It’s cold outside. I mean, really cold, especially where I live at. Currently, there is an eight degree wind chill. At this time of the year, I envy those living in the southern states. This weather sucks and I hate being out in it. I know I’m not the only one that lives in the midwest or the northern states freezing their tails off. I also know that I’m not the only online used book seller that depends on their income no matter what time of the year it is. Because of this, I thought it was only fitting to write up a few tips that I do to stay warm yet still maintain and even increase my sales during this time of the year when I’d rather not brave the cold at a used book sale, head to the post office, drive to the thrift store to check on the book stock or anything that gets me out in the cold.
1. Buy Your Book Inventory Online
Buying books online is very different than what a lot of used book sellers are used to, however, it can still be very profitable, much easier to find inventory if you know where to look and the best part of all, let’s you stay in the comfort of your warm home with a hot cup of coffee while you search the entire globe for book inventory from your armchair! Buying online requires a different mindset because A. your profit margins are going to be lower and B. you might have to buy in bulk. Gone are the days of throwing a few bucks at the proprietor of a yard sale and getting a few dozen, highly salable books. Buying books online requires you to do your research, but because you have plenty of time you can be 100% sure you’ll make the profit you’re wanting before you buy. I discuss buying online in Chapter 2 of my eBook, Used Books: Big Business.
- Browse the Craigslist book listings in your local area as well as areas around the country. Normally, Craigslist is meant for local-only transactions but I’ve had some great success with simply asking the seller if they’re willing to ship books to me if I pay for the shipping. Craigster.net, for example, is a site that allows you to input any category that you wish, put in a search term and search every single Craigslist posting.
- Browse the eBay books category. Specifically, check out eBay wholesale book lots to see if there are any listings going for cheap. A word of caution though with the lots is that some are online booksellers like yourself just getting rid of penny books so your mileage may vary. Also, pay attention to the individual listings. By clicking through to a listing you can typically get the ISBN which you can easily plug into Amazon to get the current market price.
- Consider buying your books from wholesalers. This method requires a little planning and an official business tax ID, typically, but these wholesalers sell to all kinds of booksellers. They sell off remainders, hurts and other books for very cheap sometimes and you can get steals. However, there might be a minimum you can order. Check out sites such as Book Depot or the American Book Company to get an idea of what they have.
2. Take Advantage of Online Postage Printing
I’ve been blogging about this topic for a long time and still am surprised with the amount of people still going to the post office, standing in line and even paying higher postage fees. Printing your postage online can save you money, create a more professional looking package and again, going with the theme, keep you warm!
- Read my newsletters. I know, this is a shameless plug.
- Use a service like Endicia. This service is the most popular online postage printing service as well as the easiest to use.
- Buy yourself a new or used Zebra LP-2844 printer from Amazon or check out these search results from eBay. This is again a very popular label printer and a purchase that I made that I would make again in a heart beat. I made a real short video review on the Zebra label printer on YouTube.
3. Have the USPS come to you
Unlike UPS, the United States Postal Service will pick up any of your packages for FREE!
- Go online and schedule the USPS to pick up your books. They have one catch though and it’s unfortunate for us booksellers. There has to be at least one Priority Mail package in the group.
- Make friends with your mail person. I’d been scheduling pickups for months and months and finally just asked my mail lady if I had to keep doing this since I ship orders every day. She confirmed that it was OK and that she would just pick whatever I had on the doorstep every day. Not only did I forgo the Priority Mail only stipulation, I also didn’t have to remember to actually schedule it all the time!
I’ve used these tips for a long time now and have been able to stay warm when others are out battling the awful winter weather making the same kind of money I’m making. I love to think that while I’m sitting in my relaxing armchair watching the snow fall, laptop on my lap, hot cocoa in one hand and a mouse in the other, I’m able to maintain a constant flow of inventory and orders all while keeping toasty warm. I hope that you can use these tips and others so you can do the same!
I hope everyone had a great holidays. Welcome back! Now get back to selling those books, you slackers!
Category Adam's Pick