Monday, August 1, 2011

Insider Secret: Sell This--Children's Books

If you're a yard saler, something that will NEVER be in short supply are kids' books.  My girls LOVE books, so I buy them, or "collect" them, they read them, and once I have a nice group of the same kind of book (like these Junie B. Jones books pictured above), I sell them on ebay.

How much should you pay for books?  Paperbacks, I pay a maximum of 25 cents.  If someone has it priced for 50 cents, I politely let them know that at most yard sales paperback children's books are priced at 25 cents.  Church yard sales are a great place to buy good kids' books, and almost always they are priced right.  If you run across books you want to buy, you might consider putting a group of them together and offering a low price as well.  Hardcover books for children I will pay 50-75 cents if I HAVE to.  But I don't like to.

What books do I buy to resell?  I am certainly not the expert in this field, and I am sure there are a million websites out there to teach you about selling books.  And if you play the yard sale/thrift store game long enough you'll see the older gentlemen with their book scanners or iphone scanners looking up closing auction prices of the books they find.  I stick to things my family loves, so that not only can we use them and love them, we can pass them on through ebay when we are done.  I like to sell:

  • Berenstain Bears
  • Junie B. Jones
  • Magic Tree House
  • Magic School Bus
  • Dear America type books
  • Dr. Seuss Hardcover Books
  • Groups of Character books like Dora, Clifford, etc. (though keep in mind these do not sell as well)
  • Complete sets of vintage books
  • There are others that I will sell if I can find all or most or many in a series (Captain Underpants, Whimpy Kid, etc) but since we don't read these I don't go out of my way to "collect" them.
What do I expect to make by selling these books?  I only sell these kinds of books if I have a lot of at least 10, and quite frankly I like to have more like 20.  Berenstain Bears books I wait until I have about 30.  The more you have, the better you do.  If you only have 10-20, you can expect to make about $1 per book in a group.  If you have more than 20, you can usually do a bit better.  To be honest, I don't like to sell a group of books unless I can make about $20.  So, I usually need at LEAST 20 books in my "collection" before I sell them.  Does that make sense?

Have any of you had success selling books?  If so, what kind do you sell?


  1. Do you buy them only if they are in absolutely perfect condition? And if they aren't in perfect condition, how do you list them so that the buyer knows they are a little worn? Thanks!

  2. Easy Readers! The level books (1,2,3) I just sold 60 of them for $69.99 with free shipping BIN. My cost for the books was $15.

  3. And you can ship media mail which is ALOT cheaper!

  4. Jen, I love ya. I've learning SO much from you! Seems like just when you highlight something to sell, I see it the next yard sale I go to and snap it up! June B books were the FIRST of my e-bay goodies I sold (books seems simple to start.) I paid $3 for 18 books and walked away with $20 on a week-long auction. I was thrilled. Thanks for your blog...I enjoy how your beautiful personality shines thru each post. Joy to you from Julie in Indiana

  5. I love finding books for my son. He's an avid "reader" at 2. (Or I'm the reader and he's the listener but it works for me!) I passed up a set of vintage Disney hardcover books in excellent condition a few weeks ago. I think there were 10 or so of them @ $.50 each. I guess I'm having trouble thinking of items from my childhood as "Vintage".

  6. I have had success with Sweet Valley High books and Hardy Boy Book lots (the new shiny ones, not so much the vintage ones) - I aim to pay .10-.17 per book and sell them for as close to $1 ea if possible.

    I gave you a link back on my blog today :)

  7. Sadly, around my neck of the woods, it seems .50 for a paperback and $1 for a hardback has become the going rate. I see fewer .25 books than I did last year. Often people

  8. Oops. I meant to add that often people price their trade paperbacks and popular kids books at $1, too.

  9. I just made a trip to Goodwill and found a complete set of Big Bird's Sesame Street Dictionaries! I am beyond excited about these because they are in FANTASTIC shape for 30 year old books. Yay!

  10. PS...I think I linked back. What is linking back? Why is the internet so hard?

  11. I don't know if it's everywhere but a lot of library's sell books super cheap as well. Just another place to check :)

  12. It helps so much to have a smart phone to look books up. So many aren't worth the 50 cents. That's the going rate here for paperbacks too.

  13. Sadly books, and I have never gotten along too well on eBay. Maybe I will give it another go. Apparently where I live at everyone's homeschooling or something cause at every yard sale there are tons of books just laying around. :)

  14. Great post - I just finished an auction for 11 Junie B. Jones post and made $18 - I was thrilled as I would have sold them at a garage sale or the half price bookstore for so much less!!!


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