I’ve mentioned in the past that I occasionally buy books online from wholesalers and eBay when I’m in a slump from searching locally. Every time I’ve placed an order I’ve done my due diligence in researching the books and checking the marketplace prices that I want to sell them on and I believe this has made me money 10 out of 10 times. However, this is a tactic I only use occasionally; perhaps I need to ramp that up but luckily I haven’t had an ounce of downtime with the local inventory that I’ve been able to source.
Recently, I decided to try out a site that I’ve heard quite a bit about called Liquidation.com. To understand Liquidation.com think of it as an eBay for selling bulk lots of inventory and just for auctions. You will find all kinds of things being auctioned off on this site. I just popped up the site and found a coffee maker, clothes and a vacuum cleaner on the front page together. However, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, I’m all about books and other media items and this is what I will be concentrating on.
To find the books being auctioned you’ll have to choose to search the category of General Merchandise and then search for books. Right now, there are 30 auctions going on for bulk lots of books with new auctions being put up all the time. You’ll find it’s no eBay with the quantity of auctions but you’re also much more likely to get some great deals since you’re buying in bulk.
The kind of books you’ll find at this site are usually books that have either been returned to the store for whatever reason, remainders from big box book stores that did not sell quickly enough or simply any other reason books were not in enough demand to sell in a brick and mortar store. However, we’ve got a whole other marketplace to sell on which exposes our books to the world; the Internet! Low demand books in Name Your City, Indiana may be HIGH demand books to millions of people all over the world. This site is the perfect opportunity to snatch up that inventory that brick and mortar sellers don’t have a market for.
My first experience was a positive one. I managed to put in a big on an auction for $200 and win. I put in a few bids and finally one won. Ahead of time, I had looked up the prices for all the books on Amazon and added up the buyer’s premium and shipping cost which I will explain later. It ended up being around $220 for 2 dozen or so books. You may think this is high but I immediately saw a $150 book in the mix along with many 10,20 and $30 books with good sales ranks. It was a no brainer for me. I paid via Paypal to the seller and the books were on my doorstep a few days later. It can’t get any easier than that! Some were dinged up pretty good while some were in like new shape just like the auction said. After an inspection I listed them as I usually do and I now have made $393.99 off of these books. Not too bad for a $220 investment, right?
Tips to get the most out of buying on Liquidation.com
1. Research, research, research before you put in a single bid on a lot of books. You’ll find these lots span from highly valuable to worthless. This is why you have to check prices before you make a bid. Most auctions will have a manifest for you to look at to see what’s selling. Sometimes the books are “salvage” which means you get what you get and that’s it. It’s a gamble sometimes and the only time I’ve gambled it paid off very well. Notice that no ISBNs exist. I’ve never seen an auction with an ISBN. To speed up looking these up on Amazon I use the Firefox browser. I use a little Add-On called Amazon Search that allows me to highlight anything, right click and then do a search from any webpage. It speeds up looking at these books considerably.
2. Know that the books that you buy will typically be “as is”. Almost all of the lots of books that I’ve seen are sold “as is” which means no returns have been made and no descriptions are usually in the auction for the books. It’s a gamble and even if you ask a question to the seller what the condition of the books are you’ll get a response back that says something like “it varies. If you’re expecting all like new books then forget about it but you may get some like new, some good and a few only that are acceptable. Luckily, I was able to list all of the books that I got.
3. Don’t forget about buyer’s premium and shipping. A buyer’s premium fee is tacked onto every auction. A buyer’s premium can be described as “a standard auctioneering fee that helps cover the cost associated with sourcing products, marketing auctions, running the marketplace and managing services such as payment collection, fulfillment, shipping and inspection”. You can expect anywhere from 5-10% added onto your final sale price. Finally, don’t forget about the shipping cost. Shipping bulk lots of books can get expensive real quick. Always get a shipping quote before placing a bid.
4. Setup a search agent. I’m never regularly going to any website but I am in my email every day. Wouldn’t it be nice to get new auctions on the site in your email? You can with their search agents. You can input a search query for books and then get periodic emails that meet your search criteria.
If you’ve been around book sourcing for awhile you’ll know that you can find books nearly anywhere that you can resell for a profit. Liquidation.com is yet another way to try your hand at buying low and selling high. Sometimes you’ll get a great deal and sometimes you’ll get outbid. It’s all a piece of the auction game and I can say from my experience that it’s well worth playing.