Shipping Large Boxes of Books

Shipping Large sets of books – Protecting your self, your books and your customer

(similar to the books sold)

A few years ago I got an order for a set of Encyclopaedia Britannica 1910 / 1911 edition. This was a nice set of books. An employee and I wrapped the books two at a time in Kraft paper and put the books into 75-pound test boxes I had obtained from Staples. The books were well wrapped and we padded the sides so that the books would not shift. The boxes were sealed securely with 2” wide shipping tape. I had no doubt that the packages would arrive in good shape at their destination. About 2 weeks after I shipped the books I got e-mail from the customer stating that he had not received his books and instead had received empty boxes that were crushed and mangled.

I sent the books with delivery confirmation and it was easy to track the shipment on the USPS web site. The tracking information showed that the books had arrived at their destination on (I am doing this from memory) on day in early September and had immediately been delivered. I wondered how this could occur. I did some investigating and found that the book had been shipped to a US Embassy on the Texas / Mexico border. Apparently the books had been delivered to the Post Office and immediately placed into the mail hoppers provided by the Embassy. Several days later the Embassy mailroom delivered the empty boxes to my customer.

Read more

Twisting Arms and Having Fun at the Flea Market

not the author but a similar experience via

With the weather turning a little cooler it is a nice time to take the time to go out to flea markets. I go to outdoor flea markets nearly every week during the summer, winter and spring. In the dead of winter I sometimes get cabin fever and brave the cold to get my flea market fix. Lately I go mostly looking for books as I have gone for years and have a collection of many other things that I just “had to have” Flea markets can often be great places to visit when looking for books to sell and to look for interesting books to collect.

Larger flea markets are often inhabited by sellers who make it a full time occupation and who spend the rest of the week going to estate auctions and yard sales looking for things to sell, like the  iPhone 5, at the flea market. You will come across the occasional book dealer but mostly you will come across people who will buy anything that they can sell and make a profit.

If they have been doing it for a while they will develop a certain familiarity with what they are selling and price their items according to their experience, but often you will find people who are just looking to make a modest profit.

Read more

How I Opened my Bookstore

I can’t remember when I thought that it might be fun to have my own bookstore. I know that since my teens I have enjoyed going to book stores. The first “book” type stores I remember going to was the comic book store that was operated at the building that housed the local taxi service. I grew up reading “Classics Illustrated” and DC comics.

The Marvel Universe

I was blown away when Marvel came on the scene with comics like “The Fantastic Four”, “Tales of Suspense”, “ The Hulk”, “Strange Tales” and the like. I don’t remember going to many bookstores when I was a child, but I had lots of books nonetheless. My mother bought books for me, I got books from the library at school and relatives gave me books. I really started acquiring books when I got out of high school, went to college for a while.   I got a car and my aquisitions exploded. It quickly became apparent that I needed a bumper sticker that said, “ I brake for book stores”. By my early 20’s I had accumulated a thousand or so odd books. Most of them came from bookstores, but many of them came from going to the flea market. This was 40 years or so ago and the nature of bookstores has changed dramatically since then. When I was in my late teens and 20’s and went into a bookstore and saw a book I really liked, I generally bought the book. In those days you didn’t know when you might see a particular book again. Today if I visit a book store and find a book I like, I am not quite as likely to buy the book on the basis that I might not be able to find that book again. Armed with my cell phone I can quickly determine if most books are readily available by doing a simple search on my favorite -site ABE Books. I have wondered the hall of nostalgic memory and have digressed from my story.

Read more

Missed Opportunities

Harleian Miscellany is an extraordinary compilation. It purports itself to be a “collection of scarce, curious, and entertaining pamphlets and tracts as well in manuscript as in print found in the late Earl of Oxford’s library interspersed with historical, political, and critical notes”. It was first published at the end of the 18 th century. I have a set from 1794 – 8 large leather bound volumes full of curios lore. I first saw the Harleian Miscellany over 30 years ago. I always wanted a set and about 2 years ago I finally acquired one. The contents and the set are subjects for some future story.

