Hoarding - Poor Bookseller Etiquette

Hoarding - Poor Bookseller Etiquette

Over the past few years, attending the pre-sale event at library book sales has become increasingly unpleasant owing to the behavior of a few online booksellers. It seems they think they have the right to walk in, gather up anything and everything they suspect of having a value, piling it all in a corner, and then taking their time to go through their pile and sort out what is really worthwhile.

I have been to some pre-sale events where I have seen several booksellers do this with thousands of books in their piles and I think it is time to end this obnoxious behavior by having more book sale events ban hoarding and expel the booksellers that do it. If it is going to be allowed, what is to stop a single bookseller from walking in and saying, "The pre-sale event is now over, I am purchasing the entire lot, or at least anything that is worth buying." Then he/she can spend the entire evening going through the books and deciding what he/she wants while leaving the rest for the book sale when it opens to the public.

It is really rude when a bookseller walks into a pre-sale event and hoards thousands of books as though they have some sort of exclusive right to sort through them. To help the event sponsors, I think the rest of us attending these events should get one of the volunteers to accompany us when we walk over to another bookseller's hoard and start going through it. Then when the hoarder says the books in the pile are theirs, the volunteer can start boxing them up and invoicing the hoarder for all the books in their pile. Hey, if they want to grab a thousand books and help the fundraiser, great, but when they remove a book from the table/shelf and put it in their pile, they should have to buy it. I am not opposed to people scanning or looking up prices before buying, but they should not be allowed to cordon off a thousand books from other booksellers while they exercise some sort of privileged sorting of their own. What then would stop me from paying the admission for ten bodybuilding friends to get into the pre-sale event and stand guard over all the tables and shelves with the best books to allow me to scan them before any other booksellers are allowed to look at them.

Business is business, but this rude and obnoxious behavior at book sales has to end. No matter how competitive the sale is, I will never sacrifice my integrity or my manners by participating in hoarding. If I put a book in my box, I am going to buy it and I expect any other bookseller that attends to buy the books they remove from the available inventory to do the same.

If you are a bookseller attending an event that I go to, and you slink off to a corner with a hoard of books that you think you have some sort of exclusive right to sort through, think again. I will be right over to go through the books you have hoarded and I will assert my right to go through them as well. The rest of us attending these pre-sale events are paying the same admission as you, and we all have the rights to go through all the books. If you opt to hoard large piles, it is okay as long as you intend to buy them, but it is not okay if you just intend to sort through them exclusively. Expect more of us to come over and sort through the piles you have hoarded when we see you are simply sorting through them yourself.

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Author: Regular Articles
Michael E. Mould is the author of "Online Bookselling: A Practical Guide with Detailed Explanations and Insightful Tips," [Paperback ISBN 1427600708, CD-ROM ISBN 1599714876] and the developer of "Bookkeeping for Booksellers" [CD ISBN 1427600694], you can learn more about online bookselling at: http://www.online-bookselling.com, or by emailing mike@online-bookselling.com.
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