Buying and Selling Books Online: Doing it Part Time

Do you realize you can sell the books you’re reading for cash?

Are you one of those people who likes to have a book in-hand to read, but you’re finding that you have boxes and shelves of them now? Or is it more that someone else in your family accumulates books and has finally agreed to whittle away at the pile of books? Here are some of your options for what to do with those books:

  • Take them to a local library (if they don’t use them on their shelves they can sell them to raise money for the library.)
  • Donate them to a second-hand store near you.
  • Give them away to a friend (depending on the friend and the books, they may or may not appreciate that.)

Guess what? People, like my husband and I, go to those sales and stores and pick up the ones that we can resell for profit. That’s book arbitrage. We source books online and locally then sell them online for a profit. That profit could be yours.

You could be selling those books for cash online.

However, maybe you’re saying, “I’d rather sell books near me and not mess with the internet,” “Where can I sell my books in person?” Well, you do have some options in that case. Here are a few of them.

  1. Use a Facebook Post to broadcast your desire to sell your books and invite your friends to come by and purchase the ones they want (then donate the rest or one of the following.)
  2. You could have a garage sale and sell the books individually or by the box (depending on your motivation to sell them.)
  3. Take them to a used-book store and get either cash or credit for those books. If you have several boxes of books, you might need to bring in only a couple of boxes at a time (depending on the bookstore.)

I think you should think about selling them online and here are some of your options:

  • Sell them on Ebay. I think its platform is really easy to use. You need to be prepared to ship the books promptly after they’ve been paid for. Please don’t ship them before you receive the payment confirmation. You’ll save yourself some grief that way. Click here to learn to sell on their platform.
  • Sell them using Craigslist. If you do that and sell them locally, you can meet up with someone at a public space and exchange the books for payment. This especially works well if you want to sell several boxes of books. For more information, you can take a look at Craiglist forums.
  • You can look to see if Amazon will let you trade in a book that is in good condition. This is most likely to be a possibility if you have fairly current textbooks in good condition. Check here to find out about Amazon Trade-Ins and what that’s all about.

If you find yourself enjoying the process of selling books online when you get your feet wet, you might want to think about doing it part-time to help with vacation expenses, groceries, college, retirement (you fill in the blank,) then you might want to think about this next idea.

Selling books on Amazon (using Amazon FBA)

This takes a little more set-up and training, but once you’re set up it’s a great way to sell books part-time. You buy the books and send them into Amazon and they sell them from their website and pull and ship your books when someone orders them. You don’t have to warehouse your books and you don’t have to send boxes and boxes of books, just send in a box full as you get them. There are some very important considerations if you decide to do that:

  • Make sure the books rank well and will sell quickly. We use a scanner to make sure of that (you can take a look at our scanner in action on this Facebook Live event.
  • Make sure you know what the quantities are that Amazon already has in stock (especially with other FBA sellers.) The scanner we use also tells us that.
  • Make sure the book is in at least good condition, don’t send in anything that is “acceptable,” they generally get you bad reviews.
  • Make sure to keep track of your prices (Know how much the Amazon FBA warehouse fees and shipping and handling are going to cost you when you’re figuring out your profit margin. You can use this tool to help you do that: Amazon FBA Profitability Calculator

If you’re interested, but you’re finding your head spinning already, let me tell you that this is a really good home business model and you can get help learning how to dive in.

And the Basic Training is free (We call it BIBS – Business of Internet Book Selling.)

If you want to find out if buying and selling used books online is something that interests you, the video tutorials that PBA (my husband) offers. He discusses how we source our books, how to sell them and the tools that we use to help us so that our business is profitable.

In fact, we made $100,000 in sales our first year because we needed this business to support our whole family. It wasn’t part-time for us. We worked really hard together (some it was fun!) We also made the decision to take out a loan to fund our first Text Book Season and we were blown away by the results (even with some of the mistakes we made.)

I think the most ideal way for some people to start this is little by little so that there is less pressure and more time to learn the ropes. Sourcing books online and locally while sending in a box or so a month then re-investing the money for a while to gain experience.

By the way, my husband sent me this snippet of the books we sold from what he already had sitting on his bookshelves at his office. Here’s what he said, “…shows the books I sold that I had owned…made a total of 149.63 and the average sale time was 47 days.”

screen shot of books we sold that we already owned

“…shows the books I sold that I had owned…made a total of 149.63 and the average sale time was 47 days.” – PBA

Do you have over a hundred dollars sitting on your shelf?

The tools made the difference for us.

If you want to find out what tools we use and how we built our book business then sign up on our email list below and we’ll send you updates about what we’re doing and the tools we use. If you really want help with growing your own (from home) business by selling books online, you should think about purchasing a BIBS Basic Membership!