Saturday, October 6, 2007

Got Books (dot-com)

I saw the ad for "Got Books?" in our local paper, and the first thing I thought was... "how did 'Got' whatever even catch on?" Then I looked into what this was all about.

Who are they? - Not entirely clear, but seems like organized hoarders with real estate.

Really? How much real estate?
Also not entirely clear, but it is a warehouse in North Reading, MA, and it is at least this big.
Say, is that the Old Frugal Fannie's location?
It may very well be -- would you let me finish, please?

Honestly, boldface, just let me get through this.

Anywaaay... Got Books describes itself as a "for-profit professional fundraiser" -- the more common term being "consignment shop" or "used bookstore."

How does it----oops.

It works like this: Your charitable organization -- let's say, the High School Drama Club -- arranges to do a book donation fundraiser. Your group collects the books, Got Books will come get them if necessary, hold your sale for you, and give you 50% of what they bring in.Upcoming recipients can be found on their website, arranged by month.

Ok. what?

I can donate my books the same way to them? Or do I have to give them to a charity? You can give directly to Got Books. This will have the same effect as donating them to AmVets, Goodwill, Salvation Army, or another consignment service with (2) major exceptions for you:
1. Got Books really will come get them, and for some of us, this is key
2. Your donation is not tax deductible, as they are not a charity themselves
(and 3.. you don't get 50% o' nothin')

Can I shop there?
We do not condone your continued hoarding, but yes you may shop there Fridays and Saturdays 9-4.

Is it tidy? or like shopping in the book room I already have shut off from visitors in my own home? Photos on the website show it to be categorized, labeled, and browsable.

What's the catch?Got Books proudly proclaims they turn no book away (with the exception of encyclopedias) but there is some web chat warning donors that in fact, most of the donations are "recycled," (read that to mean dumped) as not in good enough condition to resell. And this may very well be true, the poster writes, but thinks that people who believe they are donating some valuable treasure to a charity should know it is likely being thrown away in favor of something with re-sell value.

Or as Otto said recently, as we browsed through Barely Read, "Finally. A copy of Fear of Flying."

So. in sum:
want to unload - they come get
want to sell - not for you
want to shop - Fridays and Saturdays. No info on price range
want to raise cash for your group - iffy. Convenient, and creative, but perhaps not more lucrative than a bake sale. They will not sell everything you collect, the prices will be low, and you will get half. You might prefer to run the book sale yourselves.
want to donate books to a group in need - that's not what this is.
But if you work the system right, you can buy books there and donate them right back. Or you could support your local library.


  1. Funny, I need a copy of Fear of Flying for my book club Wednesday night. The library system and I are not on speaking terms - I take too long to read my books and they only let you renew twice. When will there be a netflix for books so I can take as long as I want and then send it back in the mail?

  2. Update: I discovered downloadble audio books at


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