Since I get a lot of key word hits on buying and selling used books online I thought I’d revisit the topic. An acquaintance of mine was featured briefly on Oprah for buying and selling 18,000 books online in one year. He (runs his book trading business from the Island of Frenchboro, Maine (pop. 50) and I know of many island and coastal dwellers who buy and sell used and rare books for a living. One of the reasons book selling is so popular on the Maine coast (and other coastlines) is because many famous artists, writers, actors and actresses come to live or vacation in the summer months to get away from it all and “hide out” from the rest of the world. These people are usually well-educated, well-traveled and have a well stocked library with some very interesting and rare books… but depending on who they are, even an average book with their signature of ownership on the inside cover can bring in a pretty penny. These summer estates are usually second, third, or fourth homes for the rich and famous, so when they die or sell the estate, the content usually ends up being sold to local auctions or book buyers for a very good price. Sometimes they send someone to retrieve the valuables but the books are often overlooked. Who wants to pack up a bunch of old books and send them half way around the world?
Starting any home business online whether selling used books or any other type of business you choose is an excellent opportunity to make some extra money without the usual headaches. There are none of the conventional rules that are needed when looking for a “brick and mortar” business, like trying to obtain a bank loan or any of that other legal stuff that is needed to start a business. As far as looking for a store front no need for that, just some space in your house or garage where you can store some of your books is all you’ll have to find. You’ll need some packing materials, boxes, shipping labels, maybe boxes to ship the books, and work space. That’s it!
Of course you can always find books at yard, lawn, and estate sales, library sales and even at your own home where you always have books laying around. You may decide that you want to handle all and any types of books to sell or you may want to stay with a certain niche and sell just cook books, mystery, field guides, books by certain authors or specialize in rare and first edition books. Make sure that you let your family and friends know that you are now in the business and have them networking for you, when they see a yard sale or book sale somewhere have them call you. Search the newspapers for sale locations, use Craig’s List to find any sales or to announce your new business, and watch the internet for any sales on books. Have some business cardsmade up at Vista Print and give them out whenever you get the chance to spread the word that you are now in the book business. If you have an existing blog/website not generating much money you can always sell your used & new books on the side. Books will go with any blog or website no matter what the subject. (more…)