Tag Archives: used book sales

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.