4 simple ways to solve your unwanted book woes…

By Sharon Fussell, February 3, 2012

Following last week’s post on the issue of dealing with unwanted books, I have received emails regarding lots of initiatives that deal with selling/disposing of books, rather than just tipping into land fill sites.

What to do with your unwanted books

1. You could try and sell your unwanted books offline…

Hi Sharon,

In Northampton there is a store called “The Most Marvellous Place to Shop”. It is a sort of shabby-chic place selling antiques, object d’art etc.

As well as all their own stuff, a considerable amount of space is handed over to concessions. There is a cafe, a hairdresser, lots of card sellers and such like. Also, there is a considerable amount of space given over to books.

If you had a place like this near to yourself, could you not take some space in exchange for half of any returns (or something along those lines)? I suppose anything is better than throwing them in the bin!

I remember reading that Richard Booth also had the same issue as you down in Hay on Wye (i.e. he never wanted to throw a book away), hence the birth of his “honesty bookshops”.

Kind regards, Ross.

2. You could always attempt, of course, to only buy books that have a very high chance of selling.

Note: Doing this effectively does mean checking values and sales rankings before you buy.

The more books you check could result in most books you buy selling – which is, after all, the aim. Take Ian, for example, he checks through books before buying and this in turn helps increase the likelihood of his books selling (and for a healthy profit too):

Hi Sharon,

[…] I always hand pick books. I tend to look at say 500 books & pick around 50-100. I have learnt to do this quickly – sometimes I walk out with only 10 only in new or like new condition.

Pricing on Amazon, I usually go above, or in between the prices already being charged. The exception being for niche or rarities.

All books are spruced up i.e.; Polished (Your Tip), paperback corners, dust cover trimming. The result is very often a nearly new book makes it to new, thus increasing the possibility of a more profitable sale. You know, it never fails.

I don’t charge extra for shipping (above Amazon’s shipping price) even if the address is abroad. This includes most heavy items. (There are exceptions: The description of the book has added shipping comments). So, for a heavy book that has a general selling price of say, around £5-£20, I charge £40 +. It has to be new or a very good like new. Pricing this highly more than covers nearly all shortcomings in shipping losses. I feel contacting the customer to weigh in with more money to cover shipping is generally counter productive. Again, there are some exceptions.

The description is important, as it shows commitment & a love of books. Not only that, in the customers eye’s you’re more professional. The feedback comments will show if it is working.

Anyway, I thought I’d share my experience with you (as an Ex Student). I hope that it may help some of your readers.

One thing to add: In selling, think like Lewis’ not Curry’s & don’t have a Car Boot mentality. 1p books. I hate them. It’s all in the numbers.
– Ian

3. I have on occasion swapped books I have read or that I do not want with ones I have not read in hotels. They tend to have a place where you can pick up books to read. You can often find places that will swap books. If you live in a seaside/holiday town you could perhaps take advantage of initiatives such as this one Isabelle discusses below:

Hi Sharon

“I have been told that some pubs or hotels are willing to take or buy a pile of books, which may not be in top condition, just to look more homely.”

Regards Isabelle

4. Of course another way to dispose of unwanted books to advertise on eBay, your local free press or even online via sites such as freecycle.com.


What do you think?

You must be logged in to post a comment.