Will You Buy My Used Books?
I had my first “unsolicited call” this week. Well it was more an “unsolicited email” from a person who had some books they wanted to get rid of and wanted to know if I would like to come and have a look at them?
So the toing and froing started between us, all by email.
Me “ What sort of books are they? What sort of condition are they? Is it a bulk lot or can I split them? How many?” and so the questions went on. (I was a little excited as this is the first time I’ve been approached by someone I didn’t know to offload books).
Her response “There are around 80 books. My address is … I will be there on Thursday at 11.30”.
She didn’t answer all of the important questions. Do I make the trip out to a not so nice part of town, to meet a person who I’ve never spoken to, who might not have the best of intentions towards me? Or she could be a really sweet person who has a huge pile of very sellable books that are in such good condition they could be straight from the publishers themselves?
Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So I gave my husband the address and left explicit instructions to call me half an hour after I had arranged to meet this person. If I didn’t answer he was to come looking for me – fortunately he was working a few minutes away from the address so it wasn’t a huge inconvenience for him. And off I drove.
I was nervous I have to admit. But also excited. What sort of treasures would I find? How much am I going to offer her? Would I take all of them? What is a reasonable amount of time to sift through all of the books, trying to determine their worth, before I become just a browser? How much am I going to offer her?
She turned out to be a really sweet person with a huge pile of very sellable books that were in excellent condition. Read once, no dog-earred pages, no unidentifiable stains, no rips or tears – and a very wide variety of fiction and non-fiction.
My husband rang while I was in the middle of sifting and, as subtely as I could I told him his help wasn’t required and he could go back to work. Then the negotiations started.
This is not a strength of mine. I am not a haggler. I walk into a store and ALWAYS pay the price that is being asked. I am trying to change this particular trait – it is not beneficial to my business to pay full price for something I’m trying to on- sell. That’s the nature of our chosen job isn’t it? We want the best quality for the lowest price, and then want a discount on top of that because our margins are so tight.
I started confidently. I told her I only had so much to spend per book and couldn’t afford anymore than that. She understood. Then offered me a price and I said “Yes that’s fine”.
She helped me carry them out to the car and waved bye.
At the first set of traffic lights, I calculated in my head that I’d just paid $2 more per book than I’d said I could afford.
No wonder she helped me carry them to the car. She must’ve been waiting for the penny to drop in my head. The penny didn’t drop until I was around 25 kilometres away.
Lesson learnt – next time I take my husband with me. He has very short arms and very long pockets!
Amanda, A Novel Book