Monday, April 09, 2007

For the newbies out there

A friend recently asked me for advice for someone thinking of becoming an online bookseller. After reading my e-mail she said I should post it as a blog entry. I also included some things I recently wrote to a new reader. Here goes:

First, I would direct her attention to my blog, which has all the answers about online bookselling . There are categories in the sidebar like "bookselling tips."

Next, I would tell her to purchase Steve Weber's book about online bookselling called The Home-Based Bookstore.

Third, I would tell her to go to BookThink and read back issues of the newsletter and sign up for the free weekly e-newsletter. There's also a forum, where everyone is exceedingly helpful and polite. The forum also has a section for newbies. The bookselling community is full over overwhelmingly kind and helpful and smart people.
Once she's done some reading then the very best thing to do is go to library sales and grab any book she thinks might be saleable. Book Sale Finder lists all the book sales in the area every week. The more books you handle the more quickly you learn what's saleable and what's junk.

Now, where to list these books? In the beginning it is easier to list on Amazon and not deal much with eBay, until you get more experience, because eBay is time consuming. You can probably list 20 books or more on Amazon in the time it takes to list one book on eBay. Amazon has so much traffic and getting a lot of easy sales early in your bookselling career is encouraging.

Just because you (probably) won't list many books on eBay in the beginning doesn't mean you should avoid it. You should go there everyday and do research. This is as valuable as physically handling the books you find at sales. Look at the completed auctions in a particular book category. Study the auctions that sold for $30 or more. Look very very closely at the books that sold for $30+ that you would've passed on by at a book sale, not thinking they'd be worth anything. This is the best education of all. You will eventually stumble across the same eBay IDs over and over again, and you should study the listings of those sellers.

Now, go forth and sell.
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Anonymous Jim C. said...

That's great advice. I would also tell them to be prepared to buy alot of duds in the beginning (ie that rare book that turns out to be a book club edition). I lost a little bit of money in the beginning when I was learning, but because I enjoy bookselling so much it didn't discourage me.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Lilybeth said...

Awwww. Thanks for my first comment! Wheee! Of course you know that you and your beautiful blog, and your fun blog recommendations are my total inspiration! Photissima

9:19 AM  
Blogger Brenna said...

I am AMAZED at how generous bloggers like you and posters at bookthink are with their experience...and how willing to learn everyone is. To me, this is probably due to even very experienced book sellers realizing how many mysteries and unknowns are out there in the world of books. We are always all going to be students in this realm. I'm trying to focus on a couple of areas to reduce the quantity of data, if not the variables. As a newbie, I'm just getting over my nerves, and while I'm laid up with a sprained ankle for the next 2 days, take what I've got here in the book room and list it on the River. Thanks for your generosity!

1:42 PM  

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