How to Sell Used Britannica Encyclopedias

Written by angela brown
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How to Sell Used Britannica Encyclopedias
Selling used Brittanica encyclopedias can take some work. (lesen image by Travelfish from

Created in the 18th century during the intellectual movement known as the Scottish Enlightenment, Encyclopaedia Britannica was first published one volume at a time over a three-year period. Over the following centuries, Britannica became one of the most well known and trusted encyclopedia publishers in the Western world. After the advent of the Internet, however, hard-copy encyclopedias waned in popularity. While many libraries house these reference books, consumers often shy away from purchasing them. Whether you're clearing out your basement or paring down your belongings, selling a set of used Britannica encyclopedias can take some creativity.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Post flyers on notice boards at libraries, bookstores, community centres, coffee houses, senior centres and grocery stores. Include your name and phone number or e-mail address. Mention how many volumes the set contains, the condition and the publication date.

  2. 2

    List your Britannica encyclopedias on local online classified sites such as Craigslist. Include your phone number for faster response times or request an anonymous e-mail address for replies.

  3. 3

    List your encyclopedias on online auction sites such as eBay. As purchasers probably won't want to pay high shipping fees, specify that your books are available for local pickup only. This will also save you the trouble of packing up the books and taking them to a post office or shipping centre.

  4. 4

    Contact local arts and crafts groups and organisations to see whether they might purchase your encyclopedias. Explain that they can use encyclopedia pages in découpage and collage projects, as wrapping paper or in myriad other crafts projects.

  5. 5

    Sell your encyclopedias at a garage sale. Keep this as a last option, as people who frequent yard sales often look for bargains and are accustomed to haggling.

Tips and warnings

  • If you're unable to sell your encyclopedias, donate them to a non-profit thrift store or a non-profit organisation. You'll be helping a worthy cause and will also get a tax write-off if you request a receipt for your donation.
  • If you're unable to donate your books, contact recycling centres and ask about their requirements for encyclopedia recycling.

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