Book Selling Business:
Rural Book
Scouting Ideas

By Joe Waynick
June 29, 2013

Recently, a book selling business owner named Carol asked on my bookseller's forum how she could find more inventory in rural areas.

It seems that where she lives there aren't very many public libraries, third stores, or any of the other traditional scouting locations discussed in Internet Bookselling Made Easy!

I always love it when readers ask me questions. What's even better is when another reader gives an excellent response that I couldn't have said better myself. That's exactly what happened when another reader, Paul Stevens, author of Online Marketing for Your Local Business came to her assistance.

Paul's response was so good that I felt compelled to share it with the public at large. So in this article I'm reproducing Carol's question and Paul's articulate response. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

Carol's Original Question

"I wonder how many folks live in a rural area and have been successful with their scouting efforts. Only been doing this three months now and trying to get a route that works --- I realize that finding decent inventory is everything. Been having difficulty finding a number of worthwhile books to sell online and maybe part of the problem is that I've been scouting thrift shops in sparsely populated areas ... 30,000+

If you want to hear more from Paul and Carol all you have to do is click over to my Forum Guidelines page and sign up for a free membership.

It's a little over 50 miles to a metropolitan area and definitely will map a route to investigate the big city next week. So, are the most successful internet booksellers living in the city and the suburbs? Am I on the right track gravitating towards urbania?

Sort'ave thinking aloud but really want to hear where other people are selling and if the size of the population has a huge impact on inventory quality.


Paul's Response – Part I

I live in a town of 1,200. Next nearest town is 12 minutes away and has a [population] of 1,800. [A] 35 minute drive in one direction leads to a town of 80,000 and finally, a 30 minute drive to a town of 30,000 in the other direction. To advertise my business I did the following:

  • I had a regular route that I drove for my local area's thrifts and libraries. Once a week I visited each. I also advertised that I buy books in Kijiji.
  • I had lettering put on my car advertising my business and saying "We Buy Books."
  • I put up small signs on grocery store pin up boards saying "I buy books."
  • I attended two weekly local auctions every week (at least to preview to see if there was anything worth buying).
  • I paid $200 to run a classified ad in the larger towns daily newspaper saying "We buy books."

These have been among my most useful sources, and the ad paid for itself 6 or 7 times over. I haven't gone back to it because I have been doing well with other venues.

Click here for Part II of Paul's answer…

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