How I started my business:
Starting your own online book business:
There are many places to sell books online. eBay Stores, Amazon, Abebooks and Alibris are just a few. If you are starting out small, pick one place to sell, otherwise you’ll be swamped with fees. I have sold at all of the above listed places over the years. Each place has their pros and cons. Research each place until you decide what would be a good starting point for you. As your business grows, pick another place to sell and so on. I picked eBay stores because I liked having an easy storefront and I get to have 12 pictures per book if I choose. Having lots of pictures for the book you are selling gives you a step up on other sellers that have no pictures. With eBay stores, you immediately get the money with the buyer pays with Paypal so not only do you have the book money but the shipping as well. Other places like Amazon, Abebooks and Alibris only pay during certain times and you have to have enough money up front to cover costs before you get paid.
Get a good reputation by accurately describing each book you sell. People can’t see what they are buying so it is your job to describe the book to them, the more details the better. For example, if I have a book that has some staining to the outside cover I will describe it as account best as I can. Are the stains big? Small? Are they dark? Light? Even if you have a book that is only worth five dollars, treat it the same as you would a twenty dollar book. Another important thing to do is to ship the books promptly. You don’t want to be known as someone who ships their books 2 weeks and later after someone orders because no one will want to buy from you.
My business is quite personal to me. I’m an avid book lover so when I sell a book, it’s not only about the profit. I get a personal satisfaction from connecting someone to a book that they really need or what. It’s especially neat with I get orders for books out of the country like Australia or Japan because with high international shipping, you know it’s a book they really want and will probably treasure. A book can take you to another place or help educate you. What does my business do? It either helps you to escape to another place between the pages or gives you knowledge.
I really wish that I knew how far the market was going to fall. There are so many booksellers now that it’s become a competition of who has the lowest priced book. I don’t understand other business who sell books for a penny because once you pay shipping and the organization you are selling with takes out fees, you get no profit. To me, that is a complete waste of time.
What I wish I’d known:
Starting a business doesn’t have to be that hard, especially when you launch it online. I started my own business in the year 2000 selling books on the internet. With a business, you go through good times and bad times. I’ve watched my fellow booksellers come and go, survived the invasion of the penny sellers (selling a book for a penny) and am still going strong. This is my story of how I first became involved in the business and why I’ll stay in it.
Keep all your books in the same area. Don’t mix typed in books with books that website you are personally keeping. It will be a disaster to find them once they sell. Haunt yard sales, thrift and book stores often. Don’t buy in mass amounts unless you’re getting the books for extremely cheap. Most books you come across will be worth nothing to very little. If you have an iphone, keep Bookfinder.com bookmarked and look up books on the spot to determine if they would be worth buying or not.
What my business does:
I first became acquainted to selling books on the internet in the late 90’s. I worked for my Mother who decided to try her hand at selling her books on the internet when the concept of selling items online was still fresh and exciting to the world at large. In the early days booksellers could make several thousand dollars a month just by selling books, even if you were a small time seller. Later, when booksellers overpopulated the internet with ridiculously following slashed prices, the earning totals went way down. My love of books is what made me decide to launch my own bookselling business, Wisteria Lane Books, on the internet. My Mom had decided to take a break from the business so I was able to buy her inventory and gain some of my own from weekly trips to thrift and book stores. Running my own business allowed me to have more time to spend with my family and still bring in an income.