Finding Books
in Used Book Stores

By Joe Waynick

One of the most lucrative sources of inventory is often used book stores. Although a brick and mortar bookstore may be selling books on the Internet, the chances are good that you’ll still be able to find used books suitable for resale.

Used book stores can be good sources for books

You would think that a brick and mortar book store would be wise to the value of books. But that’s not always the case.

The reason is because most independent used book stores specialize in one or two genre and will often misprice books outside the store’s specialty.

For example, some stores sell Christian books, others sell fiction books (romance, mystery, horror, etc). A further highly popular segmentation in the book store business of the fiction genre is sci fi books (science fiction).

Used bookstores can also specialize in non-fiction books, such as military history, cookbooks, business, self-help, and dozens more.

No one can know everything about the prices of specific books. Therefore, a sharp book scout can pick up a few diamonds if properly prepared with the right knowledge and equipment.

The right equipment always includes barcode wireless scanners for scanning barcodes on the backs of books, and an extra battery. The knowledge you need for selling used books you can get right here on this website.

How to Find Books

You should approach used book stores just like any other book scouting opportunity. However, a few book store owners don’t like book scouts and will ask you not to scan. But most will pretty much ignore you.

If the bookstore you’re visiting specializes in a certain genre, confine your efforts to areas in which the store may be weak.

For example, if the bookstore owner is a Christian bookseller, scan books in the military history, art, business, or self-help sections of the store.

If the brick and mortar book store specializes in selling fiction books, then scan non-fiction books, DVDs, and CDs. Always look for the weak spot.

Once you find valuable books you’ll need to know where to sell used books to profit from your business. This website gives you hundreds of ideas that put money in your pocket.

A safety net counters declining prices due to competition

Give Yourself a Safety Net

When scanning books in used bookstores the prices you pay will vary greatly. Make sure you maintain a healthy spread between the cost of the books and the potential sale price when you sell books online. Use the Amazon sales rank to give yourself an idea of what multiple to use.

For example, if the sales rank is below 10,000 I wouldn’t hesitate to buy used books that only doubled my money because I know they’ll sell quickly and give me a high annual return on investment.

Anything above 10,000 I’d want to triple my money. Above 500,000 you want to quadruple your money to make the purchase reasonably safe for used book sales on the Internet.

Set a Minimum Price

Don’t work for pennies! Set a minimum sale price for books you buy. For example, vow not to buy and sell books that are currently selling for less than $8 online and at least three times your cost.

The only exception is if the sales rank is below 10,000.

At that level it's okay if used book sales only double your cash, regardless of the selling price, because used books sell more rapidly at the lower sales rank.

Books with an Amazon sales ranking above 100,000 should command a higher minimum, for example $10 or more.

Another example is a book with a sales rank above 500,000 should bring in $15 or more. The multiples previously mentioned still apply.

Start a book store scouting map to plan your routes

Have a Plan

Develop a route that makes the most efficient use of your time. Go to Map Software for Booksellers to learn about a few helpful software mapping tools to make your life easier.

Work systematically, remaining in one subject category until you’ve scanned every book of interest before moving on. Be a consistent book scouter and look for books as often as possible.

Always be prepared by carrying your scanning tools with you at all times. You never know when you'll stumble upon a great source of books.

Good hunting!

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Learn the best techniques for buying books in used book stores for resale on the Internet.

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