Canny believe it is ten years since I began trawling local charity shops for rare books.
I’d like to claim that I dreamt up the idea of flipping books. Instead it was picked up from a fellow offshore colleague. The premise is simple arbitrage- Seek out low costs books, check the prices online, list and sell them via Amazon or eBay.
What began on a wet and windy Sunday afternoon in the Roman walled city of Chester’s would grown into a profitable operation.
The back bedroom
In the years before smartphones became common place I had to take down the ISBN numbere, note the condition of the book and then key this manually into Amazon’s SellerCentral. It was a time consuming process and was liable to errors and mistakes.
After a few months at it my collection had outgrown my room and I went in search of premises. I found a garage belonging to a window who was advertising it for rent for £50/month. I signed up on a rolling lease and began attending library sales at Manchester University. Here I struck the goldmine of used textbooks which still to this day continue to sell well.
As my inventory grew so did my vision. I purchased a pallet load of 1,000 books unfortunately many were penny fiction. In the Amazon book world- basically worthless.
The biggest score in this era was unearthing a collection of rare first edition martial art books including several Alistair Crowley’s. Despite reeking of cigarettes they sold well and it was all profit as they were sourced via Freecycle.
Like most side hustles the 9-5 can get in the way and I shuttered the garage and let my Amazon account go dormant. Once in Aberdeen I got the smartphone scanner humming again. However many charity shops had got wise to the game and scan their books before they hit the shelves the same shops also sell online.
So despite a decade on the platform. My account was closed at the back end of 2019. A run of poor feedback shut it meaning my days as an Amazon seller are over. Several appeals later to SellerCentral have all fallen on deaf ears.
This is a timely reminder of not to have all your Easter eggs in one basket !