Peter Valley is a book sourcing expert and is well-known for his ability to find valuable inventory in places most booksellers overlook.
I’m pleased to have made his acquaintance and more than delighted that he has consented to share some of his best bookselling advice to my readers.
Peter has been selling online for a number of years and he has published several valuable books on the proper way to source inventory and use Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) to maximize profits.
He publishes a popular blog called FBA Mastery as well as a newsletter in addition to being a full-time book scout grossing well over $100,000 per year in sales.
If you’re looking for sound business advice about locating and selling used books online, then you can’t go wrong by listening to what Peter has to say.
Welcome to the blog Peter. I'm delighted that you’re willing to share your secrets of success with InternetBookselling.com today.
When did you get started selling books on the Internet and why did you choose this business for yourself?
Peter Valley: I started in 2007, when I lived in Los Angeles. My girlfriend and I would frequent garage sales around Pasadena, and pick up books to resell in a very scattershot fashion. This was in the days when you could pick up a random book and have a reasonable chance of it being worth money on Amazon (this is no longer the case). At one of our first sales, we picked up O Rio De Janeiro: A Photographic Journal, for $1. We sold it immediately for over $400.
What did you know about the book selling business before you got started?
Peter Valley: Less than nothing. I literally overheard a couple at a garage [sale] talking about reselling books, and that eavesdropped conversation was my light bulb moment.
Like a lot of Amazon sellers, I started selling a hodgepodge of items on eBay – most of it things I found in dumpsters (no kidding). Books became a logical transition for me and many sellers, because they are abundant, and their value can be ascertained in an instant.
What kind of information do you give in Amazon Autopilot?
Peter Valley: ”Amazon Autopilot” is a complete guide to launching a used book & media business with Fulfillment by Amazon, and quickly get to several thousand dollars a month in profit (and beyond).
I wrote it because I felt most of the information out there either held back important details (like sources), or was outright wrong. I wrote the book I wish I had when I got started.
How much time and money will someone need to devote to this business to earn a few thousand dollars per month?
Peter Valley: With equipment and software, it’s less than $500 out of the gate. There are many variables with inventory, but it’s not hard to hit that target with 1,000 units for sale. That sounds like a lot, but it’s much easier than it sounds when you know where to source.
What are some of the best ways you've discovered to locate books suitable for selling online?
Peter Valley: The absolute best sources are always the blind spots no other sellers are touching. I’ve been having recent success heavily “flyering” professors offices at the university across the street from my house. No other seller is thinking of that.
The low-hanging fruit will always be the garage sales and second hand stores. But competition there is usually fierce.
My [most recent] book, “Book Sourcing Secrets” covers this in detail.
Everyone knows Amazon.com sells books online. Do you recommend other platforms such as eBay.com (or anyone else) to sell books online as well?
Peter Valley: It’s hard for me to see the value of selling books on platforms other than Amazon (the exception being books to the collector market on Abe.com). Amazon has the traffic, and it is considered the place to go for books. There’s profit to be made on eBay, but if you wanted to dedicate your time to the highest-yield effort, that’s 100% Amazon.
What kinds of challenges will someone trying to make money selling books online face?
Peter Valley: Any business with a low barrier to entry will attract a lot of competition. Because it’s easy to get started on Amazon, the competition can be ruthless.
The solution is intelligent pricing practices, a willingness to sit on items for months before they sell, and identifying sources your competition is overlooking.
Do you have any parting advice for readers who may be interested in starting their own bookselling business?
Peter Valley: Listen to what everyone is chattering about on the internet, and go [in] the opposite direction. Find sources no one else knows about, buy books no one else is buying, and list a ton of product consistently. You only have to be 20% better than your competition to do three times their revenue.
Thank you very much Peter for making time in your busy schedule to provide such fantastic advice. I’m sure most of my readers will benefit greatly from your experience and generousity in sharing your knowledge.
Readers can learn more about Peter and his valuable book Amazon Autopilot at FBA Mastery.com.
There are many great books chock full of ideas about how to profit from selling used books online. To find them just click the “GO” link next to the Search box below and you’ll be shown hundreds of titles like the sample books you see pictured:
Joe Waynick is author of several eCommerce books covering the bookselling and publishing industry. His books are available on Amazon.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @JoeWaynick.
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