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Sell Us Your Books

Updated: November 15th, 2022

Current status: Buying paused until after the holidays. We're simply bursting with books, and the holiday season is quite busy for us! We will resume buying, by appointment, in the new year. Watch this space for details.

Did you know we buy second-hand books? From recent bestsellers to old classics, we're always looking for good books in good shape! 

We're famously picky about condition: we only buy books with no stains, no tears, and no smells.

Please know that we are offered thousands of books per month. We can't take them all, so we have to be picky. We spend dozens of hours each week looking at books. It can sometimes take a few days or even a few weeks for us to be able to get back to you.

If you're interested in selling us books, contact us for details. Please let us know roughly how many ("five or six", "2 bankers boxes", "a few thousand", etc) and what sort of books (novels, kids books, textbooks, "old books", "modern firsts from Canadian authors, inscribed to Bob, mostly with light foxing and the occasional damp stain", etc) so we can better serve you. The more detail the better! 

Please consider sending photos of your books via email. Sending us a few quick snapshots can save us both a lot of time and effort: we'll let you know what's worth bringing in. Have a list of your books? Wonderful! Please send it to us. 

You can contact us by email at selling@janusbooks.ca or by phone at 226-486-1255. Or you can use the contact form. It may take a few days to get back to you, as we are being offered a lot of books! Thanks for your patience.

If you have less than a dozen books, we will do our best to look at your books without an appointment. Keep in mind that some days, like Saturday, can be very busy.

We are working on a more comprehensive guide to selling us your books, but for now, please review the Frequently Asked Questions below and contact us if you still have questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What kinds of books are you looking for?

We buy paperbacks and hardcovers. We are picky about condition.

Right now, we are particularly interested in:

  • Classic fiction and non-fiction (Penguin Classics, Modern Library, etc.)
  • Classic and contemporary Mysteries (Agatha Christie, Louise Penny, etc.)
  • Literary and genre fiction, particularly popular authors like Stephen King, Thomas King, Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Atwood, etc.
  • Cult favourites such as Charles Bukowski, Philip K. Dick, etc.
  • Classic and contemporary science fiction and fantasy (Frank Herbert, Octavia Butler,  Isaac Asimov, N. K. Jemisin, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, etc.)
  • Graphic novels including Marvel, DC, Image, Oni, Vertigo, Dark Horse, D&Q, etc. and especially indie or literary graphic novels
  • Popular teen and children's books for all ages, especially Harry Potter, Chris Colfer, Robert Munsch, Dav Pilkey, Jeff Kinney, Tamora Pierce, etc.
  • Popular general interest non-fiction, such as popular psychology, history, self-help, music, science, etc.
  • Some academic works, particularly primary sources in philosophy (we do not generally buy textbooks, however)
  • Eastern, western and world religions, including St. Augustine, Lao Tzu, Bhagavad Gita, etc.
  • Nature guides, such as mushroom foraging, plant identification, bird identification, etc.
  • High-quality art and photography books, particularly from Abrams, Phaidon, Rizzoli, Abbeville Press, Taschen, etc.
  • Most books from high-quality publishers like The Folio Society, Franklin Library, Easton Press, etc.
  • Recent bestsellers, both fiction and non-fiction

And much, much more! We have more than 70 sections and we're always looking for good books in good shape in all of them. You can browse our current inventory to get a sense of what we buy.

Q. What kinds of books are you NOT looking for?

We rarely/never buy:

  • encyclopedia sets
  • Harlequin romances
  • magazines
  • old textbooks* (eg, Introduction to Psychology, 12th edition)
  • generic "coffee table books" other than high-quality art, photography and reference books
  • anything stained, torn or smelly

* Exceptions: Primary and secondary works in philosophy and other interesting academic texts

Q. How much do you pay for books? Do you offer cash or trade credit?

We pay between 1/4 and 1/3 of what we think we can sell something for. We sell most of our books for about 1/2 of the current cover price, although there are exceptions, particularly for out-of-print books or hard-to-get books in high demand.

We offer 50% more in trade credit than we do in cash. For example, if we might offer you $20 in cash or $30 in store credit. Trade credit can be used the same day, or kept on file and used any time: it does not expire.

Q. Will haggling get me more for my books?

No, but it might get you less. Please keep in mind that we've been buying books for over 10 years and we have no shortage of books coming in. We know what we can afford to pay. We also pay the highest prices of any used bookstore that we know of.

Q. Why do you recommend pictures? 

We are offered thousands of books a week, far more than we could ever possibly use. Photos helps us see what you've got so we can let you know what's worth bringing in. It's often much easier to send a few snapshots than to load up a car load, drive it down, and wait around while we look at them.

If you can't take pictures, just give us an idea of what you've got -- there are certain things we need and certain things we don't need. It can save a lot of time if we just have a quick 2 minute conversation before you bring you books down.

Q. Do you accept donations?

We buy what we need. If we're not willing to pay for it, we're not likely to take it as a donation either. That said, if we make you an offer on some books and you just want to give them to us for free, we can probably work something out!

Q. Do you buy "old books"?

 We have books in the store that are over 100 years old, although most of our stock is younger than that. We do not discriminate based on age -- we consider content, condition and general saleability when purchasing books.

That said, most of what we purchase is on the newer end of things -- we are not an antiquarian bookstore.

Q. I'm in a rush today. Can I drop off my books and come back in a few days, or weeks?

No, sorry, we just don't have the space to warehouse books we don't own. We look at them on the spot and we're quite fast: the average time to look at a box of books and make you an offer is less than 5 minutes.

Q. Do you buy old textbooks, encyclopedia sets, magazines, etc?


Q. Do you buy books with stains, tears, or smells?