of. I talked them into selling it to me (they charged $2 because I took the book next to it as well to be able to remove the glue at home) and was able to get the glue off without damaging it. No dust jacket, but it's at least worth $100.
     
  24. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Nice. I remember feeling some guilt when I thought I found a few first eds at the Sally Ann and thought that I should notify the staff. I bought them coyly, then found out they weren't that much. But there's definitely rarities out there. I swear, I could spend all day thrift hopping for books alone.
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    I had to give it up, house got too cluttered. Now I just sell stuff.
     
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