There are two types of credit systems that I have found to be used by stores carrying used books.
The first type is a system where customers purchase books, read them and on a subsequent visit, trade those books back in for store credit. The customer then browses, chooses their books and are able to apply book credits of up to 50% of the sale, with the balance paid in cash or credit card, if the store accepts them.
This system benefits high-volume mystery, thriller and young-adult readers, while also generating cash for the store with every transaction and is especially popular with our Baby Boomer and Greatest generations, many now living on a fixed income.
The second book trading system is pretty similar except it allows for a 100% use of the trade credit. So in this system a customer, with credit, could walk out with books without actually paying any cash if their chosen books added up to less than the credit in their account.
This trade-in system appeals to young men and women who are building a personal library while working with low budgets though typically book and media purchases are a huge priority. There's is a saying among dedicated, perhaps even addicted reader's, "First books, then food and rent."
These systems have distinct advantages and dis-advantages. The 50% trade-in system is used by the vast majority of stores which used books are the prime and really, only source of income, for the store, because it keeps cash flowing into the store everytime and helps keep the used store sustainable.
A 100% system seems to be favored by stores which features a wider inventory beyond books, including video games, board games, DVD's, CD's and clothing. This is a bet that while the used books help bring people into the store, that the customers will end up buying other item's and thus spend more than the credit given anyways.
Our store favors the first system because we are a dedicated book store. You might think that the second system is better for customers, but here is the crucial difference that kind of evens things out. Stores that offer 100% credit take far less books and are much more selective, in my experience.
So while it would appear to be a better offer, the point I'm trying to make is that each system has its own distinct and advantages and that for our liberal trading policy, we'd rather take a wider array of books so you can build up your book trade credits, to buy more books!
Many used stores only buy books, for a $1 or $2 a piece and don't have a trade in program at all, while other's are run purely on donations and wholesale buying of used books.
We share this as a way to help our customer's get the best value for their used books. If you have questions or comments about this post, contact us through through our form or give us a ring.