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Good Buys > Scanners at booksales

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message 1: by Michelle (last edited Aug 14, 2010 03:23PM) (new)

Michelle Gilmore | 510 comments Lately, when I've gone to many library booksales I've seen multiple people with hand held scanners. They're scanning the ISBN number, and buying quite a few books. I've seen signs posted outside of some booksales stating that scanners are banned. Today, one of the guys scanning/ buying books told me that he has been thrown out of library booksales before, for using his scanner. Some of the volunteers were anti-scanner, and very vocal about it. I don't know that I have any opinions one way or the other. I'd just like to know what fellow book buying addicts think.


message 2: by Kristopher (new)

Kristopher | 29 comments I can see this from 2 different sides, Michelle. I can understand wanting to use a scanner to keep up with your collection if you have one that's so large it is easy to accidentally duplicate books when you're at a sale. Scanners and database programs make avoiding duplicates a lot easier than running around with a printed out list or relying upon memory. I would wager that the majority of people with scanners at these sales are, however, dealers. I don't feel that dealers really have any place at library sales, where the prices on books are deliberately kept low so that the average person can purchase several books without breaking their budget. It's a two-edged sword. Allow anyone in, and allow them to use whatever they would like to keep up with the books they're purchasing, or allow no scanners and devoted book collectors will simply have to rely upon gray-matter to remember.

Kristopher


message 3: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (BlueManticore) | 1779 comments Mod
I agree with Kristopher, it basically has to be all or none, and since I don't see any fairness in differentiating from allowing a person with a list written on paper from one who has it on a pda from one who is using a scanner, you have to let the scanners in. True, it might give the dealers an unfair advantage over the every day buyer, but then again, it's quite likely a lot of those books would not even get bought and might just end up in the trash if a dealer didn't buy them. Speaking from the viewpoint of being a professional librarian, the seller, most of the time we libraries are not looking to make a profit, we just want to get rid of those books taking up space on the shelves or in storage, so it makes no difference who buys them. Now, from the other direction, as a buyer, I'd rather not have to deal with some of those used book dealers who just barreling and start throwing books into boxes without even looking at what they are grabbing. At least the scanning dealers are slower and more precise.


message 4: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Gilmore | 510 comments Thanks for responding guys. I guess I'm just out of touch. I had no idea that hand held scanners specifically for isbn numbers could even be used outside of bookstores. I've done some research since my last post, and learned that used bookstores/ dealers will sometimes employ "book scouts" and arm them with a scanner and some money, and they're sent to used book sales in search of books that they could make a nice profit from later. On one hand, I don't mind- the money they spend either goes towards the lib, or whatever program they're raising money for. The proceeds from the sale I went today was going towards a reading program for kids, and I'm always happy to contribute to something like that. On the hand, the "wage slave" buyer in me looks forward to buying affordable books, and would rather not have a 50 cent book snatched up from me, then go to the ubs and pay $3 or more for the same book. But you're so right Joseph, those using the scanners are slower and more precise. I've been pushed and elbowed a little too much at these booksales lately. Who would've thought that buying used books could be so competitive?!


message 5: by Mike (last edited Jan 27, 2013 06:18PM) (new)

Mike | 1 comments When scanner people are let in they pillage the book sale and leave nothing behind for the loyal customers who enjoy reading.

I Just got back from a book at Old First Church on 69 Kings Hwy in Middletown NJ today, I drove an hour to get there and I got there just at the opening time and found scanner people already inside hogging the isles and frantically scanning every book in the place, hoarding and boxing up all the books of value, most likely to sell somewhere else for profit. I’ll never waste my time going to a book sale that allows scanner people in and I will post negative comments for anyone that allows these greedy SOB'S in the door!


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

This past fall I went to a friend of library sale, and this man and woman were using a scanner leaving books turned over making a bit of a mess and taking up a lot of space. Maybe they should have a separate day for scanners and give us regular shoppers a chance.


message 7: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 317 comments Tammy wrote: "This past fall I went to a friend of library sale, and this man and woman were using a scanner leaving books turned over making a bit of a mess and taking up a lot of space. Maybe they should have ..."

I like this idea, and scanner days should be after non scanner days.


message 8: by Noel (new)

Noel I use my phone and goodreads app to scan, but only because I want to avoid duplicates, like someone else said. I don't have my own scanner tho. I only scan the ones I'm not sure of.


message 9: by ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ (last edited Jan 27, 2013 06:17PM) (new)

ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ (BriansGirlKate) It totally pisses me off to run into the dealer(s) at my local annual library book sale. So far, it's the same man and he has his entire family (about 5) all use scanners trying to get the best deals from the sale. It feels to me as if he's ripping me off, trying to take it away from the legitimate buyers. If I ever find out who he works for, I'd NEVER shop there. I do know the owner of the local used bookstore won't attend the sale, not wanting to compete with her customers for sales.

