eBooks and eReader sales are still soaring, continuing a several year trend. Are printed books dead? Not so, according to an article in Huffington Post. The story states that both paperbacks and hardcover books outsold eBooks in the first half of 2014.
This post does not analyze sales trends of eBooks, but shows that one can make money from printed books.
Start a business, full or part-time, with used book sales. Sell old paperbacks and hardcover books or textbooks for cash to sites like Amazon, eBay, Half.com or AbeBooks. This is also a good choice for someone looking to make some money fairly quickly with moderate effort. It is also a great home business.
What you need
Inventory. Other than books you own, buy books at garage sales and estate sales. Buy them at Goodwill stores or in wholesale lots at liquidating stores.
Storage. Books sell better and for more if in good condition. After buying 100 books from that estate sale, where will you store them? Garage? Extra bedroom? Storage locker? Renting a storage locker is an extra cost to the bottom line.
Tracking. When someone wants a copy of “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, be able to locate it asap. Label shelves logically and use a desktop database like Microsoft Access to track what is bought, where the product is stored, and where and when it was sold.
Financial sense. If at a garage sale, be able to do quick math and calculate a selling cost before you buy. Realize that PayPal will charge a transaction fee for many sales. The fees eat into profits quickly and so do shipping costs.
Shipping. Media mail at the post office is your friend. Media Mail is a lower cost shipping rate offered by the USPS, provided nothing else is in the package. You will have only a couple days to ship the purchase, but every day or several times per day trips to the post office costs gas. Plan on a Mon, Wed, Fri shipping schedule and take multiple orders to the post office. Package the books so they won’t get damaged in shipping.
Ratings. When your product is purchased, buyers can often leave a rating of your product and shipping time. Reviews can make or break your business. Be smart about shipping and follow-through on what you promise.
Updates. Books sales like any other product, changes quickly. Follow trends in the business by following blogs like Sell Books Blog. There are several websites – Powell’s Books is one – that will give you a price from an ISBN and pay for shipping if the order exceeds $50.
For antique or collectible books, check out the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA).