Time to clear some shelf space…
I achieved something today that I have never before accomplished. I managed to sell some the books I no longer want.
I’ve tried in the past to sell them on e-bay and on Amazon but without even a sniff of interest. So I just got into the habit of taking them to the local library which has a regular book sale, or to a charity shop. Occasionally I took some to a BookCrossing zone but then would forget to fill in all the details on the website.
But this week when I had a bit of a clear out I realised that the majority of the titles I wanted to give away were either unread or looked like new. If I take them to the library they’ll sell them for just 20p each. I know this adds to their funds but I thought these books were worth more than than. So I lugged them to a second-hand store in one of the arcades in Cardiff, fully expecting to have had a wasted journey.
Surprisingly the shop owner took all of them and I walked away £15 richer. Ok, not a huge sum but it was still worth the effort.
I overheard the shop owner tell another customer that he was selective when customers approached him with books for sale; he didn’t want to end up with duplicate copies of the same titles. That was perfectly understandable when you see the multiple versions of popular crime fiction titles that fill the shelves of many a charity shop. Cardiff has three university colleges so I suspect, come end of the academic year, this shop — the only dedicated second-hand book shop in the city — is a prime target for students wanting to offload the likes of Tristram Shandy.\
This is what I sold today……
Two of them, Delirium by Laura Restrepo and The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, were books I had started but abandoned. Since this was about four years ago I decided I wasn’t ever going to go back to them and it was time they made way for titles more to my taste.
The Othello, Murder in the Cathedral and Peter Pan were remnants of various Open University modules from long ago.
There are two Booker winners in this pile, both of which I had kept after reading on the basis that I had enjoyed them and might want to re-read them one day. But realistically, that day is never going to come, so I bid farewell to both The Sea by John Banville and Graham Swift’s Last Orders. Ditto, The Book of Gaza and another novel by Banville, Ancient Lights.
The final one to mention in this stack, Reflections on the Revolution in France, is a non fiction book that was the latest delivery from my subscription to The Random Book Club. As I said in a recent post, I’ve not been very happy with the books I’ve received through this subscription. They, just like this one, have all gone out of the house within a few days of them coming through the letterbox.
Based on this experience I’d be inclined to try and sell books this way in the future although sometime ago I saw a reference on another blog site about a company that will give you a quote online. They’ll even collect the books. It sounds goods. Unfortunately I’ve lost the name of that company – does it ring a bell with anyone? They are UK based.
31 thoughts on “Time to clear some shelf space…”
I missed this post when it appeared – I honestly don’t know where the time goes.
I have sold books to bookshops on and off over the years, but they have tended to take only 1/3 of what I ever take in (partly because of their duplication policy) that now I mostly donate to Lifeline (which raises well over $1million a year just in my city through their booksales). They take everything, and pass onto other Lifelines (eg in a rural town) many that they don’t sell. Different audiences etc. They do pulp some books but not until they’ve given them a red-hot run for it!
I am mindful of Oxfam since I put in the wrong pile a book that that I had not planned to donate – the book cost £65 when I bought it and was pristine. Anyway, I went to the Charity shop explained my tale of woe and did expect that they would be helpful. Instead I had to buy back the book I already owned and pay more than the £65 I had already spent. That stopped me giving any books to Oxfam in the future.
That is a horrendous story Julie, I’m not surprised you no longer wanted to connect with them. Did you try taking a complaint to someone more senior in the organisation?
I tried talking to the organisation, but they were not particularly helpful and left me feeling that I was being mean by asking for the book back.. I walked away feeling that I would never support them again and I don’t.
I can’t blame you for that Julie. I wouldn’t want to do business with any organisation that treated me in that way. It grieves me to say this but I am afraid that some charities have become too big and are acting like commercial ventures – paying their management huge salaries, claiming expenses and failing to exercise due diligence. I’ve stopped giving to those big organisations now and support more local enterprises instead
This is exactly what I do – I take them to the one of the local used bookstores (we have two great ones) and if they don’t want them I then donate them to the library booksales! I’m impressed with the 20p though, ours start at $1, but most have shifted to $2 for everything!
I did challenge them a bit about the 20p – I thought people would be prepared to pay at least 75p. Their argument is that people always give more than the asking price. But then if they asked 75p I bet people would still give a bit extra…..
They would! It’s so easy to round up to one!!!