At my library's annual sale it's free and open to the public saturday and sunday. Sunday is their cheap bag sale. However, I pay $5 to get in early friday night. So it really ticks me off to have those dealers with scanners trying to take the good stuff out from under us. I think the folks with scanners shouldn't be allowed into the friday night preview that we pay to get into. Even if they pay, I think scanners should be forbidden that night. That way, use regular folk get a shot at the books first. If they want in, buying a ticket, and shop like the rest of us (ie without scanners) then fine. I just feel it's too much of a advantage from them and it feels like they're ripping me off.

For the same reason, I'm ticked off at Goodwill Thrift shops. They take all the books they think they can make good money from and resell online in Amazon's used marketplace (where I refuse to buy from them!). They do the same with highend clothing, collecting it from all over the state for a special high end Goodwill store in the state Capital of Lincoln where they sell the stuff for more. So instead of getting the good deals I might find at my local thrift shop, I'm left with the leftover crap instead. And since their used book prices are $1 paperback, $2 hardback or cookbook.... I rarely buy books there anymore. It's not worth my time usually.


message 10: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Jan 27, 2013 05:54PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) What they need is to start selling are scanner disabler aps :)


Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* (ErinPaperbackstash) | 369 comments I've never heard of scanners. I imagine this would be quite annoying. Our local yearly booksale really isn't that big (2500 books) so it may not be a problem here


message 12: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 1 comments I'd never heard of scanners either! Was really surprised. I think I'd scream at a scanner user. I just buy books for myself, not to profit on.


message 13: by Afsana (new)

Afsana (afsanaz) | 154 comments so these scanners tell them what exactly ? normal price, value? if they have buyers


message 14: by ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ (last edited Feb 12, 2013 04:46PM) (new)

ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ (BriansGirlKate) Afsana wrote: "so these scanners tell them what exactly ? normal price, value? if they have buyers"

My guess is that it gives them a price, so they know which ones are the best deals. I say that because I see them scanning a ton of books and only putting in their cart 1 in every 4 or 5 books they scan.

My annual library sale had last year 100,000 books that brought in around $20,000 in sales.


message 15: by Yosh (new)

Yosh Waters | 7 comments Oh man these guys are the absolute scum of the earth. Most are incredibly rude. Some are actually not just scanning but also "hoarding", a term I've seen which seems to describe the practice of taking every book off the shelf into a box, then scanning them one by one and putting back the ones they don't want.

I would encourage anyone to be rude to them. Tell them they aren't wanted. Tell them they are greedy and everyone wants them to leave. Anything, make these scumbags' lives harder so they stop.


message 16: by Jhb (new)

Jhb | 3 comments Yosh wrote: "Oh man these guys are the absolute scum of the earth. Most are incredibly rude. Some are actually not just scanning but also "hoarding", a term I've seen which seems to describe the practice of tak..."

i joined this site because i am tired of reading these comments. yes, i am a dealer. no i do not have a scanner. i wanted to give people here an idea of what we do. yes, some of us are rude. yes we may push or shove. however, we give much needed money to these libraries and thrift store charities across america. libraries are closing because they cannot afford to stay open. i give libraries thousands each year. while you may see we 'ruin it for the residents', we actually help them. we give friends groups the money they need to operate their events.

you will find us at libraries town to town. we travel miles for great sales. generally, we purchase the books that have value and sell them on sites like amazon, alibris and bn.com. many people have their own stores. think about used bookstores in your communities. where do the owners get the books? from the library!

also, you may be curious what we do with books that don't sell. we donate them back to the libraries and charities, so we don't throw them out.

please ask me if you have any questions.


message 17: by Giuseppe (new)

Giuseppe Jhb wrote: "Yosh wrote: "Oh man these guys are the absolute scum of the earth. Most are incredibly rude. Some are actually not just scanning but also "hoarding", a term I've seen which seems to describe the pr..."

The "benevolent scanner" argument is absurd. The books sell themselves, whether it's one or two scanners hoarding them or the genuine reader buying the books. Either way the library makes money. Giving the library money doesn't justify being rude or pushy. Many scanners don't care about books outside their monetary value.

