Thursday, November 30, 2006

Number Crunching

Every year I think "this is the year that I will be a big girl and do our taxes all by myself." Then the Client Organizer from the accountant arrives in the mail shortly after Thanksgiving and I come to my senses. I spend a half hour filling out the Client Organizer, the accountant prepares the tax return and it's ready a day or two later. I give him $200 and within a couple of weeks both tax refunds are automatically deposited in our account. Cutting the $200 check is an "ouch" moment but I figure a relationship with an accountant is important. I'll have someone to call in a panic if we're ever audited or if I ever have a ton of money and need some advice about tax shelters.

Anyway, I have spent some time printing out Quicken reports from the last few months. Remember those eBay store fee increases last August? To my great surprise, the earnings from our eBay store, which now has only 50 Buy It Now items and 5-10 auctions per week, nearly exceeded our earnings from Amazon during a four week stretch in September-October. On Amazon we have 2000 books listed. Our Amazon earnings were not unusually low and there were no valuable books in our eBay store. It was a matter of a $30 sale here, a $50 sale there and dang if those 50 eBay books didn't nearly beat the 2000 Amazon books. Amazon has since resumed its place as our number one revenue stream but our eBay store with 50 items now steadily generates more revenue than it did when we had 2000 items in the store before the fee hike.

Less really is more. As fun as it is to come with a fresh batch of books from a sale, removing dead weight from the inventory is almost as satisfying. So is sprucing up descriptions and repricing books and seeing them sell quickly as a result. Spending a few hours focusing my attention on the books I already have is always as productive as a few hours in the field.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read you use Quicken. I'm still flying under the radar - I give the war machine enough money from my day job but the plan is go legal in about 5 years. Do you used Quicken or Quick Books? I have Quicken and use it and I'd like to do the same for the books -are you willing to provide some tips? (or do an article for Bookthink!)

6:48 AM  

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