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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    Default Valuation of Professional/Personal Libraries

    My question involves bankruptcy in the state of: North Carolina

    Hi, I am involved in bankruptcy proceedings (pending to be filed) and the bulk of my assets consists of books I bought new (which are now obviously used). In valuing these, I think that amazon.com is the best marketplace to conduct a comparable sales price analysis. My question is do I include the cost of shipping? The person buying the "replacement" would have to pay for shipping if purchased at amazon, but the price of the book would presumably reflect what is on offer at used bookstores, as it would be an analysis of third party seller offers, not an analysis of what amazon as an entity has on offer. What do you think, and do you have a legally sound rationale you can share? Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: Valuation of Professional/Personal Libraries

    A used book is worth whatever a used book is worth. Shipping is not part of the value. You can sell them on the street corner. You could pay for shipping. There are also myriad shipping methods with an equal number of costs. How would you even choose what shipping cost to use?

  3. #3
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Valuation of Professional/Personal Libraries

    Most of the sellers of used books on Amazon, charge a very small amount on the books themselves, and make their profit on the shipping. In other words, they treat it like a business rather than attempting to make it a capital gain or loss. If you were to sell the books in bulk, to a used book seller, for example, then you would have a better chance of being able to legitimately treat the sale as a gain or loss.

    Since you are always going to sell something used at a loss, and since this appears to be personal property, you are not going to have a gain and you won't be able to take any losses. Also, I am not sure that used books are going to make much of a difference in your bankruptcy either unless you have a whole library's worth of them.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Valuation of Professional/Personal Libraries

    I’m not sure what your point is llworking. I don’t see where the op is considering selling the books. I suspect it is more of an attempt to determine value for issues such as exempted personal property. If I’m correct, an honest valuation of the book, without any concern for shipping costs, is what Will matter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    7,698

    Default Re: Valuation of Professional/Personal Libraries

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    Since you are always going to sell something used at a loss
    While most common used items, like household goods, are indeed sold at a loss, it should be obvious that it is not ALWAYS the case that used items are sold at a loss. Some classic cars, collected art, stamps and coins, etc, and a variety of other somewhat rare items can and do rise in value rather than fall. And, by the way, some professional libraries can be quite valuable to other professionals in that field as the books in that collection might no longer be published.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2006
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    15,980

    Default Re: Valuation of Professional/Personal Libraries

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    While most common used items, like household goods, are indeed sold at a loss, it should be obvious that it is not ALWAYS the case that used items are sold at a loss. Some classic cars, collected art, stamps and coins, etc, and a variety of other somewhat rare items can and do rise in value rather than fall. And, by the way, some professional libraries can be quite valuable to other professionals in that field as the books in that collection might no longer be published.
    I do agree that a library of rare books or first editions might have gained in value, however the OP has given no indication that it is the case with his collection of books.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    2,051

    Default Re: Valuation of Professional/Personal Libraries

    Do you have an unusually large number of books? Would any of them be considered "rare"?

    Do you have a bankruptcy attorney or are you intending to hire one?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    4

    Default Re: Valuation of Professional/Personal Libraries

    Thanks for all the responses.

    Yes, I am going to hire an attorney. I have to complete a notice of statutory exemptions and file it to prevent a sale of assets by one creditor who is litigating me. Then I will file bankruptcy. The exemptions I am protected with for an execution on my assets in my state are the same as I am protected with in bankruptcy.

    This means the valuation process would be identical.

    I would consider it unusual, relative to people I know. They will be the factor that determines whether my assets are in the aggregate in excess of the maximum possible allowable exemption of $12,500. I have roughly 1,100 to 1,200, with 900 bought new from amazon. Some of them are "'rare" and sell for 6 or 7x the original price they retailed for. I have no books worth $1,000 individually, but have some that are on offer for $100+ on amazon. 99% of my books are still in print, or if not have ample copies circulating in second hand marketplaces. Doing a market analysis, most of them sell at 30% of what I paid for them, sometimes far less. The 200+ books I bought used I paid $1 each at a corporate library and are not so much a concern. If I have to I will forfeit most or all of those, as they are earlier editions of books or crappy in some other way that had I not been able to snag them for $1, I wouldn't have bought them.

    I am not at all concerned with capital gains/losses at this point. My creditor is not going to get anything in any case, I have told them this. If my assets aggregate to over $12,500 value, it will be just barely over and they will not recover more than 10% in a sale, and unless they are on a commission based system, the creditor will not have a net gain after attorney's fees. I wanted to get on my feet and pay them and everyone else, but they are intent on shooting themselves in the foot.

    I am again thankful for the answers, and the only issue I am concerned with is having a defensible valuation method for my books. From what I can see, it is quite likely that even if I include shipping, the books I bought new will not tip me over. I have $2,000 business property allowance, which will absorb $1,100 to $1,500 of my books, as they are professional libraries. After my books my assets are nominal household furnishings that due to their age are not worth much. My estimation at this point is that maybe 60% chance after I value including shipping I will not have any excess assets. I would say that the chances are 95% if I do not include shipping.

    The only prayer my creditors have is if the trustee seeks to liquidate a laundry list of accrued causes of civil action I will be listing. In my state, the personal injury component is exempt, but the remaining components of the various claims are fair game and may end up netting them a gain. For this thread, please restrict answers to valuation of books, why it is defensible to exclude shipping (or not) from the cost I get doing CMA on amazon.com, and if you have credentials that aren't listed on your profile I would be interested. Obviously the most relevant folks would be attorneys or other people in the legal profession with experience in N.C. bankruptcies.

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