Where to Sell Books

Parent Q&A

Donating or selling used books Oct 27, 2019 (9 responses below)
Advice on shutting down on-line book business Mar 23, 2018 (10 responses below)
Selling or donating books in Italian language Apr 14, 2017 (3 responses below)
  • Donating or selling used books

    (9 replies)

    I am in the process of dismantling the estates of two family members with BIG personal libraries, probably a few thousand books total in two locations.  They range from fiction (mostly paperbacks) to academic (social sciences).  They have been picked over somewhat, so most of the truly valuable items are gone, but I'm sure there's still value there for someone who wants to go through them (not me). I have managed to donate or sell a few boxes here and there, but at this rate it will take years to clean them all out.   Any recommendations for places that would take books in bulk like this for resale or donation?  I would love to donate them e.g, for library book sales, but many libraries are already overwhelmed and aren't taking donations at this time.  

    RE: Donating or selling used books ()

    Have you considered donating to the Prison Literacy Project? http://www.prisonlit.org

    There are a couple drop off locations in Berkeley---they sort and send free books to prisoners. I only gave them three bags full, not sure if they have an upper limit but may be worth a shot? 

    RE: Donating or selling used books ()

    Try to check with the local Friends of the Library. They may have capacity to take them or send you towards other local groups. 

    RE: Donating or selling used books ()

    I went through this exact same thing with my aunts estate. I lived in Texas at the time, but had a used bookstore who paid me for the small amount they wanted and donated the rest for me. The hard part was lugging all the books there. Maybe you could check a local used book store who could help you. Have you already had an estate sale? If not, maybe do that first so people come to you and you don’t have as much to pack up

  • Advice on shutting down on-line book business

    (10 replies)


    My dad lives in DC and has an on-line book business that he wants to retire from. He has about 20,000 books on-line ranging from standard to first edition and rare books, and stored in various depots in the DC area. My family is trying to figure out ways to relinquish this business as my dad is getting older and just cannot run a business anymore.....both obvious ideas (finding a buyer) to more creative ideas that we haven't thought of are appeciated. SInce the books are in DC, I know that we are likely limited to doing things in that area or relatively neaby, but wanted to see if anyone has dealt with getting rid of a large amount of books, or general advice on how to proceed. We are open to any possibility.... giving a bunch of books away, doing something in which someone else runs the business and we devise a plan to potentially takes it over, etc., selling the whole inventory, etc.  We don't want all of his hard work and inventory to be a total loss to him, as it has been his passion and life for many years, , and are hoping that we can figure something out that would work well for all parties. Any adivce, or people who you could refer us to for advice  on winding down this business- or thinking outside the box- would be greatly appreciated!

    If you'd like an introduction to folks at the Internet Archive, who could be interested in digitizing books in the collection to share with the world, let me know. ("The Phantom Tollbooth" is one of my most favorite books... I've got a copy signed by Norton Juster!)

    Do you know if he is a member of the IOAB (International Online Booksellers Association: hwww.ioba.org)? They support their members in time of transition and they might be able to offer you good advice even if he is not a member. I would also recommend you call an established bookseller in the DC area for their ideas. It is quite traditional for booksellers to buy the stock of booksellers who are going out of business, and, if the stock doesn't interest them, they will have other suggestions for you as they get asked the same question all the time. I am an antiquarian bookseller and a member of the national trade organization the ABAA - I would be happy to put you in touch with another ABAA dealer in that area or you could look them up on the ABAA website (www.abaa.org) - feel free to call me at our shop in San Francisco: John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller, (415) 986-5826.

    What about transitioning to an employee /worker owned model? It's a great way for private business owners to retire and also continue their legacy. I recently heard a fantastic presentation from the nonprofit Project Equity. Google them. Their mission is to assist with this type of analysis and transition. They are Bay Area based, but work with small and medium businesses across the country.

  • Hello,

    I am a native Italian speaker and over the years I have brought books in Italian language from Italy. Now I am trying to do a little spring cleaning and I am wondering where I could sell or donate these books. Are there any other Italians out there that have had experience with this? 

    Thank you!

