Learn Where To Sell Books
By The Ton

By Joe Waynick

If you build a large online bookselling business you'll need to know where to sell books by the truck load to get rid of unusable inventory.

Many Internet booksellers aspire to grow beyond selling books online out of their homes.

They envision buying used books by the truck load and having tens of thousands of listings on dozens of online marketplaces.

The problem with this approach is that not every book contained in a truck load is worth selling online. You're going to need a cost effective way to get rid of all the books you don't use.

There's Lots of Waste

A typical 53' tractor trailer of books holds 48 to 52 double stacked pallets. Each pallet represents 600 to 800 books each.

For the sake of this discussion we'll split the difference and say 700 books per pallet and each truck has 50 pallets. That makes the math easier. Now we're talking about 35,000 books per load.

It would be wonderful if every single book can be sold. But the used book seller business doesn't work that way. Right off the top, about 20% of the books will be too badly damaged to sell. That reduces your potential inventory to 28,000 books.

Low yields from bulk purchases limit your options for where to sell books for optimal profit.

Buying by the truck load is a great way to find cheap rare books. I've found hundreds of $100 books buried beneath the rubble of a pallet of books right off the truck.

But the sad reality is that out of what's left after discarding the obvious waste you'll find that most of them are penny books that won't turn a decent profit if sold online.

It's not unusual to only capture 12% to 15% of the remaining stock as inventory worth selling. That limits your options for where to sell used books for optimal profit in online used bookstores.

Don't Clog Up The Landfills!

The last thing you want to do is dump tens of thousands of books into a landfill. Some booksellers actually think that's a good idea because it's quick, easy, and they take a tax deduction for the lost inventory. But it's dumb, really dumb.

The reason it's dumb is because there are several useful things you can do with those books that don't include trashing the environment. I guess the main reason booksellers do it wrong is because they don't know where to sell books in such large quantities.

The most economical choice is to sell them to a paper recycling company for their pulp value. The recycler will take the books and turn them into other useful products of all kinds.

Work With Reputable Companies

Not all recycling companies are equal. Most specialize in a certain line of materials and know very little about recycling other materials.

For example, you don't want to go to a metal recycler to sell books. When I was calling around trying to find a company to buy my bulk books, one metals recycler tried to tell me that books can't be recycled at all!

I had to laugh, but he didn't like that very much. It went down hill from there.

In addition, not all paper recycling companies recycle books. You need to find a company that will accept them because a lot of paper recyclers don't know where to sell books with hardcover boards on them.

Start your search by contacting the corporate offices of Georgia Pacific. They're one of the largest recycling companies in the nation.

Depending on your volume, they may refer you to one of their smaller regional partners. You can also check your local yellow pages for other recyclers in your area.

Beyond Recycling Paper

Recycling isn't the only fate for books that can't be profitably sold online. You don’t even necessarily need to know where to sell books at a profit at all.

Some can be shipped overseas as part of literacy programs to help educate people in third world countries.

Public libraries are always looking for suitable book donations. The ones they can't use on their library shelves can be sold at library book sales for a dollar or two to help support local library programs.

You can also donate used books to hospitals, prisons, churches, and other non-profit charities. Those institutions will either distribute the books to their members or sell them as part of a fundraising idea.

Help Traditional Bookstores

You can also become a local wholesaler to brick-and-mortar bookstores in your community and learn where to sell books to a large market very close to where you live.

Just join the local booksellers association and let local bookstore owners know you have massive quantities of books for sale. Make sure your company name is listed in their book seller directory.

Soon they'll start coming to you to fill gaps in their inventory, especially if you offer them a great price. At any price, it'll be more than you can get from pulping the paper.

You'll be doing your company and the community a great service.

And finally, you can sell large lots of books to people on e-Bay who want to open a retail bookstore of their own. This is another great resource if you want to know where to sell books online.

Selling on e-Bay is vastly different than selling on fixed price marketplaces like Amazon. But it's much easier to move bulk merchandise with eBay auctions. There is no such thing as Amazon online auctions. Amazon got out of the auction business a long time ago.

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