booksStarted Selling Pre-Owned Books 

About a year and a half ago I started selling second-hand books on eBay. I opened an eBay Store and had a simple strategy. I could buy second-hand books at the local op shops for $2 and sell them on eBay for between $10 to $20. How could I go wrong?

When I first started buying books to resell I thought I’d stick to non-fiction books rather than fiction books. Although, I did buy fiction books if I knew they were best sellers from days gone by.

Eighty per cent of the books I did buy for $2 resold for $10. In addition, the buyer must pay $9.55 for postage. So your typical purchase cost for a second-hand book is $19.55. This is fairly expensive considering it costs only $3 to $10 for an ebook from Amazon. However, there is a market for people who prefer a hard copy of their book delivered to their doorstep. The big advantage hardcopy books have over ebooks is that they can be resold.

Popular Categories

Popular categories for books are cooking, health, self-help, biographies, business, current textbooks, diets and bestsellers.

What you will be really interested in is the 20% of books that sell for $10 to $20 or more. These books are rare and have a higher demand and therefore higher prices. The latest edition of textbooks, hypnosis, heavy books, and books with lots of pictures are the best types of books to look for if you want a higher resale price. A quick search on eBay will tell you what the asking price is for a particular title. Download the Ebay app for your mobile if you want to search for the asking price for a book title when you are on the move.

Avoid Pulp Fiction

The books you want to avoid are pulp fiction. There is no resale value for these books. As a general rule hardcover books sell for a higher price than softcover books. You also want books that are in good condition. No books with writings, missing pages, tanning or tears are suitable for purchase.

So is selling second-hand books on eBay worthwhile? If you are after an interesting hobby that costs you little then the answer is yes. If you think you will make a fortune and have a good part-time income then the answer is no. If you are a small-time seller and only want to list less than 500 titles, Ebay’s fees will gobble up most of your profits and leave you with very little profit or a loss. Over a twelve-month period Ebay fees were 75% of my sales income. Less costs of goods sold and costs for petrol, car expenses and computer expenses means I made a loss.


So what is my strategy for the future? I will focus on quality rather than quantity. I have twelve months’ experience, so I know the market better than when I first started and what type of book to look for. Hopefully, I will make a profit during the next twelve months.

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