Donation Management | Sorting | Advertising
| Volunteer Organization | Pricing |
Sales Tax | Preview Sales | Selling
Online | Discards
Updated with input from the MHLS Friends Support Group!
Good organization in
essential! Get off to a good start.
- Develop a statement
of purpose for the book sale. How will you use the proceeds? By knowing
this ahead of time you can use your reason in the publicity.
- Keep an initial book
sale small and simple until you learn more about the amount of work and
- Have a written Donation
Policy. Be very clear about when and where people can donate books, and
what you will and won't take. (See the the Book Sale Donation
policy examples below.) Consider having a consistent time and place
for donation drop-off to lessen the burden on the library staff.
- Book Sale Donation
in our System have sought out off-site storage solutions including: storage
lockers (donated); space in the village all; purchase of a shed located
on library property
- Consider having a
written sorting and storage procedure to help orient new volunteers.
- Volunteers should
regularly sort books as they are donated to avoid a huge job right before
- Try to create a procedure
that enables volunteers to handle a book just once, from the donation
box into the sort box that it will be carried over to the sale in.
- Box Tips:
- Save the good
- Try to amass
many boxes of the same type to help you estimate how many books you
have once they are all sorted. This also makes them easier to stack.
- Look for boxes
- hand holds
- that are
- or ones that
can be cut down to a low height for stacking (good for paperbacks)
that are too big can be too heavy for the average volunteer to lift,
so be aware of the weight of a full box.
sources: buy them at an office supply store, grocery stores, liquor/wine
- As soon as a box
is full of a category:
- close it and
mark it to indicate its category
- number boxes
in a category so you can estimate how much table space that category
will take up
- consider placing
colored dots on boxes that correspond with the category contained
within to add a quick visual identifier.
- Categories should
be diversified enough to provide easy customer selection but not so numerous
as to cause confusion at the sale. Note the categories at a book store
- Be alert for rare,
first edition or expensive books while sorting - have someone with special
knowledge price them. See the Pricing section for
leads on finding prices.
- Consider "display"
categories like coffee table books, books about the Hudson Valley, local
Scanners used in conjuction with web sites like Amazon.com, Better
World Books or BookPropspector.com can help you find books that are worth
more than average to sell online.
new" and "gift worthy" books could be set aside for a special
if you didn't sort? The Guilderland Public Library didn't sort books
into categories at a sale in 2011 and made $12,000!
people look forward to your sale every year by scheduling it around the
same time annually.
- Is your book sale
bundled with other community events?
- Is your book sale
bundled with other library events? (Examples: silent auction, children's
program, antique appraisal day, bake sale, raffles)
- Is your sale targeted?
Examples: Kids and Teen Books; Romance; Mystery Books
- Involve as much of
the community as possible through book donations, sorting and working
at the sale. Word-of-mouth is the #1 PR tool.
- Lead up to the sale
with announcements to your patrons through your library's web site, newsletter
and signage in the library.
list: create an email notification list sign-up opportunity at your sales
flyers for your next sale at your current sale.
- Banners, Lawn signs
out VistaPrint for low cost solutions
- TV, radio and newspapers.
- Flyers at local businesses
(especially book stores! other ideas: grocery store, post office, laundromat,
delis, daycare/nursery schools...)
at the circ desk
- Quick ideas for
- Contact local book
dealers about your sale, they'll be first in line!
- List your sale online:
Management Resources [MHLS]
- Advertising for Book
Sale Volunteers Specifically
and setting up sales are great activities for Eagle Scouts, High School
Honor Society students, catechism students and correctional facility work
- Scheduling Tips:
Make charts of shifts for volunteers to work and have their phone
numbers/email addresses on the chart. Day of the sale scheduling: Send
them a reminder note of their schedule a few days before the sale. Overlap
shift times to allow for a smooth transfer of responsibilities. Local
Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, sororities/fraternities and high school
National Honor students can be very helpful. You may want to avoid very
young volunteers. Some libraries limit the volunteer age to 16.
- Provide recognition
for volunteers before, during and after the sale. Thank you notes should
be sent to all of your volunteers and sponsors immediately after the sale.
- Be consistent.
- Mark prices in the
same place on each book to expedite checkout during the sale.
