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Tips for selling late mother's books

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I'm clearing out my late mother's house before selling. She had over 1,500 books and used to say that some were worth something so not just to get rid of them! 

I've tried professional booksellers who have taken about 200, and I'm sending a lot to charity, but there are about 150-200 which I've set aside and as potentially being more valuable. These are ones that I've found on sites such as Abe Books, Amazon and eBay at over £10, with some up to £100.

I just wondered if anyone has tips for the best way to sell these? I'm currently thinking eBay, though listing them all will be quite a lot to take on. I'm also puzzled by some books which seem to have a very wide range of sale prices online, though can't see obvious differences (e.g. same publication date, condition etc.). It is hard to find actual sold prices - I know can search on eBay but often no results for the more valuable ones.

Any advice much appreciated.

Thank you

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  • Robin9
    Robin9 Posts: 12,218 Forumite
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    Oxfam has specialised  book shops
    Never pay on an estimated bill. Always read and understand your bill
  • Green_hopeful
    Green_hopeful Posts: 704 Forumite
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    I have been through a lot of books using Abe books. If they are worth a bit I put them on eBay when it’s a 70 percent off fees and see what happens. If they don’t sell they go in the oxfam pile. We take the more specialist books to the Cambridge oxfam bookshop. Modern fiction we donate to the Huntingdon oxfam bookshop because it is easier to park. You can sell on Abe books but I didn’t feel confident about the fees. I have found Amazon is very expensive on fees so I don’t sell there anymore. I have a load to go through still so feel for you. 
  • Abbafan1972
    Abbafan1972 Posts: 7,014 Forumite
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    Sorry for your loss.

    There is a book section on Vinted, so maybe try there?
    Striving to clear the mortgage before it finishes in Dec 2028 - amount currently owed - £40,750.02
  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Posts: 5,885 Forumite
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    The problem with secondhand boooks is that people think they are worth more than they are - most are not.  They are only worth more if someone wants them. The ones on Abe cost a bit more because they are perhaps more obscure and yes the price range will be huge. 

    People also try it on  on the online platforms - we published a book, had more than a few left over, put 2-3  in donations to charity shops and found one of them appeared online for £75. 

    Suspect your professional booksellers took the best of them. 
  • bring_back_threepenny_bit
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    I agree that online prices are extraordinarily variable, but then they are all for books that haven't sold. People can (and often do) ask any price they want for a book but it doesn't mean that anyone wants to buy it for that much.
    I had to clear hundreds of books from a relative's house and, like you, got a reputable bookseller to make me an offer. He took the best stuff for a reasonable sum. There were also some left that were worth putting on ebay, after checking sold (not for sale) prices. I find Amazon is worth doing if no-one else is selling that particular book - mainly applies to specialist and technical publications.
     For the rest:
    1) I Took a couple of boxfuls of 'nice bindings' (but tedious content) to the local auction. There is a market for books as decoration.
    2) Sifted out any with ISBNs and tried them all on Ziffit, WeBuy Books, Music Magpie and Sell it Back - either use a scanner or for older ISBNs just typed it once and then pasted into each search box to find the highest bidder. Anything from nothing or a few pence to several quid for the same book!
    3). Put several themed job lots on freecycle/facebook marketplace. They all went quickly.
    4). Found a local (Cambridge) seller who pays £2 per boxful, they took a vanload
    5). What was left was a manageable amount to take to the charity shop

  • Sarahspangles
    Sarahspangles Posts: 1,563 Forumite
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    edited 23 May at 7:59PM
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    I'm clearing out my late mother's house before selling. She had over 1,500 books and used to say that some were worth something so not just to get rid of them! 

    I've tried professional booksellers who have taken about 200, and I'm sending a lot to charity, but there are about 150-200 which I've set aside and as potentially being more valuable. These are ones that I've found on sites such as Abe Books, Amazon and eBay at over £10, with some up to £100.

    I just wondered if anyone has tips for the best way to sell these? I'm currently thinking eBay, though listing them all will be quite a lot to take on. I'm also puzzled by some books which seem to have a very wide range of sale prices online, though can't see obvious differences (e.g. same publication date, condition etc.). It is hard to find actual sold prices - I know can search on eBay but often no results for the more valuable ones.

    Any advice much appreciated.

    Thank you
    If any are Folio Society specifically it’s worth trying a specialist seller.  Otherwise if a bookseller doesn’t want them it’s a matter of finding a charity your mother would have been pleased to know realised some value from them. Many National Trust properties have a bookshop, for example.
  • BaffledByModernity
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    There is a relatively new company The Small Library Co with a personalised service that specialises in precisely this, they are online :)
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