Since John Weise and Stephanie Bentley started selling books, CDs, and DVDs on consignment almost seven years ago, they’ve processed more than 400,000 items, about 85 percent of them books.
“One thing that’s always fascinated me is that most books that come through here we’ve never seen before,” says Weise, who oversees inventory and order fulfillment for their online business, BooksbyChance.com. For example, 86 percent of the books they took in last year were new to their experience. “There’s a relatively small number of authors we see a lot, and then this really long tail of everything else.”
Authors they see a lot of include John Grisham, Stephen King, and Shakespeare. Examples of “everything else” include Pediatric Anesthesia, Pioneers of Soviet Architecture, Encyclopedia of Monasticism, Speeches of Henry Lord Brougham (four volumes, bound in leather), and enlarged addenda and corrigenda to the supplement of an Anglo-Saxon dictionary–each of which sold for at least $150.
This article has been edited since it appeared in the May 2012 Ann Arbor Observer to clarify that Books by Chance is an online company.