Why not compromise with scanners: libraries or booksales let genuine readers looking to add to their collection through first, and AFTERWARD the scanners can scoop up the leftovers. This way the library makes money, and genuine readers don't have to put up with rudeness, pushiness, or hoarding typical of scanners. Let the scanners push around each other and fight over the scraps.

On a final note, whenever I notice the "benevolent scanner" counter-"argument" I just imagine the voice of a fat wop shouting "THATCHUR ALWAYS BARKIN'"


message 18: by Jhb (new)

Jhb | 3 comments Jean wrote: "Why not compromise with scanners: libraries or booksales let genuine readers looking to add to their collection through first, and AFTERWARD the scanners can scoop up the leftovers. This way the library makes money, and genuine readers don't have to put up with rudeness, pushiness, or hoarding typical of scanners. Let the scanners push around each other and fight over the scraps. "

This is great in the reverse order. the books that sell are often the books no one at the sale wants, as they are often sold to specific groups, like schools, and sometimes, the authors themselves.

as I said, without us, the libraries would make far less money.


message 19: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (BlueManticore) | 1779 comments Mod
I think the problem is not really the scanners per se, it's the rudeness that SOME scanner users seem so OFTEN to have. When they are using those scanners, they sometimes seem to focus more on the machine and not on the people around them. People period tend to forget their manners when they have a machine like that, be it scanner, Ipod, cell phone, etc. I think it's not the scanner users we don't like, it's the rudeness we sometimes encounter at book sales, rudeness from anybody. I've been bumped and stepped on by non-scanner users, too, without an apology given.


message 20: by Giuseppe (last edited May 06, 2013 05:20PM) (new)

Giuseppe Jhb wrote: "Jean wrote: "Why not compromise with scanners: libraries or booksales let genuine readers looking to add to their collection through first, and AFTERWARD the scanners can scoop up the leftovers. Th..."

No, the library would make just as much money were the scanners to come in AFTER the general reader. Let the people who ACTUALLY appreciate books, collect and read them (but who are on a budget), go first. If, as you say, the books that sell are the books no one at the sale wants, then you should have no problem letting the general reader scour the sale first. He will pick up the books that aren't worth much; another will perhaps score a rarity or two. But in the end, your coming in AFTER that makes no difference, as, just like you said, most books you can sell will still be there. Problem is you have a "me first" attitude typical of scanners. You simply can't stand the idea of losing out on even one profitable book.

What I DO take great pleasure in is scoring some rare finds that scanners pass over due to the books being older and not having a barcode on the back. Scanners are lost without their scanners.


message 21: by Yosh (last edited May 06, 2013 06:30PM) (new)

Yosh Waters | 7 comments your logic is flawed, jhb. by your claim that you are taking books that wouldn't otherwise sell and therefore giving libraries more money, then you should have no problem coming in after everyone else. because what's been sold would have been sold without you anyway, yes?

but no, your ilk only want the very best and will sort through it faster than anyone else to ensure you get it. if you hoard, you're even worse because you're setting it aside to search through more thoroughly later, making sure nobody else can shop through it in the meantime. As I said, these are the greedy scum of the earth.

and if you don't use a scanner in your own dealing, then I'm not even talking about you. So why identify yourself as one of them, stating "we"? I think you do use a scanner. Because in my experience the vast majority of them are extremely defensive because they sense they are doing something wrong and that everyone around them is disgusted.

And just for the record, I have NO issue with old-school dealers using their own personal knowledge to shop these sales and sell valuable books. They at least put effort and expertise into their work, rather than ruining the sale for the book lovers for the sake of making a quick buck.


message 22: by Jhb (new)

Jhb | 3 comments i still don't have a scanner, i guess i am old school, fyi,and I understand your reasoning. and I am willing to pay to come into a good sale early. note that most people in this industry are avid readers. if they were not, there would probably move to another industry, like clothing or furniture reselling.

sad, but our business won't be around for much longer as books are not as common.

if any of you know i library, the best way to handle us, like some due,is have a large dealer holding area, where dealers can hold their stuff. this is when dealers take what they want and scan them in that room.


message 23: by Yosh (new)

Yosh Waters | 7 comments And so now they should have their own room to put their hoard and scan them before anyone else has a chance to shop them? Absurd. I'm not opposed to a room like that in a sale where there are no scanners allowed. I also have no problem with you paying to come to a sale early - with limits on how much you are allowed to buy. Heavy limits.


message 24: by Giuseppe (new)

Giuseppe Look, you said in your last post, jhb, that the books that sell general readers don't want. Why then do you insist on being able to go first, or have a room to hoard and scan? The fairest way is to let general readers go first, and have scanners go after for the leftovers, which, according to you, will be more than enough for you AND the library to make money.


message 25: by Yosh (new)

Yosh Waters | 7 comments And if the dealers have taken what they want, why do they need a room? To scan them, as you said. They are either a fair dealer who doesn't need a scanner, or they are a tool who does need a scanner and ought to be made to wait until after everyone else. Not to mention that in that case you've got a big room with tons of dealers in it who are apt to steal from each others' hoards and so now we need extra volunteers to police it.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

The friends of library sale is to make money for the library. The library is for general readers not greedy retailers. Use the scanners after, your own room are you serious?


