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FUN AND PROFIT FOR LIBRARIES
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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 http://used.addall.com/ http://bookfinder.com • 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 20th 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 • Half.com—more popular materials, lower prices • Amazon.com—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.