If you want to sell used books online, you’re not alone. Thousands of people just like you have turned to online bookselling as a full-time career or to supplement their incomes.
For several years, it was an easy way of making money online.
Because of the recent trend toward smaller print quantities and the rising popularity of ebooks, selling used books online is more challenging than it once was. Still, online bookselling is a simple way to make money, and it’s an opportunity that anyone wanting to make money online should consider.
There are three ways to learn to sell used books online. Rather than suggesting that you follow one path or another, I strongly suggest you explore all three paths. With some diligence, you can quickly learn the basics of the trade and compete with those of us who have been in the business for years.
Path 1: Explore Online
There are lots of places on the Internet that offer information about how to sell used books online.
One of the best places to start is the Amazon Seller Community. You have to be careful though. Like most forums, this resource is tainted by people who like to cause trouble, want to derail your best ideas and need to make others feel inferior to make themselves feel important.
While there’s a lot of useful information at the Amazon Seller Community, remember this: The people who are most successful at online bookselling are too busy buying, selling and packaging to participate regularly in forums.
Other sales venues also have forums, but none are as active as Amazon’s.
The other articles here on BookRescuer.com have useful information about bookselling too. I hope you’ll read my explanation about how bookselling is still a viable online business and my brief descriptions of some of the online booksellers that welcome your third-party listings.
Path 2: Read The Book About Online Bookselling
When I started to sell used books online, there was only one book available on the subject. Now, there are several — as well as dozens of ebooks, most rehashing the same dated information.
The best book on the subject that I’ve found is The Home-Based Bookstore: Start Your Own Business Selling Used Books on Amazon, eBay or Your Own Web Site by Steve Weber. Once you’ve looked around online and decided you want to get serious about bookselling, it’s time to buy Weber’s book.
Weber has been in the bookselling business a little longer than I have, but he has focused much of his attention in recent years on writing books about the topic and related ones including buying for resale using a barcode scanner, selling on eBay and marketing your book project.
The book business has changed more quickly than Weber has been able to update the book, but even though some details may be a bit out of date, the principles behind the information and advice are correct.
I created my SKU system — the system for numbering and organizing my books — from the advice in Weber’s book, and the book also helped me confirm that the way I was doing business was in line with what others had found to be the best practices.
In addition to discussing where to find books to sell online, Weber’s bookselling book explains how to grade and price books, how to handle customer complaints and more. It even touches on the legal and tax implications of a home-based sole proprietorship business.
Path 3: Get Started And Learn The Ropes For Yourself
After you’ve explored a bit online and read Weber’s books (and perhaps some of the other books about online bookselling), you’re ready to get started. The book business isn’t complicated, so don’t spend too much time preparing.
I suggest you start small and jump right in. If you aren’t sure where to begin, start by listing a few items on Amazon. This respected and well-known selling venue offers the most buyers, has the most extensive help section and provides the best listing tools.
If you decide to list on multiple venues, you’ll need to work with an inventory management company like The Art of Books. If you plan to maintain an inventory of more than a few dozens books, you’ll need a system to organize your books. But you have plenty of time to learn the ropes as you go along.
If you want to sell books online, there’s no reason to let anything stop you. The field isn’t as open and the sales don’t come as easily as they once did, but online bookselling is a fun and interesting way to make money for those who are willing to learn the business.