Selling books on Alibris

The basic problem here is TMB.  Anyone who has been here knows that I basically live and work in a library, and though I’m not buying piles of books lately, it’s out of hand.  Imagine 13 ‘stacks,’ each six rows high, 4′ wide.  The fact is that if I want, this is enough to last me a lifetime.  If I reread them all, by the time I got back to the beginning, I would have forgotten what the first one was about.  And the older I get, the easier that becomes…

It’s bad enough that I sometimes buy a second copy of a book that looks good, forgetting that I already have a copy.  This is just stupid (worse yet, it is foolishly wasteful), and it’s time it stopped.  So I’m going to try unloading some.

The process is both easy and hard.  The basic shipping charge will mostly cover the cost of the mailer and postage for media mail, but not all of it.  The company you list with, of course, collects some profit as well.  So the first question is not ‘what are other people charging’, but ‘what must I charge for this to be worth the bother?’ After a visit to the P.O. with a couple of books, and some negotiating with my local UPS store on mailers, the basic answer to that question is:  about $1 for a small paperback, $2 for a larger trade paperback, and $3 for a hardback, combined with the $4 shipping allowance, is the ‘worth bothering’ point.  However, my books tend to be in great condition, me being so obsessive about that, so that should help.

I picked Alibris over Amazon and Abebooks because a) it seemed easier to work with than Abe, and b) I got to keep more of my money than Amazon.  Part of it also was some desire to separate my selling presence from my authorial presence at Amazon, and part was evidence that Amazon cleverly undercuts its secondary-market sellers.  Many is the time I’ve seen Amazon price books to just where the people who get free shipping would save a nickel buying from them over the poor sloggers selling the book for $0.01, and I find that to be taking unfair advantage of their position.  Alibris isn’t going to do that.

So, let’s see how it goes.  First I have to cover the $20 annual fee, which I suspect won’t be hard.  I put out five books just to learn the interface and see what sort of business I got, get through the process, then we’ll consider going forward after the first week.


12 thoughts on “Selling books on Alibris”

    1. I do, OSG, However, I do not know if it will let you review them all. It will however let you search for them. Right now I’ve listed a spare copy of Gulag Archipelago, a book on the fall of IBM, one on baseball coincidences, a book of old Kansas stories and a hardback of one of the more recent Honor Harrington books by David Weber. I’ll be selling a few SF books, it’ll eventually be a mix. Deb is ready to get rid of all her Stephen King hardbacks, so that’ll take a while. Anything in particular you are interested in? One of my major commitments is to accurate descriptions. As with other hobbies of mine, I hate it when anyone sugarcoats the cold reality. Best to be candid, and if they get something slightly better than they imagined, that’s good business.


    1. Awww, thanks, Gayle. I decided to stop posting there due to some of the moderators. Most I think were sensible, but some have a way of letting a fool start trouble, and when the fool gets trouble, the responders get their posts deleted but the fool doesn’t. You can’t win an argument with moderators, so the only recourse is to just leave. Just tell them ‘the game is a foot!’ for me!


      1. Yeah, aint that the truth. We’ve got that on my state one……you are much missed and I will pass on your sage words.


      2. Thank you, Gayle. I’m sorry I caused worries. You can call me an idiot, but I didn’t imagine it would receive much notice. After affectionate asschewings from Pip and Tami, it seems I was quite naive–and thankful to you all for your kind thoughts.


  1. Hey this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or
    if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


  2. Three years later, I’ve just come across this post, and I was wondering what your experience ended up being like selling on I’ve been thinking of doing so myself, but like to hear how this experience has gone for other sellers. I’m tired and frustrated with selling on eBay.


      1. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I was afraid you might say that. Seems like anywhere you turn to sell stuff, the cons appear to outweigh the pros.
        Thanks again, and I’m going to read the link you sent me,


  3. Thank you very much, Bill. In the end, I think the best way to get rid of books is to partner with antique dealers for consignment sales. The portion they will take is quite reasonable for what they do, and in the meantime, the books are out of your place. It’s just finding the right one. I am fortunate to have a friend of over 30 years who is an antique dealer.


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