Ellie [The Empress] (The_Empress) I love to read science fiction but there are too many books and authors to remember. I use the scanner to check if a book is part of a series, because I don't want to buy book number 10 without even knowing if I can find or if I want to read book number 1.


message 28: by Yosh (new)

Yosh Waters | 7 comments Nothing you cant do with your phone, I say.


message 29: by Paul (new)

Paul Harmon (TheSaint08D) | 8 comments Jhb wrote: "Jean wrote: "Why not compromise with scanners: libraries or booksales let genuine readers looking to add to their collection through first, and AFTERWARD the scanners can scoop up the leftovers. Th..."
You are full of it JHB...just nonsense...
You come in buy books that you think WILL sell for you at a profit ...the same books MOST LIKELY to be sold AT THE LIBRARY sale and take them out from under people so you can resell them at a profit.
If you were honestly being a good and helpful citizen what you would do would be offer to buy all the books THAT DONT SELL after the sale ends.
I mean geeze if your just trying to help wouldnt this be the best way?


Mariel (TheCrownedGoddessReads) (Marieru) | 88 comments I use the scan in my goodreads app, the only ones that get angry are the people in a particular library who think I'm some sort of corporate spy :D


ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ (BriansGirlKate) Marieru wrote: "I use the scan in my goodreads app, the only ones that get angry are the people in a particular library who think I'm some sort of corporate spy :D"

Big difference being a reader using your cell phone to check an occassional book and being a pushy dealer who used a huge handheld scanner and practically pushes readers out of the way to get to the good stuff early.


message 32: by Giuseppe (last edited May 17, 2013 07:46PM) (new)

Giuseppe You can say that again Briansgirl. That's how low level scanners are.

At a very large booksale I went to earlier this year there were loads of scanners. They had shopping carts full of books and worked together in groups of 2-3, sometimes more. I verbally expressed my disdain for them directly, and, while they were ripping through books making a huge mess and pushing people, went ahead and took handfuls of books from their carts and put them back on the tables.


message 33: by KT (new)

KT | 1 comments I literally just came from a library booksale (did well, spent only an hour and a half and only left them $57 this time... unlike the $250 last year!). This particular library allows scanners but there is a fee of $25. This includes cellphone scanners. I have been several times and have honestly never seen a scanner being used. The volunteers do say there are some folks who come in with them, but usually it's on the last day (half price day). I don't have a scanner, but I have often wondered what in the world someone would use a scanner for. Now I think I have the gist of it.

Personally I think the bigger issue is the rudeness of some people (whether they are scanning or not). If there is a problem with a particular person "hoarding" the books or shoving/making a mess, then by all means go to the person in charge!!! If they won't do anything about it, whether it be a gentle warning or kicking them out, then why in the world would you want to purchase books there? I have never seen rudeness like what some have described last, and then see the rudeness on rare occasions. Then again, maybe I am just blessed to live in a small Southern town where folks are just naturally still somewhat genteel...


message 34: by Yosh (new)

Yosh Waters | 7 comments I'd say count yourself lucky, KT. The bottomfeeding scanners are much more likely to crop up in book sales that take place in or around large metropolitan areas - not just because a larger population means more scanners, but also because they actually travel in order to hoard. Their targets are booksales in larger cities because there will be more books for them to rip through.

As for going to whose in charge... good advice in certain situations, like yours. The best sales I've gone to were in Phoenix and outside Raleigh. We're talking over 1,000 people rummaging at once in the Raleigh one and probably double that in Phoenix. The Phoenix sale offered I think nearly a million books for sale. On that scale, management is much less accessible, and by the time you would alert them, finding the troublemaker again is a needle-in-a-haystack situation. Most of the volunteers are elderly women and not really suited to telling a rude thirty-something man to shape up or ship out.

