What do you do with books that don’t sell?

Concertina Binding Paste Paper
didn't sell, will be taken apart

Was macht ihr mit den Büchern, die ihr früher gemacht habt und nun euren Ansprüchen nicht mehr genügen?

What do you do with the books that persistently don’t sell or those that you don’t want to list anymore because you can do better now?

Gestern habe ich mal all die leeren Bücher durchgeschaut, die ich hier so rumliegen aber aus verschiedenen Gründen nicht in meinen Shops gelistet sind oder nie waren.

no longer for sale

Yesterday I sorted through all the blank books that are not currently listed in my online shops and are lying here in my studio. For some of them the listing expired, others were offered through offline venues and never got listed. All of them, obviously, didn’t sell.

Als erstes habe ich die Bücher herausgegriffen, die ich nun doch (wieder) einstellen will. Diejenigen, für die die Angebotsdauer nur abgelaufen war, habe ich einfach wieder eingestellt. (Es gibt nun also doch wieder Bücher von mir bei DaWanda.) Die anderen liegen jetzt hier neben dem Computer in einem Stapel, um demnächst bei Etsy eingestellt zu werden.

Lion Journal No.1
didn't sell

First I took out all those books that I really don’t want to offer for sale anymore. From the others I re-listed those that were expired and put the rest as a pile on my desk for to put them online in the next days. – That much was easy. The headache started afterwards:

Andere habe ich ganz aus meinem Angebot gestrichen. Z.B. werde ich die Bücher, für die ich alte Verpackungen geupcyled habe, nicht wieder einzustellen, weil ich in der Zwischenzeit gelernt habe, dass das marken- und urheberrechtlich Probleme machen kann.

Those that I don’t want to sell anymore fall in different categories. There are those with upcycled food packaging. I learned in the meantime that it may be a legal problem to offer them for sale. So I don’t. – But what should I do with all these books?!

Booklets with new lino print
will be listed on etsy soon

Then there are those that are no longer up to my current quality requirements. I am a bit sad to see these books which are structurally o.k. and were my pride once. But the stitches on the Coptic spines are askew and irregular, or a book block may be cut at a strange angle – they are just aesthetically not up to my standards.

I decided to take those of the rejected books apart that have good paper in them that I can easily rebind into a new book. But there are those that cannot be taken apart without weaken them structurally. Therefore I don’t want to use the paper on a new book.

Roll up your Art!
Roll up your Art! - too cool to be taken apart

And then there are the two books “roll-up your art” and “das gute Kochbuch”. Both could easily be taken apart. But I like them so much! Why am I the only one? I have given up the hope to sell them and put them on the pile of books that I want to use myself. This, however, is a not a completely satisfactory solution. There are a lot other books in that pile already that I want to use first, those that I made for a specific task for myself, or that I was given by others. So maybe I would never use them at all.
M. suggests to auction all these rejected books at ebay, starting with 1 Euro. He thinks that would be better than throwing them away. That was convincing for a brief moment, but I definitely don’t want to do that: In most cases I really don’t want them perceived as representatives for my work: I can do much better! Or in the case of the real headache books, I value them too much to just give them away like that.

good paper, case-bound, slightly askew edges - what to do with them?

So what should I do with them? What do you do in this cases?

Wieder andere habe ich aussortiert, weil sie qualitativ nicht mehr meinen Ansprüchen genügen. (Das heißt wohl, dass ich doch einiges gelernt habe im letzten Jahr – und das ist eine gute Sache, sage ich mir immer wieder ein bisschen traurig.)

Diejenigen der aussortierten Bücher, die gutes Papier enthalten und nicht geklebt sind, werde ich wohl auseinandernehmen und das Papier irgendwie anders benutzen.

Leider geht das nicht mit allen gut. Ich würde diese Bücher auch einfach selbst benutzen, allerdings sind es ein paar zu viele: 6 Stück oder so, und ich habe noch schon eine handvoll leerer Bücher auf diesem Stapel liegen.

blue concertina with wine leather cord
never got listed: binding o.k., but cover warps slightly - will be taken apart

Am meisten Kopfschmerzen bereiten mir die Bücher “Roll-up Art” und “Das gute Kochbuch”. Die wären einfach auseinanderzunehmen, aber ich selbst finde beide total cool. Allerdings will ich sie nicht wieder listen, weil  ich nicht daran glaube, dass ich sie noch verkaufen kann.

