Thursday, October 9, 2008

Selling Books Bought at Yard and Garage Sales Online

The author at Passive Family Income asked if I was ever worried I might run out of things to sell on eBay, Amazon or This post answers that question:

Last Saturday there were dozens of garage sales in my neighborhood. We have a walking tour that takes place during that weekend, so people try to cash in on the strolling passerbys with yard and garage sales. I was coming home when I spotted the first sale. I parked my car and perused the merchandise (I do love a good garage sale) and then started to leave... when I spotted another one within walking distance. And from that one I spotted one more and one more after that. Literally I hit 6 garage sales without having to re-park my car.

I didn't find much, the downside with this type of event is that people tend to have their stuff marked a little too high for me. Then, just as I was about to head back home, I stumbled upon a house with box after box of books lining the driveway. Stopping to go through them I found they were a mix of popular fiction, cookbooks, craft books and travel guides. They weren't organized very well - everything was sort of thrown together and none of the spines were visible. They had them marked at 3 for a $1.00. I started to try to pick through them but finally got too frustrated - it took me ten minutes just to sort through a box to see what was in it, and that was before even opening up a cover to see if anything was salable.

Stepping back, I looked them over and figured that there were at least 10-11 boxes. Each box had to contain 15-20 books or more (some of the boxes were huge.) I decided to make an offer... for all of them.

I walked up to the gal running the sale and asked her how many books she had. She said, "Why? Are you going to make me an offer?" When I acknowledged the fact she offered them all for $25.00. I had been considering offering $30, so I took her up on her offer and over the next twenty minutes loaded up my car with box after box of books. I haven't even begun to count how many actual titles I have, but one whole corner of my basement is full of books that I am slowly starting to go through.

I'll be writing on my The Online Bookseller blog about my actual experience selling these books. So far, I have had to sort through a lot of chaff to get to the wheat. Many of these books are not in ideal condition and even those that are seem to be so popular that the prices are very low. I am still very hopeful though that I will be able to not only recoup my money but make some on top of that. I think I can though.

It is going to take me some time to get everything organized and posted online. I am looking forward to the challenge and seeing how it all works out... I may have just started my own used bookstore.

Photo of books by: kathy s


Frugalchick said...

I have to admit, I'm jealous! I'd love to stumble on a deal like that--I love finding used books, reading them, then reselling.

Dawn said...

Mostly I am tempted by the cookbooks! The beauty of this is though that there is no way I will need to buy a book to read for a long, long time!

Brandon Checketts said...

A good way to quickly determine the value of a book is to see if anybody on is buying it. If a website is buying it there, you could sell it directly, or it gives you some indication of what you might be able to sell it for on Amazon or another marketplace