One nice reviewer of my book "How To Make Easy Money Selling Your Old Used Books On Amazon" recently gave me a positive review, but noted he'd like more information on how I keep finding good used books to resell online. I'm planning on updating both the ebook and the paperback versions over the next couple months, and that's one area I will definitely be updating.
I have a simple rule: Always Be Sourcing. I have a flexible work schedule, so it's not hard for me to stop in a thrift store or a library book sale even during working hours to check out what they have. It never takes more than 5-10 minutes to scan their inventory. I decide if I want to schedule a revisit, or I go ahead and pickup a few choice copies while I'm there.
The other day I had 30 minutes before an appointment, and the city public library was nearby. I stopped in, found 4 good quality nonfiction paperbacks that looked promising. I checked them online and found each was selling for about $10 used on Amazon. Since the library was having a "Bag Sale," where you could fill up a small Wal-Mart plastic bag for just $3.00, I looked through other inventory.
At the top of the shelving I noted some audiobooks. I don't listen to audiobooks too often, but I know they are expensive. I checked a few copies and found they were selling used on Amazon for $15-$35. I decided to top off my bag with about 9 of these ex-library audiobook collections. I also found a current aviation magazine that is selling for about $5 on the 'Freebie' table, so I picked that up too.
I estimate I've added about $75 of inventory from that $3 bag of books and CDs so far, and I'm keeping one of the books for myself (a book on the wise sayings of Mark Twain -- it's quite interesting all in itself, and definitely worth the $3 I spent on the whole kit and kaboodle!).
So, for 10 minutes of downtime, I find $75 of inventory for just $3. The important thing is to do this all the time you can afford to do it. I find a lot of merchandise to resell online in these small segments that squeeze into my regular schedule. I do like to attend estate auctions and to hunt through massive book offerings at random thrift stores and the like. But these things are better suited for weekend book hunting, no during the work week.
Now, I understand that many people don't have the flexibility I do have during their 9-to-5 workday. But that shouldn't be the end of your book sourcing endeavors. The point of this post is simply: Find the way that works for you.
Don't discount skipping lunch and checking out a location near work, or check on Craigslist during your downtime at your desk (on break, of course!) to locate people who are cleaning out their basement and just want to unload boxes of books they find.
You might also post a request online (free on Craigslist.org) or run a small classified ad in your local newspaper which announces you're seeking good quality nonfiction books. Have them email a photo to you, or text a photo of what they've got. Spot check the quality and the average going rate on Amazon by typing in several of the ISBN's before going to examine the books. Never buy the books sight-unseen. Sometimes people are wanting to sell old dictionaries, popular fiction, out-of-print textbooks, or copies of National Geographic (all good content, but unfortunately, not always very valuable when you're trying to relist for a sale).
Negotiate for the best deal when you pay cash. Try to keep your expenditures to 25 cents a book. So if an individual has a book with 25 books in it, and you're pretty sure there are 2-3 that are going for $10-$20 each, offer $5. Most times they will be offended and tell you how much they paid for the books. Tell them most of the books are available for a penny on Amazon, and they usually soften.
Warning: DO NOT tell them you are buying the books to resell for a profit. For some reason, people think you're getting over on them when you're going to make money at their expense. Remind them they called you, that they want to get rid of the books, you've got $5 to hand them right now, and you'll help them get what they want: That box of books gone and out of their house.
But back to book sourcing: I think by keeping a lookout for more books every week, you'll come across opportunities in the natural course of your day. Places like Goodwill and Salvation Army charity stores do have extended hours, so check those places out. I have found some good deals. Talk to the staff at those stores. Sometimes they have put out new books later in the evening before closing time; if that is so, make plans to visit at later hours and you might score some great used book deals.
Yes, I will be updating my book soon, and I promise to share these and other strategies with you about stockpiling more -- and more profitable -- good used books you can sell online, working from home.