    Ciao! We accept donations of books in Italian at Bambini Ciao in Oakland. We're actually going to ship books directly from Italy in the next couple of months because the library need to grow. Any help is very appreciated, if you send me a private message I can guide you through it.


    Put them on Craigslist, or take them to a used bookstore, advertise at UC Berkley languages department that you have free books for interested students of Italian. Li prenderei, pero ho gia` troppi libri!! Forse una o due... fammi sapere i titoli (email [email protected],com). Buona Fortuna!!

    I don't have a general answer to this question, but I would be happy to take some of the books off of your hands! What kind of books are they? I'm especially interested in books for babies and very young children.

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Selling Books Online

Feb 2008

I was thinking of selling books online & got as far as the legal agreement on Amazon. It seemed from this that you could be liable for anything & everything. Do you need to be a proper business, get a license, whatever? Is selling online the way to go for a sahm or is it more trouble than it is worth? Thanks. anon

Selling books online at Amazon is ok for specialty books--I've sold a few old academic references, cookbooks and a couple of knitting books, but there is a lot of penny fiction out there, and no one wanted my extra titles. A swap or store credit may be better for getting rid of fiction.

You also have to charge enough to cover the large chunk Amazon takes as a fee. In general, for online sales, my friends and I have found anything that grosses less than $10 is not worth it. For example, with a large $5 children's book, Amazon took $3 so very much not worth my time, since it cost a lot to ship. Buy a large pack of cheap mailers (or use recycled ones) and send everything media mail. For larger books, it may cost more to ship them than the $3.99 Amazon credits.

The sales trickle in so expect to go to the post office every couple of days unless you buy online postage, and even then for heavier stuff you have to go to the post office.

In general, it's worthwhile if you have some good specialty books, so give it a go! suzanne

I sell my old text books on-line, as well as old CD's, DVD's, etc. It doesn't take very much time at all-and it's a good way to get rid of clutter. I don't think you would need a business license unless you are making a profit and buying books dirt cheap and selling them for more than the purchase price. But, then again, I'm not a CPA! I just figure I am getting a little bit extra money than I would at the local used bookstore for my sales. There are also a few other websites out there that offer the same services as Amazon....half.com and secondspin.com Big aversion to clutter

You might want to check out www.paperbackswap.com as well. Very cool site and idea. Works well for my partner, who's gotten rid of a number of obscure books that way. rahel

We use half.com to sell our books. Thea

How to sell my dad's books

May 2007

I am wondering what I can do with my father's books that are not only taking over his home, but his life. He has been collecting, and hoarding, books for the past 25 years, and it has gotten out of control. The walls of his tiny rental are lined with book shelves and the floors are covered in stacks of books.

Most of them are in great condition and I doubt that they have even been read. There is a large variety of topics, but I am guessing a lot of them are historical, art, & novels. I am wondering how I can get rid of these books other than take them to Half-Price books or Pegasus--that would take a hundred trips and they may not even take most of them. I think they prefer newer things, don't they? I am hoping he can get some money for them. Is it worth having a garage-book sale? Would anyone even go? Any help here is appreciated, please! Drowning In Books!

My husband has a used bookstore. He would be more than happy to go to your father's house and buy books.He frequently goes to people's homes to buy collections. Depending on what they are, and what his store currently needs, he would buy anywhere from a few....to almost all of them. If interested in discussing this with him, please email with your phone number and he will call you. It is possible you could get someone from a local used bookstore to do the same thing. You could try calling Pegasus, Moe's, Black Oaks, etc. You have my empathy about having to deal with a hoarder....I live with one!

I have had good success selling books online via Amazon.com. You don't pay to post a listing, but do pay a commission. In order to make money, you also have to send things media mail, which involves trips to the post office. Not super convenient, but I have sold a lot of books this way. Gleaning books

The most time consuming way but also the way to make the most money (if you don't factor your time) is Amazon. It is pretty easy to list the books, figure out what to sell them for and you don't have to deal with collecting payment - Amazon does it for you. They pay you more for shipping than it costs to send a book Standard Shipping Speed (i.e. Media Mail) so you make a buck that way too. I only have listed 20 or so books at a time and I just have a stack of padded envelopes I bought in bulk at Kelly Paper in Oakland. I know the costs if it is 1lb or 2lbs, etc and it is pretty easy.

