Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Selling Used Books On-Line

As mentioned briefly in recent blog posts, after 20 years, I am now in my last couple of weeks of my Air Force career.  I have hopes for other career options but am choosing this opportunity to do something I've always wanted.  Since I've loved books (and reading them) my entire life, I've long wanted to own my own book store.  I've actually planned to do that for about 15 years now.  But as the years passed and I got closer to that magic date when I would actually be able to achieve my dream, the more it was becoming elusive.  It was at least 10 years ago that I discarded the idea of a traditional new book store.  Afterall, it is darn near impossible to compete with the likes of Barnes & Noble and Borders. 

My thoughts turned to a used book store and while that remains doable, I just don't relish the risk associated with the investment necessary for an actual storefront complete with leasing costs, employee costs, utilities, advertising, etc.  Nor do I want to be tied down to such a full-time commitment.  Besides all that I just don't have the funds available to start up such a venture.  So a few years ago I turned to the idea of an on-line bookstore and have since refined it even further to selling used books on-line via and other venues.  I've done some solid research on the topic and now feel ready to tackle the idea head-on.  I've even managed to accumulate almost 4,000 books (now stacked in boxes in my basement) as my opening inventory.

For my final bit of research I bought three books written by people who have done just what I want to do and I've studied them carefully.  The first one, On-Line Bookselling by Michael Mould I actually read over a year ago as my first piece of formal research and I found it to be excellent.  He covers all of the details and since the author is a structural engineer by day (he runs his book business part time), he is very thorough and exacting in his techniques.  He even includes a CD containing business tools like spreadsheets he uses for accounting, inventory, sales tarcking, etc.  The second book, The Home-Based Bookstore, by Steve Weber appears to be the leader among books on this subject.  I found it to also be excellent.  Of course many of the tips and strategies were similar to the first book but there were enough different aspects to make it worth the cost.  Finally, the third book, The Stay-at Home Mom's Secret Guide to Selling Used Books on Amazon, by Christine Miller was a less formal approach and probably not neccessary to my education.  Her book was more fluff than substance.  For example, she spends almost the first third of the book providing motivation for opening a store in the first place, no doubt aimed at other part-time non-business people to get them to realize it ain't that hard. But she does bring home some points that are worth pondering as I begin my venture, especially in the book scouting chapter.

All in all, these three books have provided me with enough information to get started with this project.  All three have good reference sections loaded with websites for the tools I'll need to be efficient and productive.  While I already know a lot about business processes (I have an MBA and have been a small business consultant) I now know a lot more about the particulars of what makes this niche-business tick.  Hopefully, I'll be able to reduce those 4,000 books down to a more manageable level!

Next up: back to the Advanced Reader's Copies as I pursue another new author for me, Ted Dekker's The Bride Collector.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire