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Best way of selling secondhand books

Discussion in 'Personal' started by May2, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    My husband has finally got round to sorting our books. We have hundreds and far more than we need to keep. We have sorted into piles for recycle bin, charity book shop and another pile of almost brand new that look like they could perhaps be sold. My husband thinks the cost of postage would be too much to make it worth it. Has anyone been successful in selling through any websites? If so which is the best one to use? I was thinking if we sold about 30 books and made a couple of pounds for each book it could be worth it. We are looking at excellent condition mainly fiction hardbacks.
  2. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Facebook marketplace is free and easy to use - it also is based on people collecting.

    Where do you live? I am always interested in books - am reading Peter Hitchens right now, just taking a break for a coffee.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  3. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Rule no.1 - sort out postage costs in advance, get the cheapest and easiest to use packaging. Weigh each book and find the cost of sending it, don't guess! I once sold a book on ebay for about £10 and spent about £9.25 on postage. With a lot at not much profit each, wrapping them can take far longer than you anticipate and make it feel pointless.
    chelsea2 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    There are several second hand bookshops near us who would buy them. They wouldn't give you as much as seeking them online bit it would be an awful lot easier.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    @Doitforfree that sounds a lot easier but we don't have any secondhand bookshops near us only two charity ones.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    We have a local second-hand book shop, but they don't offer much, unless they are particularly looking for something.
    chelsea2 likes this.
  7. missmunchie

    missmunchie New commenter

    Type the ISBN number into amazon to see how much second hand copies go for. I am surprised that some go for as little as a penny. In other words, not worth the hassle. If they are worth more, then selling on amazon is an easy option as your listing remains online until it is sold unlike on ebay.
    chelsea2 likes this.
  8. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I've used eBay a lot in the past for both buying & selling books. But I was trading in a quite a niche part of the market (old children's books) and it was in the early days of such sites, so people who were desperate for certain titles would get into a bit of a bidding war. In those days it was worth it - I remember selling an Armada paperback for £38 once, because it was a rare title which lots of people wanted.

    Nowadays, books (unless they are valuable in some way) rarely fetch much. Check a few volumes on the 'sold' pages, to see if there is a market for them, and how much they fetch.

    But that's probably still better than selling them to a second hand book shop, where they give you peanuts.

    Another possibility - book a table at a table top sale, and sell them that way. Even if you only sell 20, it will all help.
    sabrinakat and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    I've sold books on Music Magpie.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  10. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    Do you have a local market with a book stall? I doubt the stallholder would give you much but you never know.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  11. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I was thinking that myself. depends on how close/ frequent car boots/ table top sales are in your area though.
    sabrinakat and BertieBassett2 like this.
  12. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I have sold books through WeBuyBooks.co.uk. They offer you a smallish amount on each book when you enter the ISBN. Then you print out a postage label (free postage for you) and pack them up. I even had a courier come to my door to collect. The money was in my bank account within five days or so. You don't get a lot of money for each book - between a few pence and a couple of pounds - but there is minimal hassle and the books are GONE!
    Every so often they have a weekend when they offer an extra 20% on all boks, so keep an eye out.
  13. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    I have used Ziffit a lot. You can use drop off points or they will arrange collection.

    Download the app and either scan the barcodes or type them. I you are averse to an app, you can just do it on their website. As with all these companies, you will be surprised at what they want and don’t want.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  14. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    OK, I know you said it on purpose, but I will bite anyway. ------ You don't surprise me!
    dumpty likes this.
  15. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    I’ve sold several on Amazon. With some I have undoubtedly lost money overall (taking into account buying the book in the first place), but I usually make a profit on the actual sale. Even something for one penny has postage costs covered; usually more than you actually pay in postage.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  16. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    I wouldn't recommend Ebay, their costs are too high. Even though listings are essentially free, you pay 10% of the sale price to Ebay, then 3.4% plus 20p per item to Paypal (compulsory). Say you sell for £5 (inc postage) that is 87p you do not see. Even second class "large envelope" up to 250g is £1.37, that would be losses down to £2.24, if you have to go to 500g that is £1.87 + 87p (down to £2.26 for you). Yet Ebay just go on and on. God bless ebay!
  17. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    My parents did well selling through Amazon.
  18. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    A few years ago I listened to a podcast which was about selling books on Amazon. It concerned how algorithms were being used to manipulate the pricing of books in an absurd way. Sadly I can't remember which podcast channel it was on and my search for it didn't help, but it brought up another example of it happening here.

