The Home of Pruck
Where in Belfast Can I Sell My Books?

Now there is a question.

Here's a simple answer, "sometimes to us" if the books are something we are interested in, but first you need to read the following...

We have what's called a 'buy list', which is essentially a list of different books categories or genres that we are in the market to buy. That list rarely changes, and at present (April 17) we're in the market to buy Troubles books, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, classics and history non fiction. Not Readers Digest, not Encyclopaedia Britannica, not gardening books, not crime fiction, not cookery, not academic textbooks - just what's on our buy list. 

If you're stuck with any of the books not on our buy list, Gumtree Belfast has a books section. Only people seem to think their books are made of gold, and because they are listed on Amazon as £14.87 used, they think that £13 cash is a fair price, totally neglecting that Amazon has a Sales Rank system, and used books that are priced that high are SLOOOOOOOWWWWWW movers, out of print stuff or something else. Phew, that was a long sentence. You get what I mean though' - most ads for books on Gumtree should show 'Fantasy Island' as the sellers location.

From feedback from Gumtreers and from over 30 months of our own data, here's what sells on Gumtree - single non fiction books at £5 or below, ONLY if they are priced at £10 or more used on Amazon Marketplace. Not encyclopaedias, not hardback fiction, not multiple books, just single non fiction books priced at £5 or less. And even then, you'll sell one out of every ten you list...if you're lucky.

Here's a reality check...most mass market fiction and non fiction books are available used on Amazon for £2.81 including postage, and there are dozens of sellers at that price or thereabouts. These sellers then dispatch the books to you using their chosen postal method. They make a few tens of pence on the transaction after Amazon referral fee, shipping, packaging and labour costs. They sell millions of books, so the volume makes up for the low unit profit.

So it doesn't take you to have a Masters in economics to realise that anyone buying books to sell online or in store like we are, will not be paying you anywhere close to what you paid for the book originally. We appreciate that you may have paid a tidy sum for the books, but equally you could have blagged them from somewhere or been given them in part exchange for something, or picked them up for pence from a charity shop. 

If you cant accept that the books are now worth pence rather than £s, then have a go yourself and see how that works out for you. If you get the books sold to a friend, family member or someone in a pub, all power to you, but you kinda stroked that vulnerable individual who knows nada about the second hand book market.

Of course, as an alternative, try any of the websites buying books. Good luck with that one too. All that scanning and boxing and posting and waiting and rejections and blah de blah de blah. Doesn't get you cash in hand, but does get you an incredibly sore hand, and a flat phone battery scanning in hundreds of books using your smartphone camera.

And of course feel free to try eBay. Just be honest about what you made after fees, re-listing fees, final value fees, PayPal fees and suchlike. And the hit you had to take on the postage because the book wouldn't go Royal Mail large letter slot. And also value your time in photographing, listing and general faffing. Unless you've got expensive books you're likely to have made a loss on the exercise. 

If you live in Belfast or thereabouts, we will look at the books for you if you bring them to us, but we are a business, and if we can't do a deal because we can't turn the books round quickly for a profit, we'll pass on your books this time.

An alternate course of action is to do what most people do, which is to donate the books to us. We then act as community recyclers and go through them, seeing what books we can sell online or in-store, and recycling the rest into local schools, nursing homes and the like. 

Another option is to trade all or some of your books in return for store credit in the form of a gift voucher for our shop. A shop that sits in the heart of one of the most deprived communities in the Province, and promotes reading in a bottom up, rather than a top down way. 

(There's an article here that describes the pros and cons of scanning and selling with some figures )


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