How do I know? I keep casually sourcing used books and media (CDs, DVDs) and make a killer profit margin. I spend just 3 to 5 hours a month (total) in local thrift stores and on used book sites like AbeBooks. Just some of my results are:
- This $29 sale (I paid $3 locally)
- This $17 sale (I paid $2 locally)
- This $19 sale (I paid $3 locally)
- This $14 sale (I paid $2 locally)
- This $25 sale (I paid $6 online)
That's a net profit, after the cost of inventory and Amazon fees, of $51 (for a $16 investment), or over 200+% ROI.
If you're thinking "Jordan, that's not as good as it used to be", I agree for 3 reasons: 1.) Amazon's fees have increased over the years; 2.) Acquisition costs (price paid per book) are higher because thrift stores are the easiest way to get books - many thrift stores have 'caught on' and are pricing their books higher accordingly, and 3.) competition (other sellers with scanners) can be thick.
But, those margins can't be beat. And remember I'm a casual book seller. There are guys and gals that are whole-hog into used book sourcing making a lot of money.
You can do it too. Years ago I learned about the used book business from a couple experts including Nathan Holmquist. He provided the guest column below (reprinted with his permission) about how to use Craigslist to source books. You can also grab his free "How To" ebook here (instant download) or click the image above.
From Nathan Holmquist:
How to Find Inventory on CraigsList
On Craigslist, there are three sections that I look at for resale opportunities:
2) Garage Sale
Books - Most of the time people are selling single titles or a few fiction books. However, sometimes people are selling their entire book collection. Students will often sell their textbooks here as well. I usually offer them half of what their asking for and negotiate from there.
Garage Sale - This section lists garage sales, yard sales, and moving sales. I always look at the description to see if it's worth the drive.
Free - Occasionally people will give their books away. When this happens, you will want to respond quickly.