It is inevitable that some copies of your book will be damaged in transit or storage. Often, this damage is minor, but still means that the book can not be sold at full price as new. A creased page, a small crease or tear on the cover or a tiny “ding” to the book’s edge do not affect the usability of the book, but these cosmetic defects are enough to mean that the book can not be sold through the usual channels.
What is the best thing to do with these damaged books? Here are some ideas:
Give them away. Although I would not send a damaged book to a possible reviewer, I have given them to friends and colleagues (with the understanding that the book is not pristine). Consider donating a few copies to a local non-profit group, library or assisted living facility.
Make the book a bonus with purchase. You could also give the books away with another purchase. “We have a few slightly hurt copies of Book A, and you get one free when you buy Book B.” Everyone loves getting something free, and a small cosmetic defect to the bonus book will not damped their enthusiasm.
Sell them from your website or through your newsletter. I sometimes run “hurt books” sales in my newsletter where I make damaged books available at a special, low price. Discount the book 30 – 50%, let customers know the special offer is available only while the supply of hurt books lasts, and watch the books fly off the shelves!
Offer the books through Amazon Marketplace or Half.com. Both sites allow you to sell new and used books. Honestly describe the damage, set a deeply discounted price and list the book for sale. Authors might even autograph the damaged books they sell (I do!) to make the purchase more attractive. Both Amazon and Half.com allow you to list the book at no cost. When it sells, they collect the money and pay you the sale price (less listing fees) and a shipping allowance. Some publishers make more money per copy on hurt books sold on Amazon than they do on new copies!
Of course, there may be times when the damage is more than cosmetic. In that case, it is usually best to discard the books. Check with your local recycling center, as many of them will accept paper (including paperback books) for recycling.
Don’t let damaged books sit around in your storeroom or warehouse. Try one of the above ideas to turn them into cash.