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?

14 comments:

  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!

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  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.

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

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  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

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  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".

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  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 :)

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  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

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

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  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!

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

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  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 :)

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  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.

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  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. :)

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  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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