Goodwill, Salvation Army Thrift Stores Selling Books on the Internet

goodwill 245x300 Goodwill, Salvation Army Thrift Stores Selling Books on the InternetHave you ever went into a thrift store such as Goodwill or Salvation Army with your trusty book scouting scanner and started scanning away?  After an hour or two you find that you’ve only picked out a handful of listable books.  You then think to yourself, “I wonder if another online bookseller has been here before me.”  Little did you know that online bookseller may have been the thrift store itself!

Check out this article about thrift stores selling books on the Internet.  It looks like we’re competing with the big dogs!

Yes, it’s true.  Some thrift stores including Goodwill and the Salvation Army aren’t giving you those dirt cheap books anymore and doing the dirty work themselves of listing online.  They’ve found that we’ve been buying books out from under their noses all this time and have been making a nice profit off of the books that are donated to them.  I can’t get as aggravated about this as if another bookseller was taking my stock, unfortunately.  Thrift stores exist to give jobs to unfortunate individuals and to generate money for charitable events.  I’d much rather get beaten to the punch by the thrift store than one of my blood-sucking, proft-driven fellow online booksellers! icon smile Goodwill, Salvation Army Thrift Stores Selling Books on the Internet

In all honesty, I’ve known that Goodwill sells a lot of books online due to some conversations I’ve had with Indaba Systems.  They are Goodwill’s vendor for listing software.  I sighed whenever I first heard that.

In the future, it may be a good decision to ask an employee or two if they sell their books online before you start scouting.  I’d be miffed if I searched through a few hundred books and find that there were no gems in there because they’ve already been cherry picked.  If you’re going to ask, I’d approach it as a customer and not as a bookseller though.  I’ve found it’s always best to be as discrete as possible.

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  • Lessdave

    Well I find it deplorable that thrift stores sell their donated books online, then take the old books that they can’t sell and charge exorbinant prices for ones that are selling for a penny on amazon. Not everyone is a bookseller, and not everyone can afford the prices their asking for books on the internet especially text books. When you go to the goodwill all that is left is old outdated books. I realize that they help the poor by raising money, but there are plenty of poor people walking through their doors who spend what ever little money they have and should be able to find a few treasures also, as well as find a few decent books that are current issues without paying in soe cases 6.98 Makes one really think whether they want to donate to an organization like this.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you. However, in my opinion, if they would reduce the
    prices considerably then booksellers would begin snatching up more
    books. If they really want to help the poor, I’d do some kind of
    income report for people to prove that they are down on their luck and
    then are able to buy goods at really low prices.

  • Gbrown90035

    Most of the thrift stores in my area of Los Angeles have been reducing the size of their bookshelves, partly because their incoming books are screened by book scouts before they ever reach the shelves. I assume these books then become listed online somewhere, and if the thrift store can make more money that way, so much the better. What I regret most about this practice is that few thrift stores now let a collectible volume through to the public. After the scouts are through, it’s all mostly trash fiction and oversized, and usually overpriced, coffee-table books of little or no interest or value. I’ve also discovered that some simply toss out anything that looks old and decrepit. Oh, the treasures that might have been trashed this way!

  • Jim1975

    I don’t know how it is elsewhere, but, for example, our Salvation Army has collection bins, but does not put any of the items in their store. All collected items are sent to a central place (Including books). The items are sorted and then send back to certain stores based on the demographics of that store. So really high quality name brand items are sent to stores with a higher income demographics. This make sense because , this way they can get higher prices for quality products. As far as books go, it is my understanding, that they are scanned and the high value books are sent to a central distribution center and sold on Amazon. I have no idea what their bottom value amount is to list on Amazon. I learned all of this from a Salvation Army manager who I know.

  • Rezolutionz

    When they say that the help the poor, they dont mean customers, they mean that they hire disabled or impoverished people and also donate portions of profit to charity. You should at least be clear on who they are trying to help.
    Also they dont know everything, so there is always things to make $ on at these stores, ye they sell books online, but they dont know what is all valuable, they might not sell board games online etc…

    Some of my local thrift stores just throw books away when they dont have shelf space, and I can get them for free. Also prices change, so just because it wasnt profitable when they price checked it, doesnt mean it isnt now. In my experience, a book has just as much of a chance to go up in value as it does to go down…

    Also 50%+ of the donations these places get are because people want to get rid of crap without having to pay dump fees, maybe even larger %. The smaller % is people donating things to them to actually help

    So make classified listings claiming you will take dontations of items that you are interested in and you may find some people willing to unload things on you for free.

