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Started by bouncingball on Nov 9, 2018 11:54:56 AM
Book Selling Advice

I have about 300 books, many of them hardbacks. Mostly themed around cookery/needlework from early 20s to the 60s. Additionally I have about 100 orange spined Penguins and a few first edition illustrated hardback children’s books. Abe Books reveal that there is a retail value for some of these titles.

This collection documents the changes in 'domestic science' during the 20th century and it would be a shame to offload all of them to the charity shop when there is probably a genuine interest from bibliophiles.

I haven’t the time, space or inclination to sell them individually so I want to offload them as a job lot. I’ve approached two local bookshops but the subject matter is of insufficient interest. The money isn’t important but a good home is.

Any advice?

HerrWalrus - 09 Nov 2018 11:57:33 (#1 of 15)

Sell as job lots on Ebay. You may still get no offers, but at least you will see if there is any demand. Make sure to have your Penguin collection listed separately - that is where you have the greatest chance of making a sale.

TenGorillas - 09 Nov 2018 12:08:56 (#2 of 15)

TBH I'd probably give up on the cash value unless there's something really special in there, donate the lot to a special interest collection and see it as my good deed for the month.

HouseOfLametta - 09 Nov 2018 12:13:38 (#3 of 15)

We gave a load of decent, specialist books to a big Oxfam bookshop. We couldn’t shift them, bookshops didn’t want it, but when we went in he said “this is great! I’ve just closed down our Art section* as we had no books!”

So we fuelled that for a few months. Occasionally we get gift aid letters saying we raised £7.50.

* not a humblebrag, MrsL worked for an art publisher and we had boxes of identical books about Dali.

xDiggy - 09 Nov 2018 12:15:47 (#4 of 15)

An ashamed hoarder confesses to having about ten years' worth of BBC History magazine back numbers in completely variable condition. I don't really know why I kept them and even moved house with them. I have fond visions of some school or good cause finding value in them, but of course I should just cart them to the tip.

uranrising - 09 Nov 2018 16:06:03 (#5 of 15)

Another line of thought.Contact the reference section of your nearest decent-sized library. Ask them for contact details of public libraries with specialist collections in the relevant subject areas.Contact them and ask if they'd be interested.

There are also organisations that distribute any kinds of printed materialsuch to parts of the world in great need of reading materials.

uranrising - 10 Nov 2018 13:49:30 (#6 of 15)

I finally remembered the name of one of those organisations that send books and stuff abroad to where it's needed. Used to be called the Ranfurly Library.

InternationalVicar - 10 Nov 2018 14:21:08 (#7 of 15)

So where do second hand book shops get their books?

thisonehasalittlehat - 10 Nov 2018 15:10:25 (#8 of 15)

Dead people.

InternationalVicar - 10 Nov 2018 15:20:43 (#9 of 15)

not free though, for the stock they want.

uranrising - 10 Nov 2018 20:46:35 (#10 of 15)

People take books in, or tell a shop they have a (large) quantity of books to dispose of, and someone from the shop goes to the dwelling to investigate.

Some shops get stock at auctions, especially book auctions, too. Some get some stock at book fairs, sometimes from other shops; there's a fair bit of pooling knowledge of who specialises in what.

You'll find dealers at some car boot sales - early if they're wise. No doubt some stuff is picked up online and occasionally from charity and general junk shops.

Some specialise in remainders, stock that's pretty recent which publishers and booksellers failed to shift. Some may have arrangements with pulp merchants.

HerrWalrus - 11 Nov 2018 07:09:17 (#11 of 15)

Donations are often the largest source of stock, and some long standing stores can operate almost entirely on donations and collections. Rare to get much stock at a book fair because of the higher prices, although some booksellers still give discounts to others in the trade. If you ever want to start such a shop and need stock, ask at a friendly competitor, but check the goods before you pay up.

One other source that always turns up within weeks of opening a bookshop is the scavenger. This could be a homeless guy, or someone who works in property refurbishment or house clearance. The best scavenger I had was a homeless guy we nicknamed Ciderman, because of his preferred tipple. He had a superb gift of obtaining art books that were worth a few bob. In the end he got his act together, found somewhere to live and got a job. Great achievement, but our supply of good books dried up for a while. The scavengers who supply us now rarely turn up with valuable stuff but we still try and pay a little reward if they bring sellable books.

bouncingball - 13 Nov 2018 08:08:03 (#12 of 15)

Thank you everyone.

My local community-run library are taking everything. The books they cannot use will be listed on auction sites for £2.81 and they generate about £1 in profit for each one sold. It's laborious but they seem happy to do it.

I've retained a few of the illustrated Victorian children's first editions and I'll sell those myself. I was also surprised to learn that piles of Penguin paperbacks are sold as interior design features and not as reading material. Times change eh?

Thanks again.

uranrising - 13 Nov 2018 11:20:21 (#13 of 15)

Good news, thanks.

Times do and don't change. I remember reading, many years ago, (circa the mid-60s),about a chap with kwalatay wandering into an antiquarian bookshop and asking for x feet of antiquarian volumes for his bookcase. What titles or subjects were apparently beside the point.

InternationalVicar - 13 Nov 2018 15:49:41 (#14 of 15)

Very thorough answers there chaps.

RosyLovelady - 14 Nov 2018 08:57:41 (#15 of 15)

< piles of Penguin paperbacks are sold as interior design features >

I was able to buy some good Penguin paperbacks for next-to-nothing from a local restaurant which was using them for decoration.

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