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Topic: Book Sale Strategies

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Subject: Book Sale Strategies
Date Posted: 9/25/2008 11:02 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
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I went to a library book sale recently, got 7 books and left rather frustrated.  My general strategy is to look for books by authors I've either 1) read and enjoyed or 2) heard a lot about.  Of course the number of books is too overwhelming to research each one and decide what to get based on reviews, so I take them home, look up the reviews either at AAR or amazon and decide what to read or post based on the reviews. 

 

From the last sale, I came away with 3 to read and 4 to post.  It strikes me that I'm not following the best strategy.  Outside of taking my laptop to the book sale, what strategies can I come up with to come away with better books from a used book sale?

 

Does anybody have better strategies?  I usually try to get there early on the first day before all the good stuff is taken. 



Last Edited on: 9/25/08 11:03 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/25/2008 11:18 AM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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Maybe take a list of authors in hand?

Date Posted: 9/25/2008 11:20 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,439
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I generally stick to authors that I know or that I recognize as having books that are heavily WLed.  I pay attention to recommendations I read here in this forum for new authors to try.  If I've read several people recommending an author, I'll be more inclined to pick up one of their books at a booksale.

The first day is a good time to go but it's usually way too busy.  The last day, they may offer a bag sale though.

Date Posted: 9/25/2008 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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You can get that book scanning software & scanner package, or there's also some sort of feature with booktrakker, the software you can DL from AbeBooks.com, and I think you can use a cell phone or palm pilot to key in ISBN#s and get instant price quotes from Amazon.  Resellers use it, but if you're looking for WL books, chances are the pricier ones will be wishlisted.  But on the downside, it's a tad pricey.  The last time I looked at the scanner/software package it was in the $75 range.  That technology updates almost constantly though.  I'd google ISBN# tracking software for cell phones and see if I could get some returns on what's state of the art these days and the price ranges on it.  Other than that, lists of hot titles and authors are about as good as it gets, and I did this at our last FOL sale last June, and gave it up after about 10mins.  It's too hard to drag a box around, dig through stacks & boxloads of books, and juggle a list at the same time:P

Date Posted: 9/25/2008 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2005
Posts: 1,012
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Yep, I think without the scanner thing (which seems like quite an investment for non-dealers), I'd go with taking a list of authors and/or top books by those authors.  Hopefully the act of prepping the list will help you remember many of them during the sale even without having to refer to the list.  I'd probably bring a few big tote bags or your container of choice, and start in one section and scan through to see what pops out.  Grab whatever you think you might want, and then take a few minutes before you pay to sort out what you really don't want.  Also, if there are certain publishers (i.e., Ellora's Cave) that are pretty much always WLed, you can look for those too.

Big sales can be totally overwhelming--sometimes I'd almost rather not go to avoid the stress ;)   (In a couple more years, I might be able to hit sales sans kids... woo!  ;))  Happy hunting!!

Sharon C. (Mamu) - ,
Date Posted: 9/25/2008 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/12/2007
Posts: 1,152
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There is a mobile feature here on PBS, too.  And it's free!  I've used it on my Palm.  Of course you have to be near internet access but that's not a problem at libraries!  :)   It's supposed to work on phones too but I've only tried it on my Palm and I've found it really helpful.  Here's the info:  http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/search.php?terms=mobile

Introduced July, 2007

Now you can take PBS with you, wherever you go.

If you have a web-capable mobile phone, just bookmark this site on your phone's Web browser, and you can access a streamlined version of the site from anywhere!  See your bookshelf, your Wish and Reminder Lists, and search the site by ISBN, title or author.

Why use PBS Mobile?

  • Check the Club Wish LIst when you are at a book sale.  See if the ISBN on that book for 50 cents is wished for in the club! 
  • Check the Posted (available) books when you see a book you are considering buying

How to Use PBS Mobile:

  • Use the Web browser on your phone to access the site http://www.paperbackswap.com/mobile/index.php
    • Bookmark that page
    • Now whenever you go to that page, you will have access to the PBS database and your account.
  • To see if a book you are looking at is Wish Listed in the club:
    • Go to the PBS Mobile site, choose "Wish List books" from the dropdown menu at the top of the page
    • Enter the ISBN below that and click Search.
    • You will see a listing of the book if it is Wish Listed, and how many wishers there are.
  • To see if a book you are looking at is available in the club:
    • Go to the PBS Mobile site, choose "Posted books" from the dropdown menu at the top of the page
    • Enter the ISBN (or title or author) below that and click Search.
    • You will see a listing of the book if it is available

 

Date Posted: 9/25/2008 1:48 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
Posts: 1,002
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I would see books at sales that I wasn't sure about, go home and look them up and say, "I wish I'd gotten that."  My husband said he never wanted to hear those words again.  He said "These books are 50 cents for heaven's sake, if it even catches your eye, promise me you'll buy the thing!"  And so, for his peace of mind, I do.  That's my strategy.  Occasionally I still look at one a while and then put it back and he taps me on the shoulder and gives me "the look" so I pick it back up and buy it, LOL.  If it's not a keeper, I can either post it or donate back to the library for a tax deduction.  Since he goes to all the sales with me to do the lifting, carrying and standing in line to pay, it's win/win.

