Estate Sales: Your Best Source of Books

People sometimes ask me where is the best place to buy used books at a really good price. My answer, without hesitation, is estate sales.

One of my estate sale bargains picked for 25 cents sold for around $20  on eBay.

One of my estate sale bargains picked for 25 cents sold for around $20 on eBay.

An estate sale, for those you who are not familiar with them, is a sale held to dispose of the contents of a home. They are called estate sales because they are usually held after somebody dies, but they can also be held when people downsize or move.

The major difference between an estate sale and a garage sale is that an estate sale is usually staged by professionals. There are companies that specialize in such sales and auctions. A garage sale is usually held by an individual.

The reason I like estate sales is that you can often find a lot of books at them for a really good price. The books are usually in good condition and clean. You can also find lots of other bargains at such sales, including furniture, electronics, and decorations.

Von Daniken's Proof

An example of a vintage paperback that I sold through my eBay Store the Book and Comic Picker.


Estate sales are really easy to find; they are listed on Craigslist and at websites like Many estate sale companies will even list the contents of what they are selling and post pictures online to look at, which can make your job a lot easier.

Tips for Successful Estate Sale Picking

If you are going to be serious about buying used books, you’ll need to start going to estate sales. Here is a list of tips that can help you succeed at estate sales:

  • Bring cash. Few estate sale operators take credit cards and some do not take checks. Some of them will also give you a discount if you pay in cash.


  • Be willing to haggle for what you are buying. Estate sale operators only make money when they sell. So always be willing to ask for lower prices and bulk rates. If you do not like the price, be willing to make another offer.

The Confederate Navy

  • For the best selection, try to come as early as possible.


  • Be respectful. Remember, you are in the home of somebody who just died.


  • Be willing to walk away and come back if you do not like the prices.


  • You can sometimes get bargains if you come late on the last day.


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  • Establish a good relationship with the estate sale operators so they will invite you to other sales.


  • Follow all the rules that the estate sale operator sets.


  • Never go to the sale location before it begins or contact the owners of the home beforehand. That is a major violation of etiquette.


  • Check out the sale inventories online before you go.

One of the books I bought at an estate sale. It is available at my eBay store: The Book and Comic Picker.


  • Try to take in a number of different sales on a weekend.


  • Ask if there is a bulk rate.


  • If you come late, offer to take unsold books away for free or a box rate, say $10 a box.


  • Bring boxes so you’ll be able to carry off more books.
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The kind of unusual item you will find at my eBay Store The Book and Comic Picker.


  • Always ask the estate sale operator where they will be next. They might give you a heads-up on future sales.


  • Take your time.


  • Do not be too anxious to buy. If you are, the operator might raise the prices.


  • Go to as many estate sales as possible. The more time you spend at them, the better you’ll get at buying and the more money you can make.






1 Comment

  1. – Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and weatnd to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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