Selling Secondhand Books Online

Where do you stand on disposing of secondhand books? Any that I have in perfect condition I usually donate to our cash-strapped libraries because that helps both the library and the author (PLR). The others go to charity

Recently I tried something different:

Simply type an ISBN into the website and you get a monetary offer for the book. It’s not a lot, often just a few pence and the site won’t accept every title. But I found the process of keying in the numbers to get a valuation addictive. They buy DVDs and CDs too. Once you have a collection of goods with a total value of £5 or more there is the facility to print a label giving free postage to WeBuyBooks via the parcel people Hermes. It took a lot of books to reach £5 and then there was the job of parceling up and taking them to my nearest Hermes collection point (or they can collect from you).

A couple of days later I had an email from WeBuyBooks to say my parcel had been received and then, two days later, another to say the payment for my books had been deposited in my bank account.

Was it worth it?

Financially, probably not. My books were mostly novels and didn’t fall into the site’s most sought after categories i.e. cookbooks, travel guides and text books. A charity shop may have netted more for the books than I received.

More broadly, yes it was worth it. I got carried away with wanting to know what my books were worth and sorted through a lot! Many of the books refused by WeBuyBooks I then took to the charity shop anyway. And my mind feels clearer now more clutter is gone. So it was a win-win result!

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  1. #1 by CARL R D'Agostino on May 13, 2019 - 10:33 am

    In US charity shops will give a receipt which can be listed as charitable donation on income tax filing for a deduction. The amount of deduction is usually very small but tax liability is based on your adjusted income which is reduced by legitimate deductions. They do add up. Sometimes it’s not worth the effort and I bring them to churches that have free book xchanges for their parishioners.

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on May 13, 2019 - 3:34 pm

      That’s interesting, Carl. In the UK it’s possible to ‘Gift Aid’ donations to charity shops, allowing the charity to claim back tax from the government, but I believe it doesn’t benefit the donor unless you are a higher rate tax payer. Complicated!
      Book xchanges are good too – spreads the joy of reading.

  2. #3 by Bobby Fairfield on May 13, 2019 - 5:45 pm

    I have to say I’ve never found a problem with Ziffit, though they do tend to reject a lot of my titles, and the charity stalls get more than they seem able to cope with from me too.

    • #4 by Sally Jenkins on May 14, 2019 - 6:53 am

      Thanks for the tip, Bobby. I suppose those who are really keen can compare offers between the different sites buying books. For those interested, the link to Ziffit is

  3. #5 by juliathorley on May 20, 2019 - 2:51 pm

    When I was really poor, I went through a phase of selling books and CDs online, but in the end it was just too much like hard work. Now I give them away to friends or charity shops. Occasionally, I’ll just leave a book in a cafe. I never thought about libraries.

    • #6 by Sally Jenkins on May 20, 2019 - 3:19 pm

      Agreed, it is a lot of work for not much gain. But gave me the impetus to have a good sort out! I’ve never just left a book in a cafe but maybe I should.

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