Love books? Consider starting a used book selling business and earn income from home on your own schedule! In this post I share my tips for starting a used book business, selling books from home, places to sell used books, and how to make the most money selling books.
Why start a used book selling business in 2020?
There are a variety of reasons to start a used book selling business, here’s eight great reasons:
- Many, many people love to read and collect books
- Used books are widely available
- Used books can be found at very low cost
- Some books are worth lots of money
- Storing books is very easy, all you need are book shelves and/or space to stack them
- Shipping books is very inexpensive because you can send them through USPS under a classification called “Media Mail”
- There are a variety of places you can sell your books both online and offline
- And, most importantly, keeping books in circulation is very important for sharing information, stories, art and photos for generations
How to start a used book selling business in 2020
Before starting any business, it’s best to do your own research and connect with your business attorney. Here’s eight tips for starting a used book selling business to get you started:
- Register for a Seller’s Permit, which is required by law if you plan to sell tangible goods, such as books.
- Register for a local business license in your city.
- Open a business checking account and a business PayPal account.
- Make room in your house to store books, or rent a storage unit if necessary.
- Determine what type of books you want to sell.
- Determine where you want to sell your books, both online and offline.
- Determine where you plan to source your used books.
- Get a good quality, high resolution smart phone which will allow you to photograph your books and upload them using apps online.
What types of books to sell
In my opinion, it’s best to sell books that you have an interest in. My reasoning for this is that you will likely be storing these books for a period of time. If you love reading or browsing through books and magazines, this will be useful for your own personal enjoyment, as well as keep you inspired in looking for more books on a regular basis. For example, I love vintage cookbooks. I have a website all about my love for vintage cookbooks (VintageCookbookLover.com), and I specialize in selling vintage cookbooks on eBay.
In addition to selling books you have interest in, here’s ten tips for choosing the best books to sell to earn the most money from your efforts:
- Books that are in good condition, with the dust jacket if possible
- Books that are first edition, first printing
- Books that are rare or historic
- Books that are popular and rare
- Books that are classic, ones that most everyone knows about
- First edition books that have been made into movies
- Books that feature specific topics, such as art, photography, cooking, etc.
- Books that are historical reference
- Manuals for items, such as cars, electronics, and similar
- Research topic books that people might be searching for
Where to sell used books online
Selling books online is both easy and convenient, and allows you to often get a higher price because people can search specifically for books that you are selling online. There are a variety of places to sell online, so be sure to shop around before committing to an online bookstore. Here’s a few things to consider when choosing where to sell your used books online:
- Research how much you will be paid for your books
- Research which books you can sell on each platform
- Research how much it costs to list your books on each platform
- Research how much shipping will be to send your books to buyers
Here’s seven places to sell used books online in 2020:
- eBay (my personal favorite)
- Facebook Marketplace
- Instagram profile
- Pinterest profile
- Shopify online store
Where to sell used books offline in 2020
In addition to selling books online, there are also other places to sell books offline in 2020. Here’s a five places to sell used books offline:
- Yard or garage sale
- Your local Swap Meet
- Host a pop-up book shop
- Host a direct sales used book party at your house or a friends house
- Sell to an existing used books dealer
Where to find used books to sell in 2020
There are a variety of places you can find used books to sell in 2020. Here’s a few ideas:
- Thrift stores
- Yard sales
- Garage sales
- Estate sales
Tips for purchasing used books to sell
Before you go out and buy every book you see to sell in your used book store, here are a few things to consider:
Bring your smart phone or device and look up each book before purchasing
See how much the book has recently sold for online, as well as how many copies are for sale online. Determine if your customers would be interested in each book. If there are lots of copies available, consider not purchasing it because it may take a very long time to sell.
Make sure you can make a profit
In your research you will be able to estimate how much you can sell each book for. Deduct all costs you will incur such as how much you will purchase the book for, shipping supplies, income taxes, and listing fees. Then make sure it is worth your while to invest in the purchase of the book, store the book, and the time and effort it takes to list the item and process orders. If you are only going to make $1 on the book, is it worth your time and effort? Probably not. If you can make $45 on the book, it most likely is.
Make sure you have space to store the book
The other thing to consider is to make sure you have the space to store the books you plan to purchase.
How to ship used books to buyers
Shipping used books is very easy because books are usually all the same shape, they just differ in size and weight. You’ll need the following tools to ship used books to buyers:
- Computer and/or Smart Phone or Tablet
- Printer and ink
- Printer paper
- Large envelopes and/or thick kraft shipping paper for wrapping books
- Packing tape
- Scale for weighing books
Once you receive your orders, you’ll need to purchase shipping. The most optimal shipping option in my opinion is USPS Media Mail. They offer a discounted rate if you are just shipping media, such as books or magazines. It is important to note that you cannot include anything else in the package that is not media when using the Media Mail option.
There are two options for packaging books for shipping. I like to use both, depending on the size and weight of the book. You can use a large envelope to ship the book. Or, you can wrap the book like a present using kraft paper. You can purchase kraft paper (thick, usually brown paper), or you can repurpose paper grocery bags by cutting them open and using those to wrap the book. Make sure to wrap the book thoroughly and tape it up very well so that the packaging doesn’t come apart during shipment.
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