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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Getting Rid of Stuff and Breaking Even: 2nd and Charles

Remember Miss Em's song Get rid of stuff/Make money. The new ditty is Get rid of stuff/Break even. We have a book problem in these parts. The problem is that we have books from Mr FS's late and beloved father still in boxes. But we have no shelf space.

So: a new twist for the books one reads once--or never--and is willing to part with. Books-a-Million is--in some spots--transforming itself to 2nd and Charles. The latter sells used stuff and bills itself as a green enterprise. You bring in your stuff--books, cds, dvds, games--and await the verdict. Generally, the verdict is ridiculously low. As far as I can tell, you get about 60 cents cash for a trade paperback and about 75 cents for a cd. About double for credit. Zillions of people are unloading their stuff!

Now, I wouldn't take books that were worth much of anything to this place, since there is no way to tell how much you are getting for an individual item; you get a total and it's all or nothing. However, I get lots of books at the thrift store for between 25 cents and a dollar. Ditto for cds. So I am breaking even.

If I had books that I thought were worth a good bit of money, I would check on Amazon, Abebooks or the like. But for popular novels from a few seasons ago or diet books or whatever, it's a solution.

The business model seems quite lucrative, incidentally. Bookstores buy new books for around 60% of cover price. At 2nd and Charles, books sell for around half-price. So a book they buy for 60 cents might sell for $6.00. It's a cheap way to fill their shelves. Each item they sell pays for 10 or more items.

And it must be appealing. I saw lots of good books and the place was hopping--a young demographic.

Getting 60 cents a book is no big deal. But when you bring the max allowed (3 bins worth), you can get about $80.00 at a pop. Not bad.


Janice Riggs said...

When we moved to Europe, we sold HUNDREDS of books and CD's through Amazon. Some of the things we had turned out to worth jaw-dropping amounts of money. And now our home is much less cluttered - it was one of the smartest things we've done in a long time...

Duchesse said...

I've donated current novels to retirement homes or long-term care facilities. People with long days appreciate fresh reading. ("As long as they're not too racy", I was told.) A friend who lives near a large prison donates hers there!

I've also given books away on Freecycle- enormously satisfying experience; the recipients were so grateful.

We donated rare books my husband inherited to two universities, and received a tax credit for them. (We had the books appraised first.)

Madame Là-bas said...

I just sorted through my parents' books, kept a few and donated the rest to the Friends of the Library sale. Like la Duchesse, I pass on my fiction to the hospital.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Janice--Honored that you stopped by. And how lucky you were with your books. And...where did you live in Europe? That's a dream for me.

@Duchesse--We've donated books to prisons too--then they stopped taking them! Your uni donation sounds wonderful.

@MmeLB-I used to donate more to Friends of Library, but now the fellow that runs it is a USED BOOK DEALER--and he siphons off a lot for himself. He just lowered all the prices too. Grrrrrr.

Revanche said...

When I moved to the Bay Area, I had to sort and cull at least a hundred books. I didn't have a great source for selling them, so I set up a system with a good friend. If he'd take care of the mailing and managing the account, he could have his pick of books we reclaimed from paperbackswap. He's out of pocket for postage but I supplied all the books to trade in, and he's redeemed a bit more than half our credits so it's been a fair trade. That was a good compromise at the time.

Shelley said...

I donated bags and bags of books to the local community centre. They have an annual book sale (hardbacks £1, paperbacks 50p) and of course I re-stock a bit, but the non-fiction I love (crafts, history and biographies) are dirt cheap and irresistible. We have a local book store that buys as well as sells, but I've not tried to unload there as yet.