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Liquidate Outdated Textbooks

If you have textbooks that haven't sold over two or three semesters despite being priced competitively and, additionally, there are newer editions out there and/or their content is plainly obsolescing, liquidating them can make sense because it's a safe bet their value will be heading south. For that matter, if you depend to any significant degree on textbook sales, it's high time to start devising your exit strategy. Best guess is you have about two years to find a replacement income-producer. Note that there is a small class of textbooks that are classics and hold, sometimes increase their value over time. Market research will identify them.

Liquidate Higher-Dollar Books That Appeal to a Narrow Market If There Are Numerous Competing Copies Listed for Sale

Maybe an example would work best here. Say you have a copy of township or county history that was published in, oh, about the 1970s and had a print run of 500 copies. (You wouldn't usually know this number, but most local history books are printed in the 200- to 1,000-copy range.) After searching, you discover that 10 competing copies are listed in a $40 to $100 window. At first glance, because prices are still strong, this might not seem like an occasion to liquidate, but take a trip to Wikipedia for a population count on the town/county then ponder your chances of selling your copy in the next two or five or so years.

The situation is more urgent if the book is considerably older, that is, in the public domain, and there are digitized copies or PODs listed as well or it has been uploaded to an historical society website or, worse, Google Books, where ambitious entrepreneurs have been fast converting digital copies of books to cash on Amazon and other venues . There might be a few collectors who would still prefer an original print version, but with numerous competing copies, finding this kind of buyer won't be easy.

This is what I mean by puzzling things out. Put yourself on the buying end of things and think it through. Investigate. In the above example, in my opinion, it would be far better to grab $30 for your copy now than sit on your hands. Also keep abreast of trends in digitization (BookThink's News Editor Karin Bergsagel has been especially alert to these in her blog, which can be accessed on both the home page and the forum page). At the time of this writing, for example, no major effort is afoot to digitize yearbooks. Pricing these ambitiously and being patient, therefore, often works.

Liquidate Most Cookbooks

There are many exceptions here, but there's no question that huge numbers of cooks are now heading to online sources for their recipes because it's fast, comprehensive and often accompanied by feedback from those who have actually tried them out - and sometimes there's a video how-to as well. This has definitely softened the print cookbook market and will likely continue to.

Liquidate Most Songbooks

Time was I sold a lot of these, especially so-called fake books, often in the $50 and up range. Sales haven't completely ground to a halt but they've slowed massively - and it's only going to get worse. It's not difficult to understand why. Many popular songs released in the last three for four decades are available online now for no charge in tab format or YouTube tutorials. There are definitely exceptions, but check first before you decide to liquidate or not. Also note that newer songbooks are often comprised of songs that haven't migrated to online formats and are often still viable.

Liquidate Some Genealogy Books

I say "some" because the digitization of genealogical records is far from complete, and there are still plenty of opportunities (but not for long-term specialization). Again, check online.

Some Thoughts on Reference Books

I'm sort of upbeat about these in spots. There are still plenty of buyers who prefer opening a dictionary, for example, to checking a meaning or spelling online. On the other hand, the market for general encyclopedias has certainly softened. Specialized examples are another story.

This isn't an exhaustive list of what needs to be evaluated in our inventories, but it presents the more obvious considerations. Next time I'll offer some strategies for getting this stuff sold quickly.

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