I like books. In graduate school, I read a lot of books.
For seven years, I worked at a couple of bookstores and now for at least the past decade I have purchased books at clearance sales, library sales and garage sales and then flipped them on Amazon for profit.
Another strategy that has also proven quite rewarding is by selling books, CD’s and DVD’s at chain bookstores. I know that several franchises, with stores in multiple cities, purchase used books. Half Price Books is one of them. But my experience and specific tips are based upon sales to Hastings Entertainment, although I suspect that most of the strategies I’ll share are applicable to other establishments as well.
While I do buy used books at garage sales, library sales and such, the better deals may occasionally be found at retail establishments.
For a couple of years, I purchased books at one franchise with a local store which would discount new books to as low as 47 cents each. I would purchase a shopping cart load, resell the more valuable books on Amazon, donate certain needed titles to a university library being developed elsewhere, and trade in the majority of the others at Hastings Entertainment.
Then for several years another bookstore, that has since gone out of business (understandably), would discount their new books that had been in stock for a couple of years. They would gradually lower the prices until they would sell a sack full for $15.00.
About once every three months I would purchase several sacks full of books with each sack of books having a retail value of several hundred dollars.
Again, I would sell the more valuable books on Amazon, keep a few and then trade in the majority of the rest at Hastings Entertainment. It was very easy to make money selling books.
Now should you attempt to try this at your local Hastings or other used bookstores, below are some of my best tips on how to make money selling used books.
Tips For How A Person Can Make Money Selling Books
1. Purchase books that are in good condition, without marks in the text and without a remainder mark (a marked line) on the bottom edge of the pages. Hardback books that originally came with a cover need to have the cover. Paperback books are fine provided they are trade paper (the larger books) and not mass market (the books that are roughly the length and width of a checkbook). Also, it is important that any book you attempt to trade in at Hastings have a barcode on the back. While older books may sell on Amazon, they typically are not eligible for sales at Hastings.
2. Look around. When taking your books to Hastings or other stores, the associate will usually ask for a valid I.D. and then proceed to scan what you have brought in. Should a book not be in their system or should they already have an adequate supply, then they may reject it. But take heart, just because one Hastings does not need a particular book that does not mean another won’t. If you have found a supplier for newer books, most will probably sell.
3. After all the books have been scanned, the associate will make you an offer. A cash price will be quoted as well as a credit price at most stores. I always take the credit because the credit amount is significantly larger. When accepting the credit, the associate will ask if you’d like that on your account or on a card. I request the card. That way the card can be used at any Hastings and on-line as well. If you are looking to make cash though, then definitely take the cash if you want to make money selling books.
4. Over the years, I have used such credit to purchase an acoustic guitar for my older son, rent DVD’s and buy games. But, there is one other benefit of which most people are unaware. If there is nothing in the store you’d like to purchase, you can use the Hastings card to purchase gift cards for other businesses. For years, we paid for our AT&T go phone by purchasing phone card minutes at Hastings. I have also used such credit to purchase gift cards for Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Chili’s, On the Border, Macaroni Grill, Cracker Barrel and Sonic. Beyond food, Hastings also has gift cards for movie theaters, Footlocker, Champs and Itunes. Over the years, I have repeatedly bought a few dollars worth of books and traded them in for food, phone minutes, shoes and gifts.
Where Do I Begin So That I Can Make Money Selling Books?
If you’re interested in making money selling books, then your initial question may be “where do I begin so that I can make money selling books?”
I’d suggest you start your quest at home. Go through your books, CD’s, DVD’s and video games. Ask yourself the question, would I rather have this item or a dollar or two or three instead? Once you have a dozen or more items, take them to Hastings or another establishment that buys books and observe how the process works.
Next, if you’re ready to pursue this as a kind of treasure hunting hobby then begin scouting out bookstores and see who might have clearance books that are priced quite low. Often times the clearance items are toward the back of the store, although this isn’t always the case. If you find a store that has a clearance area with books marked perhaps 50% off then check back in a few weeks and see if they have been lowered more. Your objective is to try to purchase books for less than 50 cents each.
If or when you find a store with such deals then that will be your spot to search for discounted treasure again and again. While new bookstores are preferable, not every city has one with such low prices, so check library sales and garage sales as well. Since I like books this can be a win-win situation.
Sometimes I find books that I can sell on Amazon, other times I find books I can sell at Hastings. And even if I don’t find books that I can sell through those two venues, I may find books that I’d like to read myself, because after all, I like books.
Author bio: Carey is a husband, dad, and blogger. He and his wife have been married for 20 years and have two teenaged sons. Carey also has a blog called wiserdollar.com where he shares practical tips concerning finances and family life.
Are you interested in learning how to make money selling books? What side hustles do you have?