Buy Used Books Online:
Part III of
Rural Book Scouting Ideas

By Joe Waynick
July 1, 2013

Some sellers aren't able to buy used books online. So if you're in a tough rural area you need to get in touch with every bankruptcy guy or business liquidation agent in your region. Let them know you will willing travel to assess and buy reference libraries.

Any colleges or universities? Signs on bulletin boards or ads in the school paper (or online version) "we buy texts."

Look for people who specialize in helping folks downsize. Professional Organizers, or Home Stagers. I just got three boxes of books for free from one I met at a business networking meeting.

Send letters or emails out to real estate agents letting them know you buy books. Many people preparing their homes for sale need to eliminate clutter. I did this and got a few replies, just never kept it up.

Send letters or email to any "house cleaning" or "maid service" businesses in your area. They are frequently called for one shot deals when people are getting ready to sell their house and might be able to put you in touch with potential book sellers.

I tried having a large "book sale" myself. Put out signs, had a few tables of books. People were looking mostly for paperbacks and fiction. It wasn't worth my effort because I was off the main road.

If I was in a good traffic area I would buy used totes, mark them by category (fiction, travel, history etc.) and then I could have a sale, throw the books in the totes afterwards, then easily have a sale a few weeks later with the books already organized. I the right area, with minimal work (craigslist ads, posters in grocery stores etc., nicely lettered sandwich boards for the roadside) you could generate a reasonable amount of traffic.

If you have a son or daughter, you could pay them to sit at the tables and makes some money. A sign at the tables saying "We buy books" would generate conversation and you could find out about their soon to retire parents, neighbours who are moving or the college instructor who is getting rid of their reference library.

One thing I got agreement on, but never pursued was an arrangement with a local variety store to set up a couple of shelves and stock them with used books and split the money. They would have been happy to have a hundred used paperbacks and sell them for a buck or two each. You might be able to work something out with an independent coffee shop or gas station.

Another thing I didn't do (everything else was just working well enough) was come to an agreement with local schools to pay them by the pound for any books that their students brought in. Work with the local PTA on this. They are usually engaged in fund raising for the schools in my areas. You could have an ongoing thing or periodic book drives.

Think of this. How many people live within a 30 mile radius of your home? They all have books. Every day there is someone within that radius thinking "What am I going to do with all these books?"

Paul and Carol are active members of my bookseller's forum. To learn more about their businesses just click over to my Forum Guidelines page and sign up for a free membership.

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