Learning how the expert book scout uses scouting tools to maximize his or her effectiveness in finding the most valuable books possible is fun and profitable.
You've already learned that the best products to sell online are books, DVDs, CDs, and new and used VHS tapes. Now we need to learn how to find used books and digital media quickly and inexpensively.
Create Your Book Scouting Territory
There are dozens of sources I use to buy books. It's important to have a variety of places to look because on any given day one source may be more lucrative than others.
In addition, each source must have adequate time to replenish its stock before you hit that location again or you'll just waste your time.
Instead of wasting time, spend it visiting multiple sources of supply.
Traveling from place to place buying books to resell for profit makes you a book scout. Congratulations! You're in the club.
The most efficient way to scout for books is to build a route of targeted locations where you know you stand a good chance of finding high quality books suitable for resale.
It's one of the most basic ways to make quick money when you start selling books.
If you're scouting part-time, you want four or fewer stops on your route for weekday book hunting.
If you're scouting full-time, you want eight to ten stops on your route to make the most of your scouting day.
You may have one or two more or one or two less stops on your route, depending on how far apart each location is from one another.
On weekends, part-timers want to use a full route to maximize their efforts.
I have ten different routes with eight to twelve locations on each one. That allows me to hit each location once every two weeks. Most full-time used book dealers can easily handle a schedule like that.
I'll revisit my better locations more frequently if there's another book scouter or two competing with me for those books.
There are two tools I use to build and track my routes. The first tool is Google Maps. You can build an awesome book scouting route with up to ten locations absolutely free. You get a really nice map of your territory and turn-by-turn directions to each stop.
Once I got a little bigger, I found a second totally awesome mapping tool for finding products to sell online. It's a desktop software program called Microsoft Streets & Trips 2011
. You'll pay under $40 for the product, but it doesn't have the ten location limitation like Google Maps.
In addition, the product comes with a grip of features and functions including, maps of your territory, color coded on-screen identification of stops, turn-by-turn directions, sorting, filtering, and much more.
To get more information about Google Maps and Streets & Trips take a look at the map software link that I've created. Your book routes are some of your most valuable scouting tools, so guard them well!
Bring Good Equipment
Few tools give a bookscout a more powerful competitive advantage than a handheld book scanner device to scan bar codes on the back of books.
These devices allow you to make split second decisions on whether to buy a book for resale based on the popularity of the book, how many other booksellers are offering the book for sale, and the price the book is currently selling for online.
Of course, nothing beats old fashioned brain power when hunting for rare antiquarian books. But in-between those coveted discoveries, you have to eat, pay room-and-board, and have a few spare coins in your pocket.
You pay your bills with what I call "bread-and-butter" sales, and that's where the pocket pc scanner device shines. It helps you find the more common books with amazing regularity. These are books that sell for $8 - $20 every single day.
When you make 20 or 30 bread-and-butter sales per day, you can afford to wait for the $100 to $300 sale without losing your mind worrying about bill collectors.
This is how I sell my used books. If you make these techniques part of your daily routine, you'll be an expert in no time.
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