That’s such a bummer that your book subscription is a flop. Have you already cancelled it? I find that I get myself in a corner when I’m told how cool a small-press publisher is, but I keep buying and hating their simplistic, boring or lazily-written books.
i’m stuck with it until end of the year but yes will definitely be cancelling. Just think how much money you could save if you resisted the temptations of those small presses 🙂
I’ve curbed my buying quite a bit. It’s usually festivals where they have book fairs that get me.
I managed to resist the book stall at the Hay festival this year
I’d love to find somewhere local that would buy! I *have* sold some titles on Amazon although it’s often a slow process, but it would be preferable to shift some in bulk. I do donate a lot but as I’ve spent out a lot on books over the years it would be nice to get something back…
It’s a shame we don’t live close, because I am always in need of books in English at a good price!
You did well, and now you know a place to sell the unwanted ones! When I did the KonMari method this past winter I sold a lot of books too – it was hard, but when I saw the extra space I had no regrets.
Just in case, in my country there is an app for the phone in which you can buy and sell second-hand items, either in your area (you arrange a meeting with the buyer) or by sending them. There must be something of the kind there too! I’ve sold even make-up with this app, not to mention several books, for a good price (4-6 euros each).
Now into the books you sold, I have only read Delirium, in the original version in latin Spanish, which is more powerful because the story is full of dark places and people. I liked it. I guess there are some books that don’t work out in translation.
PS: I hated Tristram Shand, what a boring book, poor students!!
I’ve not come across an app like that Isi. We do have websites where you can post items for sale or for free. I’ve tried those too for DVDs I no longer want. No interest sadly…..
As for Tristram, yep I struggled with it
When I left the UK a few years ago, I used a site called FatBrain, which may be what you’re thinking of. They give a quote online based on the books and the condition they’re in. I can’t remember how shipping worked—I think it was a case of printing off a label and sending it, but I’m not sure. It was quite good anyway. I also had quite a bit of success with Amazon, but more for non-fiction or more unusual hardback books, and it took a while for them to sell. Paperback fiction was hard to sell for more than a few pennies, so I took a lot of that to the library or charity shops.
Do you find it hard to sell or offload books? It made me quite sad to do it, and I’m still sad when I think of the bookshelves in my old flat, packed with books I’ll never see again.
I do find it hard to let them go Andrew which is why I hung on to some of these for a few years. But I just physically cannot fit in any more in this house and since I am seemingly incapable of not buying new books, something had to give. I’ve not heard of FatBrain but will investigate
I sell through Amazon, WeBuyBooks and Ziffit. If you’re interested in the latter two I can send you a code/referral you can use for 5 pounds off on your first sale. You got a really good offer from that bookshop! Most places offer just pennies per book.
Who can resist an offer like that? So yes please do send to me . Do you get any benefit from the referrals too Rebecca?
5 pounds off for me as well if you do a trade 😉
webuyanybooks.co.uk is the one I use. You can enter books, see what their bid is and decide which if any to sell. Then myhermes either pick up or you can drop off at various newsagents.
That name rings a bell! Thank you for coming to the aid of my failing memory
Sorry I can’t help you with UK buyer’s name. I admire your resolve to sell some of your books. I find it hard. I would rather part with teeth than sell my books but I need to sell some before too long to make room for new ones I have bought recently. A neverending argument with many authors who live on my shelves. Haha🤠🐧
Thats exactly the problem I have – just no space at all. They keep falling off the shelves so after months and months of prevarication I steeled myself to fill a bag and head to the shop
I just have to laugh. I know this feeling very much.
We used to have a shop in Worcester that would buy in books but it is long gone, I’m afraid. All mine now have to go to charity shops. I just about restocked the local Oxfam bookshop before the move.
Oxfam is where some of my less ‘popular’ books tend to end up. I found if I took them to the charity shop nearest me they would be there for months and months with no interest. clearly the readers in this area don’t share my enthusiasm for literary novels…..
Our libraries sell their books very cheaply too, but i guess it all adds up. The one in your group which jumps out at me is Norwegian Wood, which I’m hoping to read later this year with a challenge in mind (title based on a song lyric); I’ve enjoyed two of Murakami’s other novels (the big ones) so I’m eager to return to his prose. Do you plan to return to this shop or do you think the remainder will go to the library?
that sounds an interesting challenge. I would struggle to get far with it though since I am such a duffer about lyrics
I’ve tried to sell on Amazon in the past too with little success. Sounds like you might have a regular customer there!
I’ll need to be careful what books I take in but yes this could be a good outlet in the future Cathy