Is Selling Software Online Profitable
for Used Booksellers?

By Joe Waynick

Selling software online can be very complicated.

In my naïveté during the early days I purchased popular software programs thinking I was going to make a decent profit when in fact those programs still sit on my bookshelves to this day.

It's possible to earn reasonable profits selling used software online, but it's definitely a specialize niche.

In this article we'll look at both sides of the story of online booksellers who buy and sell software online.

The Bad News

We all want a profitable home based business. But the truth is that the market for old software is very narrow.

Yet you can find old versions of most popular software titles listed online in almost every marketplace, including the big three; Amazon, AbeBooks, and Alibris.

This is especially true of the more well-known office productivity titles like Microsoft Office, which by the way, sell very well. In fact, as of July 2012 I still use Office 2003 because I like it so much.

Needless to say, there are people out there who do make money selling software. They typically specialize in vintage software categories such as old DOS video games.

I don't have too many steamy online profit secrets to divulge about old software titles like there are when you sell used books. But that's just because my comfort zone is books.

I'm far more successful when I sell computer books as opposed to computer software. Better still, give me a top selling business book like Good to Great and I'll flip it in no time at all.

But my shortcomings aside, there's good money that can be made selling vintage software online if you know what to look for.

The Good News

Top book sellers do sell more than just books. That's why it's possible to earn money selling software online.

Websites like Retro Software can sell your used programs fast, but you won't get very much for them.

If you can resist the temptation to go after the quick buck to try and make online profits fast, a better idea is selling old software on eBay.com where you might earn considerably more.

To get the very best price it's helpful if you have the original box, disk, and manuals that came with your purchase.

Telling you to have the original disk may seem obvious, but many people try to pass off their "backup" disk as the real thing. Or unscrupulous dealers will start selling OEM software (Original Equipment Manufacturer) disks as original. Neither is true.

You can get the jump on your competition if you have the real McCoy and loudly state so in your listing. If you don't, then honestly describe what you have and you may still attract a buyer.

That's exactly what I do when I sell my books online, and it's no different when I sell software online.

A Few Good Scores

My successes with software has always been with relatively new releases of specialized programs that address a specific educational need.

The key phrase here is relatively new. Knowing the publication date is crucial in the software market.

That's because buying most out-of-date programs get you nowhere.

Nevertheless, I've had a couple of wins selling software online.

A couple of my best sellers have been Delmar's Heart & Lung Sounds for $21.00 and Digital Texturing and Painting for $26.00. I paid an average of $3 for each program. Profits like those are available every day if you're willing to work for them.

Look Before You Leap

Selling software online is tough business, especially used software.

It can be done, but frankly, I think there are easier ways to make money online. No one wants to start a home-based business and lose money.

However, the reluctance of people like me to jump into this area of online selling may make it easier for others to turn a buck.

That's just fine with me. When I have books to sell I'm happy as a clam. No online seller can be all things to all people. Selling software online simply isn't my cup of tea. That doesn't mean you can't do it.

Therefore, I think I'll remain content with my Amazon book selling business.

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