Saturday, September 3, 2016

How Does It Work?

We received a call in the Used Book Store the other day – the caller wanted to know about our pricing.

We get that question a lot.

As any and all book lovers know, bookstores, in general, are a vanishing breed (dare I say dying, or on life support?).  First it was the independent bookstores being pushed out by big box stores like Borders and Barnes & Noble (remember You’ve Got Mail?).  But, as it turns out, we couldn’t sustain two competing big-box stores either, so Borders closed.

Technology is to blame.  But we’ll leave the technology pro/con discussion for a future post.

Back to our caller…

As it turns out, this caller was establishing a library in a new housing development.  He didn’t have a large budget, so he was looking for the most cost-effective way of filling some empty shelves.  We can only assume he’d called around to some of the few remaining independent used bookstores before reaching us and asking:

"How much are your books, and how do you price them?"

Most brick and mortar bookstores, even the used bookstores, own or pay rent for their physical locations.  They also pay employee salaries and provide them with benefits.  These costs are passed on to book lovers in the form of higher prices.

The Irene Overman Kreer Used Book Store is maintained by the Friends of the Glenview Library, an organization established for "the charitable, educational, and continuing development of the Glenview Public Library. Proceeds generated by the Friends’ ongoing fundraising efforts are used to purchase important items not possible in the Library's regular operating budget, as well as to support special projects."

The Used Book Store doesn’t have employees; it is staffed by a team of over 60 dedicated, book-loving volunteers.  And our generous supporters donate all of the books and materials.  This allows us to offer our books at lower prices. 

We use Amazon and Ebay to identify market prices for all of the donated merchandise and believe that with this information in hand we are able to price our merchandise at slightly lower prices than would be listed for the same item, in the same condition, elsewhere – in-store or on-line. In this way, we can offer our patrons the best possible prices while fulfilling our mission of supporting the library.