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  • 1. FUN AND PROFIT FOR LIBRARIES Bob Holley Rural Libraries Conference April 30, 2009
  • 2. Introduction and Background
    • Welcome and introduction
    • Demographics of the audience
    • Interest in buying, selling, or both
    • Are you worried about theft?
    • Are there other experts in the audience?
    • This PowerPoint will be posted on the Rural Libraries Conference Web site
  • 3. How I Became Interested in this Topic
    • Valuing donations to libraries
    • High availability of obscure materials
    • Perceived decline in prices since 2000
  • 4. Research Funded by LCATS in 2003
    • Compared buy and sell adds in AB Bookman’s Weekly (1982 and 1992) with current OP market
    • 95% availability in all four samples
    • Decline in prices in inflation-adjusted dollars (-45%)
    • Mostly books in humanities, history, and social sciences
    • Same early results in project on science books
  • 5. Broader Implications
    • Possible decline in publisher sales
    • Library users will buy their own books if cheap enough
      • Less wait
      • Can mark up
      • Can buy from home
      • Don’t need to return
  • 6. Experiences as an OP Book Dealer
    • I sold around 2000 titles last year
    • Prices from $.75 to $160
    • I have found rare books at library, garage, and rummage sales
    • Library books sales have been an excellent source of stock so that giving this talk is against my self interest
  • 7. Resources for Buying and Selling
    • The metasearch engines
    • The individual dealers
  • 8. Advantages of OP Market for Buying
    • 95% availability = almost no distinction between in-print and out-of-print
    • Retrospective buying for new collecting areas
    • Repurchasing missing books
    • Lower prices in general
      • Many 20 th century popular books at $5.00 or less including shipping
  • 9. Advantages of OP Market for Buying (continued)
    • Lower prices for libraries that can wait
    • Purchase as substitute for ILL
      • Past use as indication of future use
      • Item available for long-term use
      • “” Buy not borrow” pilot at Wayne State University
    • Possible to outsource these purchases
  • 10. Disadvantages of the OP Market for Buying
    • Only Alibris consolidates orders for libraries and accepts purchase orders
    • Strand, Powell’s Books, and Better World Books sell from stock
    • Other sources list books from multiple vendors
      • Each purchase is a separate transaction
      • Each purchase is shipped individually
  • 11. Disadvantages of the OP Market for Buying (continued)
    • Most often need a credit card or PayPal account—no purchase orders
    • Issues with condition, non-delivery, and returns
  • 12. Selling--Book Sales
    • Public relations and getting people into the library
    • Types
      • Continuous
      • Frequent on a regular schedule
      • Once or twice a year
  • 13. Book Sales--Pricing
    • Trade paperbacks often equal in value to hard covers
    • Media depends upon condition
    • Library can check potentially valuable items
  • 14. Book Sales-Dealers
    • Ask yourself why you are bothered by your best customers
    • If you are, some strategies are:
      • Higher prices at the beginning of the sale
      • Preview for members of the Friends group
      • Not allowing mobile scanners
  • 15. Selling on the Internet for Libraries--Advantages
    • Book sales undervalue many books
    • Increased revenue
  • 16. Selling on the Internet for Libraries--Disadvantages
    • Time involved in the process
      • May be practical only for libraries with “free” volunteers
      • Can be complicated
      • Required constant attention though sellers can go “on vacation”
    • Removes the books from the community
    • Loses the publicity value of book sales
    • Local policies may prohibit such sales
    • Storage space
  • 17. Using an Intermediary
    • Two major firms sell materials and give libraries a percentage of the sales
    • Some restrictions of what they will accept
    • “ Green” disposal of materials
    • Library can identify “valuable” materials and sell remainder at the book sale
  • 18. The Two Major Sellers
    • Both actively seek library partners
    • Better World Books
      • Pays shipping
      • Lower percentage of sales
    • B-logistics
      • Does not pay shipping
      • Higher percentage of sales
      • Must have ISBN
  • 19. Where to Sell on the Internet
    • Ebay—limited selling period, listing fees, payment complexities
    • Sites with easy of entry for relatively few sales
      •—more popular materials, lower prices
      •—higher fees for casual sellers
  • 20. Where to Sell on the Internet (continued)
    • Sites designed for professional sellers and libraries with larger inventories
      • Abebooks
      • Alibris
  • 21. How to Sell Successfully on the Internet
    • Good service in all areas to achieve a high feedback rating
    • Accurate description of condition
    • Prompt shipping with excellent packaging
    • Dealing with occasional problems
    • Statement of non-profit status probably makes little difference
  • 22. What to Sell—General Considerations
    • Search possible candidates on the metasearch sites
    • Higher priced items however the libraries defines this
      • You might also put them aside for the local book dealer or to send to the intermediaries
    • Items with a sales record
    • Library discards can be sold but are less popular
  • 23. What to Sell—Subject and Format (My Opinions)
    • Mass market paperbacks—no except perhaps those in pristine condition
    • Hard cover fiction—no except if rare or currently in high demand
    • Coffee table books—beautiful but impossible to sell if available as remainders
  • 24. What to Sell—Subject and Format (continued)
    • Children’s books—no in general with some difficult to identify exceptions
    • Trade paperbacks—many sell well especially those used in college courses
    • Textbooks—no in not current; sell extremely well if still in use
    • Religious books--yes
  • 25. What to Sell—Subject and Format (continued)
    • University press books—yes if used in courses; otherwise slow movers
    • Media—depends on format, condition, popularity, and scarcity
    • Rare books—Amazon, Alibris, or perhaps Ebay
  • 26. Final Selling Considerations
    • How to arrange inventory for easy retrieval
      • By format
      • By title, author, or date of listing
    • Determining when to remove an item from sale
  • 27. Theft and the OP Market
    • Shelf books and media now have enough value to be stolen and sold
    • Library discards are common in the op market though sell for less
    • Anonymity of sales
    • Thief can buy a “discard” stamp
  • 28. Theft--Identification
    • Almost all DVD’s
    • Mobile scanning services
    • Search ILS from home
    • General knowledge of the trade
  • 29. Thefts from the Collection
    • Many libraries have valuable books on the open shelves
    • Steal the books from the library
    • False check outs
    • Interlibrary loan
    • Pay replacement cost
      • Ownership does not transfer
  • 30. Thefts from the Collection
    • Employee theft
      • Less security including after hours and unsecured exits
      • Weed the book to be bought later
        • Collections expert examine books
  • 31. Thefts of Gift Books
    • More valuable on the market
    • Usually will not be missed
    • Removed when received or during pick up
    • Security cameras to inhibit theft or catch thief
  • 32. Questions
    • It’s your turn to ask any questions.