Excel Formula Anything Entered Is Multiplied By A Certain Number Successful Online Booksellers Avoid Buying Firewood – Know a Book’s Value Before You Buy

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Successful Online Booksellers Avoid Buying Firewood – Know a Book’s Value Before You Buy

When I started my online bookselling business about five years ago, buying books for my catalog was hit and miss. The first two hundred books were mostly for expensive firewood. Then, I put the internet to work for me and started looking up book prices before buying books. At the time, the only way to do this was to call my wife (at home) from my cellphone and tell her to look up the ISBN on the Amazon.com website.

It was awkward and slow, but allowed me to buy more books with enough resale value to make a good profit. I know the stores I’m shopping at may have felt a little weird when someone on the receiving end of my phone call pulled out the books and read the ISBN, but it beat buying more firewood.

Then came wireless lookup services that let you type an ISBN into your web-enabled cell phone and get the latest online prices for that title. Personally, I love doing it; It’s like playing so many slot machines that I don’t lose. I type the ISBN number into my phone and wait for the numbers to come up on the screen to see if I have a winner. Of course, some winners sell faster than others, but now, it’s rare that I buy wood and I can usually estimate how long it will take for a book to sell by the Amazon sales rank provided by the lookup service.

There are very few times that I buy a book without looking at it first and it can be put into two categories.

1) When I come across a book that I know I’ve sold before and made a good profit.

2) When I attend a big library book sale and the prices are low enough that I buy everything I can think of. I always end up taking a few bucks from these sales, but I now have enough experience in online book sales that I know the winners far outnumber the losers.

If you are planning to get into online bookselling and haven’t already done so, I encourage you to research wireless lookup services and subscribe to one that suits you. If you go out and blindly buy your inventory, chances are you’ll be stocking your bookshelves with firewood.

Many new online book sellers think that if a book is old, or a classic, it will be a good book to sell. The truth is that these types of books are in demand, but supply far exceeds demand, and many can be bought online for a buck or two.

My own parents are avid readers of all kinds of modern publications, such as novels, suspense, mystery, and even drama. Every year they buy me a new book for my birthday and/or Christmas. Last year they bought me a new and very popular book at their local bookstore. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I hate to see them spend $29.99 plus tax for a book I can buy online for $0.15 plus $3.49 shipping. Since my mom is very active on the internet, I told her where to find books and she now buys all her books online.

This little side story about my parents doesn’t have much to do with wireless lookup services, it just goes to show that even the books you might think would be good online sellers aren’t yet in the front window displays of local bookstores. Always profitable online sellers. There is no direct correlation between brick and mortar store prices and online sales prices. If you are going to sell online, brick and mortar store prices are irrelevant, you need to know online prices and demand.

To further emphasize the irrelevance, about 70% of my online inventory comes from the clearance shelves of brick and mortar bookstores. They have no demand for these books and can’t sell them, so they put them on their clearance shelves and I buy them for about $0.90. I have bought dozens of books from these clearance shelves and sold them for $50+ in the last couple of months. Many others sell for $150+.

The point is, as an online bookseller you need to know the online price and demand for a book before you buy it and there are many lookup services available for $5.00 to $30.00 per month. Any book you use will pay for itself in the first hour of scouting.

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