Saturday, October 5, 2013

People Who Want to Sell Me Books #2

Last year, I wrote about how people who want to sell me books are often very concerned about what will happen to the books.  Recently, someone contacted me wanting to sell a complete set of Beverly Gray books including the reprint of Beverly Gray at the World's Fair.  This sounded promising, so I asked for pictures and a price.

The woman told me that the books had belonged to her mother and that she would try to get a picture taken.  She wanted $300 for the books, but she stipulated that I must sell the books as a complete set and that the buyer would then have the right to decide whether to break up the set.  That request was a deal-breaker.

I cannot promise to sell a set of books as a set.  Most buyers already have some of the books and are locked into purchasing them individually.  Complete sets of books are much harder to sell, especially these days.  I am not certain whether I could sell a complete set of Beverly Gray books for as much as $300 and not have the books up for sale for years.  If I were to sell the books individually, I would do fine, but not as a set.  This is all assuming that a decent number of the books had dust jackets and were in pretty good shape.  I never did see a picture of the books, so I have no idea what was offered.

I am not sure why it matters whether I break up a set or whether the person who purchases the books from me breaks up the set.  The set would get broken up either way.  I know from personal experience that most complete sets of series books that are sold on the internet go to people who are buying to resell.  Selling a group of books as a set will most likely result in someone reselling the books individually.  Why does it matter if I do that or if my buyer does that?  The likely answer is because if I keep the books as a set then at least a slight chance exists that my buyer will keep the books as a set.

When a prospective seller of books makes a stipulation about what will happen to the books, it is clear that the seller still has an attachment to the books and should not be selling them.  The only way to make certain that a set of books is not broken up is not to sell them.

Another prospective seller of books contacted me, stating that she had 10 boxes of series books that had been donated to the library.  She stated that they don't normally sell to dealers but that she was making an exception.  This was fine with me, but we had a big problem.  The 10 boxes of books were in Colorado, and I am in Oklahoma.  She wanted me to come look at the books and choose which ones I wanted.  The distance was too far away for me to consider checking the books, especially since I wasn't going to see photos ahead of time.

I am quite puzzled about why a library would contact someone in a different state and offer to sell the books to that person.  Why not just sell the books at the local library sale?  I wouldn't be happy if I lived in that community, collected series books, and my local sale was offering up the good books to people from outside the state.  The whole thing is strange.


JackWayne said...

A few months ago, someone had a set of 11 or 12 Hardy Boys firsts on eBay for several thousand dollars. The set included the rare dust jacket of #4 Missing Chums (but not #11 While the Clock Ticked). When I inquired about them, the seller told me he would not sell to me if I planned on breaking up the set (he had already turned down offers from known dealers). Like yourself, that was a deal breaker for me, as I already have a few of those first printings. If the seller cared so much about keeping the set together, he should just keep it.

Jennifer White said...

Too many people worry about selling books to people who are buying to resell. It really doesn't matter. I have sold a number of books to people who then resell them. They either have a bricks-and-mortar store where they can sell the books, or they have a better following for certain types of books online than I do and know that they can make a profit over my prices. This is all good. The important thing for me is that I can sell the books to someone who can make good use of them, whether that use is keeping them or selling them.