Discussion Forums - Homeschoolers' Corner Homeschoolers' Corner

Topic: What's up with "second-hand" book prices?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: What's up with "second-hand" book prices?
Date Posted: 5/17/2010 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 662
Back To Top

I've been researching the "going rate" for certain homeschool books at various used book online sites.  A lot of folks have used books listed for the same price (or more) that I could buy them new online.  Has anyone else noticed this?  I seem to remember finding better deals on my books in the past.  (Fortunately, I don't have much left to buy--I am mostly researching to find out how much I can charge for the books I'm done with.)  I hope this trend helps me get good prices on my old books to defray the cost of my new ones! smiley

(Of course, my FAVORITE way to get books is right here at PBS.) :)

Date Posted: 5/17/2010 8:56 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
Back To Top

Well, for very popular, or hard-to-get books, I see many for like-new prices.  However, many of those include shipping, so you're getting a better deal than it appears.  One of the publishers I use charges $6 for shipping on one book, even if it's a $3 book.  So if one person is selling that for $5ppd, I still get $4 off (simple example...I have chemo brain).

I think in this economy, that people are also trying to get the most out of their used materials.  If someone will buy them for the original price they post, then they're ahead.  I've had the opposite thing lately, though, as I've had to drop my prices just to get stuff to move.

Besides here, HomeschoolClassifieds.com is my favorite place for HS'ing stuff.

Date Posted: 5/18/2010 6:24 AM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2010
Posts: 25
Back To Top

I agree, most of the book prices are a little high.  I love shopping for my books at amazon.com  Most of the books I need from there are a part of the 4 for 3 promotion so I get one book free and then free shipping because I always order at least $25 worth of books so I can get free shipping!  Locally, I love to shop at half price books, if you have one near you!  They have a great summer program where each child will get a $3 gift card every week for two months of the summer to buy books with.  Every other week I use let them choose their own books and the other week I see if they have any books I need for school.  Also, barnes and noble gives a good coupon for the summer reading program, so that can help out too.

Date Posted: 5/18/2010 11:20 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 662
Back To Top

I love Half-Price Books! :)  I did find the French II book I need for a good price on Amazon.  I guess I won't complain about the higher prices on used books--they are helping me sell my own books faster. :)  Do you think this increase in demand for the books is an indicator that there are more homeschoolers out there than ever?  Or do you think it just means more homeschoolers are looking to the internet for their books instead of just their local curriculum sales?

Date Posted: 5/19/2010 4:13 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
Back To Top

I think it's a combination of more homeschoolers, more choices in curricula, more sites on the 'net to buy/sell, and the overall economy.  I'm a moderator on several swap groups/boards and in the past year our memberships and posts have increased dramatically.  I think HS'ers who in the past wouldn't buy used are seeing the benefits of it.

For me, I'm doing more buying & selling ever since I found HomeschoolClassifeds.com.  I LOVE that site!

Date Posted: 5/19/2010 11:14 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
Back To Top

amazon upped their fees for marketplace (what they call people or small businesses selling used or new books through the site). They also now urge the seller to use delivery confirmation but didn't up the shipping rate. I've sold a couple of books there and I have spent the fee the buyer pays for shipping 100% or exceeds what they reimbuse. (Spend over $4 for shipping and the envelope and tape when the buyer only paid $3.99 for shipping.) And Amazon keeps about 25% of the price the buyer paid for the book. Tell me how it makes sense to resell a book with a price under $10. I don't see the energy and time being worth it.

 

Compare that used book price to the price of a new discounted book bought direct from Amazon, and if gettting free shipping it is often cheaper to buy the book new direct from amazon than buying it used on Amazon.

 

Even worse is paying full retail at a local bookstore and paying sales tax and gasoline cost. I mostly don't do that also because I have driven miles and burned gas only to find the book is not in stock anyway! Then I order it online anyway (new).

 

The ebay fees IMO are not worth it, you pay a commission even if the book doesn't sell.

 

I've gotten rid of hundreds of books on PBS, reselling is usually not worth my time and energy.

 

On the other spectrum some out of print books or books not on Amazon but in print direct from publisher sales---some resellers ask above retail or double or quadruple the original retail price. Ridiculous. Just because they post that price doesn't mean they will sell it at that price though!! It can sit there forever unsold!

Date Posted: 5/19/2010 11:16 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
Back To Top

One more thing, I have sold some curricula online at HS sites and man that takes a lot of time. I can't tell you how many times a HSer says they want it, never pays, jerks me around in various ways and the sale never goes through in the end! This is why I've been avoiding those sites for a few years. I'd rather wait for a local used curriculum sale and sell it there for LESS than I'd get online just to get cash in pocket in an easy manner.

 

I've also tried reselling on the local HS chat list and the ppl have to drive here to get it. I have sat around in time windows for them to show up, gotten no=shows and sometimes had to make 3 appointments to get rid of one book. This from local HS people I see around! Can you bellieve that?

 

Yet another reason I use PBS instead.



Last Edited on: 5/19/10 11:18 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/19/2010 11:47 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 662
Back To Top

Christine--I get what you're saying about the work of selling online.  I've sold a few things on Amazon in the past, but I don't bother to list too much with them because of the percentage they take.  I've sold a few books on eBay--that actually went pretty well.  (A few years back I bought the wrong edition of the grammar book I needed at a local curriculum sale.  I was surprised to find out how much it sold for--even after clearly stating in the description that it was the older edition.)  I tend to try Vegsource first--because there are no fees and they have a lot of traffic.  Of course--for the reasons you mentioned above (waiting for folks to get back to you)--I don't do it very often.  I tend to stockpile my books for a few years, and then plan a week of dedicated selling.  I only bother with the expensive stuff, though--like hardcover Apologia science books.  When you have to buy curriculum for an only child, it helps ease the conscience if you feel like you can recoup a little of the cost by selling it later!

I used to prefer saving my stuff to sell at our local curriculum sale (which is huge), but this year they've upped the price of table rental.  Sigh.  (Fortunately, I like boxing up books and mailing them to people.  That's a good thing for a member of PBS!)

Date Posted: 5/19/2010 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2007
Posts: 89
Back To Top

I've bought and sold on Ebay, vegsource, homeschoolclassifieds, amazon and half.com and Craigsligst.  It is increasingly not worth selling unless it's an item over at least $20.  Ebay I haven't sold on in over a year- fees are too much.  Amazon has 350 copies of a book I want to sell and the lowest price one is .01 -doesn't make sense to bother with that.  I have had, for the most part, good luck on vegsource and homeschoolclassifieds if it's a popular item -otherwise you are competing with thousands of books and it's almost the luck of the draw - I sometimes just donate things to Book Samaritan because I don't have to deal with it and I know there are providing a good service

PBS has so many advantages over the other sites that most of the time I just end up posting the book here. 

 

Subject: The old ways aren't always so bad.
Date Posted: 5/19/2010 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2008
Posts: 400
Back To Top

I have homeschooled for 25 years and I have seen the local curriculum sales almost come to a halt because of all the on-line ways to sell. Unfortunately, I have also seen the trend change where very few are willing to use an older edition even if you have all the parts. Most people want new quality but don't want to pay anything for the books. I used to sell everything at local sales and got about half what I had paid for it. There was no postage involved so that was pretty good. Now I can put things on-line, ask just over half the price I paid with postage included and I get no interest or the person wants me to send it for even less.

As a community, I think we all need to remember that most homeschoolers are living on one income and we all need to get some of our money back so we can afford the books we need for the next year. I am pretty particular about my books and I don't let my children write in them so that I can get  something for them when I sell. I use Homeschool Classifieds the most and most of the time there are no problems. It is a shame that the local sales have not been more popular in the last 10 years. I used to love to go to the sales and see people I hadn't seen since the year before. It was a chance to catch up, encourage, pray together, and swap curriculum. I miss the fellowship and the ability to see what I was buying. Maybe those opportunities will be resurrected one day.  Thanks for listening!!!!

