I am only just starting my blog, but I have been selling books online for years. I started out Merchant Fulfilling books I owned but no longer wanted or books I received gratis from publishers (I was a freelance editor in a past life). Sometimes I would pick up a book specifically to resell, but it was hit or miss and it was more for fun than profit.
Earlier in 2014, I heard about Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service, and it was off to the races. I devoured every blog, ebook, and video I could about bookselling and retail arbitrage. And I got totally addicted to Haul Videos – where resellers show off the items they picked up at thrift stores and yard sales and what they hope to resell them for.
What is it about Haul Videos? For me, there’s so much to learn about what’s profitable, what’s saleable, and how to keep your eyes open to find the abundance that’s available everywhere. My publishing and reading background makes it particularly easy for me to spot profitable books, but I’ve still learned so much from blogs like Book to the Future and FBA Mastery. I’m still learning from newer blogs and Youtube personalities.
Today’s book sale was advertised on BookSaleFinder.com as 6,000 books at a smaller community library. It was a 45-minute drive, and honestly, I was on the fence about whether I wanted to go for this smaller sale. But since it was only 15 minutes past my normal sourcing spots, I decided to take the chance – and am I ever glad I did! Once I drove into this smaller town, I saw that the library was located only a few blocks from a community college – score! College students purchase expensive books and are likely to discard them. No other sellers were in sight while I stood in line – and I only saw some older folks with smartphones and Profit Bandit working the sale as I left. I’d scooped up most of the profit makers by then but I’m sure I missed a thing or two! I picked up 48 books in Very Good+ condition (maybe 1 or 2 textbooks I’d grade as Good). I haven’t plugged it all in to Inventory Lab yet, but off the top of my head, I’d estimate I picked up at least $600 profit from this one sale. Prices were $1 for hardbacks and trade paperbacks.
Here are a few unique library book sale items I snagged:
Caterpillar Chronicle: History of the World’s Greatest Earthmovers
Rank 1.1 million
No FBA sellers
With Christmas coming up and this book in gift quality condition, I expect to price at $69.95.
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein
Rank 1.6 million
1 FBA Seller at $49.00
Studies in European Arms and Armor: The C. Otto Von Kienbusch Collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Rank 2.8 million
No FBA Sellers
Intend to price at $75.00
Body Worlds: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies
Some FBA Sellers priced at 10.95/12.50. But most of the others are around the $28-35 range. With the higher sales rank, I can afford to wait out the lowballers. Expect to price ~$35.
The Dark Lord: HP Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic
Amazon sells for $23.64. This is in Like New condition – will price at $19.95
There’s a lot of fiction out there not worth your time to send to Amazon FBA. However, there are also gems hidden among the unprofitable mass market crap. Look for:
- Hardcovers of bestselling authors in great condition put out within the last 6 months (Janet Evanovich, Patricia Cornwell, etc.) You can often net $10-15 on these; make sure to price below Amazon’s cost for a quick flip.
- Fiction put out by non-mainstream/small presses (The Dark Lord is put out by IBIS press, a publisher I’d never heard of).
- First editions of very popular authors (Stephen King, Koontz, Hiassen, Grafton)