Project HOME Books: Behind the Scenes

Nic Watson
Action photo of Project HOME Books

How we're using donated books to create jobs!

How does an online bookstore work?  It works great! Oh, you wanted more detail?  OK.

Books come in to Project HOME every weekday and sometimes on weekends! At this moment, there are five organizations running book drives and collections for Project HOME. 

  Project HOME Books employees roll cart with books

Then they come downstairs to our basement sorting area where a team member takes a last look for condition. We sort for clean bindings, writing or highlighting on the pages and general condition. The books, now categorized by conditions: Like New, Very Good and Good, go to our scanning station. 

  Project HOME Books employee sorts books into boxes

Next, we scan the ISBN number. We use an algorithm that determines how well the book will sell on online used book marketplaces like Amazon, ABEBooks, Alibris and many others. It also helps us set a price that would make the book worth selling by calculating how fast it is likely to sell and how much it will cost to ship. 

  Project HOME Books employee enters books into database

From there, the books we decide are a priority get entered in to a database and listed for sale among our inventory (currently our inventory is 27,000 books!) Then, we wait! 

Every morning we print a list of the books that have sold since the last morning and use the stack of paper, which we call pack sheets to locate the books and take the books for the post office. Then the USPS does its job of taking the book directly to your home or office. We ship at least 50 books every weekday! 

Because we are selling these books among other sellers, many of our customers may not even know who they are buying the book from; we always include a bookmark that can keep your place as you read and explains why our used bookstore is unique. 

Project HOME Books bookmark

. . . 

Nic Watson is the Director of Social Enterprise at Project HOME. If you want to receive email updates about what we’re up to, update your Project HOME email subscription to include Social Enterprises under the Areas of Interest section. Find us on Facebook and Instagram

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