November 1, 2007

Q&A Are garage sales a good source for books?

One of the first questions that we are asked is where do you get your books?
Some of you know of our jack pot find last year of 3 boxes of current graduate level textbooks valued at 1200.00! You gotta read what this weary garage saler found! I no longer feel the need to boast. I think I will let this article answer that question!

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad garage sale day till the last sale – which was not advertised and we almost didn’t go to – my friend was hot and my friend was tired.

“Let’s just do this one, it’s only a few blocks away. I said. Then we can call it a day”.

It’s almost noon. Old house in the “arty part” of Houston. Sale was in the back, in a garage apartment occupied by a self proclaimed ‘natural healer & herbiest”. We walk up and there are 2 big tables piled with books. Big, thick fat books. Books without dust jackets and shiny picture covers. Books published by Gulf, Mosby, Wiley & Academic Press. I scan the first 3 and suddenly have $600 worth of inventory in my hand. We each fill up 2 boxes.

“Folks just give me books” says the guy, “ I need to clear them out, in fact just threw some away, go look”. I lift the lid of the trash can and pull out the first book - $250. Gives new meaning to the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

“Got more inside – you want to go look? “. Is the Pope Catholic?

2 hours later my friend calls her husband to come and pick her up – there isn’t enough room in my car for all the books.

I have 12 boxes of academic, technical and medical books, all of which I scanned. Most rank in 2,000,000 and up but for those prices they can sit and wait for a buyer

I paid: $100!

My friend has the same. And paid the same.

The “Profits” screen of my Axim read $10,000+ when we’d finished.

On my way home I stopped at a sandwich shop next to Half Price Books to grab a bite to eat.

For some odd reason I had no desire at all to go inside and check out the Clearance Shelf.

I wonder why?

P.S. We went back twice during the week and bought still more books.

Labels: Book Selling, Garage Sales

posted by Books, Computers & Puppets,

October 30, 2007

Q&A "Yippee, I found a book listed for $3300.00"

Dear Janet

I am listing books we bought at thrift stores this week and have a
toughie: Study Guide to accompany Business Information Systems, An
Introduction 5th edition by Diana Stark, ISBN 0070358737, paperback, out
of print, c. 1993. It has 256 pages. Hardback books are listed for $20
to 50, Paperback lists for $3300.00 on Abebooks and $2385.00 on Amazon by
the same seller. I updated our scanner today and scanned the book again
and it came up used good condition for $500.00, no rating, 1 book listed.
I checked several other sites and didn't find anything to tell me why
the other seller listed it for so much. I'm not sure what price to list
it with. What would you suggest?

This is an excellent question and one you WILL come across in your book selling business. Here is my reply below.

Hi Brent,
I think you may have found one of those dreamers who thinks that
they can price a book for what they want to get for it instead of allowing the
demand to price it for you. Oddly others who may find this uncommon (and
unwanted) book also have hopped on board as well and followed suite in the high
price. Below is a listing on Amazon (I think you also found this one as well)
that lists this same book in HB for 34 cents! If you want to, go head and list
it. Perhaps it is a first edition ....or signed by the author or.... is gold
plated but someone may buy it. In my opinion you may not have a hope in heaven
of it selling at that price but it may be very interesting to watch a price war
that may occur. (but probably won't since there is such low demand) The rank is
over 5 million so don't hold your breath. For humors sake, I might list my copy
along side that only listing for ...say, $1999.00 and see if he lowers his price
to match yours.

Here is the link to the paper back version of the same title.

Do not be discouraged though. High priced books are out there. We just
sold one for $270.00 and that is small price compared to what some of your books
can sell for if you hone your book selling skills well.

This is also a prime example of learning to "interpret the data" on your scanner. Watching for one only copy listed at an unusually high price can mean you have hit the jack pot or may mean you have found a dreamer so I would try to make a judgment on whether or not to buy it. But quite honestly, I would probably have bought it as well, on a hope that after I did more research I might find some validity to the scanned price. If not, oh well, it was worth a try! The research experience that you did was worth the price you paid for the book! "

Janet Langford
Book Sellers Online