How to buy children’s books to resell

By Sharon Fussell, August 1, 2013

How to sell children's booksOne genre of books that can be a bit of a minefield to navigate through is children’s books.

But don’t let this put you off: children’s books can bring in really good profits.

At one time, I really wasn’t bothered with buying kids books to resell – it just seemed too much bother to sit and list books that I perceived to have low profitability.

Now I know different and I always take the time to peruse bookcases and shelves laden with (usually) a mismatched variety of children’s books of all sizes and colours.

Mind you, I would never advocate buying any old children’s book – some are just not worth the effort: sometimes they will be too heavy and cost too much to post to make any worthwhile profit.

What to look for when buying children’s books to resell

Amazon sales rankings are quite beneficial when deciding to list children’s books. I tend not to bother listing a copy if I can see there is little or no demand for a particular title of kid’s book.

When buying children’s books to resell, take note that condition is king. Personally, I do not bother with children’s books that have any sort of major defect – such as names inscribed inside, badly creased, or grubby in any way.

Prior owners’ inscription is a particular problem: many children’s books are bought on Amazon by family members as Christmas and birthday gifts and little Jane or Harry will not be pleased to see that a Tom or Laura pre-owned their book!

Take special interest in old fashioned books, such as Enid Blyton, or books about ballet and horses from past generations: many parents that enjoyed those books when they were little and like the idea of their own children enjoying the same books that were probably thrown out years before so need to be replaced.

Boxed sets are also worth looking out for. Complete collections of certain books can always be resold at a premium, for example, Beatrix Potter’s works, or the complete Mr Men.

Some great reasons to buy children’s books to resell

* Usually cheaper to buy secondhand in charity shops or at jumble sales / car boots
* Much demand for popular children’s books
* Usually easily available in boxes and baskets under bookshelves
* Can be light to post

Children’s books to avoid

* Books sold in packs from book clubs – for example, Walt Disney film tie-in hardbacks
* Books with scribbling inside
* Gift inscriptions inside
* Previous owners’ name written neatly or otherwise on the page with a ‘This book belongs to label’
* Treasure stories printed by Ted Smart, Hamlyn, Marks and Spenser, Walt Disney or other book clubs editions
* General generic children’s stories
* High School Musical or books of that ilk
* Books with scruffy covers, severe creasing or damage – as a general rule, if I cannot list as ‘very good or better’, I do not pick them up.

Children’s books I specifically look for

* Roald Dahl – predominately Revolting Rhymes – often sell at a premium
* Books for baby (again, only in very good condition) such as those produced by Usborne, by authors such as * Nick Butterworth
* Books with classic characters from TV – for example, Spot the Dog, Fireman Sam, and Charlie and Lola

Bear in mind that not all children’s books will fetch high prices, but some are so light to post they will still bring you in a profit.

Good luck and happy hunting.


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