    "What do you usually expect to pay for a book on Amazon? Perhaps $7-$10, if you're scouting for a paperback? Around $20 or so if you're looking to score a hardcover? Maybe $1,000-$1,500 if you're trying to hunt down that elusive, rare edition of "Teaching With Calvin and Hobbes?"

    If your eyes aren't open yet, how about this: $1.7 to $2.1 million for a book—a perfectly average, out of print but not quite rare title that's considered a fundamental work of development biology? Or how about… $23.6 million?

    That's the result of a recent bidding war between two third-party Amazon merchants, each attempting to use algorithms to sell an out-of-print version of Peter A. Lawrence's, "The Making of a Fly: The Genetics of Animal Design."

    UC Berkeley associate professor Michael Eisen first noticed the pricing irregularities when he attempted to pick up a copy of the title a few weeks ago on Amazon. The book–with a list price of $70 on Amazon–was only available as "New" from two third-party merchants: "profnath," who was listing the title for $1.7 million, and "bordeebook," who one-upped his competition with a price of nearly $2.2 million.

    To say that Eisen was intrigued is a bit of an understatement, as it's not very often that one encounters a 2,428,471-percent markup on a fairly benign academic title. So Eisen proceeded to do what any normal professor would in such a situation: He started tracking the irregularity.

    As it turns out, $1.7 million wasn't the ceiling, but rather, the deck.

    The two third-party merchants continued to engage in a bidding war of-sorts over the book's cost, and their prices started shooting up higher and higher. But each merchant adjusted the cost of their copies of the book according to a pattern.

    Eisen noticed that Bordeebook always edited the book's price to be exactly 1.270589 times that of Profnath's price–and Profnath, upon realizing that the copy of the book it was offering was now dramatically lower than Bordeebook's, would undercut its competitor and change its price to 0.9983 percent of Bordeebook's listed amount.

    Or, to put it another way, Bordeebook was trying to win big based on its high rating and positive feedback on Amazon–and, according to Eisen, was likely going to have to buy the book itself from a third-party in order to fulfill a purchase request. Hence, Bordeebook used an algorithm to automatically price its book just a wee bit higher than the competition, ensuring that it would have enough money to purchase said title and still make a little overhead.

    Profnath, in contrast, was going the eBay route: Offering the book for the lowest price in the hopes that the discount would attract sales.

    The vicious circle of pricing continued until April 19, when both companies apparently noticed what was going on and dropped their prices accordingly. Profnath now lists the title for $106.23 and, you guessed it, Bordeebook is all of 127 percent higher at $134.97.

    "What's fascinating about all this is both the seemingly endless possibilities for both chaos and mischief," wrote Eisen in a blog post.

    "And as soon as it was clear what was going on here, I and the people I talked to about this couldn't help but start thinking about ways to exploit our ability to predict how others would price their books down to the 5th significant digit – especially when they were clearly not paying careful attention to what their algorithms were doing," he added"
  19. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    I've just had a look at the site. The only thing that bothers me is that it says you have to pay postage if they decide the book isn't suitable. Has this happened to you at all?
  20. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    No, although I suppose it must happen sometimes. I think you have to assume the books you're selling will be in reasonable condition, not falling apart, which I'm sure yours are, so it would be unlikely. you could try asking them directly to elucidate.

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