Selling and Buying Books on E-Bay

As everyone probably knows, I drag my feet when it comes to technology. I mean, I’ve hardly gotten over not using a manual typewriter and I still expect stamps to cost a dime. Yes, I’ve bought the occasional book online, but no more than a half dozen over as many years. Still, more and more, I keep thinking about E-Bay.

Why? Because I have all these books--some relatively common, some quite scarce, a good deal of scholarly-academic material, lots of older classics. In short, an old-fashioned gentleman’s library, most of it in hardcover. But I really do have too many books, just as I have too many records, too many CDs, too many VHS tapes and DVDs, and too many vintage suits, shirts, ties and sweaters. So what to do?

I could gradually donate a lot of it to various charities. I could try to sell the books locally for a few pennies--though it seems a shame to receive so little for such treasures. I could donate the books to the local library Friends’ store and take a tax write-off. (I do this already to some extent.) Still, it would be nice to make all this stuff earn back a little of the time, money and storage locker rent I’ve put into them.

Hence, these E-Bay thoughts.

Have any of the members of the Reading Room sold books on E-Bay? What was your experience like? Was it worth the time and trouble? Did you set up an E-Bay store? Could a complete technological klutz successfully do it? Have you sold things other than books, ie. clothes, CDS, etc? I reach out to you, my friends, for counsel, guidance and inspiration. Please share your thoughts about books and the online marketplace.

- Michael Dirda

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