Salvation Army Thrift Stores
Thrift Stores are one of the most lucrative sources for book scouting. And Salvation Army thrift stores are no exception.
Most thrift stores are non-profit and they get book donations along with clothing, shoes, appliances, electronics, and just about anything else you can imagine.
Due the fact that they get their books for free and that they don’t pay state or federal income taxes, they’re able to offer the book scouter an amazingly low thrift store price for highly valuable books. This is a bookseller's dream and you should fully leverage this source.
For example, on a recent trip to Salvation Army thrift stores closest to my home, I scored several books for $1 each that were selling online for $15 or more. That’s a fantastic return on investment!
But the really great part of book scouting in thrift stores is they receive a steady stream of book donations. Consequently, they're able to add new books to their shelves every single day--in many stores they restock their shelves at least twice daily. With new books appearing on their shelves every 4-5 hours, it doesn't take many Salvation Army thrift stores to support a full-time book scout.
To make the most of your time you need to make a map of all the local thrift stores in your area. For example, if you live in Houston, Texas, you want to use map software to create a scouting route of the Salvation Army thrift stores in Houston.
Once you have your route you should plan to visit as often as possible. There are numerous reasons for frequent visits, such as getting to know the restocking personnel, learning the restocking schedule, camping out, and book placement. These represent some of the thrift store shopping challenges you’ll encounter as you work your business each day. What do these things mean? Let’s discuss them...
Know The Store Personnel
Nothing beats inside information. On Wall Street you go to prison for using inside information to gain an advantage over the competitors. In bookselling, it's a must! And that’s exactly what I do at thrift stores in my area.
Find out who stocks the bookshelves in the Salvation Army thrift stores in your area. Do your best to become friends. Smile a lot, and offer to help straighten up the bookshelves when you see store employees struggling with them.
| Thrift store books are notorious for getting disorganized. Offer to help.
Ask how he or she likes the shelves left after someone browses and pledge to leave them that way whenever you're there. Believe me you'll earn major brownie points for that one! Whenever you're able to develop strong relationships with employees those locations will be your best thrift stores for book scouting.
Learn The Restocking Schedule
Most stores restock the bookshelves at specific times each day. For instance, 11:00 am and 3:00 pm -- give or take 30 minutes. In fact, one of the first questions you want to do after befriending the restocking clerk is to find out when the bookshelves restocked.
Armed with that information, you want to try to time your visits for those times as often as possible. That way you'll be the first to get the new inventory when thrift store prospecting.
Vary Your Techniques
Many strategies can be applied to different family thrift store chains universally. Other strategies work better is some stores vs. others.
For example, the "camping out" strategy seems to work particularly well in Goodwill Thrift Stores. And the "book placement" technique seems to work well with Savers Thrift Stores.
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