Are Garage Sale Buyers Illiterate?

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Are Garage Sale Buyers Illiterate?

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Editat: juny 28, 2011, 12:36 pm

Our little town (8900 mostly happy people) west of Chicago had a town wide garage sale which was a smashing success. We had about 125 selling points, most with 3 to 6 sellers; pretty good for the first time in a small outlying town.

Here is my question... The sellers in our group did very well in general and buyers were ample. The one area that surprised me was BOOKS. The sellers in our group, a well read bunch, all brought books. They ranged from potboilers to cook books to quality history and travel books. They were aggressively priced (nothing over $2.50, many 25¢) and in good condition. Just about each potential buyer leafed through the books. Very few were sold. Are garage sale buyers illiterate or were we barking up the wrong tree at a garage sale?

juny 28, 2011, 3:48 pm

I almost never find books that I want to buy at yard sales. I buy mostly science fiction and old RPG material so I;m usually out of luck.

But that's just me.

juny 28, 2011, 5:36 pm

I'd say the fact that most buyers looked through the books answers your question about illiteracy.

I buy a lot of books, but not many of those are at yard sales. It's rare that the sellers have something I really want.

oct. 1, 2011, 10:35 pm

I've spent the better part of my Saturdays this summer hitting the garage sales in my area. I get a list of addresses off the online paper and use a GPS to route my stops. I can usually hit at least 25 - 30 sales. Of all the sales I went to only one had any quality books for sale. Generally, at least in my area, there are romances, thrillers, and mysteries. This garage sale buyer happens to be able read and desires more than what's offered. IMHO, it seems that the sellers are the ones lagging behind, or they are holding on to the better reading material.

nov. 18, 2014, 12:46 pm

My best luck has been at yard sales where the parents were trying to clear out the books their kids had in college and left behind when they moved out. I've also had good luck at church yard sales and there seems to be a correlation between denomination and the types of books. Unitarians and Episcopalians are where I've had the best luck with the more obscure books. The Wesleyans seem to be big on how-to books. The Presbyterians usually have good cookbooks and the Baptists have got the romance and political/legal thriller territory covered. This is an over-generalization for my little corner of the world of course. Has anyone else found a pattern with other civic, charitable or religious group sales? I do think that when people donate to a sale for a group they support they give better quality material.

nov. 18, 2014, 4:38 pm

My problems with garage sale books:

1. Many, many bestsellers. They're best sellers because anyone who wants one bought it. Throw them out when you're done with them.

2. Lots of obscure fiction. I've never heard of it, and you're getting rid of it. What does that say about the book?

3. Not conducive to browsing. Usually on the ground and in a jumble. Not even split by fiction and non-fiction.

4. Not a lot of quality non-fiction. Lots of Time-Life books and other coffee table books.

5. Often too expensive. I'd consider anything over a dollar for a book I'm taking a chance on (can't consult LT before purchase) to be too much.

I have found the occasional gem at a garage sale. I also find lots of books to disassemble for collage and book art.