Date Posted: 9/25/2008 2:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,749
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if i'm going to a big sale, i like to scan the club WL for my favorite genres for the week beforehand.  that way i have a good idea what some of the hot WL books are. 

the last time i went to a sale i picked up 10-12 books i thought were WL for $.50 each, and i was only wrong on 1-2.  so that was good, and the others were still posted.  the time before, i'd managed to find about 12 books that were on *my* WL, though most of those were in the 'special' room, so they were up to $2 for mmps and about $3.50 for trade paperbacks.  cutting months off waiting for them was definitely worth it.

and it's a good idea to scan your own WL beforehand - there was one book where i thought it was the first in the series, so i didn't even pick it up, and i'd got the titles mixed up and it was really the second in the series which i wanted and didn't get posted to me for another 3 months or so.

but really, if it's $.50 and it's an author i've heard about or previously read and liked, i'll snag it.  if i don't want it and can post it here i will, otherwise try the UBS or donate it to the library.

Date Posted: 9/25/2008 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2005
Posts: 1,012
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Bronwyn, just wanted to say that your husband's a gem :)  I agree--if I'm unsure, I usually pick it up; if I'm wrong, I've only contributed to supporting the library, and I can just re-donate it if I don't want to post it here.

Date Posted: 9/25/2008 4:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Yeah, I wish I could turn my DH - and my rotten kids too - into my library sale pack mules:P  I tell them every time I go that they don't know what they're missing and they just roll their eyes at me.  They must think there's nothing there but romance novels.

Date Posted: 9/25/2008 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 1,728
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like a couple others said. scan through some of the club WL for different genres just to get an idea.

i usually just go for books/authors i like. or i go for books that are in nice condition.

Date Posted: 9/26/2008 9:03 AM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2007
Posts: 496
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My strategy at book sales is to pick up just about anything paranormal ;) TIC but really paranormal on here is really popular and even if it is not WL it tends to go pretty fast. Outside of paranormal I really only pick up books of authors I am familar with and/or books I have been wanting to read anyway. That way I am still interested in reading the book if it sits on my 'posted shelf' for a while. I also pass books back and forth with my mom and sister so I know one way or another the books I pick up will get read by someone.
Date Posted: 9/26/2008 5:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,219
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I just went to our FOL booksale and came away with about 80 books - of these - about 15 were for me; about 35 I was able to post (I usually post only those that have 35 or less books on the list),about 15 I gave to my SIL; about 5 were on someone's WL; the rest I'll either take to the UBS or back to the library.  I just picked books that sounded good, were in very good shape and just took my chances.  Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose, but think I win more than I lose.  Pat

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 11:59 AM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 7,052
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One other thing I check if I'm not familiar with author or title is publication date. Depending on genre, if it's 2008, chances are it's on somebody's WL.

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,182
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Unfortunately my strategy is a lot more haphazard: I see it, I want it, it goes in my bag. OR, I see it, i think it's wishlisted, it goes in my bag. All go to the purchasing counter. :)

I have no self-control at this huge FOL book sale I go to once a month. I also have no self-control when I work at our huge FOL store on Saturdays either. Same strategy: I see it, I want it, it goes in the bag. :)

It's a sad thing. lol



Last Edited on: 9/27/08 12:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/27/2008 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I'm with Susan!

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 1,728
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i wish we had FOL sales every month. i would be in heaven

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 8:54 PM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2007
Posts: 165
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our FOL is opened 2 days a week now. It was once a month. But they have a BIG sale once a year.

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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luckily for me the library branch I go to most keeps shelves with FOL books instead of having one big sale but one of the other branches keeps there til once a month or so.

Date Posted: 9/27/2008 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,182
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Susanna, that's what we do. We have a "store" off the main library. It's pretty good-sized room that includes an office and back storage since we can't get all the books on the "store" floor. The volunteers work 3 hour shifts for most of the hours the library is open. Most of our books are donations - some are libary discards but not many. The other libraries in our system have shelves within the library ...

.... except for this one, in Benicia, that I mentioned in my other post. Stephanie, I AM in heaven! lol If you're ever there on the second Saturday of the month .....  They have the entire basement (about the size of a B&N) under the library filled with books. Tons and tons ... most are donations. You very rarely see a discarded library book. Anyhow, to sweeten the deal, twice a year (the next one is in November) they have $5 bag days.