Big Talk From Small Libraries 2014: How to Stretch a Small Budget – Consider Buying Used Books


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Significant savings can be had by sometimes purchasing used books instead of new for your library. Think about it – a standard used book is in the same condition as one already on your shelf that has been checked out once or twice. Purchasing used books also usually gets the books to you faster. Hear some practical tips on how to do it, and what to look out for, from a librarian who spends thousands of dollars every year on used books.

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Big Talk From Small Libraries 2014: How to Stretch a Small Budget – Consider Buying Used Books

  1. 1. How to Stretch a Small Budget Consider Buying Used Books Big Talk From Small Libraries Conference February 28, 2014 - Eric Palo, Renton Technical College Harvard Book Store © 2014
  2. 2. Eric Palo • • • • Lynnwood Public Library Seattle Public Library Pittsburg State University University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • University of Washington • Shoreline Community College • Renton Technical College – Renton Washington
  3. 3. Why buy used books? • Save money • The quality is better than you think • Get them fast • Respond to hard to fill & unexpected demand Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-4267
  4. 4. Saving Money • Our library saves between 25% and 40% when buying used books. • We spend thousands of dollars a year for used books at Powells Books. ( • For instance, I can get the new John Grisham novel for almost 1/3 off.
  5. 5. Amazon for 3rd party vendors
  6. 6. Quality is better than you think Used book we got last week Copy we already had on the shelf
  7. 7. Condition Notes
  8. 8. You can Look at The Guidelines for Sellers From the Powells website From the Amazon website
  9. 9. Amazon Condition & Vendors
  10. 10. And Many Others
  11. 11. Get Books Fast • Shipping is quite fast because used books should be in stock, or they would not be listed • At Powells they process orders in 1 to 3 days (Partner and International Warehouses take longer) Workers unloading crates of books at the Chicago Public Library. DN-0068145, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum
  12. 12. Get Books Fast Most vendors offer a variety of shipping options. At Powells: • ECONOMY MAIL is free on most orders over $50 and take 4-9 business days (after processing) to arrive • STANDARD GROUND is 2-7 business for $5.99 + $1.99 per item • They also offer 3 DAY EXPRESS, 2ND DAY AIR, NEXT DAY AIR at higher rates. U.S. Mail Wagon, Wausa, Nebraska, about 1900 Nebraska State Historical Society - No. 103323
  13. 13. Respond to hard to fill demand Need extra copies of a suddenly popular book? Used books, if available, fill a need quickly and you don’t feel guilty if you toss them next year.
  14. 14. Get Books for Unexpected Demand
  15. 15. Questions? • Staley, L., & Palo, E. (2010). Extend one's budget: Buy used books. The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, 23(3), 116-121. • • How to Make Money … – 2:00pm today Book of Pictures Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
  16. 16. Thanks for listening! Eric Palo – Self Portrait!