I know in past ezines I have discussed purchasing books in bulk from charity shops through instigating negotiations with shop managers.
Unfortunately, some charity shops will turn down your request to purchase from shelves or from back store rooms. However, some will allow you to wade through their ‘culled’ books.
These are generally books that have been displayed in the shop for a set period of time and not sold.
These books are moved from the shelves and put into boxes or bags to be recycled through agreements with recycling firms, who call at an agreed time and purchase these books on a regular basis.
In most cases the amount these recycling firms pay for the books is usually a few pennies, perhaps as much as £2 per sack full or box of books.
We have agreements with several locally based charity shops, most of the same corporate brand, to sort through their culled books prior to the collection from a recycling firm on a regular basis. We pay 25p per book that we select and any we do not choose will then be collected by the recyclers.
In most cases, the vast majority of books set out for the recyclers, are those the charity shops have sorted and discarded as their condition does not make the grade to get into the shop.
Actually, it’s not only down to condition but sometimes down to the genre, for example religious books, or books deemed ‘improper’/not suitable to display on the shelves.
On average we probably picked out fifty or sixty books suitable for our purposes from each shop. In the main we look for niche books in good condition.
We tend to ignore fiction books regardless of condition, unless they are very up to date and we suspect they will sell for a premium upward of £2.80.
The shops are happy as they not only receive a sum of money from us, but also receive money from the recyclers for the residue books left after our delving.
One manager told us they receive more from us for the relatively few books we take, in fact often double; than they receive from the recyclers for the hundreds they take.
Thus, mangers will often spread the word to other shops within the chain and we are asked to visit other shops that want our service.
So, don’t be afraid to ask mangers about ‘culled’ books. Often they will say they are collected by a recycling company. However, once you explain that you will pay 25p for each book you select and this means the shops get a ‘double bite of the cherry’ so to speak, as they make money from you and the recycling firm. Once they consider this prospect, they may allow you on a regular basis to go through culled books.
After all it presents a win-win situation for both you and the shop. You because you can often pick up quite high valued books for what is very little money, and the shop as they make bit extra towards their weekly shop targets.