Got Books? Know Dave!

Book collecting is arguably one of the more romantic pursuits.  Trade chatter points out ebooks (sales way down) and audio books (sales way up) have not dulled the demand for the hand-held printed word.

“A book has got smell. A new book smells great; an old book smells even better.”

~Ray Bradbury

We love books, pursuit to possession. But circumstances change, ardor fades. The question I hear a lot lately is “what do I do with all these books?”. (TRUE STORY-as this post was lined up and ready to go today, pal and organizer extraordinaire Jocelyn Kenner also made this her topic in her company’s newsletter yesterday!)

TRH’s counsels clients to first know what they want to accomplish. Most bibliophiles just want their beloved friends to go to good homes. But if you, or a loved one collected strategically, you may need more help.

“Book Wrangler” is how David Greif’s card reads, and it’s perfect. A voracious reader his entire life, David fell into book wrangling by trying to figure out what to do with his own collection. Owner of Griffin Books in Stamford CT since 2001 (and a corporate wonk before that), Dave explains he helps people find homes for books, and best way to get started is just call.

Most have no idea about demand, what might be valuable, or the important details that impact value.  Online sites can be helpful if they show history of other transactions for that book, because what something sells for matters more than what it’s listed for.  And just like anything else on an open market, buyers ultimately determine the right price.  Old listings can be more indicative of wishful thinking than sellers ready, willing and able to sell.

One of Dave’s great clarifying questions: Lets say you have 300 books you don’t want.  Did you buy 15 books a year for 20 years?  Or, do you have 300 books because your dad was into wristwatches and timepieces?  In the former, you probably have the same things a lot of people have, and donating is the quickest solution. A focused/curated collection like the latter would likely be of more interest.

“Always keep anything of sentimental value, but don’t kid yourself on the rest. If you haven’t read it in the past 5 years, you are not going to read it, time to find it a new home.”  Another common misconception is the older the book, the more valuable. Not necessarily! Many old books are just that, old. Some newer books can be more valuable than some older books.

So how does it work?  Pretty simple, again, just call!  Some questions, maybe a few camera photos, he can tell you a lot, including if an on-site free evaluation makes sense.

  • If you have material that he thinks he can re-market he’ll buy it.
  • He’ll tell you what’s donation worthy. And if there’s no Westchester library of choice he’ll box and remove clean marketable material for his local library in Stamford, and get you a receipt for the donation.
  • He’ll also tell you what books have no market value, and are best off recycled, or into trash as a last resort.

If a written appraisal is indicated, say for insurance, philanthropic donation, or to settle an estate, you can speak with him about that too.