Romance, Mysteries & Adventure/Espionage
along with all puzzles
I am a member of the Friends of the Library in Quincy, Illinois. Our library has recently been renovated and we will have a used book store. I am looking for advice from those who have already set up and developed a Friends used book store. Some of the questions we are dealing include:
Pricing: What do you charge for books? How do you decide what the price should be?
Sorting: How do you decide what books to keep and what to discard?
Products: Do you sell anything beside books?
Services: Do you offer any other services?
Shelving: What categories do you use to shelve book? (Hardback fiction, Politics, etc.)
What kind of book is your biggest seller or worst seller?
Do you sponsor any special events?
What should we avoid?
What should we be sure to do?
I certainly don’t expect you answer all of these questions, but any advice you could offer would be sincerely appreciated.
How exciting that you’re opening a book store. Our Friends of the Aurora Public Library Book Outlet (FAPL) has been in operation for 25 years. I’ll try to answer your questions – but there is a wealth of info we could share. Please feel free to email me with any questions. I can also put you in touch with our “financial” volunteer who does our tax returns .
Our store is open to everyone. We do offer memberships – an annual fee or lifetime membership. Our members get a 10% discount on all purchases.
Financial: (this is for Colorado) We applied for a 501c3 (not for profit) and applied for a tax license with Aurora and Colorado. We must charge tax since we’re selling a product.
We are a totally volunteer organization – no paid positions and have a Board.
Pricing: We base our pricing on the latest publication date and type of book. I could send you the price list if you’re interested.
Sorting: We have 10 to 12 volunteers who work in the “back room” where donations come in and the books are sorted. We sort by subject of book (we have 80 + catagories (a real customer pleaser). The back room people will sort through the books placed in their area and decide which books should be put out to sell. The shape of the books is examined – we do not put out books in bad condition.
Products: We sell VHS videos, DVD’s, CD’s, records, books on tape and CD, music cassettes, pc games, etc. If it comes in and we think it may sell we try it!
Services: We have recently been able to pick up donations from people who cannot bring them in – usally the elderly.
Shelving: As mentioned before, we have a lot of catagories. Customers really like the fact that they don’t have to search for specific type of books.
Sellers: Non-fiction sells well. We have 50% off sales on specific catagories each month (usually 3-5 catagories). We Also have a 50% off everything in the store 3-4 times a year for members. We offer gift certificates that sell best during the holidays.
I think the cleanliness and openness of our store is a big seller – people love to come in and shop. Our biggest challange has been generating enough publicity to get the word out. We now have a great PR person on our board and things have improved. New customers are always impressed with our store and our very low prices. Our store is independent and separate from the Aurora Libraries. Our proceeds, after we pay overhead costs, go to the Library.
That’s a lot of information. If you would like more detail or have any questions please email me. There should be a picture or two on our website.
Good luck with your store.
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