- Take into account
the condition, scarceness and popularity as well as the original retail
- Price "better
books" higher (published in the last 5 years; good condition)
pricing structure day by day, so, for example: Day 1: $4 for hardcover,
Day 2: $2, Day 3: $1
Specials": for a day or an hour offer a % off on a particular category:
buy 1 get 1 free, 50% off history books, 3 books for $5
- Need help determining
a price? Check out: Bookfinder.com,
BookProspector.com and eBay.
Or consider selling books on commission through a book dealer.
- Priced-to-go Solutions:
near the end of the sale consider these "priced-to-go options"
to move more items out the door
- $1/$5 a bag
- 50% off everything
- Free paperback
with every purchase
- Purchase a canvas
bag and fill it for free
schools/teachers and nonprofit organizations to take what they would
like at no charge
but don't bring it back..."
- If you hold 1 or
2 book sales a year you are not required to collect sales tax.
- If you hold more
than 2 book sales you should call the NYS Department of Taxation at 1.800.698.2909
and ask for a ruling.
- Libraries with on-going
book sales should be registered with NYS as a vendor. Use form DTF-17
(Application for Registration as a Sales Tax Vendor). Instructions
for the form. Make
sure that sales tax forms are submitted after the sale if necessary.
Pre-sale: Consider holding a "member's only" pre-sale before
the sale opens to the general public. This offers a nice perk to those faithful
contributors of your library.
- Preview Sale: Many
libraries offer a "Preview Sale" the evening before the official
start of the books sale, attendees are charged an entrance fee to get first
crack at the books in your sale.
- Day of the Sale:
- Volunteer Training
to make it easy
for your customers to identify who is a volunteer that can help them.
- Sample Book Sale
- Tiered pricing for
multi-day sales - lower prices as your sale goes on, for the last day
try $1 or $3 for a bag of books.
pictures to use in your advertising next year!
"LibraryBookSales.org matches you with rare, collectible and
quality books that have been donated to public libraries. The money
you spend goes directly to the library that sells you the book. You
benefit because you can find quality books at great prices. Everyone
Library Store, a division of Rundel Library Foundation: The Rundel
Library Foundation, organized to raise funds for the Rochester Public
Library, sells used books on the Internet through an agreement with
Advanced Book Exchange. Advanced
Book Exchange and The Library Store have contractual agreements with
Barnes & Noble.com, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, BibliOZ.com and Akaikutsu.com.
The Library Store Internet used book inventory is listed on all of
these sites. The Rundel Library Foundation, on behalf of the Library
Store, will help smaller libraries sell books online through their
organization for a 50-50 split of the proceeds (books must have a
estimated value of at least $10.00). "All research and pricing
is done by trained volunteers and we have one part time person who
does the daily order processing," says Joan Belgiorno, Director
of Development for the Rundel Foundation, "It has been our experience
that the key to the success of the program is the selection of the
books. For example, the University of Rochester has a very dedicated
group of volunteers who are very efficient in selecting books that
will be successful. We have recently partnered with a small public
library that does not have the same level of sorting experience, but
we have been working with them to help them refine their system."
To explore this option for your library or Friends Group contact Joan
Auction site - Fee
is a fixed-price, online marketplace to sell high quality, new, overstocked,
remaindered and used products at discounted prices. Unlike auctions,
where the selling price is based on bidding, the seller sets the price
for items at Half.com at the time an item is listed. The site's expanding
marketplace currently includes books, CDs, movies, video games, computers,
consumer electronics, sporting goods and trading cards.
- Offer them to a neighboring
- Offer them to other
non-profit agencies in your community: correctional facility, homeless
shelter, domestic violence shelter, Salvation Army, etc.
[Tip: have a "work
bee" to speed up the preparation of books for recycling. Most facilities
want the covers and bindings removed.]
Resources by County:
World Books best
for for nonfiction and textbooks
Paperpack - recycled reading for our troops
them on eBay or CraigsList as one lot
- Have other ideas?
(Other than a bonfire...) Let us
- After the Sale
- Have an "after-party"
to unwind and thank each other - that was a lot of work!
- Ask yourselves a few
questions shortly after the sale to help you reflect:
- What was your experience?
- What did you like
or dislike about the process and event?
- What could make next
year even better?
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