Sunday, September 6, 2015

Another Way to Earn Some Money: Sell Used Books

Photo: Anna Langova

Used Books To Sell Are Everywhere

A Guest Post by Charles Pogue

At different times, I have sold new and used books online. I have done my selling on eBay and also as an Amazon marketplace seller. You can do it too. But where does one find books to resale? Were I to say, books are everywhere, that might sound like a copout, but it is really very true.
One thing you probably do not want to do, though, is purchase books from a used book dealer thinking you can resale them at a higher price. People operating used book stores usually know what a book is worth and sell them for very close to their retail value. That being said, there are plenty of places to find resalable books for almost nothing. Here are some of the sources I recommend.

Flea Markets

That may sound a little risky, and it usually takes some knowledge of the value of books, but on the other hand, some of the vendors selling books at those places have no idea of the value of what they have, and mark them ridiculously low.
Once while browsing through a flea market I came across the two volume set of Black Jack Pershing’s, My Experiences in the World War. The books, in good condition, were priced at $23.00. I walked around the corner to the next aisle and found another book seller with the same books. They were first editions and in as good or better shape than the other set, but they were marked $2.00 each. You can find other deals like that one at flea markets if you will take your time to look closely at the many books that are usually available.

Thrift Shops

I have generally found that thrift shops price softcover books at one price and hardcovers at another. It doesn’t seem to make a difference what the book is about or who the author is. Thrift stores get most of their merchandise through donations, and many of them do not take, or have, the time to check out the retail prices on books. The books you find in such places are not usually ones you will make a wide profit margin on, but then selling used books is more of a volume business anyway.

Bargain Bookstores / Bookstore Bargain Sections

Even in the popular bookstores you will find some great bargains on books. The good news is, these books are new, and often first printings. The bad news is, because they are marked down may mean they will not sell as quickly. But, hey, if you have a place to store them for a while, you can sell them later, and if you keep them long enough, some of them will sell for more than the original retail price.
Discount book stores are an even better source. These stores often mark books down to 75% off. If you know you can have a group of potential buyers for books on certain topics, discount bookstores are a great source.

Garage and Yard Sales

Photo: alex grichenko
Very seldom will one stop at a yard sale and not find at least a few books. Occasionally, you may find someone pricing their books like they are in competition with Barnes & Noble, but not usually. The sad reality that many people do not read is actually to your advantage when shopping yard sales.
You may not have to be the early-bird to buy the books available at yard sales. In fact, when you go later in the day, a lot of people will give you a great deal on an entire box of books just so they do not have to haul them down to the second hand shop, or worse have to put them back up in the attic. I have given 50¢ for books that can be sold for $10.00 or more online. I’m no mathematician, but that’s a profit margin anyone would be glad to have!

Private Libraries

It might surprise you how many people, especially professional people ready to retire, are looking, or would be looking, for a place to sell their libraries, if they just thought about it. You can use this to your advantage in one of two ways. You can buy the library outright, or you can work out a deal with the owner to sell their books for a share of the profit.
How does one go about finding these libraries? The same way other businesses attract customers, advertise! The local paper or the Thrifty Nickel type papers are a good way to start. When you sell a person’s library for them, have them tell their friends you will do it for them, too.

Friends of the Library Bookstores

What are friends book stores? They are book stores run in connection with your local public library. Some of their books are ones discarded by the library, while many others have been donated by people in the community. One of the best things about library bookstores is that many of the books are first editions of older books, and often have dust jackets in good condition.
Another thing about these stores is they are not there to rip you off. Even though they are quite familiar with the value of the books they sell, they almost always price them for less than what they are worth. It is not even close; library bookstores are my most important place for finding books that can be resold for a good profit.
These are just a few of the places to find books for reselling. When you sell books online, you will have to be patient. Sales are not always consistent, and it may take some time to sell a particular book. So, what’s the problem with that? While you are waiting for your books to sell, you’re blessed with plenty of reading material. That’s kind of like having your cake and eating it, too.
Have you tried selling used books?
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