Date Posted: 5/20/2010 4:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
Back To Top

What I've found with our local HS swap sale is that people, especially new HS'ers, expect the prices to be garage-sale like.  They think they should get a thin book for $1, for instance, when you may have paid $25 for it.  I have the best luck selling at them when I have an entire set of something, or I make sets, like X number of picture books for X price.  I also do better with the non-book stuff.  That works out well since I can post books here, or post them on HSC and get a good price for them.  The non-book stuff can't be sent Media Mail, so it's better for the buyer to purchase it locally.

I've only purchased a couple of times from Amazon sellers, and I think both times it was actually Abe Books.  I purchased two items from two sellers on Ebay a couple of years ago.  I had moved and *my* account page had my correct address.  But some glitch in Ebay's system printed out my former address on the mailing labels.  I lost $150 of purchases.  I not only had to eat the $150, but I had to pay it again to get what I needed.  I swore of Ebay at that point.  They would do *nothing* to help me.   I even called my former USPS driver depot about it.  Wouldn't you know, the mailman we'd had for 13 years was on vacation the week they were mailed to that house.  The driver who filled in was at the depot when I called and she said, "Yeah, I saw the names didn't match, but the address did, so I left them at the door.".  ARGUH!  Of course the young couple who bought our house didn't even *have* kids and didn't need the stuff, but they accepted it and stole it, rather than setting it back out for USPS and asking them to forward it.

I have excellent luck both buying and selling on HSC.  I love that they don't have fees and that they have a reputation feature (that many don't know about).  I also love the wanted list there.  Many people find out I want/need something by doing a search before listing it.  That makes it so much easier on both of us.  I do the same, too.  Even if no one has it on a wish list, I can also see how much others are selling the item for (if it's in the system) and lower my price by  a couple of dollars, or add in free DC and/or insurance.

Date Posted: 5/29/2010 10:59 AM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2007
Posts: 485
Back To Top

Dana, it is interesting to read the variety of responses to your post! Lately, I've all but given up on buying used curriculum because the prices seem so inflated. Then when I try to sell something there's no interest unless I practically give it away. For the last few years, I've been buying less "school-stuff" but buying it new. We've been homeschooling since 1998.

 Meg O - I used older A Beka and Bob Jones curriculum when my children were younger. Most of the younger home school mommies won't touch that stuff now! They want to buy low and sell high and want everything in brand-new like shape. Sorry if I've offended anyone by generalizing but that is my experience! You are right about homeschooling families being mostly single income. Many of the moms that I know that have been homeschooling for 10+ years now work part time, myself included.

Jane - I've sent several boxes to Book Samaritan and plan to send another in a few weeks. At our last support group meeting in 2009, I asked if everyone would like to donate a book to Book S and I would ship them. One lady brought a box full of books and it has taken me a year to send them out a little out a time, due to postage costs! Still, it is such a blessing to homeschooling families in need that I'm glad I can do it.

Our local homeschool used curriculum sale was huge this year but most of the prices were high, IMHO. People also brought boxes and boxes of stuff. Despite the fact that hall was huge, the books and other materials were so crammed together it was hard to look at things. Much of the stuff had to be re-boxed and returned to the owners. It took forever to clean up! Some of the moms who had dropped off books (and not helped at all!) griped about having to wait for their books and money! When planning time comes around for this year's sale, I am going to suggest that we place a limit of one box per seller. We also have a free table at our sale. I was happy to see how many folks were willing to give quality items away to people they don't know!

My youngest just finished 5th grade, so I really need to get it together and list our elementary school items here. I didn't know that there were so many hsers here looking for hs material here on PBS! learned something today., LOL!

 

Patrice

Thanks for reading my 2 cents worth on this subject!