Negotiating bulk-deals is easier than you think…

By Sharon Fussell, June 15, 2012

You are probably aware that, in the main, I purchase books in bulk from charity shops for around 25p each. This is regardless of cover type or book size.

I am often asked how I go about negotiating ‘deals’ in charity shops – how I get them them to sell books to me cheaper (often much cheaper than the normal asking price).

How to go about negotiating bulk deals for second hand books…

Well, every situation differs, but basically you need to take a chance and ask the question: “Do you have lots of books and would you be willing to do a deal if I buy lots of them from you today?”

They may ask how many books you are prepared to buy – this is difficult to quantify but usually you should be prepared to buy at least 80 to 100 at any one time.

It may be useful to find out if they have that amount of books that you would want to buy from them (i.e. in good condition/ a mixture of fiction and non fiction titles etc.)

Try and negotiate a price of around £20/£25 per hundred.

In most cases the reply is positive, many managers don’t really like storing books, they usually present a lot of work, pricing, checking and continually topping up shelves all through the day. And in many cases shops have loads of books taking up space in the store room, simply because supply outstrips demand!

Some managers will be happy for you to buy from the shelves in the shop, others will prefer you to buy from the stock room and not purchase from the shop, and others will allow both.

Some managers will allow you to look through culled books (books removed from shelves when not sold within a certain period of time), but will not allow you to purchase from the shelves in the shop or from the stock room.

In any of these situations you can end up with access to books that would normally cost a few pounds each for only 25p or less!

  • Always go prepared with lots of bags and place the books on the floor in piles of 10 or 20. I invite the manager/assistant to count the books I’ve stacked – but, in almost every case they trust me to correctly count them into bags and give them the total price owed.
  • Present a card/contact number for them to contact you should they get inundated with books and require your services again.
  • Ask if it’s okay to visit on a regular basis on the understanding that if you pop in and they have no books for you it’s perfectly fine.

You will discover your service is valued; your money is a useful addition to the takings at the end of the day. Most charity shops have to reach sales targets and an extra £20 plus comes in very useful for selling a commodity that is easily replaced and is, in the main, disliked by the manager anyway.

Give it a try – if you are rebuffed by one shop try others. And remember to return from time to time to the shop that turned you away… mangers often move on and the new manager may be very happy to agree to sell you books on a ‘deal’ even if his/her predecessor refused your service.

Good luck and let me know how you get on!


What do you think?

You must be logged in to post a comment.