M. schlägt vor, sie alle für einen Euro bei ebay einzustellen und abzuwarten – das sei doch immerhin besser als sie verstauben zu lassen oder wegzuwerfen. Genau genommen schlägt er das für alle Bücher vor, die ich aussortiert habe.

Das goldene Kochbuch - selbstgesammelt 02
Das goldene Kochbuch - I like it!

Das klang für einen sehr kurzen Moment überzeugend. Aber ich  will einfach nicht, dass sie mit meinem Namen in Verbindung gebracht werden und als Beispiel für meine Arbeit betrachtet werden – ich arbeite mittlerweile viel besser! Und im Falle der letzten beiden Bücher, sind sie mir einfach zu schade, um sie so zu verkloppen.

Was macht ihr in einem solchen Fall? Sie einfach wegwerfen? Sie einmotten?

7 replies on “What do you do with books that don’t sell?”

  1. First of all: sales are just really really really really (etc.) slow at the moment for obvious reasons, especially when you’re selling luxury goods (and whatever our own oppionion might be handmade books are considered that :)). You are selling at venues where thousands of other people try to sell their good so unless you promote you items like crazy or have customers come in through other chanels (craft shows, offline promoting, via your own blog) you will barely get noticed. So don’t give up on something you think is great but just doesn’t sell for several months. Patience is called for I think.

    The food package books: I really think they are very clever and well made, if there are serious legal issues (I’d look into that if I were you there are special rules for works of art) I’d take them to craftshows and just not sell them online, or try to contact the companies and ask them if it’s ok to use, include some links to pictures. If that doesn’t work either they make nice gifts :).

    hope this helps!


  2. Bei meinen selbstgemachten Büchern gucke ich ab und zu mal durch und stelle fest: manches finde ich nicht mehr so toll wie am Anfang. Solche Sachen kann ich mittlerweile auch entsorgen. Ich persönlich halte vom “Einmotten” nicht soviel, weil ich zum einen wenig Platz habe und zum anderen diese Werke dann immer ein schlechtes Gefühl hervorrufen, wenn man sie anguckt, nach dem Motto: puh, die alten Dinger… Was dein Kochbuch angeht: warum benutzt du es nicht selbst? Es gefällt dir super und so kannst du dich über viele Jahre hinweg daran erfreuen.

  3. @Liesan: First of all, thanks for the encouragement!
    Maybe you are right, and I should also re-list those two that I really like. Those that I now sorted out didn’t receive much attention (heart-wise and other) so that I gave up on them. But maybe I shouldn’t…

    The main problem and headache remains with those that I think are too good enough to simply throw them away, but not well done enough to give them to anybody, save sell them.
    I put them all in a shelf now, in the hope that someone (really that would only be me) uses them some time. But I have about 12 books or more like that standing in shelves, and additional there are those books, that I really want to use.

    Did you never encounter that problem yourself?

    @Daniela: Du schmeißt dann die leeren Bücher, die du einfach “entsorgst” dann in den Müll? Oder wie entsorgst du deine Bücher? Und passiert es dir nicht, dass du dann irgendwann mal lange nach einem suchst, und dich dann mit einem Stich im Herzen dich daran erinnerst, dass du es weggeworfen hast?

  4. “Did you never encounter that problem yourself?”

    Yes 🙂 all the time. And I have NO idea what to do with them either. Sometimes people fall in love with one of those and I ‘give’ it to them for just over the material cost only. Or they sit in my box for such a long time that I somehow get detached from them and rip them apart after all.
    Sometimes – and I know this is maybe not the most pretty thought in my mind 😉 – I just list them because compared to what some others try to sell and actually DO sell most of my ‘not up to my own standard’ are pretty well made.

  5. I list them as mock-ups on sale, I say that these were models as I was learning a stitch and while aren’t perfect are still beautiful and functioning books.
    It’s worked pretty well for me, I’m happy and a customer is happy because they are getting a good deal 🙂

  6. I like Kiley’s solution. I don’t think you should look on them as B-grade books unless they are really faulty. It’s good that you have such high standards though and I wouldn’t like to see you drop those. I have books on the back of shelves that I don’t think are good enough and if any visitor ever admires one then I’m happy to give it away but I couldn’t sell it. I rarely think anything is good enough and I find it very difficult to offer anything for sale but I’m hoping I will learn to become a bit kinder to myself. For you, re-use what you can and consider Kiley’s advice.

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