Thirty Boxes of Books
December 15, 2010 6:43 PM   Subscribe

Thirty Boxes of Books-- Best way to sell thirty boxes of books?

I have to empty out my storage garage and I have thirty boxes of books that were packed up five years ago. There are no used bookstores in my area. I'd like to ship them to some place like Powell's for sale, or to some other buyer, but Powell's is across the country. I could donate them to the Salvation Army or a similar entity. Does anyone have a recommendation of a used bookstore that will give a fair price for these books?
posted by tesseract420 to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Presumably they're bookshelf books, bookstore books, textbooks, and that sort of thing, right? They're not special/first editions, works with historical/collecting value, or are fancifully or uniformly bound collections? Because even the latter group are hard to get rid of at anything nearing what one in your position might consider a 'fair price'.

If donating them to your local library (or local library's FotL bookstore) is low down on the list of things you'd like to do, perhaps listing them on eBay or Amazon would be the best option for selling them. Any money you make on that endeavor will pretty much be strictly through shipping charges. 30 boxes of books isn't easy for anyone to deal with, let alone a sole proprietor used bookstore or a small library staff—that sort of stash easily becomes a white elephant sort of situation.
posted by carsonb at 6:50 PM on December 15, 2010

What sorts of topics & genres are we talking about?
posted by 5Q7 at 6:50 PM on December 15, 2010

Where are you? That would help answer the Q.
posted by scratch at 6:55 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Powell's is still a possibility -- if you send them a list of ISBNs they'll tell you if they'd like to buy them. Of course, you'd need a scanner of some sort or generating that list would be onerous.
posted by Zed at 7:05 PM on December 15, 2010

If you end up deciding to donate, you might consider one of these Books to Prisoners programs.
posted by washburn at 7:17 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

You can also try It's the same setup as Powell's ... you type in each ISBN and they'll maybe offer you a few bucks for it. They pay for shipping .. you just print out a shipping label, pack them up and send them off. It will take you some time to enter all those numbers in and then sort out which ones they want and then pack them up and then take them to the post office and send them. At best you'll get a dollar or maybe two per book, and they won't want many of them. But maybe you could make a few bucks from this and then donate the unwanted ones.

You could also invite your friends to browse through them and take whatever looks interesting. You could spend a lot of time and energy trying to sell these and unless you've got some rare editions in there, you probably won't see much of a return.
posted by Kangaroo at 7:18 PM on December 15, 2010

I agree with scratch, knowing where you are might find you a buyer on here.
posted by _DB_ at 7:29 PM on December 15, 2010

If you have the time, go on Type in the ISBN and they check how much the leading book buyers will give you.
posted by lankford at 7:31 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

I just got rid of lots and lots of books by selling them to amazon and powells. They provide the shipping, so it's low in actual cost, but high in investment time. Do one box a night, maybe?

bookscouter would have saved me a lot of cutting and pasting, had I known about it!
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:37 PM on December 15, 2010

Is there a teenager/pre-teen/college student in your life? You know someone with time on their hands and a need for easy cash? Someone who would be willing to put in all the work of typing in ISBNs and pack and shipping, etc. for a split of the profits? Because that is how I would do it.
posted by magnetsphere at 7:43 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

shipping, ISBN #, what-the-what?

Sort by genre into boxes, post to Craigslist:
"Box of business books: $50". List a few of the catchier titles and say "included in box..." (book A, book B, book C).
"Box of self-help books: $40"
"Box of ______ books: $20. Must take entire box!"

It works. I've done it.
posted by Lukenlogs at 7:50 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

Step one would be to prepare for disappointment. My sister and I organized and sold our father's books last year, roughly 40 boxes (the kind packs of printer paper come in) for roughly $500 dollars. If you smoke, the price goes down. If the books have any kind of odor (from having been in storage) the price comes down. Any book that might have been a bestseller? The market is flooded. Donation might, in the long run, be your best bet.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:04 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'd note that there are apps for batch scanning isbns on smart phones.
posted by gryftir at 3:28 AM on December 16, 2010

If you do wind up deciding to give them to charity, I would strongly discourage you from donating to the Salvation Army. Their stance on LGBT folk is downright appalling.
posted by Tamanna at 4:21 AM on December 16, 2010

Check the used cost for each book on Amazon. You might find some gems in your boxes, and in case of gems, simply click the button that says "Have one to sell? Sell yours here." Set your price one cent less than the cheapest copy, and you'll likely have a buyer within a few days. (Keep an eye on your seller account, though, as some sellers have bots that automatically re-set their price to a penny less than yours. If you're still the cheapest copy, there will be a check mark next to your listing.)

Donate the rest to the school or charity of your choice.
posted by Scram at 9:11 AM on December 16, 2010

If go decide to go the donations route, nursing homes could be a viable option in addition to schools, libraries and / or charities.
posted by cool breeze at 1:37 PM on December 16, 2010

Thank you all. I am in a state where there are few readers; used bookstores are non-existent and the rate of literacy is low.
posted by tesseract420 at 7:24 PM on December 17, 2010

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