From the Friends: Volunteer Effort Supports Library Through eBay Sales

Posted Aug 28, 2019

In the spring of 2014, library staff came to the Friends of the Shorewood Public Library Board with the idea of selling more valuable books on eBay.  This would be an additional way to raise money for the Friends and thus library programs and collections.  Since the books are donated, the work would be done by volunteers, and the buyers would pay shipping costs.  The board endorsed the idea, and now all the Friends needed were volunteers.

Enter Kathy and Kelly Clark, longtime Shorewood residents and book lovers who responded to the call.  They recently answered some of our questions:

How do you choose the books to sell on eBay?

Although it is hard to predict what items will sell, experience has shown that non-fiction, new fiction, older books, sets of books, out of print books, books with small print runs are all potential sales.  Books need to be in good condition for their age to be offered for sale.  We research books online, based on title, date of printing, condition, and other factors. We compare sales and current listings on both eBay and other online book selling sites.

Once you decide to sell a book on eBay, how does it work?

Donated books are listed in auction or fixed-price format.  We write a listing description, evaluate and state a book condition, and take appropriate photos of the item.  The listing information and photos are uploaded to eBay.

Auction listings usually run a week, and fixed price 30 days. When a listing is sold, the buyer pays for the item and postage/handling through PayPal. Upon payment, the item is packaged and shipped. We pay eBay a monthly commission on sold listings and PayPal transaction fees.

Which books have been most successful?

We've sold more than 500 listings in the last year!

A 1905 first edition illustrated Rip Van Winkle volume sold at auction for more than $160, our highest price single book sale. A 1952 printing of Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl sold for $50. Multi-volume literary sets have also been popular. Serious collectors, as one would expect, are a major market and customer, but, the casual collector/reader is also.  This may be an individual assembling a personal vintage collection of the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew.  Recent fiction and non-fiction bestsellers have also garnered interest from buyers.  Unique volumes and other items are always popular.

If we have books to donate to the eBay sales, what do we do?

Donate your books via the library.  We'll find a home for them, whether it be in the hands of an “eBuyer” or elsewhere.  If you have questions about eBay sales, you can contact us at

Area residents who have general questions about other book donations may also contact the library at 414 847-2670 or the Friends at

Blog submitted by Anne O’Meara Stillwell, Friends Board Member

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