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Estate Sales: Your Best Source of Books

People sometimes ask me where is the best place to buy used books at a really good price. My answer, without hesitation, is estate sales. An estate sale, for those you who are not familiar with them, is a sale held to dispose of the contents of a home. They are called estate sales because they are usually held after somebody dies, but they can also be held when people downsize or move. The major difference between an estate sale and a garage sale is that an estate sale is usually staged by professionals. There are companies that specialize in such sales and auctions. A garage sale is usually held by an individual. The reason I like estate sales is that you can often find a lot of books at them for a really good price. The books are usually in good condition and clean. You can also find lots of other bargains at such sales, including furniture, electronics, and decorations.   Estate sales are really easy to find; they are listed on Craigslist and at websites like estatesales.net. Many estate sale companies will even list the contents of what they are selling and post pictures online to look at, which can make your job a lot easier. Tips for Successful Estate Sale Picking If you are going to be serious about buying used books, you’ll need to start going to estate sales. Here is a list of tips that can help you succeed at estate sales: Bring cash. Few estate sale operators take credit cards and some do not take checks. Some of them will also give you a discount if you pay in cash.   Be willing to haggle for what you are buying. Estate sale operators only make money when they sell. So always be willing to ask for lower prices and bulk rates. If you do not like the price, be willing to make another offer. For the best selection, try to come as early as possible.   Be respectful....

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What Is Fulfillment by Amazon?

Fulfillment by Amazon could be the most powerful sales tool available to online sellers today. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not understand this solution or even know about. Basically, Amazon owns and operates a network of giant warehouses it calls fulfillment centers. When you order something through Amazon and it comes to you in Amazon packaging, that item went through a fulfillment center. Merchants ship items to the fulfillment center, where it is stored. When an order is received, Amazon’s employees pull the item, pack the merchandise, and ship it to the customer. What many people do not realize is that almost anybody can ship items to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), including used books. Amazon makes money on the deal by charging the seller fees for labeling, sorting, shipping, storage, etc. I stumbled upon FBA by accident when researching drop shipping last year. Drop shipping is a form of online retail in which you market items through your website or eBay on behalf of a wholesaler. I found that it was a good way to lose money but that FBA was a great way to make money. Amazon’s Money Machine The business is profitable and growing; two million sellers now participate in the program, and they shipped around two billion items in 2014, Tech Crunch reported. FBA accounted for around 40% of Amazon’s business in 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is making a lot of money; its revenue reached $88.99 billion in December 2014, and many observers expect its revenue to exceed $100 billion by the end of 2015. That makes Amazon the fifth largest retailer in America in terms of revenue; its revenue is now larger than those of Target (NYSE: TGT), Walgreens (NASDAQ: WBA), and Home Depot (NYSE: HD). Amazon is making a lot of money through FBA and is growing; use of FBA grew by 65% in 2014. Amazon has built a potent money machine with FBA, and it wants you to participate in that...

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Selling to Collectors, not Readers, is the Biggest Mistake Booksellers Make

The most costly mistake most online booksellers, and many online resellers in general, make is to sell to collectors rather than consumers. The saddest part of this mistake is that a lot of people do not even realize that they are making it. This mistake begins early when people go to the thrift store, the garage sale, or whatever and start looking for books. They start by only searching for books that meet the criteria of collector’s items; i.e., that first edition Hemingway novel. Then they compound the mistake by rejecting any book with a minor flaw, such as a discount sticker or rip, and only buy stuff in pristine condition. For example, many sellers refuse to touch former library books. I just sold a former library book called Small Scale Grain Raising by Gene Logsdon for $15. Some former library books, especially non-fiction books about weird, specialized, or arcane subjects, can sell very well. One way people do this is to use the criteria set by so-called guidebooks to evaluate what they buy. That’s a terrible error because the pricing in such guidebooks is often unrealistic and a majority of potential consumers do not care about such criteria in the first case. Those guidebooks are written by collectors, not for resellers, so ignore them. Such nitpicking is a mistake because you probably leave lots of books you could sell for money on the table. It is the equivalent of sorting through a stack of $1 or $5 or $10 bills in the hopes you might find a $100 bill among them, but leaving the smaller bills on the table when you are done. A smarter strategy would be to take all the money and sort it out later at home. A $1 bill is not as good as a $100 bill, but two or three of them will still get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. When you search for collector’s items, you are depending on luck. You are hoping that you...

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