The Dreaded Box Drop

“Do you buy books?”

The answer you get borders on offensive, “It depends.”

Why don’t Antiquarians want to buy books?

I’ll tell you why — Your books are terrible.

Antiquarians with a soul will attempt to shine a good light on them: “They are not for us.”

When in fact, your books are not collectible at all. They are either not First Editions, or they are just not popular to collectors…or TOO popular and not a scarce commodity.

The problem with Antiquarians who try to spare your feelings is that they are sending you on wild goose chase. You will end up dragging that heavy box of books to the next guy…and the next.

Frankly, this is unfair to you.

Antiquarian booksellers are there to sell rare books. Collectors are picky about condition. Understandably, booksellers can’t afford to consider anything less than than the best.

Some booksellers can barely contain their disgust (even over the phone) when they see an unknown cardboard box of books come their way. They are envisioning a very big glass of wine instead.


In the seller’s defense, these books represent a burden and the bookseller is a way to cash in on that burden. But, the box will become heavy. The time spent will not return. The money made may not make up for the effort.

It is in the best interest of anyone selling books to Antiquarians to do their homework first. Here are five things to check first before you load those books into that cardboard box:

#1 Are any of my books First Editions? (Compare with online resources like the American Book Exchange.)

#2 Do all of my books have near-perfect dust jackets?

#3 Is there any demand for this book? (Do people pretend they’ve read it when they haven’t? Then, yes!)

#4 Signed books are always more sellable.

#5 Research booksellers by checking their websites and call them first!

Finding the right bookseller for your books is key. Contact them and make sure that your books fall in line with what they sell and that they have room in their inventory. (And some time to look at them.)

I’ll be honest, they will probably reject them anyway. But, if there is even a chance that one book is big bucks, it might be worth it. And the rest can collect social security at a Senior Center where they will be read and appreciated.

Send me your questions! (Just not a carton of old books, please.)

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