What is of interest to me today is something connected with this particular set. Inside the front cover of each of the books is a bookplate from one Thomas Savney L. L. D. Of Richard’s Castle Salop.
Richard’s Castle exists to this day. It is one of the few castles that survive that is thought to have been build before the Norman Conquest. Salop still exits. I am hoping to find the time to determine if the Salney family survives and to find out something about Thomas Salney, but his memory persists in this bookplate. Across more than two centuries it says, “Hello – I was here”. To which I say” Wow”.

The Harleian Miscellany is very collectible and somewhat “rare”, but it is not in the class of books that I would consider to be truly rare.

Read more

Selling books on Amazon Part 2

More Smooth Sailing on the Big River

This is the second part of my article concerning selling books on Amazon. I make
several assumptions with these articles – I assume your are an individual or represent
a small company and I assume that you have little familiarity with selling books on

The last topic I discussed in my previous article and the topic I wish to expand upon is
the creation of accurate book descriptions. An accurate book description should describe
the book to the would be buyer is such a fashion that the buyer can envision the book
from your description. An accurate book description should list the defects present in a
book or with the book’s dust jacket or cover. Accurate book descriptions have helped
me to sell books. I know this for a fact because I have received emails from customers
who stated that they bought my book because it had a detailed accurate description.
Again I refer the reader to the book condition definitions that are posted on the IOBA
(Independent Online Booksellers Association) book site at It’s
worth printing these definitions and having any one who lists books for you read them. If
you get into the habit of producing good book descriptions it will become natural. Please
understand that this article is meant for those sellers who are taking time to individually
list their books. It’s easy to see who is taking time to produce good descriptions and who
is not.

Read more

Smooth Sailing on the big River or Selling books on Amazon

Smooth Sailing on the big River or Selling books on Amazon


selling on amazonI am often surprised hearing from other booksellers who sell on the Internet and do not sell on Amazon. Selling books on Amazon can be a daunting task, but my own experience shows that it can be worthwhile. I started selling books on ABE in 2005. I chose ABE because I knew ABE and had bought books on ABE. I later added Alibris, Biblio and finally Amazon. I have never regretted my decision to sell books on Amazon, but I have had many more “interesting” experiences on Amazon than on any other book selling site.

ABE , Biblio and Alibris seem to attract a different type of book buyer than Amazon. You are more likely to find people on those sites who are looking for less common books and also who are looking to buy from professional booksellers. Amazon is much more likely to be home to sellers who are selling books for a penny and making a very small profit on the allowance given for shipping a book. Amazon is also much more likely to be home to sellers are NOT “booksellers” per se, but who have a few books that they want sell. You are much more likely to find an expensive first edition book on ABE, Biblio or Alibris than you are to find that same book on Amazon. You are also more likely to find people who are members of professional book selling associations selling on ABE, Biblio and Alibris than on Amazon. What makes Amazon a site to my liking? Amazon is the biggest bookseller on the Internet.

Read more

Adventures in the Life of a Bookseller

“Life is what happens when you’re busy planning on doing something else” , or so I have heard. Today seemed to prove the veracity of this statement to me.

I know it’s not just because I am a book seller and am around books all the time, but I have always enjoyed reading books of “famous quotations” . I would often rather read a book of famous quotations than read the latest New York Times best seller.

At any rate – life arises.

Sometimes as book sellers we have no idea of the effect our actions as booksellers have on the world at large. Causality and synchronicity have played a great part in my life as a Johnny Come Lately to the world of book selling.

I was going to make this post mostly about a poem that just floated into my head like a warm summer breeze and expound on my love of poetry, but reality got in the way.

I will give the poem it’s due!

Read more

why i have a book store

I sit in my shop after a book sale looking over the treasures that I found. Some ARE worth a few bucks, some aren’t. Sometimes I buy with my head (I DO have a PDA/scanner combination), sometimes I buy with my heart. I’m looking at a book of poetry by one Don Blanding -“The rest … Read more