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Make Money Tearing Up Old Books and Magazines and Selling Them on eBay

Vintage books and magazines were packed with prints and advertisements and other paper items which are not only interesting, but very collectable, and profitable, too. So many things derived from these old publications are hot sellers on eBay including: prints, advertisements, knitting and other craftwork patterns, recipes, how to articles, historical articles, music scores, stories and other out of copyright material … etc., etc, etc.

Let me introduce you to just a few of these easy to find items.


Old prints are valuable collectors’ pieces and there’s a good income to be made simply from packaging prints neatly and categorizing them according to theme, eBay’s best sellers being: animals, sports (especially golf and horse racing), royalty, music hall artists, topographical (named locations) and children.


Advertisements were often hugely ornate, colored or black and white, photographic or artist-drawn. Whatever shape they take, framed and unframed, mounted and unmounted advertisements are very popular on eBay where only recently an advertisement placed by a slave trader in The Memphis Daily Avalanche in 1859 fetched $200.


‘Clippings’, sometimes called ‘Cuttings’ as both names suggest, are simply items cut from books and other printed publications. They can be large or small, or even comprise entire sections of a book linked to a specific theme. They can fetch high prices on eBay as did a 1909 article about the magician Houdini that went for $200 in May 2005 and clippings of Rudolph Valentino fetched $305 at around the same time.

Gifts and Advertising Novelties from Early Publications

Early publications often contained useful free gifts for readers, some of which are profitable collectors’ items today. The most common free gifts were advertising inserts and sometimes advertising blotters, rulers, children’s painting books and maps. Maps are particularly prolific in older books and are amongst eBay’s highest priced items, such as the 1873 Beers Atlas of Maps of Long Island New York which recently fetch over $2,000 and a Mitchell’s Map of Missouri and Arkansas found folded inside a tatty old book from 1937 that reached $1702.


Some early publications, larger ones, had double center page spreads that make great posters and prints. They can fetch bids of $20 and more. As for all publications, learn to specialize, and look for special interest magazines, targeting a specific audience, say dog lovers, train enthusiasts, classic cars, and so on. This way you gain experience about specific subjects and the person to buy from on eBay.

Fancy Dress

Another very easy project where all you have to do is look for copyright-free patterns and designs which you can combine into books or sell individually. They are all great sellers on eBay especially for traditional fancy dress anniversaries such as Halloween.


The secret here is to look for copyright-free cartoons which you can copy and mount or frame as they are or revamp to suit today’s market. As for other copyright-free material, although there is no law against lifting and using cartoons, it is arguably immoral and unethical to claim the work as your own.

Cater for Lovers …. Of Anything and Everything!

Actually, that title is a little misleading because this project covers virtually every interest for which there is a large, better still, indeterminate audience. Books and such compiled here can be sold in printed, CD or downloadable fashion on eBay.

This is my particular favorite and, arguably, the easiest to profit from. All you do here is clip, collect and collate as many snippets as you can relating to one particular subject or theme. Cats, dogs, golf, writing, children, Amish recipes, fortune-telling, witchcraft, and more, are useful ideas for books that are simply compilations of everything you find on the topic.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1001 Great Golfing Jokes

Everything You Didn’t Know About Cats

Psychic Cat and Dog Stories

1001 Great Dating Tips

500 Amish Recipes

Candles and Witchcraft: Ten True Stories to Brighten Your Life

50 Ways to Reduce Everyday Stress

101 Ways to Market Your Writing

Early Veterinary Practices

Let Grandma’s Kitchen Make Money For You

There’s money to be made from compiling early recipes in book or report form for selling in print, CD or via email attachment from eBay listings. Recipes don’t need to be popular today; you might research and write up on some of the far less appetizing dishes our ancestors might have ‘enjoyed’ centuries before.

Knitting Patterns

Knitting and other craftwork patterns are hugely popular sellers on eBay, especially unusual and niche market types, such as dolls’ clothing, war-time economy designs, clothes for animals, and so on. Again, look for out-of-copyright items and other patterns that never had legal copyright. Many old publications included free patterns as loose items or pull-out publications which need no additional work on them to sell. However, you are not always allowed to copy these items so where you have a good seller, work hard to obtain as many copies of the parent copy publication as possible.

So many books and magazines available, so many ways to make money from them, so what are you waiting for!

Source by Avril Harper

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