Monday, October 30, 2006

Let the books find you

A reader asked the following question:

"Would you care to share what is your "good source?" We live in WA state but am still looking for a good source beside happening on a few good books at thrift stores and garage sales. I really do not know where else to find some really good buys."

If I had to narrow it down to one good source I'd say "everywhere." Everywhere includes:

  • Library sales.
  • Thrift shops.
  • Garage sales.
  • Flea markets.
  • Church sales.
  • Used bookstores (try the clearance section. Try asking if they have books in storage that they would be willing to unload).
  • The book dumpster behind Half Price Books.
  • Estate sales.
  • American Association of University Women (AAUW) sales.

You can find announcements of most of the above sales at Also make sure to check the classifieds every week. Sometimes library sales aren't listed on booksalefinder so it pays to check the library websites too.

It's also important to let the books find you. Start by telling everyone you know that you are an online bookseller and that you'd be happy to buy books from them or sell on commission. Most people will be happy to give you books and you won't have to pay. They get empty shelves and an excuse to buy more books and you get free inventory. They are probably relieved that you aren't asking them to buy anything or come to a Tupperware party. Others will want a commission but you won't have to pay until the book sells.

Not everyone you know will have books but they have the potential to give you leads. They might be related to a newly retired professor who wants to unload their books. They might visit a garage sale in their neighborhood that wasn't listed in the classifieds and, after spotting several shelves of vintage ballet books and photography books, give you a call. They might be oppressed by a garage full of obscure books they inherited from a friend and want to free up their storage space.

You'll be surprised by what you find. "How can someone spend their whole adult life reading nothing but book club books?" you'll wonder to yourself. Or you'll look at several boxes of scientific and philosophy books and wonder, "Did this man never indulge in light reading?" and then the next box you'll open will be full of 50 Betty Neels romances and you'll scratch your head. The best part is that you'll be able to go through the books leisurely, in the privacy of your home, with no other dealers around you. The more books that find you the less dependent you'll have to be on the sales and thrift shops.

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Blogger Mimi said...

I like how you narrowed that down, grin.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Helen Oram said...

My husband and I designed and maintain We constantly strive to improve our service and are always looking for new ideas.

If anyone finds a book sale that we don't know about, we would appreciate hearing about them - or better yet, tell the book sale organizers about us. Listings are free to charitable organizations running traditional used book sales.

And again, let us know how we can improve Book Sale Finder!


Helen Oram

Book Sale Finder - Since 1994, the Online Guide to Used Book Sales

1:00 PM  
Blogger garth said...

Two tips for book hunters. Make a list of people selling books on ebay then contact them. And I don't mean email address I mean physical address and phone numbers then make it a habit to contact them.

Also some smart book sellers create websites where they list books they have in stock but not yet listed on Ebay. You could make a list of them then if you find something you want you could try to make a deal with them.

Here's one that posts just found but not a Ebay book auction yet.

2:11 PM  

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