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How To Buy And Sell Used Books



There are many organizations that are always looking for books, or you can drop off a book in a local Little Free Library. Or, donate your books to prisons. If none of these is an option, we have a few ideas for how to repurpose your used books.




how to buy and sell used books



Ever since companies started making money online, I was intrigued. I graduated from high school in 1996, just when the internet was starting to come out of obscurity. At the time, I had no idea that learning how to make money selling books online would be one of my first interests.


This whole frenzy played a huge part in my decision to go into finance and business management. I was fascinated by the ability of the companies to sell products online. It was just such a new concept back then.


Essentially, I would go to thrift stores like Goodwill and others and look through the used book shelves and find books that I could sell on eBay or Amazon. This was my process back then in a nutshell.


These are sites that every college student will check for a cheaper version of their required textbooks. This was true in the early 2000s and the only change is that MORE students are looking online to buy used textbooks.


Modern first edition books are essentially books published in the last 30 or 40 years. For some people these are collectible for their favorite authors or books. For others they are just willing to pay a little higher price for something that might become collectible someday.


With my limited knowledge of what books to look out for, I probably missed a few good ones. However, I did find a few decent modern day first editions. One book that I sold for about $50 was the first edition of The Firm by John Grisham.


I would stick to eBay most of the time for selling these types of books. People know that they can go to eBay to find rare and collectible items, including modern first edition books. eBay is a great place to go for both Adult and Children's books.


That means you need to have enough antique books and used first edition books on hand to justify those monthly fees. However, if you have rooms full of used books, this can be a great way to get the best price from book buyers for your first editions.


Especially with the competition and fees that Amazon will charge, it's harder and harder to make much money on a book that costs you $1 to buy and you sell for $5. After you pay your packaging and shipping label and costs, there just isn't much profit left.


Most people making decent money at non-collectible secondhand adult and children's books are either large used bookstores with huge stock at a good physical location or individual book sellers who serve a really specific niche.


Many people are surprised by just how much of a market there are for collectible and antique books out there. Selling antique books online, limited first edition books, or even specialty collectible books is a huge market!


There are good arguments that can be made for both these methods of selling books online. Finding popular secondhand books you can pick up for nickels and dimes on the cover price that you then sell can produce some very good return on investment.


In other words, both of these methods of selling old books online are a great way to make some serious money if you know what you're doing. So is one method better than the other? Which one makes you the most money will depend on your particular circumstance.


Flipping books can make a great side hustle, or even a full-time job, in a variety of ways. The key is to get into the game of selling books online and see what you enjoy most about it, what you can consistently find in the area, and use that to keep moving forward.


Shane was kind enough to bring some of his 15 years of first hand knowledge on how to make money selling used books online to this post. He specialized mostly in first edition antique books and collectible older books.


If you tend to like to study things in-depth before jumping in, the ideas of learning to locate, identify, and buy used books before flipping them for a profit can be overwhelming. There's a LOT of information involved in becoming a book hound (slang for someone who does this, especially with antique or collectible first editions).


But don't worry. If you're excited about the potential profit in that yard sale, garage sale, or library sale, if you love the feel of a physical book in the hands, and then the large number after a $ that shows up after you sell it, then don't let the world of flipping books intimidate you.


Donate to a local library or school library. Create those little street free library houses to make books available to neighbors and kids. Donate to prisons. If you have a blog or website, call local news sites or local bloggers and get some good PR and some backlinks from this.


Many of the most valuable old books are ones that aren't obviously valuable, but they fall into a specific field a collector might like (example: old medical books or 1930s school lesson books) or are ghost written by authors who later became famous under another name.


If you've done any buying or selling on Amazon, eBay, or anywhere else then you know that what you pay for shipping is often a set cost that is more than the actual postal fees. This not only covers envelopes, the shipping labels or stamps/postage, insurance or delivery tracking, but it's also accepted the seller takes a little for their time/trouble.


Library sales can be a great place to find used books you can flip for a profit. Especially in bulk. However, if you are focusing mostly on valuable first edition collectible books, keep in mind that an ink stamp with the library's name is a value killer, even if the rest of the book is in surprisingly good shape.


The problem with selling books this way, is that the margins are so low for the amount of time that it takes to find the books, creating the listing, respond to online customers, pack the books, and take them to the post office. I was probably making way less than minimum wage on my little bookselling business venture.


While there are a couple of different approaches to take, the one I like best is buying used books on Amazon and then right back on Amazon and pocketing the difference. If I were to start up reselling today, this is the avenue I would take.


Reselling textbooks has gotten very powerful. If I were to do everything over, I wouldn't even bother with low priced books. Fiction, nonfiction, it doesn't matter. Textbooks cost an astronomical amount and there's a huge opportunity.


There are actually more deals out there like this than you'd believe. Thanks to the fact that sellers list used textbooks for low prices on Amazon all the time, not realizing they could trade that book into Amazon for more money.


For example, you might see a Biology 101 textbook that has a used price of $45 and the average used selling price is $70. Meaning you could buy it at the current low price and potentially sell it right back for about a $25 profit.


There are tons of opportunities like this. Students get new textbooks every year. And plenty of savvy students don't want the 4th edition that just came out. They are more than happy with the 3rd edition that's less than half the price.


This can be a crucial decision that really affects your profits. You don't want to make a bad choice. Don't forget on the other side of Shane's story of selling a book for $775 was a person who was happy to get $50 for it.


Amazon is never going to be the best place for antique books or rare first editions. But for modern books and some popular books, it's a great place to checkout. Download the Scout IQ app to know what a book is currently selling for on Amazon.


This is an app for retail arbitrage that shows you what an item is selling for right now specifically on Amazon. That makes it a great tool for book hounds looking to supplement that occasional big dollar treasure with profitable smaller sales on the way.


Most of the time you won't get premium prices from your used books on eBay. But you can get a lot of sales off this platform. If you are running out of space, or received many relatively collectible first editions that aren't super rare, eBay can be a great way to create cash flow from unwanted books.


Many times eBay is on the short list of places to look for a good deal as opposed to selling books for profit. But if you received a lot of books for a dime each, you might be happy with $10 and let someone else do the legwork to flip it again for more.


Abebooks earned a reputation early on as the place to go for rare books, antique first editions, and valuable collectible books. This reputation remains. If you're looking for a very specific old book, fiction books many decades out of print, then you go to Abebooks.


Which makes this a fantastic place for sellers who have a collection of first edition fiction books, collectible old non-fiction books, or those unconventional books that sell for more but which you also might need time to get the best price for.


Flipsy is an interesting site made for flipping a little bit of everything, but their book section is particularly active. This can be a great place for selling popular books. They have even started to give Abebooks a run for their money when it comes to collectible books.


If you already have sold with Flipsy, then you should check out its book section, as well. This is a place where you can sell antique and collectible books. In addition to more modern popular titles, as well.


This is last on the list because while I'm all about supporting local used book stores. From a pure making money selling books standpoint it's almost never going to be your best option. You will rarely get cash.


That said, if you need space or have a lot of books that you just can't sell quickly, the store credit or gift cards you get are great for filling out your own reading list or shopping for the bookworms in the family.


To be honest, every once in a while I still get the itch to go hunting for used books and to start selling them online. If I had some more time, I would LOVE to do this! I enjoy the hunt more than anything. Its kinda fun to find a first edition book selling for $1 at a thrift store. 041b061a72


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