New to selling books


But (as you know) it doesn’t quite work like that. The £1 book might never sell at £150, but that’s ok as long as you have shed-loads of similar books.

When you buy a £1 book hoping for a £150 return do you not bother with other books that you could buy at the same time that you could probably sell quite quickly (in the world of books quite quickly might be a few months) and make a substantial return on capital invested just because it falls below an arbitrary sales threshold of say £10? *

It’'d be as if if strolled past past free cash on the pavement, because I couldn’t be ars** to reach down and pick it up

(* a rhetorical question)


The £150 is the exception, of course. Most of our stock is well below that (£5 - £50/60 range); some are in the £3-4 area, as fillers to keep the numbers up for the postal contract. All books are chosen because they are interesting or unusual - and because a gut instinct says they are worth more than the price being asked. Inevitably we get the buying wrong sometimes, but we buy a lot from the major charity book sales when you don’t have time to check prices (and shame on those who stockpile books, check the prices & then put back the ones they don’t want - bad manners, & cheating the charity). I’ve given up on charity shops & boot sales - too much time & effort for very little reward.


It’s likely that you have the same chap in mind as I now do, see him every year at the Epsom book fair.

If that event ever happens again, we must say hello to each other. I’m usually wearing a hat


Do hope Epsom is on next year. I feel so sorry for the organisers - and for Amnesty at Blackheath - and for the charities who have lost so much.
Be good to meet


I also prefer to sell the slightly higher priced books whenever I can find them. Thankfully, as I specialise in a relatively narrow field I soon get to know what’s worth money and what isn’t which makes finding a particular book that much easier.

The few weeks post-lockdown were really good for expensive stuff and I sold quite a few in the £300 - £500 range, with the best one being around £2000. It’s gone a little quieter now though and I’m back down to sales in the £10 - £40 range on average, though still the occasional three figure book. Cataloguing books for much under £10 always feels a bit like I’m working for nothing but I guess with the higher value sales mixed in it all works out at a reasonable average.

New books keep the cash flow going whilst I’m waiting for my next big sale, as they are so much quicker and easier to list. Just a shame that in order to be competitive margins on new books generally have to be much lower than that of second-hand books.