Local Thrift Stores

By Joe Waynick

By fully leveraging local thrift stores you can find the maximum number of used books when scouting for inventory.

Do thrift stores make money for booksellers? In my previous article I said thrift stores were one of the very best sources for finding used books to sell. That's been my experience with thrift stores in my area.

By following these thrift store guidelines you can increase the profitability of your online book selling business.

But just how do you find stores in your area? Actually, it's pretty simple, and it's a real money-maker.

Finding Local Thrift Stores

You can find thrift stores online by opening your browser and going to YellowPages.com and search for "thrift stores." Chances are you'll find quite a few choices. The most popular thrift stores are:

The above stores are national chains and most likely have local thrift stores in your area. In addition, there are dozens if not hundreds of smaller regional family thrift stores that may service your part of the country. You can start earning money immediately! Some of those names are:

  • Unique Thrift Store
  • Deseret Industries Thrift Stores
  • Habitat For Humanity Thrift Stores

Here's How It Works

The online yellow pages is like a super online thrift store directory. Do a search as described above and I'm sure you'll find many more sources in your local area.

You want to create a series of book scouting routes with approximately one stop for each hour of time you plan to scout.

For example, if you plan to scout three hours per day after you daytime job, you want three stores on your route.

If you plan to scout eight hours per day on Saturday and Sunday, you want at least eight of the best thrift stores on your route. That's 15 minutes driving time between locations and 45 minutes in each location actually scouting.

This is a very easy way of making money off of thrift stores. Booksellers on the web around the world build profit online this way.

"Camping Out"

If you're fortunate enough to live relatively close to one or more particularly lucrative local thrift stores you can try camping out. First you find out when the employees normally stock the shelves.

Most of them don't mind if you make money selling used books, but some are jealous so don't flaunt your success. In fact, some will appreciate you sharing money-making opportunities with them.

Customize your route to maximize your efficiency. Make sure you're able to cover as many locations as possible in the least amount of time.

Since the actual restocking time can vary as much as an hour earlier or an hour later than the expected time, arrive an hour prior to the scheduled restocking and relax.

Get a cup of coffee or cool drink, pull a book off the bookshelf and read. Sometimes, I have to wait two or more hours at my favorite Goodwill thrift store before anything happens.

Stay close to the books so you're there when fresh inventory arrives and you can be the first customer to get the best deals. This works well in stores that routinely offer highly valuable books at rock bottom prices.

This method allows you to find higher quality inventory and sell books for the most money possible. Even if you sell paperback books you can earn profits online.

You can increase your effectiveness by getting to know the personnel in local thrift stores and getting advance notice of when the restocking will happen that day.

If you really want to score points with the staff, you might as well straighten up the bookshelves while you're waiting.

WARNING! Make sure you organize the books the way the store employee(s) like them and not how you like them, or you'll just make the employees mad. That would be bad for your Internet bookselling business.

Do these things while you're camping out and your reputation and "street cred" will soar!

Shelving Observations

You may be able to save yourself a lot of time searching for books in local thrift stores by taking note of how the restocking clerk shelves the books. Some clerks put the fresh inventory at the end of the bookshelf for each genre.

That's far better for you as a book scout because you don't have to hunt through the entire bookshelf for the newer books. You'll already know where to find books by just starting at the end of each shelf and working backwards to see the most recently shelved books first.

This is particularly effective when you're camping out in second hand thrift stores and other customers haven't had a chance to browse and mix them all up. Since you'll be the first to see the new arrivals, you can quickly spot what you want and then move on to the next location.

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