When I mentioned this to my wife, she asked: “Oh yeah? How many books did you get rid of?”
Well, I replied, that’s not the most important point. What’s really important, I said, is that I have a plan, a plan that will eventually find new homes for all those books.
And this week I put that plan into motion by taking a bagful of books and compact discs to our local Half-Price Books franchise. Their web site indicated that they would make an offer on any books or CDs that were brought into their store.
As I toted my bag of 10 books and 10 CDs from the parking lot, I was preceded by a couple, each carrying a large box, and a man with a shopping cart full of paperbacks. When I arrived at the book-buying area I was told that several people were ahead of me, that it would take 20 minutes before they got to my bag and that I couldn’t leave the store since they’d announce on their intercom when the offer was ready.
I spent some time browsing the store. I looked to see if they had my book for sale (they didn’t) and checked out their audio department. Most CDs were selling for $5.98, vinyl LPs were going for $2.98 and cassettes were just 98 cents. It’s a great place to buy stuff; not so good for selling, however.
They came up with an offer in 15 minutes, well ahead of their estimate. I had already decided that I would sell the lot for what I figured was a fair “garage sale” price of $10. Their offer was $4. I declined.
In fairness, none of the books were in Half-Price’s preferred range (published in the last six months or on a best-seller list) but all were in excellent, like-new condition. Same for the CDs. A store like this is taking a chance buying what I had to offer so I understand their low offer. Nevertheless, I went online to see what offers were possible in cyberspace.
A good place to price books online is BookScouter, which will check up to 41 vendors by ISBN to determine who’s buying. The total for my 10 books was a measly $1.42 and that was scattered among three vendors. I did better with the CDs on SecondSpin, with a $7.65 total.
What all this did was to solidify my plan for books and CDs. The first step is to check online to see if it’s worthwhile to sell to a vendor or to offer at auction. If that’s not practical, I’ll box them up to be offered at my next garage sale. From that point on, they’re expendable. I’ll keep them as long as I have room, but will ditch them when necessary, either selling them at Half-Price Books or donating them to a thrift store.
So, even though my week’s activities didn’t actually get rid of any books, my plan has them headed out the door in a systematic and efficient manner.
Larry Lehmer is a professional personal historian and chief legacy planner at When Words Matter, Ltd., who connects generations through their stories. To learn more, visit his web site, send him an e-mail or follow him on Twitter.
Flickr photo courtesy of Ian Wilson