Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sell Your Old Books and Don't Buy Any More (Go to the Library)

I am an avid reader. I love reading fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, and yes, even self-help books. Over the years, I have spent hundreds of dollars on books (thousands if you count my law school text books).

A couple of years ago, after it finally started sinking into my brain that I do not have room to continue storing all of my books, I started getting rid of them. I thought about listing some of the books for sale on eBay or Amazon, but I didn't think it would be worth my time for all the work that was involved (shipping books is a pain) so I donated a majority of them to the Goodwill.

Of course, then I bought more, so I ended up right back at square one. Fortunately, a friend advised me to bring my old books to a used bookstore so I would at least get something for them, instead of just giving them away. Well, the other day, I gathered up all of the books I didn't want anymore and headed to a used bookstore in a neighboring suburb. I sold 17 books for $11.50.

I was not pleased at all with the price, considering I paid $25 just for Randall Balmer's Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America: An Evangelical's Lament -- gee, did I really need to spend $25 to be told that? -- and another $20 to learn Apprentice winner Bill Rancic got his big start by washing yachts and hoarding cigars in his apartment in his lame book, You're Hired. However, I guess $11.50 is better than nothing. Combine that with the $30.50 I got for my old CDs and DVDs, I now have an extra $42.00 to put toward my student loans. Hooray.

Well, I have learned a valuable lesson -- don't waste your money on books because (a) you're probably only going to read them once, (b) if you don't have adequate space for them, they just end up becoming clutter, and (c) the resale value is absolutely awful!

From now on, I am going to check books out at the public library for free. It may take a long time to actually get the book*, but the wait will be worth it in the long-run.

*For instance, there are 77 people waiting for 15 copies of David Cay Johnston's Free Lunch : How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill) and 29 people waiting for 4 copies of Jen Lancaster's Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest To Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, Or Why Pie is Not The Answer...the two books I want to read!!!


Nikki said...

pie isn't the answer?!?!!

Nikki said...

also- I can't sell books or cds. the closest music store is...probably the same one you went to!!!

yellowdog granny said...

books...oh my goddess...
right now i am surrounded by books..3 new book cases and im trying to get them all organized and put up and im in a tizzy...6 book cases and still not enough room...if you have a 1/2 price book store you might do better...i sell books on ebay and amazon all the's not that hard to ship books...and you may a lot more money

babybuff said...

Yeah, and you can actually make money on the shipping!

Beverly said...

lol especially if you use the free boxes from the post office and charge over the price of shipping like a lot of the ppl I buy from do.

i would advocate the library too if ours didn't have all the old books i donated from my grandmother and all the books i've already read as a child! lol - by the time our library gets a book, i've already bought it at the half-price book store. plus nearly all the books i have, i read more than once. i don't ever buy books like the ones you described - just fiction novels.

beej said...

Chiming in late here (as usual!)

I agree with yellowdog and babybuff... shipping books is not that big of a pain. And even though you may charge a bit more on shipping to make a decent profit, if you wrap the books in brown paper (recycling those old grocery bags instead letting them clutter up your house!), you can actually ship them at a special media rate or book rate, which is usually less than First Class. Most folks who buy stuff on eBay don't care if you charge them $3 for shipping/handling and it only really amounts to less than that. It's something everyone does.

Another thing to think about, when you get a book from the library that you really like and would like to have your own permanent copy, considering buying them used on Amazon. Lots of them are not even worn looking. Folks just read a book and resell it.

Hope this helps!