Woman turns profits for library with online book sales

Posted2/4/2018 7:00 AM

VALPARAISO, Ind. -- Linda Stevenson has been selling books online to benefit the Porter County Public Library system for some four years.

What she finds and what she sells still sometimes amazes her.

A pamphlet on how to make rag rugs sold for $25 within two weeks of its donation. A copy of Ivan Turgenev's "Father and Sons" went for $300. In August and February, textbooks fly off the shelves. Books on history, military, religion and self-help topics also are very popular.

In 2017, Stevenson and her team raised $12,500 in online sales through the Valpo Friends bookshop on Amazon, a significant portion of the $40,000 to $50,000 raised by the Friends of the Library group each year and put back into the five-library system.

"Many months they bring in over $1,000," said library director Jim Cline. "This really helps the library with things we can't afford."

The money from the online sale of 400 to 500 books each year is pure profit as the books are donated and the time to look up their value, list them on the store and process sales is completed all by volunteers. The only cost, Stevenson said, is the mailers used to ship the sold books.

Stevenson said members of the public can donate books, records, CDs, DVDs and magazines to any of the five branches in Valparaiso, Portage, South Haven, Hebron and Kouts. Volunteers then look up the value of each and every book. If the value exceeds a certain amount, it's sent to Stevenson.

Then she begins to work her magic, listing the books on the Amazon store. Stevenson said to guarantee the library books are seen and sold first, she usually undercuts the next price listing a bit. As books are sold, Stevenson communicates with Amazon and then ships the sold products.

"It is so rewarding to do this. I worked in business, and I missed it," she said. She moved from Chicago to Valparaiso about 11 years ago and immediately looked for a place to volunteer. The library was one of her matches, and she became involved in the Friends group, serving as treasurer for six years. She took over the online sales responsibilities about four years ago.

"I'm here every day. It is like an adventure," said Stevenson from her desk at the Valparaiso branch.

The Friends operate books sale rooms at both the Portage and Valparaiso branches. Each is open twice a week. Carts with books and other items are available for sale at the other three branches. They host large multi-day book sales at each of the branches twice a year. People can donate their books at any branch, she said.


Source: The (Northwest Indiana) Times


Information from: The Times, http://www.nwitimes.com

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