Buying Book Collections 101

by Timothy Doyle

8 November 2010

Finding Avalable Collections

Printer Friendly Version

In Part 1 of this series, I talked about the Why of buying collections. There were a number of reasons discussed, including the importance of establishing multiple streams of inventory to make you less vulnerable if one source or method dries up. I noted that if your business relies on sourcing inventory on a book-by-book basis and your inventory count has stopped growing, then the only way to expand the business is to spend more time scouting at more venues. This could mean expanding your scouting range with an increase in mileage and travel time. And it puts you in even more direct competition with every other scout in the area armed with a cell phone and scanner. I also talked about scouting individual books and finding a significant book of value every few months, and suggested a comparison with scouting collections and every so often finding a significant group of valuable books. One or two lucky breaks could take your business to a whole new level. I'll have more to say about "luck" later.

I used the drawing from Le Petit Prince of a snake that has eaten an elephant to illustrate the trepidation I first felt at going on a house call to make an offer on a large lot of books - where do you start, and how do you handle something that big? Today's article will help you to "see inside the snake," and give you some ideas that will make the idea of buying collections less intimidating.

Finding Available Collections

The first step to finding collections to purchase is straightforward: advertise. This can be as simple as telling all of your friends, relatives, and co-workers that you are a bookseller, and that you pay cash for used books. Get some nice business cards printed (do not cheap out by printing your own - professionally printed business cards are really quite inexpensive), and hand them out to anyone who will take one. In fact, give out several at a time, and ask them to pass the cards on to everyone they know. Getting the word out in this manner is really only limited by how many people you know, and how comfortable you feel with self-promotion.

In criminal cases, investigators are told to "follow the money." My suggestion here is to follow the books - where and when do people tend to get rid of their books? One answer is when people move - collections of books are bulky and heavy, and people often take moving as a chance to lighten the load. Draft a cover letter introducing yourself and your business, and offer to make house visits to purchase books. Send a letter with several of your business cards to anyone in the area you can think of who might be involved in the moving process: real estate agents, moving companies, apartment building managers, self storage companies, bulk trash removal companies, and retirement homes immediately come to mind.

You should also consider your local brick and mortar bookstores as a resource. People looking to sell their collections will often turn first to the local used bookstore. Introduce yourself to the owners in your area and talk to them about collection buying. While many will be your direct competition, there may be some who are not interested in pursuing collections for themselves or who might end up needing a partner in purchasing a large collection. Ask if they would keep you in mind for any collections that come their way. You could also offer a finder's fee to sweeten the deal.

There are also many forms of general advertising available. These include the classified sections of your local newspaper(s) and advertisers, local bulletin boards where you can tack up a business card, and online resources such as craigslist.


>>>>> Article continues on next page >>>>>

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

| Forum | Store | Publications | BookLinks | BookSearch | BookTopics | Archives | Advertise | AboutUs | ContactUs | Search Site | Site Map | Google Site Map

Store - Specials | BookHunt | BookShelf | Gold Edition & BookThink's Quarterly Market Report | DomainsForSale | BookThinker newsletter - free

Copyright 2003-2011 by BookThink LLC


Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment