Making money in this business is not drop dead easy. If you've been selling used books for more than a few months, you're probably aware that competition has grown on the sales end, both from mega sellers and the entry of new sellers.
The end result is the seemingly never ending race to the bottom for book prices. In addition, it's getting harder and harder to find good deals. The thrift stores, rummage sales, yard sales and estate sales always seem to be picked clean before you get there.
Library sales have turned into UFC brawls. Where it used to be a sure thing that a morning of book scouting would generate some real diamonds and a couple of boxes of steady sellers, some days now you're lucky to break even on gas expenses. That's where my marketing knowledge has helped me as a used book seller.
Over time I learned that the money isn't made when you sell books. The money is made when you buy them! So instead of spending a lot of time on where to sell used books, we're going to focus on where to buy used books.
Quick Start Tip!
One of the first things I did when I started out was to get lettering on the side of my vehicle advertising the fact that "We Buy Books."
I included my phone number and company name, but I could have left the company name off, saved myself $25 of the $85 cost, and still made money.
I've landed at least five big deals as a direct result of incoming phone calls because of that lettering. Those calls resulted in thousands of dollars of sales as a used book seller and a lot of inventory to list online.
Even more to the point, in my small rural area, I became "Paul, the Book guy." People would stop me at the post office, in the coffee shop or while shopping for groceries because they, or someone they knew, wanted to sell used books to me that someone needed to get rid of.
Even thought I'm still a used book seller, I haven't had that vehicle or sign for over a year now, and I still get calls from people who wrote the phone number down because they thought they would need it one day.
Get On The Map
I'm also happy to say that if you go to Google Maps, and type in "Books near Hastings On" my Google Places listing comes up in first place.
In fact, until recently, if you typed in "Books near Campbellford On" I would come up first, in front of Kerr's Books; an actual brick and mortar store in that town that's 15 miles away.
I finally told Tom Kerr about it and it looks like he has taken some steps because now I show up #3.
You can easily dominate your local area as a used book seller by activating a Google Places listing for your business, focusing on the "buying" aspect of book selling. Don't worry about your Amazon pricing strategy just yet.
There's room in your "Places" listing to tell online searchers that you buy books, the type you want, and an invitation for them to contact you for more info.
Do you have a website? Why not? You can get a site up and running for $4.00 a month, using Weebly.com. They have templates with a drop dead easy process for getting a site in place.
Again, your focus wouldn't be on selling books, but on buying them. Imagine someone going to Google to search for local book buyers.
The Google keyword tool suggests that the phrase "where can you sell books" is searched for 368,000 times a month in the US. How many of those searchers are finding you? You know why they aren't finding you? Because you're not marketing to them!
Online marketing isn't a magic bullet, but it's a tool you can use. It's not rocket science either. It just takes a little learning and some time and application as a used book seller.
If you would like to know more, you can visit my website, bootstraplocalmarketing.com, or shoot me a private message on the board. Or, you can buy my book by clicking here.
Take care, and as Joe Waynick says, Good Hunting!
Paul Stevens, author
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