by Kristen Anderson
Both La Crosse Public Library and Sparta Free Library had book sales this past Saturday, February 28, 2009. Kelly Krieg-Sigman reported that La Crosse Public Library netted over $3000. She shares Saturday’s sale taught her that, “Books sell better when displayed on tables!”
Peggy Klein of Sparta Free Library reported their book sale was lots of work but they made close to $1000!
Must have been a good day for book sales!
Marcia found this very interesting document on the FOLUSA e-list concerning book donations to libraries. Here’s a link to it, if you’d like a “print ready” copy: http://www.pittsburghusedbooks.com/How%20to%20Donate%20Books.pdf
How to Donate Books
Don’t leave donated materials on the sale shelves. It screws up the system a lot.
Give them to a library staff member or a Friends of the Library volunteer, who can also give you a tax receipt.
Shoot Your Own Dog
In the classic frontier tale Old Yeller, the beloved hound is bitten while fighting off a rabid wolf who is attacking the hero’s mother and sister. The boy is devastated when his mother says Old Yeller must be shot to prevent spreading the deadly disease, but he forces himself to be a man, put aside sentiment, and do what is needed. Later his father helps him to see that “that’s how life is a part of the time…A man can’t afford to waste all the good part, worrying about the bad parts”. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
So, here’s what you gotta do. When you pack up donations of used books and magazines to donate to the Library, please Shoot Your Own Dog. Get rid of the books that have no future; don’t take them to the Library for execution. It’s too hard on volunteers’ souls.
But Be Sure He’s Yours
When we find a book that seems to belong to a library or institution, we have to contact them to discover whether it has been withdrawn from their collection before we can sell it. This is very time-consuming and sometimes difficult.
Please make sure “library books” are marked “withdrawn” or something similar before you pass them on to us.
Printing it Doesn’t Make it Sacred
We can’t sell photocopied things. Supplemental readings from classes, texts used in in-service training, anything your broker sends you in the mail, CATALOGS, the complete list of alumni from your college or members of your professional organization . . . they’ve served their purpose. Let them go. People who are looking for this information will look on the Internet or get it where you got it.
Watch Out for Infection
MILDEW IS ALIVE. If your books are damp, smelly, or have dark dots and splotches, they are not only unmarketable, they are a danger to other books. They must be thrown away immediately. The library pays for trash collection, so it is unkind to donate them.
What makes a book pleasant? Flat pages and covers, strong binding, no water damage, paper that doesn’t flake, no smell, no stickiness or grime, a spine with few crease lines – these are all basic to most people’s enjoyment of the physical experience of holding a book. It is possible to overlook some problems if the book is very special, but be honest – would you lend it to your mother-in-law?
Please stack donations in a box or a paper bag. Snugly. Flat.
Plastic bags, especially trash bags, do awful things to the books. Once books are bent, they can’t be sold.
Know What You are Donating
Check boxes that have been packed for a long time to be sure there is nothing in them by mistake. Finding old photos we can’t return makes us sad. Live things scare us. On the other hand, I found my two best paring knives in boxes of books (months apart!).
Some Things Just Don’t Sell
NO TEXTBOOKS. If they are more than two or three years old, nobody wants to buy them. If they are newer, you should take them to a college bookstore or one of the used textbook stores near a college campus. You can make some money, and the books are more likely to reach the right audience. The exceptions are items with unique features. We had a chemistry textbook written by Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling … that was interesting. We had no problem selling a fifth grade health/hygiene text from 1910; it was fascinating. If a textbook is useful as a reference book because of an excellent glossary or an appendix with extraordinarily well organized information, attach a note about its special features. If it isn’t worth the time to do that, why are you giving it to us?? NO ENCYCLOPEDIAS – nobody buys them. “SETS” are also hard to get rid of.
NO VOLUME I WITHOUT A VOLUME II. NO “AARDVARK – AZALEA” FROM A SERIES YOU DECIDED NOT TO KEEP BUYING. NO INSTRUCTION MANUALS. NO COLORING BOOKS WITH PAGES COLORED.
Would you: Buy based on Consumer Reports studies from 1995? Stay at a hotel recommended by a guide book from 1975? Settle bets about “world records” with a Guinness Book from 1980? Then look in our FREE box; we can’t find many people who will buy these things, so that’s why we say NO OUTDATED ATLASES, TRAVEL BOOKS, PRICE LISTS FOR COLLECTORS, ETC. unless they are so old that they are of historical interest. Nobody wants to read about which mutual funds to buy last year.
and Some Things Shouldn’t Sell
This is a notice found inside many paperbacks.
Books with the front covers ripped off go straight into the trash, no matter how badly we want to read them ourselves.
|–from “Used Book Sales and Stores in and around Allegheny County” at www.pittsburghusedbooks.com
(from March 2009)