In this economy its a good idea to have more than one stream of income. If you have a job in addition to a rental in addition some investments thats great. Selling stuff on line is another way to bring in a few extra bucks. As far as selling on line, few places are as easy an inexpensive to start off at as Half.com. Known mainly for books, you can also sell Dvd's and some computer games and software at this site.
Things You Will NeedYou'll want a computer, although technically I think you could get started without one. Until you are steady in sales, I wouldn't recommend buying one simply for this endeavor. Its also nice to have a quick speed connection, wi-fi, satellite, or cable, although I myself did it for years with only my trusty dial up. The name of the game is making a profit, so think about it. Why pay $50 a month for high speed internet, if you sell less than that in books? On the other hand, if you've been paying that for years just so your family can play on line, why not supplement the cost by selling a few things you have around the house?
Which brings me to what else you'll need. You'll need some books. If you have a bunch around the house you're done reading start there. Every book has an ISBN, which stands for "International Sellers Book Number." Type this long number into the sell my stuff tab on Half.com, and an average price will come up. You do NOT have to sell it at the suggested price. In fact, if you want your stuff to sell, I suggest you undercut the lowest price currently listed by at least a penny or so to ensure your stuff moves. From there Half.com gives you choices for shipping. You can offer alternatives to media mail, which is not a bad idea, because it opens up more options for your buyers. Light items, like Dvd's are cheaper to send first class mail anyway. (First class is faster than media mail.)
Tape and mailers. Try not to spend too much by the way of mailing supplies. It will quickly cut into the very thin margin of profit. If you have a mailer from something you received, re-use it. Or wrap up your stuff in scrap paper. Books and dvd's are usually sturdy and rectangular, so its not like you need a brand new padded envelope. If you must buy supplies, buy in bulk for the biggest discount.
Delivery confirmation. This is available from the Paypal website for only a few cents if you print your mailing labels electronically. I highly recommend it. Not exactly a "tracking" number, it will scan delivered if the item HAS been delivered, so you can confirm you shipped your product to a disputing customer. On the other hand, if the item is lost, you will never see a status of "lost." The trail just goes cold after the last postal employee's scan. If you perceive your item hasn't moved in ten weeks, you are going to have to surmise it's lost.
Books books books, at some point you may run out of stuff at home to sell. Then what? Once again the name of the game is making a profit, so it rarely makes sense to buy books to sell used. You have to find an inexpensive source.
Step 1Hit up your friends and family. Most people will only be too glad to pass on what they're done with, you won't even have to go pick up the books. Yard sales, books tend to have a pretty low re-sale at yard sales. See if the seller will make you a deal on a bag of books. Library sales, beware of library books that say "not for resale." Pass on those. But friends of the library often donate books for sales, and once again you can often get a whole bag for a dollar. Thrift shops, sometimes a good source for CDs and books, but beware of scratched items. If you have to make refunds, you've wasted both time and money.
Step 2Listing books carefully. Not every book is easy to re-sell. If Oprah has mentioned a book, it often goes into such a huge printing that too many copies are available. If you go to list it on Half.com and 500 other copies are already available at 50 cents or less, you'll have to list your copy at 25 cents to get it to move. Better to list a less popular book.
Hardcopy vs softback. Paper back books are lighter and easier to ship, more popular with readers and retain more of their value. If you love buying hardbacks at $22 a pop, you are going to be disappointed with the resale value. As soon as a hard back comes out in paperback, no one will want to pay even $15 for your hardback copy. So if you want to re-sell hardbacks read 'em quickly and list then before the paper back is available. Also be sure to list them for enough to cover your shipping costs. Half.com makes an estimate on shipping for you, all sellers must charge the same amount for shipping (unless you are offering a multi-purchase discount).
Step 3Going big time. If you find your self a niche and start to really like this business it will make sense to buy your books in bulk. Search online for companies that can deliver a pallet at a time of books for you to sort through and list. Check out some of the other venues, such as Amazon.com's used book department and Ebay. Ebay.com has a quick list program, similar to Half.com, where all you have to do is enter the ISBN and a stock photo of the book will appear for your use in your auction.
List your items in the appropriate categories to garner the best traffic. If an item has the same ISBN but the cover is different, say so in your remarks. Be honest, be upfront. If a book has underscoring, highlights or dogeared pages, it doesn't mean it's un-saleable, it simply means you can't tout it as pristine condition. Make note of things like that in the remarks. However, if a book has pages falling out - it IS un-saleable, toss it. You wouldn't like to get junk, neither do your buyers.