It’s that time again to release another informative review of a popular book scouting service. This week is it Media Scouter! If you’ve missed any of the other review posts on book scouting services please check the 3 posts previous to this one and you will find them.
A book scouting service is a piece of software that allows you to look up prices for books at a library sale, yard sales, used bookstores or just about wherever you are. The only thing you need to get these prices is a personal digital assistant (PDA) or a cell phone running the Windows Mobile operating system. If you don’t want to manually key in each ISBN you should also bring with you a barcode scanner. Each scouting service provides this similar functionality but it’s important to pay attention to which one may fit your need the best. If you’d like more information about getting started with book scouting or getting some additional reviews please take a look at my eBook Used Books: Big Business. Book scouting is an entire chapter in the newly revised edition.
For this post, I’m going to concentrate on Media Scouter. Media Scouter was the first book scouting service that I used. I ran it on a Windows Mobile Treo at the time with a Flic scanner. It was one of the only options I knew of at the time. On a side note, do not buy the Flic scanner. It works but it’s slow and very fragile. Even though it’s a lot more expensive, if you’re planning on selling books online for a business go with the Socket 7P. It’s got a lot more reliable scanner, it’s faster and it’s much more durable.
Two features that stood out for me were:
1. Database updated daily. When a book scouting service updates their data what they really mean is when they go out to Amazon and pull all of the pricing information for the books. Each service is different in the amount of time they update their information. For the low sales rank, highly competitive books what this means is that the pricing information you’re using out in the field could be way off in just a few days. Updating their database every day is very beneficial.
2. Search by title. I get a lot of books that are pre 1970 that have no ISBN. These books are typically passed up at sales because the other book scout may not have a service that will look them up or are simply too lazy to stop and take the time to manually look up a book. Having this capability would prove very beneficial if you’re willing to work a little bit harder. The only drawback to this is that the database to download is much larger and would take longer to download.
The pricing for Media Scouter is a little expensive at $40/month. The only one that ‘s more expensive is Neatoscan at $50/month. Again, if you’re just starting out give Asellertool or Scoutpal a try before you drop this much money a month on a book scouting service.
Other than what I mentioned, I don’t see a big difference between Media Scouter and all of the other services at this time. I haven’t used this service in almost 2 years so I’m betting that it’s been improved on by then. If you’re a current Media Scouter customer or have some recent experience with it please let us know in the comments section.
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