Money Moral Dilemma: Should I sell the books I got for free from my old job?

edited 23 November at 1:56PM in Ebay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales
41 replies 24.4K views
MSE_KelvinMSE_Kelvin MSE Staff
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This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

I've just left a job at a specialist book publisher, where I received a free copy of each book I was involved with. Being specialist titles, they're not of interest to me and are now gathering dust. They are expensive to buy, so I thought I could make a bit of extra cash for Christmas by selling them. I wasn't asked to return them before I left, but despite this, my wife thinks I should check whether my previous employer wants them back first.

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  • bargainbettybargainbetty Forumite
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    If the books were gifts freely given, they are your belongings and you may do what you want with them. If they were the property of the publisher you would have had to return them when you left. 

    Some days, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps....
    LB moment - March 2006. DFD - 1 June 2012!!! DEBT FREE!

  • Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    Check your contract?  That should tell you if the books were expected to be returned.
  • EmmaBadgeParryEmmaBadgeParry Forumite
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    Knickers!   Sell them, if they wanted them back they should have asked for them at an exit interview.  Don’t go chasing a company that has probably forgotten who you are already. 
  • istoreyistorey Forumite
    3 Posts
    Part of the Furniture First Post Combo Breaker
    MoneySaving Newbie
    What would the company do with the books if you returned them? They would hardly sell them as they are essentially second hand. Also they gave you the books and unless it was written in your employment contract that they retain the right to the books they are essentially yours to do with as you wish. If they hound you for them say you gave them away as they were of no interest to you. Sell them!
  • HadenoughofitallHadenoughofitall Forumite
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    Sell them.
  • honestcovehonestcove Forumite
    5 Posts
    First Post
    Are you sure you received a free copy? Such awards would normally be taxed by the employer as employee benefits.
  • Why would your old employer give you free books if they were not for your to keep? It sounds like they are your property now and if you don't want them you are surely entitled to sell them.
  • someonesomeone Forumite
    775 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Name Dropper
    I would sell them, unless there was any chance that a copy might be very valuable in the future (as they sound like 1st editions) ... any chance one of the authors might be a future nobel prize winner?
  • brionyrosebrionyrose Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    The publishers I have worked for have variously given gratis copies to employees to take home, or desk copies that may not be removed from the office. I haven't come across a publisher that will permit gratis to be sold, although they can sometimes be given away to book charities (with the corner chopped off to indicate not for resale) or pulped. If they're taking up space, I'd give them back to the publisher.
  • edited 23 November at 10:48PM
    thedrthedr Forumite
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    Eighth Anniversary 10 Posts Photogenic Combo Breaker
    edited 23 November at 10:48PM
    Don’t sell them if you’ve just left your job. But don’t ask them if they want them back. Give it a year then, if they haven’t been asked for, sell them. 
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