Can someone donate NEET books

1 cent per book: The business with excess book donations

27.12.2018editorial staff

The book market is saturated, especially in the area of ​​used books. Good for readers because these books are always cheaper to buy. But where do books come from, some of which are offered for just one cent, and can you actually earn money with them? You can - via "shipping costs".

Readers who prefer to donate used books instead of throwing them in the paper bin now have to be very strong: Donation recipients such as local libraries, second-hand shops or second-hand bookshops also dispose of old books - in large numbers and at their own expense. In recent years, retailers have turned this into a new business model: They collect excess donation titles and sell them for a cent (or more), especially on Amazon Marketplace. This involves a great deal of effort, but it can actually also generate a profit. This is illustrated by the example of Colin Stephens, the founder and head of the English provider Sunrise Books, whose story was reported in the Guardian.

Massive donations overwhelm shopkeepers

Book warehouse in the UK

Colin Stephens was rummaging through the shelves of a second-hand shop herself when the owner complained about the used books. She reported that her business was being filled with book donations. While this is basically a good thing, it means a lot of work for the owners. The books must be sorted, assessed and - if there is no possibility of selling them - disposed of at your own expense.

Stephens, who had been buying and selling books privately on Ebay for a long time, recognized this lawsuit as an opportunity and offered the shopkeeper to pick up the surplus books every now and then and to find new owners for them. "The next day I got a call from a second-hand shop owner who was friend of mine, the next day another and then another," the book lover tells the Guardian. What began as a small resale of orphaned books in the living room is now, ten years later, a huge business. It receives around 20 tons of surplus book donations every week, which it keeps in four company-owned warehouses (a fifth is about to open).

Reselling many donations impossible

In fact, only just under 20 percent of these books are sold online. The rest is also disposed of and recycled. There are many reasons for this, the most common being the poor condition or the old age of the books. Another big problem is the lack of demand, caused by the years of overproduction by publishers. "There is simply a limit to how many copies of a particular book I can sell," explains Mike Ward, owner of Thrift Books, to the Guardian.

Business with excessive shipping costs - approved by Amazon

Chuck Roberts, the owner of Wonder Book, admits that you have to be "very efficient" to make money selling 1-cent books. The profit usually arises from the shipping and operating costs, which are estimated to be higher than necessary. This leaves only a few cents per book sold. With a mass of 11.5 million books sold a year (according to bookseller Mike Ward in the "Guardian"), that adds up to something.

The calculation is simple: For a book sold on the German Amazon marketplace, Amazon charges the buyer a flat shipping fee of 3 euros, of which Powersellers (paid retailer program) receive exactly 2 euros after deducting the Amazon fee. The actual shipping costs for book shipments amount to around 1 euro, with clever management, the bottom line is a profit.

It is noteworthy that this invoice is opened in the Amazon forum by an Amazon employee who also frankly admits that after paying the actual shipping costs "in any case a profit" remains. This is not objectionable per se, but Amazon has to put up with the accusation of deliberately misleading its customers by declaring it as "shipping costs". A word like "processing fee" or the free design of the shipping costs a là ebay would be more honest, but would also take away the seemingly 1-cent bargain character of the offers.

Originally published on April 17th, 2015, regularly updated information article