We have all heard the stories about the amazing rare book or piece of art that somebody found at a garage sale for .25 cents and resold for $1,000’s of dollars. But those stories are exactly that, rare. What most people don’t know is that the Patricia Cornwell novel you saw in the .10 cent bin also has value and can be resold to online used book companies.
Most people use book buyers to sell back unwanted college textbooks, but there are a growing number of people who are hunting for used books at garage sales, estates sales, and library sales and then reselling the books to these online retailers.
Here’s how it works:
First, de-clutter your own house with unwanted books to get the feel of how this works. Now, not every book holds value and therefore some books you may end up having to send to the Goodwill. You should also know that there are several sites which purchase books so I recommend that you check a few so can find out who has the best offer. My favorite site has always been BookScouter.net.
Once you get started on one of the websites you’ll notice that they ask you to enter in a the 10-digit ISBN number. It’s located right above the book’s UPC number and it acts as a unique serial number for books. Each site will then spit out a cash offer for your book. You’ll need to pick the book with the highest offer and then ship the book to them. They will pay for the shipping – you simply print out a prepaid shipping label from their site and within a couple of weeks you will receive a check back in the mail or a deposit in your Paypal account. Pretty easy, huh?
Now for the hunting…
Your job is to head to the local garage sales, flea markets, library sales, etc. and look for books that are cheap enough that they can be resold for a profit. It used to be that you needed to be a bit of a used book expert to know which books to buy. Certainly you don’t want to start buying books that you can’t easily resale. However, it has now gotten so easy that you can use your smartphone to look up the value of a book before purchasing it. A few of the sites like BookScouter even have a mobile app that allows you to enter the ISBN number and get a cash offer on the spot. You can use it as you shop.
Just think of the earnings potential. If you are at a garage sale that is selling books for .25 a piece and you find a dozen that are worth $3-$5 you will make upwards of $50 just for visiting that one garage sale. It’s awesome and it’s no wonder why a few people are starting to make a living out of used book hunting.
Good luck Penny Hoarders!