Our Listing Policies
Free Listing Qualifications
The people who view Book Sale Finder know what to expect at a sale with a free listing, so we try to be consistent in what types of sales we allow to for free (see below for Paid Ads). For an organization to list their book sales for free, the following must all be true:
- They must be non-profit and considered a charitable organization.
- They must be running the sales themselves (e.g., if they merely sponsor a book fair where used book dealers are selling books, that would not qualify).
- They must have a "traditional" used book sale. This means:
- Most books are not new
- Most books are donated
- Many books are available (hundreds or more)
Note: For free ads, we list only the information that we feel is important for our viewers to know. For example, viewers need to know the location of the sale, but not the sponsor of the sale (which is normally a Friends group), so we don't list the sponsor unless the sale is being held at a location that would not normally be associated with that group.
Book Sale Finder reserves the right to accept or reject any listing solely at our discretion.
Sometimes we feel a sale or event may not completely qualify under the above criteria, yet we may allow a free listing nonetheless, especially if we feel our viewers would want to know that information. For example, we sometimes include textbook-swap events, which are attended by our many homeschooling viewers.
What "Picked Over" Means
We at Book Sale Finder think it's important to set expectations properly for both the buyers and sellers. Book sale organizers are primarily interested in maximizing their revenues, while many book buyers are interested in finding bargains – and maybe an occasional "treasure". We believe both these goals can be reconciled by clear, forthright information. To this end, Book Sale Finder now asks all free listing advertisers to indicate if books will have been 'picked over' before the sale. I.e., some valuable books may be removed before the sale begins. The following are some examples of how books may be 'picked over'.
- The organizers have removed valuable books to sell online.
- The organizers have allowed volunteers to remove books before the sale.
- The organizers have allowed a local book dealer to review the books before the sale and allowed the dealer to remove valuable books.
- Having a sale preview that is not indicated in the listing (if the preview is noted in their sale listing, and the books are otherwise not picked over, then it's OK to say not picked over – even if only members can attend the preview; some buyers may want to sign up for membership for the opportunity to attend the preview).
It's OK if the organizers put valuable books in a 'specials' area at the sale or if they have a silent auction for those books – but please tell us so we can indicate that fact in the listing.
Again, in the interest of setting buyers' expectations properly, if the sale organizers will impose restrictions on buyers, they should indicate those restrictions in the listing. Certain behavior is just common sense, such as:
- Buyers should be polite and respectful of other buyers and sale organizers.
- Buyers should not hoard books. For example, buyers cannot remove books from tables to a separate area where they will later scan the books and buy only the valuable ones.
We do not generally include these restrictions in our sales listings. Buyers should assume that those common sense rules are always in force. We encourage sale organizers to emphasize acceptable and unacceptable behavior via posters at their sale.
The following are examples of what would constitute restrictions, and should be included in the sale listing:
- Cell phone use not allowed.
- Scanners or other electronic equipment not allowed.
- Maximum number of books that may be purchased.
Note: Having excessive restrictions at a sale may reduce attendance and, therefore, the number of books sold. Sale organizers should consider that in their planning.
Sale organizers must list all previews for a sale, whether or not the public may attend. This is so buyers will know if the books will have been picked over before they can attend the sale. Occasionally, sale organizers wish to restrict previews to organization members only, and they don't allow sign-up for membership at the preview. Even if this is the case, the preview should be listed. We will be happy to indicate your preferences about preview attendance, e.g., who can attend.
When we list the dates of our sale in the calendar listing, we include only those dates where the public may attend, whether or not there is an admission charge. So, if a sale is for Friends members only, the public in general cannot attend, so the date of the preview is not listed in the calendar section. Of course, the preview information is fully explained in the actual sale listing.
Finding and Posting Sales
Book Sale Finder learns of book sales from a variety of sources. Normally, the organizers themselves tell us about a sale, but we also learn of sales through Internet searches, newspapers, and from book sale attendees. The purpose of Book Sale Finder is to inform people about where book sales are located and when they are held. Although we are happy and proud to perform a valuable service for book sale organizers, that is not our only goal. Tens of thousands of people view our site regularly and receive our weekly Sale Mail
telling them where to find local sales. Almost unanimously, book sale organizers thank us for posting their sale; they want to maximize their revenue, and a listing on Book Sale Finder virtually guarantees greater attendance at their sale. Many sale organizers have even reduced their costly postal mail notifications and instead have told their patrons to look for their sale on Book Sale Finder.
Occasionally, a sale organizer has asked that notification of their sale be removed from our site. We generally do not accede to that request, especially if the sale is advertised somewhere else, such as on the organization's web site. If a book sale is being held in a public facility, the public has the right to know about it. In most cases, for example, book sales are sponsored by Friends of Library groups who hold sales in the library or other public-supported location. These sales are, and should be, accessible to the public.
Typically, a request to remove a sale from our web site is the result of some unpleasant interaction at a previous sale with book buyers who act badly. But most buyers are polite and respectful, and some purchase lots of books. We now ask the organizers to tell us whether valuable books have been removed from sales, and whether there are restrictions placed on buyers. These questions are meant to set buyers' expectations about the sale correctly so that confrontations will be minimized. We welcome suggestions on how to make our site better for both buyers and sellers.
Note: We try our best to be accurate, but cannot guarantee accuracy (so it's always better to call ahead for a sale before travelling a great distance). We will not post any information that we know to be false.
Book Sale Finder is supported by advertising; without advertising, we would not be able to publish the web site. Our site allows 4 different types of advertising:
- Banner Ads from people who want to advertise their products and services to Book Sale Finder viewers.
- Classified Ads from people who want to buy or sell services, books, etc.
- Google Ads (placed on our site by Google, who tries to provide ads that may be of interest to our viewers, based on keywords in our text).
- Highlighted Ads for book sales that may qualify for free listings, but want to stand out from the other ads and include more information in their ad.
- Highlighted Ads for sales and events that do not qualify for free listings (e.g., for-profit sales, book fairs, auctions).
For Highlighted Ads, we permit the advertiser to include information that we would not normally include in a free ad. We also allow the advertiser to pick the display icon they would like to use (e.g., Big Sale, Special, Book Fair). Unless the choice is grossly misleading, we will use their choice. For example, if a book sale chooses to say Big Sale, we generally allow it – regardless of the actual number of books for sale (it may be a Big Sale to them, but maybe not to others). Although we reserve the right to edit any listing on our site, we generally allow advertisers to include subjective evaluations of their sale.
In no case will we accept ads that are dishonest, but we cannot check the accuracy of statements made in all ads. If a viewer complains about an advertiser, we notify the advertiser. If the complaint is valid, the advertiser will either rectify the problem or we will remove the ad.