SF Book Collection: Its value and to whom.
July 30, 2015 1:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving. Many of my SF books can go away permanently. Who where how?

Some are hardback firsts. Some are signed. Some are golden age. Some are collectable (for some value of collectable). Is it worth my time and effort to sell them? Failing that, is there an organization that wants them all? My local libraries book sales/giveaways don't feel like the answer.

Basically the underlying question is "are used books worth anything currently?"

Or. While I probably won't give away my original Dune or Heinleins, who should get my complete Alan Dean Foster, Andre Norton, and Robert Sheckley collections?

posted by lothar to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Prison libraries would take them.
posted by Sophont at 1:39 PM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know where you are but there are universities that have large collections,
UC Riverside {California} and Kansas University come to mind.
posted by calgirl at 1:41 PM on July 30, 2015

I would suggest you consider donating to juvenile detention and local jails as well. Not to mention your local public library.

Re selling, I'd check the market on eBay.
posted by bearwife at 1:46 PM on July 30, 2015

Are you in Southern California? If yes (or even if no), why not check with Barry Levin, who specializes in SF
posted by janey47 at 1:47 PM on July 30, 2015

I'd first call decent used bookstores in your area and ask what they are buying. You'll probably get a few bucks, plus I think helping to support such stores is socially valuable in itself.

Then the rest to Better World Books if there's a dropbox nearby.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:50 PM on July 30, 2015

Science fiction is a popular request in prisons, but realistically, they are often limited when it comes to taking hardcovers and (in some cases) older used books. I would get in touch with your local prison book program to ask about their preferences and see what of your collection they can use.

As far as the collectible books go, if you have a younger friend or relative who has time but little money, you could offer them a 50% cut of anything they are able to sell on eBay/Abebooks/whatever.
posted by pie ninja at 2:00 PM on July 30, 2015

For libraries/special collections: http://sfspecialcollections.pbworks.com/w/page/75687458/Home
If I remember right, I think Texas A&M's library has a pretty big book collection.
posted by pepper bird at 2:32 PM on July 30, 2015

I'll buy first-edition non-Elric Michael Moorcock, if you have any. PM me.

Otherwise, get in touch with UC Riverside.
posted by ElectricGoat at 3:43 PM on July 30, 2015

If you do a lot of the preliminary work by making a spreadsheet of all the books you want to part with and appending some relevant tags to help separate out series, special books like signed ones and first editions, and basic condition (if it has ever been opened it is not in mint condition) a good used bookstore will be much more willing to work with you on it.

They might give you a lump sum, or separate out some of the books that would sell for more than a few dollars and tell you to keep them because they can't offer you a good enough price for them, or give you a price per box.

You can ask them for recommendations for donations because they will have their ears to the ground for things like this. You can even ask them if they know someone who will do a consignment type deal for your nicer books where you give them to someone else who does the work of ebaying/selling them individually and they give you the money with a percentage off the top for the service. (This might often be someone who works at the store.)

Basically, cataloging new books is the biggest time sink for a used bookstore. If you have already done this before you even contact them, you are giving them a better deal and they will be more inclined to work with you or point you to the right people.
posted by Mizu at 6:07 PM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

My understanding is that most libraries don't want to go through the effort of sorting through and cataloging donated books either, just fyi.
posted by gryftir at 10:28 PM on July 30, 2015

Most libraries aren't adding donated books to their collections. They are selling them at a store/sale for money to supplement their budget. Enter a list of ISBNs at Powells.com and they will tell you which ones they want to buy and pay for shipping. Half.com might do that as well.
posted by soelo at 7:23 AM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

I sell books, with a special interest in SF. In my opinion, it would be well worth your time to do research on these titles. SF firsts and other collectables can go for nice money. If you'd rather just sell as a lot, you will not likely get more than at most a buck a book from a buyer who plans on flipping.

I might be interested in your collection if you wanted to memail me titles/isbns.
posted by thebrokedown at 9:20 PM on July 31, 2015

There are Amazon Marketplace booksellers who will sell your stuff for you for a commission. I know one in Portland but you can probably find someone near you.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:37 PM on July 31, 2015

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