Tuesday, October 7, 2008

BookSelling, Revisited, Post # 300!!

A few weeks ago I wrote about recirculating coins - all those minerals sitting in tsedakah boxes and piggy banks necessitate the manufacture of more coins. Likewise with books, the presumption that we should read books once and let them sit on our shelves forever should be revisited in the age of internet bookselling. Once I learned how easy it is to sell books on Amazon, I have made it a habit. It is easy to distinguish between a book you want and need in your library, and a volume which has served its purpose and can find a new life. Like the time I picked up a bestseller at Costco and shipped it out for the same price a few weeks later to a lady in Nebraska with similar reading tastes. The remarkable part is that people pay you for these books!
Here is my tried-and-true method for book pricing and selling on Amazon.

  1. Input the ISBN number and the book will pop up.
  2. Check out the price for "used and new books for sale". Many vendors other than Amazon itself sell new books on Amazon. What you need to know is the LOWEST price, so you can lowball it. That way your book is most likely to sell. At this point you can decide if it's worth the hassle. If the resale value of the book is only a few dollars, you may not want to bother.
  3. If you go ahead, click on "Sell Yours Here" and follow all the prompts. Remember to ignore what they tell you the book is worth, if you want to actually SELL it.
  4. When your book sells, you'll receive an email. You then need to go into your Amazon Book Seller account and bring up the info.
Shipping is a bit of a hassle because you can't put Media Mail packages in a mail box if they're over 13 oz. Hence you'll need to leave them for your mail carrier or drop them off at a post office. The quickest is to pre-post, either by purchasing stamps or using the USPS or PayPal online postal shipping tools. PayPal is fairly simple, and deducted from your PayPal account. Since I always reuse shipping envelopes, I generally come in under the shipping allowance - that's how sellers can still make money even if they sell books for $.01, a common strategy. If you purchase the shipping online, you print out a very professional looking shipping label.
Of course buying used books is a great reuse mitzvah, too. One of my favorite sites to locate used books sounds vaguely Yiddish, Fetchbook.info. Some are bothered by the fact that authors don't get royalties on used books, but as an author, my position on that is I am thrilled someone else will READ MY BOOK! It's not accomplishing any purpose sitting on a shelf.
I have sold scores of books by now. The joke around our house is don't leave any books sitting around, or else....


Anonymous said...

very good ideas! now, combine the two: sell your used books (amazon, ebay, local sidewalk sale, wherever) and give the money to tzedakah! (but don't hoard the coins...!)

some easy, nice ideas about where to give: www.mitzvahheroesfund.org

arnie draiman

Unknown said...

another option is to barter books with other interested readers at bookmooch.com. This is great for those books with little or no value at Amazon.com and other sites.