What to Do With Books That Have No Value: Sell Them By The Pound

I have always had a hard time getting rid of old books, even ones I’m not going to read. It seems one step removed from book burning, which is the devil’s playground. I do fool myself into thinking they will all go to good homes when I give them to the library sale, but I’m sure some don’t find a home. Well now if you want to be kind to books and save them you can buy those ubiquitous 1¢ books you see on Amazon and the like by the pound. All you have to do is go to the warehouse of Once Sold Tales. I know that books aren’t forever, but perhaps a little scarcity might be in order some day.

“Used books are now completely commoditized,” Eric says. “You have to price your books below all competitors, constantly, or they won’t sell.”

But the reason I’m here is that there was a strange twist on the way to the Web revolution. The books somehow got left behind.

It turns out that in the ruthlessly efficient, instantly updateable Web market, countless books are no longer worth selling, because it costs far more to ship them than the market judges they are worth.

“Book prices are so low they’re becoming a disposable product,” Eric says.

Take “The Trumpet of the Swan,” E.B. White’s classic about a voiceless swan who learns to speak by playing a stolen trumpet. What’s it worth, used, on the Web right now?

Only one cent, believe it or not. Plus $3.99 to mail it to you.

via the Seattle Times.