Protecting Your Rights to Books You Consign
So, ask at the courthouse for a UCC-1 form. They probably have one, or can tell you where to download a copy online. Fill it out, and be sure you have the bookseller's business or corporate name and address correct. Otherwise it may not apply. The filing must be done at the courthouse in the bookseller's jurisdiction (location), not yours if they are different. You will state the date when the consignment takes effect. Do not give the seller your books before this date; do not give him your books before the UCC forms are filed at the courthouse. Otherwise that electrician may rely on those books before you have put him on legal notice of your title.
Now, there's one more thing you need to do to be sure you're secured, which may require some friendly guidance from a courthouse clerk. You need to do a search of any preexisting liens against the seller's inventory. If there are any, you need to provide written notice to these preexisting lien holders of your continuing ownership of the books. Otherwise, their lien may attach to your books! In a bankruptcy sale, proceeds from the sale of your books could go to pay off the lien holder's secured debt. In other words, you might not get a penny from the sale of your books.
If the consignor in the Thomas case had done all of these, would she then have been totally secure? Not quite. She did not make her claim until eight years after she consigned her book. A UCC filing is good only for five years. When the five years are up, if the bookseller still has your books, you must make a new filing, and provide written notification to all persons holding liens against his inventory at the later time. Also, if the bookseller changes his business name, you will need to refile the form under his new name.
As noted earlier, this is just a brief overview, and may not cover everything you need to know in your jurisdiction. If you seriously value the books you consign, we recommend hiring a licensed attorney, and if they are not quite valuable enough to justify this in your mind, spend some time making helpful friends around the courthouse and read up on local law in the place where the bookseller conducts his business.