5 Easy Ways to Profit Selling Old Magazines on eBay

Vintage Better Homes & Gardens

Vintage Better Homes & Gardens

Thousands of home-based entrepreneurs are making money selling used books online, but almost none of them have discovered an even more profitable “niche” market – selling old magazines online. The baby boomers, now in their 60s, are collecting magazines that bring back memories of their youth, and magazine issues from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s are now a hot commodity. Prices are still reasonable – a copy of Life magazine from the 50s in good condition can be had for under $30.

Because Life, Look, Saturday Evening Post and many others were mass-circulation magazines, there are still plenty of copies gathering dust in attics and garages. If you know how to find them, profits of up to 2,000% are not uncommon. For example, an issue of Life that can be found at a garage sale for a dollar will bring $15 and up on eBay. Here are five tips to get you started:

1. Buy magazines for pennies on the dollar.

Estate sales and garage sales are a great way to pick up old magazines in quantity for bargain prices. Most people have no idea of the value of old magazines and are glad to get a few dollars for a batch, relieved they didn’t have to haul them to the dump.

2. Buy the right magazines

Some magazines simply sell better than others. They may be popular, like Life or the Saturday Evening Post, or cover a “hot” topic or focus on one of about 100 celebrities, sports start and VIPs with “Star Power” that can double or triple the price of a single issue.

3. Price for profits

When pricing magazines, don’t feel like you need to have the lowest prices around. There is a “sweet spot” for pricing that’s lower than than the highest price, but not the cheapest either. Checking eBay listings is a great way to come up with a realistic price.

4. Grade accurately

You want to keep your customers happy, so grade fairly. If the magazine is tattered, ripped or water stained, don’t grade it “good” or “very good.” Learn the simple grading standards used by almost all magazine sellers. If buyers feel they’re getting what they paid for, they’re more likely to give you a high eBay rating that will, in turn, encourage other buyers to trust you.

5. Turn “lemons into lemonade”

You’re bound to end up with a few damaged magazines that can’t be sold intact, so do what the pros do, and cut out the full page ads you find in that issue. Those ads are sought after by collectors too, (Remember the Norman Rockwell toothpaste ads “Look Ma – No Cavities!”) and can bring as much as $10 or more each. With 10-20 ads in an average issue, you do the math!

Finding old magazines at garage and estate sales is a lot like a treasure hunt, and you never know what you’ll find. But when a Norman Rockwell or a Marilyn Monroe cover turns up, you’ll feel like you won the lottery. There are so many ways to profit from this unique and little-known business selling used magazines online. To learn more, read Old Magazines Into Gold.