books: the economics of the thrift store

I have a beef with the modern thrift store, and I blame Ebay.
The fear of being 'ripped off' by customers has led all the shops in our neck of the woods to adopt what I call lose/lose pricing.  It's not high enough to bother the resellers (like me) who 'take advantage' of them because we know what the good stuff is and we'll still buy it, so they fail in their intent.  The random customer off the street looking for cheap reads loses, in that they're paying an inflated rate for a book that was donated to the thrift store.

During my rounds an elderly woman browsing one of the more egregious shops alongside me exclaimed aloud "Two dollars for a hardcover?  Goodness ME!"

I found a small stack of good stuff, and bought it, and will turn a profit on it.  The old gal walked off in a huff after she determined the prices.  Whether the extra couple of dollars they milk from dealers makes up for the Grannies who start ignoring their books is open to question, but what I do know is I'd buy many more books if they stuck to more traditional thrift store pricing.

At a buck or so for a paperback, I completely ignore pocket books.  I passed over 20 odd pocket books today that I'd have picked up at a more reasonable price point.  The inflated hardcover prices embraced by all the area shops mean I ignore fiction entirely, beyond a cursory glance for super obvious stuff.   If it were cheaper I'd pick up stuff for the store, but I why pay over the counter prices for stuff that I can get by the truckload at any library sale for a fraction of the price?

It is doubly aggravating for me to return to these thrift stores week after week and see the same grimy junk clogging up 9/10ths of their shelf space because their customers are (correctly) refusing to overpay for crummy books.


On today's sojourning I made three stops and picked up roughly a banker's box of books for twenty three bucks.  Which is comparatively expensive, my library sale buys usual range between $10-15 per box.

I hit on ten winners that serendipitously listed for $123.  Mainly boring $3-10 titles, with a couple of really good books on food science that made up the bulk of the profit.  Some of these won't sell, but most of them will.  And I had most of a box left for stocking the shop, which will generate further indirect income.

Which explains why dealers like myself don't really care what a thrift store charges- we just shift our filters up or down depending.  Want to charge two bucks?  Okay, I'll only buy stuff I'm pretty sure will sell for $10 on Amazon and I'll ignore good books the store could use but that I can't turn a profit on. You're only hurting Granny, who might have bought that James Patterson thriller for fifty cents, but isn't going to pony up two bucks. Especially when, chances are, she can find it on our sale cart for a buck.

1 comment:

Malderor said...

I've been meaning to ask, what is your store Amazon seller name?