This is the third post in a series about how to get value from used homeschool books. In the first post, I told you about my favorite platforms to sell books. In the second post, I shared my best practices for getting the most value and minimizing handling time when selling your used books. In this article, I’ll give you some tips to unload some books in person (anything that you aren’t going to ship).
1. Posting to local facebook groups
I mentioned this as one of my 5 favorite ways to sell books. Although you’re posting online, most transactions will be completed in person. You should take a decent photo(s) of the book or lot of books, suggest a price and terms of sale (cash, pick-up, meet, etc.).
This is a good option for super heavy books or series or groups of books that would be difficult to ship. It’s also a good way to clear out a large quantity of books for a reasonabe price.
Use your judgment about meeting in a public place or inviting someone to your house. These groups are usually closed and well-moderated so the risk is low for funny business.
Depending on how anxious I am to get rid of something, I might add first-come-first-served condition. More than once, someone has said they were interested and couldn’t meet until the weekend and then change their mind.
2. Used book sales away from your home
As I mentioned in the first post, the guidelines for pricing and identifying your items will vary at a used book sale. Sometimes there’s a flat cost to participate, sometimes the organizers ask for a percentage. Sometimes there’s no charge to participate.
Even if you’ll be selling your own items, it’s best to mark a price. People are usually looking for bargains at these sales so save your pricier books to sell online. It isn’t my experience that buyer’s haggle at these type of sales but they will pass if your stuff is priced too high.
If you have a few box loads, organizing them according to subject or series might be helpful. It just makes browsing easier. Also, if someone’s looking for a particular resource, they don’t have to flip through your entire collection.
The last thing you want is to load books back into your car and store them back in your house. If you’re going to take the time to take your books somewhere, price them competitively, offer bundle discounts as an incentive and have a “free” box. Usually people will buy something from you if they grab something from the free box.
3. Used book sale at home.
I held one used homeschool book sale which was a dismal failure. Although it was well-organized (books displayed according to subject matter), the books were priced to sell and it was a perfect day, only a handful of people came. I ended up giving away more than half the books because most people who came were friends of mine. I should have done a few things differently.
First, I should have invited a few friends to sell books at my home that day. It would have been more fun and likely would have attracted more buyers. One reason I didn’t was that I was overwhelmed by my own inventory. My books covered about 6 big tables in the driveway and on my patio. We could have been creative and set up tables in the yard and on my neighbor’s adjacent patio. Friends could have brought their own tables.
I should have advertised in more places. I only advertised on one local homeschool “For Sale or Trade” group. I didn’t advertise on Craigslist. I didn’t look for other local homeschool groups to notify. I didn’t post signs. Big mistake. I also should have started advertising 2-3 weeks ahead of time. Maybe even longer. Instead, I told people about it about a week before. Not enough notice.
I should have held a two day sale or Saturday only. I held my sale on a Friday. I know that Friday is a light day for many homeschoolers but I didn’t consider that it’s also a day for planned activities outside of the home. Lots of people said after the fact that they couldn’t make it. I should have extended to Saturday or just held it on a Saturday.
So those are my best tips for selling used books in person. Learn from my mistakes!
A New Used Book Store
Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone but I opened a used book store on the site.
PA Homeschool Law Used Book Store (you can also navigate there by hovering over the “shop” tab at the top of the page).
All this writing about used books was a painful reminder that I still have a few boxes of books left over. I’ll write a designated post after I’ve listed all the items I intend to sell. In the meantime, check it out and feel free to buy what’s there. Everything will be priced competitively. Another bonus for you is that everything in the store will be discounted for the first week (a soft opening sale).
Most items ship “media mail” and a flat price of $3.99 will be added at checkout. I’ll be happy to work with you to arrange bundled discounts on items and shipping. The best email is erphillips6 at gmail dot com.
I’ll be adding titles daily, including some unique resources, over the next week or so, so check back regularly.