[Michlib-l] Used Book Valuation

Robert P. Holley aa3805 at wayne.edu
Tue Oct 22 07:05:04 EDT 2013

Let me add another possibility to the valuation issue. To repeat what has already been said, the library cannot give a value for the books because doing so is against IRS regulations. The library can, however, give guidance. The IRS will accept a reasonable per book value. Another option for the user is to find the value for each specific book, especially if they have better items. I suggest using used.addall.com. Bookfinder.com is another option. Used.addall.com can be set to list by price. I would suggest taking the median value at the very highest. I would then list the books in a spreadsheet and include this with the tax return with an explanation of how the value was determined. While this requires more effort, the valuations might be higher. Many best sellers will be worth $1 at most. Some weird little pamphlets may surprisingly be worth much more because fewer copies are for sale . 

Overall, the prices for used books are significantly less than a few years ago. I see two reasons for this. First, price competition from thrift stores and the places libraries send their books like BetterWorld Books. Second, the shift to ebooks that has reduced the market for print. I'm predicting that libraries will start getting fewer gifts and that revenues from book sales will decline because of the ebook revolution. I help with my local public library's book sale where these two factors are already making a difference. A major agenda item for the Friends group is to find new sources of revenue. 


Dr. Robert P. Holley 
Professor, School of Library & Information Science 
Wayne State University 
Detroit, MI 48202 
aa3805 at wayne.edu 
1-888-497-8754, ext 705 (phone) 
313-577-7563 (fax) 
----- Original Message -----

From: "Linda K. Neely" <lkneely10 at frontier.com> 
To: "michlib-l at lists.mcls.org" <michlib-l at mail.mcls.org> 
Sent: Monday, October 21, 2013 8:21:32 PM 
Subject: [Michlib-l] Used Book Valuation 

I am calling upon group expertise. Our nascent Bath Township Library Center (now officially open!) has received many donated books. We are wondering what you do to value donations if the donor wants a receipt for tax purposes. I found these values at http://www.mmartone.com/?page_id=30 

Book, children’s paperback — $0.50 to $1.00 
Book, adult paperback — $1.00 to $3.00 

These seem a little low to me, especially for some of the mint condition things we have received. Is there a reliable source for used book valuations? 

Linda Neely 

Bath MI 
Michlib-l mailing list 
Michlib-l at lists.mcls.org 

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