The task of weeding out books

One of the many tasks of a librarian is the deacquisition or weeding of books. This process has been made easier due to technology over the years, yet and the end of this process, one question remains. What do I do with the books?

Most libraries have a book rack that discards can go on and generally sell from anywhere from one to three dollars a piece.

This can bring in a small amount of cash flow for your used books, but space is generally limited.

Some have hosted their own book sale, though with layoffs of library staff and other factors, these are becoming less common. The time for preparation, staff and many other time consuming factors make this more often that not a burden.

Some libraries have chosen to work with third parties to help with their discards. Most run on the plan of you pack and ship your books to them, and whatever sells is split on an agreed upon percentage.

The companies list the books on the internet, and use aggressive pricing software that quickly brings down the books in value. They have large overheads, so they must constantly attempt to sell the books at whatever price they can get. [1]

For a lot of discards such as common fiction this is fine, but what about better non fiction? Or perhaps a collection that you as a librarian feel has some importance.

We suggest reaching out to a local book dealer. Many will be happy to offer you better prices for these books. Most can be found through your local yellow book.

At abacus books, we work with libraries in Denver and Boulder, with the business model of offering payment up front. We come in and generally are there less than an hour, and write a check on the spot.

These relationships we have formed are beneficial to both us and the libraries we work with. Libraries are still able to still host a book sale or a used book rack and charge prices the public enjoys, while still getting top dollar for books that the general public can’t pay or have no interest in the subjects.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call or use the contact form.

[1] I have had discussions with some librarians on why a multivolume set or an important science book was sold for a penny. The pricing software many of these companies use, aggressively bring the price down every few hours.


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