  • Kwshelly

    I’ve been selling books for a little over 3 years, started out on ebay & then to amazon. I use to buy in bulk & even blindly at the thrift stores before using a scanner to get prices before I buy. There are still alot of thrift stores in my area that don’t sell online however some of those thrifts look up the online price & then put a price on that book either the same as the online price or just a little bit lower & it’s really sad. There’s no exact answer because I’ve talked to the people in charge one of which ran 6 goodwills & he told me that it’s still a good deal because the goodwill customers don’t have to pay shipping & that for people like myself it’s still a good deal because they try to price 50% below online prices (which wasn’t true most of the time) & he said & acted like he wasn’t really concerned about my business, even though I buy $100′s worth of books at those stores on a montly basis & most of the books I buy like the previuos poster mentioned are very uncommon obscure title books that have online value but not popular titles that most goodwill shoppers will be looking for, so the way I look at it, is that it’s a win-win for goodwill, I buy the obscure titles & the other customers buy the other title (which are way overpriced by the way) but the goodwill higher up did’t see it my way no matter what I said, he said they mark them up & if they don’t sell they in term donate them elsewhere, but by then the prices of most of the valuable books are probably well on their way down. Bottom line is it did’t matter what i said he looked at it like he was doing me a favor any other way or that I’m making tons of money selling all the valuable books, I’ve tried to explain most books (even valuable want or I should say especially valuable or rare ones) don’t sell right away & I have to pay for gas & my time driving around looking for books. But it’s a losing argument or discussion almost 99% of the time. No matter what I said in there eyes they did’t like it even if they were getting the books free from donation. It’s sad but true, i thought I found a way to make a good second income & don’t get me wrong I still do sell books but I dont’ know for how much longer, it’s alot of driving around, I drive most times 20-50 miles to find books (lot of gas & time) & everytime I go out I’m finding fewer & fewer books, not just competing with other online booksellers (which I’m sure there are more because of the economic climate today) but also competing with the thrift shops either selling online or taking advantage by pricing the books & sometimes other goods almost out of the market. It’s not worth saying but I finally found something I enjoy doing & is profitable but I’m afraid I may have gotten into it just a few years to late. Hope the book business last for a good while longer & that ebooks don’t take over. Optimistic but nervuos in PA

  • Anonymous

    That’s interesting. I didn’t know that.

  • Anonymous

    It’s still going well for me but I’ve also only been selling for a
    little over 2 years now. I wish I had the manpower to start rubbing
    elbows with some of the Goodwill and Salvation Army higher ups. I’d
    do some research and give them a call in a heartbeat. It never hurts
    to try!

  • Kwkelly

    I’ve noticed that more and more Goodwills are selling online. It seemed at first to be a west coast phenomenon. Now it’s trickling to the southeast where I am located. Habitat Re-Stores are also jumping on the bandwagon. This has really left a sour taste in my mouth. To my knowledge, books are the only item that these stores seek to re-sell. If they wanted to they could also sell unused games, clothes that still have price tags on them, etc. What angers me is that Goodwill’s theme is putting people to work. Well, by doing so, they are also putting people out of work, namely booksellers. I’m more and more convinced that Goodwill execs are raking in the dough.

    Finally, I disagree with a post below. I would much rather know that a fellow bookseller has beat me to the Goodwill store than to know that the store is selling the stuff before it ever reaches the shelf. At least I have a chance next time to beat the law of timing. I never have that chance as long as the store is scanning the books.

  • Kwkelly

    I’ve noticed that more and more Goodwills are selling online. It seemed at first to be a west coast phenomenon. Now it’s trickling to the southeast where I am located. Habitat Re-Stores are also jumping on the bandwagon. This has really left a sour taste in my mouth. To my knowledge, books are the only item that these stores seek to re-sell. If they wanted to they could also sell unused games, clothes that still have price tags on them, etc. What angers me is that Goodwill’s theme is putting people to work. Well, by doing so, they are also putting people out of work, namely booksellers. I’m more and more convinced that Goodwill execs are raking in the dough.

    Finally, I disagree with a post below. I would much rather know that a fellow bookseller has beat me to the Goodwill store than to know that the store is selling the stuff before it ever reaches the shelf. At least I have a chance next time to beat the law of timing. I never have that chance as long as the store is scanning the books.

  • Pdlay51

    I’m in a small town and we haven’t had a Goodwill for very long (few years), and don’t have a Salvation Army. We have several flea malls and thrift stores which are very popular in this area, as are yard sales. I have good luck at these places sometimes. I don’t ever run into book sellers, and don’t think there are any around here exept maybe one guy who owns an antique and book store. One flea mall here has nothing but old musty books so I haven’t had much luck there, but the other one is where I get most of my books. Since I got a scanner it is much easier and faster. The Goodwill stores keep raising there prices and sometimes doesn’t even pay to get books there unless they are really good ones. The flea malls are running around 3 or 4 dollars so I have to be careful there.

    I never felt bad about getting books at Goodwill and re-selling because I thought that I was and am helping them. I also donate there all the time (clothes, toys, and etc. that we don’t need), so I feel like I help them in two ways. I feel like they are getting greedy now by jacking up prices on things that they think are valuable. I overheard the clerk in GW the other day tell someone that they had to raise the prices of Golden Books because they are really valuable. I haven’t found that to be the case and most are in poor condition anyway. They also think that dvd’s and cd’s are valuable and have raised the price on those.

    It may be true that they are scanning the books and listing themselves as I have noticed alot on Amazon that have Goodwill in the name.

    I think they are the greedy ones and don’t like it cause we are making a little money. I don’t know about others but this is the first thing I have found that I can do at home and actually make money. I love it, and have only been doing this since April. I just wish I would’ve found out about this 2 or 3 years ago. It is one of the best small business opportunities around.

    I am still learning so keep informing me Adam.

    Pat

  • Moonbeam9209

    It just really sucks.  They get everything donated to them, and are greedy.  We have to search and pay for things to be able to sell them.  I was just in my local Goodwill today, and they have raised prices yet again!  It was 5.89 for jeans, now 6.89, and things like ladies tank tops are almost 5 bucks.  I can get them new at places like Old Navy and such for cheaper.  I will NEVER again donate any of my things to goodwill.  I will find smaller busnesses, like animal rescue stores to donate to.  Also, poor people can’t afford to shop there anymore.  Sad…I hope that there sales plummet since they are raising their prices again.  I think the only place to get bargains anymore is at Garage Sales.

    Goodwill says they help put people to work, mostly RUDE people, and they act like it is all for the greater good of the people.  You would be SHOCKED to find out how much their CEO’s and executives make.  Sickening…

  • Tracey

    Ok here is the real deal about goodwill stores selling online at places like Ebay. I am a MRDD home manager which works with 2 girls that work for Goodwill 5 days a week. Goodwill allows these clients to go thru the books and get rid of ones that have markings, rips etc (Misfits). They normally toss these. A select few get choosen to be sold online. Thus money goes to pay the handicap workers and keep the day programs running. YES these clients get paid, but it is well under min wage. These clients do NOT go thru books every day. They also get to go out to the community to shop, have fun and do things not EVERYONE would take them to do. Thus money from the books also helps pay for these type of outings. Many of the clients are not able to recieve jobs such as you and I do. This is due to being slow, not always understanding and many other options. So you can look at it two different ways. You are helping others that can not work a regular job and Goodwill is putting them to work, letting them have fun too and also paying them some. OR that Goodwill is wrong and taking advatage of you and trying to ONLY better theirselves. I really hope you can now understand why Goodwill does this. Believe me, I was not always for it too untill I started to work for MRDD and seeing what they do. My clients are HAPPY and they are excited to also be going to work too.

  • Helen

    I can’t speak for Goodwill, but in my area, the Salvation Army Thrift Stores serve a double purpose: an opportunity to provide low priced items for those who can’t afford to shop elsewhere, and also to generate revenue to help with the rest of their ministries to the poor and disadvantaged.  Thrift Store revenues help undergird the drug and alcohol rehab programs; the homeless shelters for men, women and families); the domestic violence shelter; Boys and Girls Clubs, and Scout Troups; youth character building programs;nursing home visitation (many people in nursing homes are never visited by anyone but the Salvation Army);  the community feeding programs (in our area we feed 300+ homeless people every day, in addition to the ones in our shelters; as well as all kinds of other social service assistance such as help with utility bills, rent, emergency transportation to other places; food bank; and of course, Christmas assistance (last Christmas we helped 6500 children  in about 3000 families in our service area.  Most people don’t really know just how much the Salvation Army does, and how important the Thrift Stores are to the overall ministry.  Yes, they do get a lot of donations, but believe me they are not greedy.  And you would be surprised to know just how much of it is pure junk–torn clothing, broken furniture, appliances that don’t work.  A lot of clothing is essentially considered “rags” and can be sold as such to rag dealers.  A lot of other goods are unfortunately simply trash, and are taken to the landfills–for which the Salvation Army has to pay tipping fees (so even though it was “donated” the Salvation Army is having to pay to get rid of it.)  Unlike some other well known organizations, the Salvation Army officers, even the ones all the way to the top, are paid very modest salaries.  The Salvation Army is considered one of the most efficiently run charitable organizations in the country by the people who do the research and rate such organizations.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W5AC5EFOKMEP3MGLC2KJBB5PQU aaron s

    Everything in Goodwill and or now “Badwill” gets cherry picked and listed on online auctions either through Amazon or eBay, and or it should be called “ePay” now and pay and pay more in listing fees, PayPal and shipping fees until nothing is left of your profit margin at all. I use to shop at Goodwill but not anymore, everything good has been picked through by the manager and or employees and then they sell the left over beat up trash and garbage for above retail price !?! Absolutely worthless now shopping anywhere at these places in California. Even the clothes are now expensive, now it is a absolute waste of my precious time and money. Not anymore……you lost my business for good Goodwill !!!

  • adbertram

    Approve.