Award-Winning Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, and More

The Old Bookstore Inventory

I closed my bookstore several years ago and despite my best efforts, it still occupies a considerable chunk of my home. Over the years I’ve tried unloading them via Amazon, Ebay and conventions. The first two are good for the oddball collectible stuff I have, but useless with the trade editions and paperbacks. I’ve been successfully unloading boxes of books via half-price (or better) deals at cons, but the rate at which they leave the house is still too slow. (There is only so much I can fit in the van.) I need to do better. I want my house back.

Short of giving them away (not an option, but, in quantity, steeply discounted is), does anyone have any thoughts on methods that might make a dent? Most of the inventory is new/unread science fiction/fantasy/horror books – paperback, trade paperback and hardcover. Some magazines. All the money from these goes into the budget for Clarkesworld Magazine and Wyrm Publishing projects, so maybe there are some promotional opportunities. Dunno. Some con dealers have expressed an interest in the past. Maybe…

At this point, any suggestions are welcome.


Clarkesworld Magazine August 2011


Take a moment for the Semiprozines…


  1. Anonymous

    Christmas season is approaching. Set up a temporary stall in the local shopping mall?

    • I have a day job that would prevent me from doing that. I have enough books here to fill a store.

      • Yeah, that (and the rent which you refer to in another response) is how so many stores wound up virtualized as a list tethered to AbeBooks. Not sure that’s entirely in your plan, given your already full life and the time taken up fulfilling onesie-twosie orders and all. No other thoughts on the matter beyond a well-advertised Giant Garage Sale.

        • One of the reasons the store closed was that it couldn’t make enough to add someone to the staff to ship orders. It was occupying all my after work hours. Just can’t go back to onesie-twosie. It would probably kill me.

  2. Hmmm….

    Would it be logistically doable to sell at least a chunk of them to an independent SF bookstore? In the San Francisco Bay Area, we have Borderlands, Dark Carnival, and Other Change of Hobbit. Don’t know what, if anything, is nearer to you. Or perhaps selling them to another mail-order/convention vendor?

    On a personal note, there’s some stuff in your old store inventory I’d be interested in, but, obviously, not in huge quantity.

  3. Is it possible to use them as “grab bag” rewards for donating to CWM? Make $X donation and get a random book?

    I’ll spread the word to some folks I think might be interested. If they are, I’ll get them in touch with you.

    • That I could do. I could pack up a bunch of boxes in advance and make that available to the first X people.

  4. Auction off books by lot, possibly, as a benefit for Clarkesworld/Wyrm? It’d be a quick way to get rid of books in quantity.

    Or, the grab-bag idea mentioned above – for a donation, give a bag of surprise!books out of the stock.

    • The grab bag idea sounds kinda cool

    • I’m going to have to revisit doing business on ebay sometime. Fixed duration, possibly paired up with the grab bags. Maybe put up some of the weirder stuff there.

  5. Selling at a con is tough, because you never know what people will buy. Selling at a mall or flea market probably isn’t a win–most people aren’t looking for sf/f. I’d say if you had a buy-out offer from a dealer that was reasonable, take it, especially if you’re tired of dragging things to cons.

    Another option is the shopping grab bag method: bag up what you think you can handle getting $20 for and sell them as grab bags. (Start asking for paper when you go to the supermarket.) Or maybe “buy a CW tote, and we’ll fill it with books for you.” Lots of dealers also have success with “buy x, get y free.”

    OTOH, there are lots of give-away opportunities. But it’s always nicer not to let the kids starve.

    • Yep, no shortage of give-away options and I’m already doing some of that. Was stumped on the sales side. Probably going to try the grab bags. I’ve been doing the 50% and/or buy x get y free at cons. Works well, but I can never bring enough to make a noticeable dent in the inventory.

  6. Would charitable donations for a tax write off count as giving them away?

    • I’m already doing some of that.

      • There are businesses that will do all the ebay stuff for you for a cut of the profit, but I don’t know that any of them would get you that good a deal.

        I can think of one chain of used book places that recently opened that trades books for cash, but in a limited way and so far they aren’t in your area. They also have a limit to how much stuff you can bring in at once.

        Hmm. I doubt I’ll think of anything you haven’t already looked into.

  7. If you have your lists in text/excel/cvs format, I could create a very simple database that would show the available books and link to paypal. It would be very quick, take me about a day to set up at most. I’d trade that for some free books from your stock. 😉

    If this sounds reasonable, mail to programmer at zolaweb dot com

  8. Check your email; I sent a message regarding an unfilled transaction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén