Four Tips to Get You Started on the Right Track
Starting your own online book selling business can be one of the most rewarding home business opportunities available to you. The basic requirements are minimal for starting up. All you need to begin with is a computer with an internet connection, a platform to sell your books, and some free space to store your inventory. The gateway site for online used book selling is most definitely Amazon. While some think that their commissions are unfair, they ARE the single biggest market for books online available. They also happen to be the easiest and most user-friendly platform to use as a seller. Later on there are other platforms which you can (and should) add to your business model once you have stong sales. But right now let's go over some of the key tips you will need to keep in mind when you are starting out.
1) Start with Your Own Books
The best way to learn how to sell books online is to first start with what you own. Almost every household has books lying around that are no longer read or needed. If you have 50 books to get rid of, experiment by listing them all online at Amazon. See what happens. Which books sell first? What is their Amazon sales rank? Use this formative experience to help you when you start scouring local used book shops, tag sales, church sales, and library sales for saleable books.
2) Source Books from your Community
The best places for a small-scale book selling operation to source books from (after your own personal collection, that is) are local garage sales, church sales and library sales. In fact, just about any event where books are sold indiscriminately. As a book scavenger, your job is to find sources of inventory anywhere you can. Use the time-honored principle of buying low and selling high. At church sales and library book sales books are often sold for $1 or less per piece. A majority of the books them are worth mere pennies on Amazon, but a fresh batch at a used book sale can carry significant hidden gems that will fetch you returns of 50%, 100%, or even 700%. occasionally, used book stores, with too much inventory to properly account for, also are sitting on some profitable books for you to sell. In any case, make sure you have a smart phone so you can download a bar code scanning app or at least be able to type in the ISBN number manually on the Amazon website on your phone.
3) Get a Business Plan
Where do you want your book business to go? Are you content staying a small part-time hobby, or do you want to gradually grow the business into a potential income replacement. The worst thing you can do is have no plan at all and let your book selling business wander in the wilderness with no direction, foresight, or planning. If you do want to grow it, make some capital investments in software to handle inventory on multiple selling platforms (eBay and Amazon for example). If you get enough inventory, check out the Fulfillment by Amazon program which takes the burden off of you and handles the orders, postage, and shipping for you (for a small fee of course).
4) Monitor your Inventory
Once you price your inventory and list it, you can just let it sit until you get a sale notification in your inbox. But doing this puts you at a competitive disadvantage. Re-pricing your inventory on a regular basis is essential to maximizing your sales potential. Make it a weekly or monthly routine to check your listings to see where the competition is pricing similar books in similar condition and adjust accordingly. You do not always have to be the lowest priced seller, but you do have to have an edge and be in the mix on the first page of results for a given book title. If you have an excellent customer service rating, use that as a valid excuse to charge a bit of a premium. Similarly, if a particular book is in better quality than the competition, don't be afraid to price it slightly higher.