Bulk sales are harder. The book stores are quite picky and don't pay much. Garage sales are also low payers and who knows if you would sell them.

When I want to get rid of things in a hurry I donate them to a charity and take a tax write-off. That only works if your dad itemizes on his taxes.

I looked a while back on BPN on ways to get rid of books and all of these were listed plus libraries. Good luck.

I know that Moes Bookstore, on Telegraph, will do a housecall if you have a substantial amount of used, apparently quality books to sell. Give them a call. Pegasus, Black Oak, etc. may do housecalls too. anon

Where to sell a ton of used books

July 2005

I am getting rid of a ton of books from my personal library. Lots of novels, some classics, some travel books... Any ideas on a bookstore that would take them, even for a little bit of money? I'm happy to donate them to a library book sale, but if I can get anything for them, I'd like to try that first... Jen

It takes a bit more time, but i've had great luck at www.half.com. I've also sold books at Moe's on telegraph in berkeley. liz

We recently sold a whole mess of books to Moe's (Telegraph) and Pendragon (5560 College). They are fairly choosy, but it's worth the trip, especially if you take payment in store credit (but that does mean buying more books!). I also sell quite a bit on Half.com, but that can be tedious as it's one-at-a-time. Whatever didn't sell, we donated to Friends of the Oakland Library (www.fopl.org) for their Bookmark store in downtown Oakland. room on my bookshelves

My first recommendation would be Pendragon in Rockridge (I'm biased, though -- I used to work there) or its sister stores in Berkeley Pegasus on Shattuck or Solano. You'll get a good price but will have to carry away what they don't buy. If you go to Half Price Books they'll pay less but take all of your books off your hands. Liz

Books for the Barrios might be interested in your books. http://www.booksforthebarrios.com/index.html

Do we know each other? Because I would have shared this in person had you asked. I have explored this before, in trying to make a few extra bucks. A used bookstore will take some books, but they have to be in really good condition, the genres and titles have to have a market, and they cannot be romance novels. Even then, the amount you get in return is so pitiful to make it not worth your time.

You can try selling them on ebay or half.com, but I found, when doing this, that there was no interest, except for the very compelling titles. And when there was interest, it was only at bargain basement prices. Again, it's not worth your time, when you consider that you have to write up a good ad (maybe with pics), pay ad fees, figure out postage fees by weight, packaging, taking it to the post office, etc.

Unfortunately, there is hardly any market in used romances. If you have 3 grocery bags full of used romance novels, I'm guessing you can net $3-5 total off the lot. And that's how I'd sell them if I went the ebay route - as a lot, because people seem to think buying in lots is fun and like Christmas. Were it me, I would give it all to a friend that shares your reading interest or give the entire lot to a local library, and feel like I did a good thing that day (or I'd freecycle the lot). -I think I'm your nanny.

Green Apple Books on Clement St. in San Francisco is a great place to bring your used books to sell. book lover

I recently sold a bunch of books to Walden Pond (on Grand Ave in Oakland). They are pretty picky about what they will take, but if you read the kind of books that they sell, they will probably buy most of your books, and they definitely pay a fair price.

Try half.com. I have sold many used books this way - it's easy to post them for sale, and if you price them below the average asking price, you can get rid of them fairly quickly. The only hassle is that you must mail the books to the buyer (half.com reimburses you for some postage), so if your local post office is really busy all the time, it might not be for you. Kim

Selling valuable old books and LPs

May 2004

Hello, everyone: I am trying to sell some old LPs and books that I cleaned out of my father-in-law's attic. They are all in good condition, and my father-in-law tells me that some are quite valuable. Anyone know of a reputable business that buys old LPs and one that will come out to the house and look at the books? I'd like to get rid of each them en-masse. Many thanks! Kelly

Call David Thornton at Discovery Bay Old Books. He buys and sell old books. He may have a reference for the LPs. DL