Let's start with the definition. An ex-library book is a book that once belonged to a public library or institution and has been 'discarded' after being deemed no longer useful. These books often gravitate into the hands of used booksellers and end up for sale on online marketplaces such as AbeBooks.
A 'friends of the library' sale is also the obvious place to find ex-library copies and an excellent way to support a worthy cause. It's important to remember that a book described as ex-libris is something different. Ex Libris, a Latin phrase, means "from the library of" and describes a book that comes from a personal library.
An ex-library book will carry some sort of marking indicating the name of library that previously owned it. It could be a stamp, or a barcode label, or an 'old school' pocket for the checkout card. It will also probably carry some sort of stamp bearing the word 'discarded' or 'withdrawn', or the barcode has been obscured with a pen.
Sadly, ex-library books have a poor reputation because an old library book can have many miles on the clock and there is also a lot of them available online. It's true that they may have been read numerous times. However, remember publishers produce 'library editions' with sturdier bindings to withstand being handled and reshelved many times.
I have been buying ex-library books for years. I love them because they are cheap and finding a bargain always brings a smile to my cheapskate face. They are nearly always hardcovers. You might be able to locate a cheap reading copy of a book that is scarce and expensive, perhaps even a first edition. Those cheap prices also mean that book ownership is accessible to readers without much money.
I particularly like books that have been discarded by university libraries where the subject matter is diverse or even niche. There's a good chance that many of these discards will be out-of-print. But that doesn't mean their content isn't incredibly useful to someone
Sometimes it is possible find lightly used ex-library books. In the office, we have a copy of Book Collecting: A Modern Guide edited by Jean Peters - according to its pocket, the book was checked out four times since November 1979. Thank you patrons of Saddleback College Library in Mission Viejo, California. Your book is in good hands. We recently bought a copy of Reel Art: Great Posters of the Golden Age of the Silver Screen by Stephen Rebello and Richard Allen - a large reference book packed with beautiful illustrations of posters. The dust jacket is long gone to the great library in the sky but the book was only checked out 16 times since 1997 - again, many thanks to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
I enjoy the idea of ownership being indicated in books and that includes ex-library copies. It shows that a book had a previous life, helping students or readers, and now it's helping me. Physical books are designed to last for a long time and should, arguably, have multiple owners. I don't recommend purchasing ex-library copies of immensely popular novels. Dan Browns, Stephen Kings and Lee Childs are constantly out on loan from public libraries and those books take a real beating. The same goes for children's books which are heavily used inside the library without even being checked out.
Ex-library books are rarely collectible. Since condition is vital for collectors, you are going to come across books with torn or lost dust jackets, cloudy and smeared protective sleeves (mylar covers are easy to replace though), and general shelf wear. However, they can still be useful to collectors in terms of reference material or simply filling gaps in a collection until you find something in better condition.
Library barcode stickers and pockets are difficult to remove from an ex-library copy which puts off some people. Libraries firmly attach those things so they won't fall off or be peeled off by book thieves. I have never tried to remove any of these markings because I do not wish to damage the book.
Used books are often treasures that are out-of-print or rare. With Wish Lists you can choose to be notified the instant we find a copy, see how often we find rare titles, and see who else is interested.
When you've found the books you want we'll ship qualifying orders to your door for FREE in 100% recyclable packaging. If there is no demand for a book, we will donate it to charity, or we'll recycle it.
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Looking for ex-library books? We host 7000 of the finest online book stores and booksellers, including specialists in ex-library. Use the list below to locate a specific specialist bookseller or book store near you. Or, use the form below to search the inventory of all booksellers who specialize in ex-library
All money raised from used book sales goes to supporting library programs, improvements, and services. The used book sale areas are made possible in large part by a group of dedicated library volunteers.
Since 1997, BookFinder has made it easy to find any book at the best price. Whether you want the cheapest reading copy or a specific collectible edition, with BookFinder, you'll find just the right book. BookFinder.com searches the inventories of over 100,000 booksellers worldwide, accessing millions of books in just one simple step.
Books are accepted year round and can be brought to either the circulation desk or if multiple boxes are being delivered please bring to the loading dock at Bedford Central Library and ring the doorbell during library hours.
Steward Terry Weiss of Corvallis, OR had the entire contents of her Library removed multiple times over a period of several months. In response, she put up a sign on the Little Library, stamped each book to indicate it was from a Little Free Library and approached local bookstores to explain her situation. Here is what she had to say:
Residents donate many thousands of books each year to the FOTL, which are sold in ongoing book sales located on the main floor in the Used Book Sales center. Volunteers are always needed to help prepare, sort, and price books at the Friends Workplace.
Please be aware that the American Library Association does not accept, distribute, or coordinate donations of books or any other materials. This Guide provides information on some of the groups and organizations that do handle book donations - including donations of used books.
Most places that accept donated new or used books will NOT accept sets of encyclopedias or other categories of books. Rather than simply putting these out for recycling, you can try thinking outside of the box and see if some more unusual places will accept your donation. Here are a few suggestions:
If you have books to donate, first contact your local public library. Many libraries, or the Friends of the Library group, have regular book sales and welcome appropriate materials for resale. Libraries typically have donation guidelines posted on their website, others you will need to contact by phone. Your local library can provide acceptable donation guidelines.
Most public libraries in the United States accept gift books with the proviso that the library is free to decide whether to keep the book in the library's collection, put it in a book sale to raise funds for the library, or discard it. By law, libraries cannot assign a dollar amount to your donation, though they may give you a receipt with an item count. Donations may be tax deductible on your Federal or state tax return, but it is the donor's responsibility to assess the value (or seek a professional appraisal); consult your tax advisor.
We also suggest contacting your state library, if your local library cannot accept your donation. Your local public library or an academic library in your area can supply you with the address and telephone number for your state library (often a toll-free call for in-state residents).
The ALA Chapter Relations Office works with state and regional library associations to identify libraries that have lost collections due to fires or natural disasters. For the most part, these libraries need funds to repair the facility and to rebuild the collection in a way that meets the local collection development needs. Once the initial recovery period is past, the library may seek specific donations or set up a "wishlist" with a vendor, such as Amazon.
To help, review the needs on the Chapter Relations Office page, or contact your local public library to find out any available opportunities, including, if you're willing, donating the books for its next fundraising book sale.
In addition, many libraries will not accept Readers Digest Condensed Books, encyclopedias, National Geographics, workbooks and study guides, non-commercially produced media, or textbooks or professional materials more than 5 years old.
If you are a publisher with overstock seeing to distribute to individual libraries, please first consider that individual libraries are responsible for their own collections. Each library decides if a book fits the needs of their patrons or not. It may be best to preface your book donation package with a query letter, asking individual libraries if they would *want* to place your book in their collections. Libraries are not in any way obliged to accept books that are sent to them. More to the point, libraries have selection policies, and if a book is not accepted into the collection, the library has the right to decide another fate for the book, including either selling it at a book sale or discarding it outright. Check with the organizations listed for individual donations; some will accept bulk donations. 781b155fdc