Is the American Dream Really Dead?
Everyday in the news there are more and more stories about how the middle class is shrinking, wages are falling, and some new celebrity is racist from something that he/she did 10 years ago. All of these stories depress me, which is why I rarely watch the news.
But we rarely hear the other side of the coin about the economy- that there are more ways than ever before to make money on your own time.
If you read some of my older posts about selling used clothing, printer ink, and even outdated electronics online than you know that there are hundreds of different things to sell on the Internet for some serious money- as much as $100+ profit for one thing.
But, for all my talk about selling used items, one thing I haven’t talked about yet is selling books on Amazon.
There’s a Market for Used Books?
Not only is there a market for used books, but the profits can also be huge. Last week I found a book that I’m selling for about $120 profit:
Last Monday I decided to send out a book shipment that week. I was going away later in the week, so I only had until Tuesday night to finish the shipment.
Monday night I went to a used book store that’s half a mile away from my apartment. This book store has a dollar book shelf where they sell books they’ve had for a while for $1. Over the past year on this cart alone, I’ve gotten hundreds and hundreds dollars of profits.
I found about 11 books at this place for $11.
The next day, Tuesday, I had work at the health food store that I work at part time. I had to be at work at 1PM, but impulsively decided to stop at a Goodwill that’s near my job on my way. It was 12:40PM at the time.
‘It’s fine.’ I told myself. ‘I’ll just stay for 10 minutes’.
I ended up getting to work around 1:30 (my boss didn’t care) because I found dozens of profitable books in that short amount of time.
Because I was leaving the next day (Wednesday) I had to do the book shipment that night. I got off work at 8:30PM, then ate dinner and watched a show on Netflix, so I started the book shipment around 10:00PM.
I finished scanning all the books in before midnight. The estimated total profit of these books is over $300:
It took me less than 2 hours to find these books, and about two hours to scan and box all the books to send to the Amazon warehouse.
3 Great Things about Selling Used Books Online
There are several other benefits to selling books online. Here are a few of them:
Amazon will do most of the work
A lot of people complain that Amazon takes a lot in fees, and they do have a point. The Postage to the Amazon warehouse, along with the seller fees, monthly storage fees, fulfillment fees, and possible prep and placement fees, can eat up more than 40% of your possible profits.
But, in my opinion, selling on Amazon is still worth it. Just look around the web and you’ll see dozens of stories of people still making millions of dollars a year selling things on Amazon.
And, like your read above, I still find hundreds of dollars profit worth of stuff in just a couple hours.
Also by using their FBA program all you need to do is find the books, upload them to the Amazon site, and ship them to the warehouse.
When you ship things to the Amazon warehouse your products become part of Amazon Prime Program because Amazon is in possession of the item.
The only other option to sell on Amazon is to sell it Merchant Fulfilled (MF). This is similar to eBay- you hold the item until it sells, and then ship it out yourself if it does.
People trust Amazon, so by selling your products FBA and making them Prime Eligible people will pay significantly more money (assuming it’s an in demand product) than if you were selling them by yourself. How many times have you bought something from Amazon that wasn’t eligible for Amazon Prime?
The reason that I’m able to sell the Goldfish book above for more than $180 ($120+ profit) is because I’m the only Prime seller and the book is popular. By using the FBA service I’m able to ask for a lot more money.
Once you send your books to Amazon, they’ll then do all of the storage, and shipping, and dealing with customer returns. Not having to store 700 books in my apartment, and buy postage and ship out 150 books a month is worth the fees:
Speaking of shipping books, that’s the next benefit.
2. Shipping books is easy
I had to use almost a whole roll of bubblewrap and cut up a cardboard box to make it fit this dehumidifier. It took me an hour.
But shipping books to Amazon is easy, and can even be fun- fitting the books inside the boxes is like a game of Tetris.
-See my last post about how to get free shipping supplies for your e-commerce business-
Also the boxes can only be 50 pounds max when you send things to Amazon, so this weight limit makes lifting the boxes manageable.
Thankfully, Amazon has teamed up with the Fedex and UPS so the cost of shipping to the warehouse is significantly discounted-I find that Fedex is usually the cheapest option for me.
The other week I shipped over 180 pounds of books to the Amazon warehouse for less than $35 using Fedex. Sometimes I pay even less than this.
Also books aren’t fragile, so they don’t need much padding in the box. I just fill the few empty spaces in the box with bubblewrap or packing paper to stop them from shifting around.
3. Books are plentiful and cheap
The best thing about selling used books is that they’re everywhere. I find thousands of dollars profit of used books in the places that are in a few miles of my apartment.
Affluent areas usually have more books, so if you live somewhere without a lot there’s a nearby town or city that’s just a short car or bus ride away that’ll have more profitable books.
Most fiction books are worthless, so I can usually just scan the non-fiction books. I still find dozens most times I go out looking.
95%+ of the books I buy to resell cost me less than $5. The Goodwills around me usually sell soft cover books for $1, and bigger hardcover books for $2. Besides selling things around your house, books are the cheapest way to get things to sell online.
I know this post didn’t talk about the specifics of book selling because that requires a whole post (or a few). So check back soon for new posts about how I find, and send books to Amazon.
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