Yes, they really do frequent half price day the most, as they get the most profit from their purchases. A shame, as it's my favorite day to go. At the sale outside Raleigh, the last day was 2$ a bag and 5$ a box - you could easily fit 20 hardcovers in one of the provided boxes, it was an absolute steal. As you can imagine, scanners were rampant, throwing just about anything they could get their hands on in a box, treating the whole thing like an episode of Supermarket Sweep.


message 35: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 2 comments At every library book sale in the Philadelphia region, I am nearly flattened in the stampede to get in the doors at the opening bell - always by the rude and ruthless people I now call "Scanner Scum."

Since the invention of the printing press, book lovers have almost always been thoughtful, educated, and intelligent people.

Therefore, it is an affront to see that book buyers now include these selfish, greedy people who judge books strictly by the barcodes on their covers. Books as commodities: poor Gutenberg.

Only one library I'm aware of has figured out a fair and intelligent compromise, which seems to have somewhat tamed the savagery of its previous book sales. On opening night and throughout every day of the sale, scanner scum are forbidden to bring in massive tubs, blankets, and other tools of hoarding.

Instead, every single book buyer is handed a small shopping bag, specially produced for the event and all the same size. When the bag is full, and if you're not done shopping, you store it in a coat-check style room. Someone assigns it a number, hands you a ticket and another bag, and back you go for more.

One of my greatest victories recently occurred when scanners squeezed me out of middle-shelf access (and yes, they're usually male, and often larger than life). Forced to look up at the top shelf, I found a first edition of The Bell Jar. I knew instantly, and without any help from electronica, that this was a $250 treasure. The victory was sweet.


message 36: by Yosh (new)

Yosh Waters | 7 comments And that book certainly belonged in the hands of a book lover moreso than a greedy ignoramus who needs an app to figure out that it's a treasure! I think that the solution you presented would work out fairly well - when the scum horde discover they have to be more careful about what they take and make trips back and forth, much of the rubbish will give up immediately.


Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* (ErinPaperbackstash) | 369 comments "Scanner scum" = cute name.

This thread reminds me I completely forgot about my yearly book sale in February this year for some reason, when I've gone three years in a row. Went to check Library's site and looks like there is no mention of it this year. Hm, wondering if they're not going to do it this time around.

And even though I'm generally not a GIF fan, this thread is so reminding me of this picture, especially comments like "scanners pushing readers out of the way"




message 38: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 2 comments Erin (Paperbackstash) *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: ""Scanner scum" = cute name.

This thread reminds me I completely forgot about my yearly book sale in February this year for some reason, when I've gone three years in a row. Went to check Library's..."


Perfect GIF! I survived yet another library sale last night. Many, many book buyers were complaining to the checkout staff about the scanner scum. Numerous threats to never return unless the scanners are somehow controlled. Rebellion is brewing.


message 39: by Steve (new)

Steve | 1 comments Stumbled across this thread and decided I had to throw myself from the frying pan into the fire.

I am a small time book seller, postcard seller and seller of various other items. I sell on Amazon and eBay. I have a large book collection of my own and I love books and old ephemera.

I go to many book sales and yes I use a scanner. I'm college educated and consider myself quite intelligent. The majority of the books that I purchase are educational books, many of which are written on university presses and are used by college students. I buy them cheaply and resell them to college students who are happy not to have to pay new prices for their books. The scanner helps me know things like whether the books have an updated version (thus usually making the older edition obsolete for the college student). I don't push and shove and quite frankly most people probably don't notice me scanning. I don't hoard the books and go somewhere to scan them and then put them back. I scan them in place and put them back if I don't want them. I usually end up buying no more than 30-40 books per sale that I go to. I would say that the majority of books that I buy would not be bought by the average book sale goer who is just there looking for a classic or a good read.

I try and stick to smaller libraries and can't tell you how many times the staff was so appreciative that I was there buying up books and supporting the library. I buy books at many very small library sales that almost certainly would not be bought at all due to the low number of attendees and the obscure/niche nature of the book. As a collector myself it brings me great joy to be able to provide someone with a book they wouldn't otherwise have had access to. Can I make a good profit on a book? Yes of course.

I have seen many book dealers that are using scanners that quite frankly I would NEVER want to be associated with but I'm not going to apologize for what I do. It sounds to me like what you really have an issue with are RUDE people who happen to be scanning books at book sales. Rude people that feel the books belong to them and no one else. Trust me, the people with the scanners are not the only rude people at book sales.

I can see how the larger sales would be much more enjoyable to the average non dealer without the dealers there. I sympathize with those who feel threatened when all they want to do is find some good books at an affordable price. In the long run no one would suffer with less rude people in the world but I really believe that the small libraries would suffer without people like me, considerate scanner users willing to spend money on used books.


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