Dear Bibliobull – the fix is in

Dear Bibliobull –

I am new to selling used books. When should I send a book out for repairs and when should I fix it myself. And what kind of repairs should I do?

Mr Fix it


Dear Fixit –

If repairing the book takes up more effort than selling the book will bring in throw or give it away. Regarding when to fix, it’s a sliding scale depending on the value and the amount of damage:

for example

Book A is worth $30 in GOOD condition – if it needs anything that takes longer than 10 minutes it is not worth doing. Things you can do in 10 minutes, erasing, remove stickers, surface cleaning, fix tears and loose pages. If you spent 1 HOUR on it, AND you sold it immediately, you won’t even breaking even.

Book B in GOOD condition would bring $75 – if it needs a total rebind, is worthless. Give it away. If it merely needed rebacking – then it’s only worth a fraction, sell it as is, and let the end user worry about fixing it.

Book C is worth $250 in GOOD condition and you have less than 100 dollars into it already. [if you spent more than that and it still needs fixing you made bad trade]
the repairs you do yourself are the 10 minute kind. If it needs a reback and you KNOW how, you can do that to. If you adept at major repairs, you can do them, but remember your TIME is worth something. And most booksellers don’t have the TIME to do major repairs themselves. If it needs any major repairs and you can’t do them, sell it as is, let the customer spend the dough on a repair. Sending it out to be fixed will eat into your profits too much.

If the book is worth more than that, SEND IT OUT or sell it as is. When in doubt – DO NOTHING, give it a once over for 10 minutes then sell it as is.

Do what you feel comfortable doing if you don’t respect the integrity of the book, you are in the wrong business. The last show I was at, I found a 1st edition on the shelf where the endpapers had been so badly replace, the book was now practically worthless, since reversing the bad repair would cause more damage.

Books that are worth a minor amount, which are never going to increase in value, you can do fixes that can’t be reversed. But if you are holding something that may increase in value, don’t screw with it unless you know what you are doing. Start small, facelifts, erasing, lifting stickers, tiping in pages, tightening spines practice new methods on shitty books, that’s what they are for.

When you pay for a book to be repaired, you will have to work in any costs of the repair into your sale price and if you don’t have a ready customer for it then you may have to wait a while to get that money back. sometimes forever. Most high end sellers will easily spend money on what needs doing, because once they can display the book, they can generate interest in it. If it is damaged they can only talk about it.
If you only list on databases and the book will SIT waiting to sell, don’t bother, sell it as is.

Rule of thumb, only send it out if you KNOW you can sell it once it’s fixed. If you have to hang on to it for a year, you screwed yourself fixing something, that your customer could have paid for.

Biblio Bull-

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