Opportunity for Seniors – Sell Used History Books on the Internet
Are you looking for a way to make extra money online? Or create a lucrative home-based business? Consider selling old and used history books and booklets on the Internet!
I have been an online bookseller for many years and found history books to be steady sellers. Most importantly, they are in adequate supply for dealers to find, while scarce enough to be in constant demand.
Internet bookselling is a huge field. Finding and selling old books is fun and often exciting as well. Profits sometimes are far higher than expected, and customers are usually happy with their new treasures. In the Internet book selling business, everyone benefits.
Supplies & Equipment
Very little is required to begin selling books online. As a bookseller you will need a computer with Internet connection and a printer. You will also need a digital camera for photographing books if planning to sell on eBay.
Shipping supplies include sturdy mailing boxes (recycled, purchased, or obtained free from the USPS if using Priority Mail), and filling material. Small booklets ship well in large envelopes enforced with cardboard sheets inside. You will also need thin plastic bags to protect your publications.
Where to Buy Books
Buy your used and older history books and booklets from secondhand sources including garage sales, rummage sales, estate sales, and thrift shops. Prices will usually be low at garage sales, rummage sales and local thrift stores. Large thrift store chains may price too high for resale. Estate sales price considerably higher but sometimes offer unusual vintage books and booklets.
What Books to Buy
Buy focused history books rather than general titles. These include town, county and regional histories, family histories, and historical coverage of particular objects and events of all kinds. For example, a book on the history of a dancehall in Portland Oregon is very focused likely to sell well. One on the history of Portland, a well-known city, will probably be more common and less profitable.
Another example, a small booklet on English hand-built stonewalls is specifically focused and unusual and should sell well. A general book on the history of English farming may not.
Buy traditional hardbacks, soft covers, and small booklets on particular, desirable topics. Often soft covers and small history booklets are more unusual, collectible, and profitable than mass-produced hardbacks.
Ages of Books to Buy
Buy any history book of any age if you feel the subject is salable. Generally items 30 years old or more are considered collectable. Look particularly for small history booklets on unusual subjects, as these are like to do well.
Condition of Books
Buy books and booklets in gently worn or better condition. A few minor flaws are acceptable but avoid any well-worn or damaged book. Also sniff books prior to purchase and avoid any mildewed, water-stained, or otherwise unsanitary book.
Where to Sell Books
There are two main places to sell your books online, auctions and bookstore sites. You can sell totally on eBay or other auctions, or just on store sites such as Advanced Book Exchange and Alibris. Read the information on both types of sites to decide which appeals. Auctions are fast moving and profits received vary considerably from book to book. Internet bookstores offer a way to determine your own prices.
Setting up Business
If you decide to sell your books on eBay, spend some time studying the free information available for sellers on their site. Everything you need to know to set up and start selling is included. Online bookstore sites offer similar information and help.
Choosing Listing Categories
On eBay there are many categories under which you may list your book for sale. There is a main “Books” category with a history related sub-topic. Other sub-topics of “Books” may work well also, if applicable to your book’s topic.
Currently eBay has a “Collectibles” main category, with a “Booklets” sub-topic under “Postcards & Paper”. Small older history booklets often sell better in this location than under the main category of “Books”.
Online bookstore sites offer a variety of categories under which to list your books for sale. Choose what seems best and experiment to see how they sell there.
Writing Book Descriptions & Listings
Write headings for auctions or online bookstores carefully. Include as many important keywords as you can to describe your publications. In the body of your descriptions include book title, publisher, publishing date (if available), number of pages, and presence of illustrations or photos.
Describe the size of your book and if it is hardback or soft cover. Elaborate on any special decorations or markings. Tell the condition of the book accurately and honestly. Describe the subject matter of the book including chapter titles if you wish. List any other enticing or unique qualities of the publication.
Communicating with Customers
At all times, respond promptly to buyer questions or communications. A happy customer often becomes a very profitable repeat buyer. If problems of any kind arise, resolve them quickly, aiming for complete customer satisfaction.
Once you have received payment for books sold, mail promptly. Traditional large books should be enclosed in a plastic bag and them packed in sturdy cardboard boxes with filling material of some sort. United States Postal Service is a good way to ship. You can send your books Media Mail (book rate), or Priority Mail. Check current requirements and differences in prices, delivery time, etc., between these two ways of shipping.
Thin or small books and booklets can be sent in large envelopes with cardboard sheet reinforcement. If not too heavy, they can be sent quickly by USPS 1st Class Mail. Booklets should also be enclosed in plastic bags before wrapping.
Once you are established as in Internet bookseller, and see how fun it is, you may wish to expand into selling other related topics of books. Whatever you decide to do, I think you’ll find that selling old and used history books and booklets online is profitable as well as pleasant!