Monthly Archives: March 2016

How To Make A Profit By Reselling Books

By Tony Lam

Books have been around since time immemorial. Some people love books genuinely. Others love to hate books. However, currently, most people prefer eBooks to classic books.  Blame the Internet and the technological advancements made in that field.

Meet the rare group of book lovers. Their main responsibility is reselling books. What about reseller books?  How viable is this venture? Is it profitable? Apparently, the market for reseller books is dwindling with each passing day. This does not mean, however, that it is not a profitable venture. Books covering specific niches tend to sell.

What are some of the techniques that can be used to resell books?  For most sellers, it is a trial and error venture for them. If one to aims to earn$8000 annually from reselling books, how best can they do? This article will discuss some of the workable techniques. Are you willing to share some of your reselling experiences or have any questions in the same regard? Kindly leave a comment at the end of the article – we will highly appreciate it.

book reselling

Books That Will Earn You A Profit

They say experience is the best teacher. From experience, I have learned that there are certain books that sell though they may not fetch a lot of profit. This can be attributed to the fact that the initial buying price is very high, or they cannot be found easily.

Here is a list of books that sell easily and fetch a lot of profits. They include:

  1. Complete set of Encyclopedia as long as they are in good condition

I have managed to sell several encyclopedias such as the:

  • University of Knowledge Wonder books Vol 24 1st Edition for $289
  • 11th Edition 1910-1911 Encyclopedia Britannica Handy Volume sold at $249.

These are just but a few vintage books that book collectors and lovers may be looking for.

  1. Vintage high school yearbooks with celebrities who graduated from that school

I earned $121.74 from selling Abraham Lincoln High San Francisco CA 1948-1049 yearbook to a buyer located in Germany. The book contained pictures of Barbara Eden while in high school.

  1. Vintage books signed by the author or first edition books

If you want to make a killing, consider selling books that are personally signed by the author. Better still, a first edition book, a book written before 1950. There is a certain level of pride and accomplishment associated with owning such books. The buyer feels attached to the author of the book. Aside from that, such books are rare, and they are always in high demand. While listing the book, indicate that it is the first publication, and it will enable it to sell fast.

List of books sold

  1. Books that have few published copies

Some books have very few published copies out for sale. If you have tried to conduct an online search for a specific book and you were not successful, the chances are that the books may have a few published copies. Selling such a book at a high price will not scare away the potential buyer. For instance, after selling the signed copy of “ The Murder of Henry Auker”, I earned a cool $49.9.

  1. Old Reader Digest books

Reader Digest books have always been a classic. They are a favorite of many book readers. The best part is that the books can be obtained for free or a lower price. Selling the books in a lot other than individually  will earn some good profit. In addition, the writers of the digest book have always written quality content.

  1. Vintage books older than 70 years( should be in good condition)

History lovers will love you if you find them a vintage book that is in excellent condition. For instance, I once sold a children’s’ picture story for $100. The book was published in 1927.Owning such an original and old book elicits some reaction to the reader. It will give you a perspective of issues in the past years. Owning such a book is a privilege.

You may check my Pinterest board for more details of some books I sold in the past.

Where to sell books and strategies for attracting buyers

There are a million and one sites on the Internet where people resell books. Some of the common sites are Amazon, eBay, and eBay is the commonly searched site for people looking for vintage books. All that you need to do is to dress up the title, make a listing that can be easily searched and wait for buyers. This is a strategy that always works.

As a matter of fact, I sold most of the vintage books in my possession on eBay. For Amazon, dictionaries and textbooks tend to sell faster as compared to other books. For sales to be successful on, it is recommended that one search the exact listing books by entering or scanning the ISBN barcode, then sell your own copy with a competitive price (or lowest price if you want to sell fast) based on the book conditions. The profit realized from is very meager. It is not worth editing and creating a list on the site.

The murder of Henry Auker

How to make the most profit on books

The aim of any business is to make a profit. The business of reselling books is no different. By the end of the day, the seller has to make a profit.

So, how can a seller make profits from reselling books? Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Always ensure the books are in good condition. Tattered and dog-eared books are an eyesore. Book lovers can testify to this. In addition, a brand new book or a book in good condition will fetch a lot of money compared to defaced books. A book that is appealing and well maintained is attractive and pleasing to the eyes.
  • Conduct an online search and learn the current market price of that book in relation to other books in similar conditions. It will give you a selling price estimate. The book may be sold at the same price, slightly higher or lower based on the current prices.
  • For those dealing with high school or college yearbooks, do research to check if any celebrities graduated in the same year in the same school. Locate the pages numbers and highlight them at the title or descriptions.
  • Sometimes selling books in bulk rather than individual copies is economical and will fetch a lot of cash. In addition, there may be one or two fast-selling books while the rest are slow moving. To avoid being left with the slow moving books, for whatever reason, avoid selling individual books.
  • However, in some instances, selling individual books may be ideal. Such decisions will be made based on the judgment call made by the seller. It happened to me once. I got 40 Britannica years of book and listed them as a price for one. However, I still had the option of allowing the buyers to pick a year or several of the years of publications as they pleased. Finally, I sold them all with a higher return than the initial Can you figure out how much profit I made by using that strategy?  I was smiling all the way to the bank.

