Why didn’t Cash4Books want to buy my book?

July 23, 2010

That’s the most frequent question we hear from our customers looking to sell used books at Cash4Books.net.  It would be nice to have an easy answer, but the truth is there are almost as many answers as there are books.  Let me explain just a few of the universal truths of used book buying.

Universal #1:  Ye olde basic law of supply and demand.

Blame Adam Smith.  While Smith wasn’t the first one to come up with the idea, he was the first to popularize the “Law of supply and demand.”  In the used book world, this means we base much of our decision to purchase a book on how well it is currently selling and how many copies we have on hand.

At Cash4Books, we consider this decision as both an art and a science.  The science comes from data we accumulate from our own sales history and current online marketplaces.  Skilled and experienced bookselling professionals who review of our buying list provide the art.  Our current buying list includes over 280,000 unique ISBNs.  And, yes, it really does change daily.  Here’s our example list of some that we’ve bought recently.

Universal #2:  Condition, condition, condition.

Just like “location, location, location” are the three most important things in real estate, “condition, condition, condition” is what sells a used book.   Cash4Books loves books and knows that you do too.  However,   some books have been ‘loved a little too much’ to appeal to another reader.  We try our best to let sellers know what we expect on our Condition Requirements page .   So, if your book isn’t in a condition that the next reader will love too, we can’t purchase it.

Worn stained booksStained pagesdamaged book

Universal #3:  Survival of the fittest

In the world of books this could be rephrased as “survival of the best fitting packaging.”  Modern postal and freight transportation systems are efficient, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your book package will be treated with tender loving care from the time it leaves your door until the time it arrives at ours.  Your book will be handled, bundled, conveyor belted, sorted and resorted countless times between points A and B.  Unless your books are carefully packed in sturdy boxes using strong tape, they may arrive at Cash4Books looking like this:

Shoeboxes are not meant for booksNot well paddedCrushed box

If you don’t want your books to arrive looking like these we suggest following these simple steps:

  • Use a sturdy box. Don’t use thin cardboard boxes (such as cereal boxes or shoe boxes), as those will not protect the books in shipment.

  • If necessary, cut the box down to fit your books  and  use bubble wrap, wadded plastic grocery bags, or wadded newspaper to fill any remaining empty space after cutting the box down.  Don’t use styrofoam peanuts, as they crumble and get between pages.
  • Affix your  shipping label with clear packing tape on  the top of the box.

  • Use plenty of packing tape — the reinforced kind, if possible — and wrap it all the way around the box in several places.

  • Keep the weight of each box under 40 pounds. While there is a weight limit of 70 pounds per box, but we advise going no more than 40 pounds per box.  Boxes over 40 pounds often result in boxes falling apart and damaged and/or lost books!

2 thoughts on “Why didn’t Cash4Books want to buy my book?

  1. MJ

    Gonna get my son’s college texts..maybe you’ll want them. They have barely been used!! LOL

  2. Jackie

    Great tips on packaging, Susan!

    When shipping a package, visualize all that package will go through when traveling through Postal, FedEx or UPS warehouses! How many times it will be handled and pushed and stacked! Make your box extra sturdy by placing it inside another box with 2 inches of cushion all around. Then, tape it well!

    You took the time to sell your books to Cash4Books; now, take a couple extra minutes to ensure they arrive intact!

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