reselling vintage books

Where to buy books

Where you purchase books is crucial for anyone in the book reselling business. Purchasing books at a higher price will translate to higher selling prices.  That, in turn, will reduce the profit margin. This can be attributed to the fact most people will shy away from buying highly priced books unless they totally need them. It is therefore recommended that one should find ways to get free or cheap reseller books.

Here are a few tips that work:

Estate sales

This is one of the places where one can find a wide array of vintage books and encyclopedia that are still in good shape. The books are sold per book or per bag. Purchasing the books in either way may not be profitable. This is because some books sold are not resalable. For instance, there are books on certain topics or subjects that may appeal the readers.

For beginners, it is important to visit several estates sellers and ask them to allow you to purchase all the books at a time. While at it, compare the different prices for different books. In most instances, the estate owner may be more than pleased to get read of the old books that may eventually end up in the trash can. If you can buy books in bulk at a lower price, chances of making a super normal profit are very high. Once I bought a full truck of books ( two to three hundreds books) at $40 !


Open your browser and search for Craiglist. Sign up on Craiglist and keep track of free book offers.  Signing up is free. Ensure that your particulars are carefully filled in. While at it, sign up for the email alerts. Email alerts are the most ideal. As soon as free books offer is available on the listing, you will get notified immediately.

Recycle group in your area

Join recycle group found in your area at There are people who will always give away books for free. I got several resalable textbooks from other people in the past. This is one of the easiest ways of obtaining books at no cost. However, the major challenge lies in the fact that not all books given will be in a good state. The appearance of the book will depend on how the initial owner maintained it.

 libraries book sales

Friend of library sales

Being a member of the friend of library sales is one-way o obtaining books at affordable or no cost at all. This is a practice done in most states. For instance, those in California can heck the link here and join the “friends of library” at different public libraries. You will get notifications whenever book sales are available. You can able to buy whole bags of books for as low as $5. How affordable and convenient is that!

Inventory keeping and quick book retrieval

After purchasing the books, what happens next? How do you keep the inventory? How do you ensure that a book can be easily retrieved with ease in case it is needed? Here are a few workable tips:

Put the books in moving boxes and clearly label the boxes. Carefully place the boxes on a rack. After carefully stacking the boxes, put the identification number (in relation to the box arrangement) of the box next to the title of the listing. In the event that a book is sold, one can easily identify the location of the box holding the book.

Packing books with the least shipping weight

What happens when you need to ship some books yet the weight of cargo is the major challenge? Trying to pack books in a manner that can assure safe shipping without any possible damage may be a bit daunting.

Here are a few tips:

Personally, I purchased some self-folding mailing boxes from eBay. One of the challenges I faced was the heavyweight. The heavy weight associated with the books resulted in additional shipping costs.

One technique that works is using the bubble wrap , and ship in poly mailing bags instead of self-folding boxes.  self-folding boxes.    Aside from protecting the corners of books with bubble wraps, one does not incur additional costs associated with weight.  I got constant free supply of bubble wraps from a furniture company owner at my local freecycle group. You may try to see if you find one too.

Handling books that did not sell

What are you supposed to do with books that did not sell? This is a major headache faced by book resellers. Very bookseller hopes that all the books in his possession will get sold. In most instances, very few people manage to sell all the books they have.

Here are some tips that can be used to handle books that did not sell:

Making donations to thrift shops is an ideal move of getting rid of unsold books. Giving donations to thrift shops may be ideal, but not all shop owners are for that idea. It may not be favorable to them.

One can also donate or give the books as gifts. Maybe you have that friend who always wanted a certain book from your collection. For some reasons, that particular book did not sell. Why not gift that friend or make a donation?

Libraries never disappoint and there are reasons to support that. Libraries, especially public libraries will gladly accept the surplus books. Some libraries may stock the books or resell them in the bid to raise funds for their operations. Personally, I prefer to donate books in bulk to libraries where people treat my books in a better way comparing with Goodwill and other places.

In summary, reselling books will be time consuming but it’s worth your effort if you discover your ways to handle them nicely and efficiently. I spent two years venturing about different methods of make money in reselling books and came up with above tips. Hope they help your business too.

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