Where to Find Used Books to Sell Online


Looking for used books to sell online

Looking for Used Books to Sell Online

If you love books and have always wanted to get paid for buying and selling used books online, consider starting an online bookstore. Thanks to Amazon.com and other online marketplaces for new and used books, it no longer takes thousands of dollars, a storefront and thousands of books to get into the game.

There are thousands of part-time booksellers that have carved out a profitable niche for themselves in the online bookseller’s world, specializing in areas like vintage comics, collectible books, even romance paperback novels.

If you’ve shopped for a book at Amazon.com recently, you’ve probably noticed all the used mass-market paperbacks, like John Grisham novels, selling for a penny or so, and wondered how anyone could make a living at those prices. The short answer is they can’t! But for every penny book, there are many used books listed – and selling for $5, $10 or $20. These tend to be “evergreen” books that remain popular because they cover timeless material, such as how to repair a VW beetle or finish concrete or invest in bonds.

Another factor driving the success of online used booksellers is the high price of new books. When a new book costs $29.95 and you can find a lightly used copy for $10 or $15, what do you do? If you’re like most, you go for the bargain. The sorry state of the economy over the last few year has only made it easier, not harder, to sell used books online, as more folks appreciate a bargain price.

Today, the world of online book selling is booming as brick and mortar stores fall victim to the double whammy of high overhead and online competition. To succeed as an online book seller, all you need to do is find sought-after books at a reasonable price and sell them online, while balancing your desire for incredible profits with the online shopper’s desire for incredible bargains!

Most beginning online booksellers should focus on newer used books, those published in the last two or three decades, rather than collectible and vintage books. Newer books are much easier to find, inexpensive to buy and easier to sell quickly. When you turn over your inventory quickly, you free up money and space for more books. After you’ve been selling for a while, you may want to explore the fascinating world of collectible books, but that niche requires more knowledge, capital and patience, due to slower turnover.

To succeed as an online bookseller, you must be able to find new inventory regularly. The good news is – used books are everywhere, if you know where to look. Here are a few of the best places to start looking:

 1. Library sales. These regular sales are held by almost every public library in the country, and can be a great resource for online re-sellers to find treasures at bargain prices. You’ll find ex-library books as well as books donated by patrons.

2. Garage and Yard sales. These can be a great way to find books for your inventory. As with any items you find at a garage or yard sale, never hesitate to make an offer. Like the old Yiddish saying – “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” The offer most likely to get accepted is for a lot of 6-30 books at half the asking price. Another technique used by savvy resellers is to stop back on the second day and offer to haul away unsold books for free.

3. Thrift shops. Skip the Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift stores, as they have started listing their own donated books online when prices warrant it. The best sources are the little thrift shops that support local churches, hospitals and other worthy causes. Most are only open a day or two a week. One in my area specializes in clothing, so the donated books were simply being thrown in a dumpster! You may find a similar bonanza in your town.

4. Bookstores. Check out all the book stores in your area for bargains, as there can be a wide gap between their used book prices and what the same book can bring on Amazon. I often find how-to books priced at $2 – $5 at bookstores that bring $10 – $25 when sold on Amazon.

5. Other online book sellers. Amazing as it may seem, you can often find bargains at online sources like half.com. I checked their web site today and found thousands of books listed for under a dollar.

6. Estate sales. For a source of bargain books, an estate sale is hard to beat. Often a deceased book lover’s lifetime collection of books will be available. Since heirs and estate auctioneers are not used to pricing individual books, prices can reflect that lack of knowledge. I’ve found leather-bound limited-editions passed down for two or three generations, rare art books and even vintage magazines and collectible comic books.

You’ll find estate sale notices in your local newspaper, but your best bet is an online web site, estatesales.org, which lists sales and auctions nationwide by state and town. Be sure to leave your business card with the estate liquidator at any sales or auctions you attend, as they often need to dispose of book lots that are too small for a formal sale or auction.

7. Free classified advertising. A free classified ad on craigslist.org or backpage.com can lead to a steady stream of used book bargains, usually before the public discovers them at a garage or estate sale. Two headlines that work well are: I BUY USED BOOKS and CASH PAID FOR BOOKS. Small classified ads also work well posted on community bulletin boards.

8. eBay. You’ll often find bargains at eBay if you search for “book lots” in sizes ranging from 3 books to hundreds. A recent find was a collection of Raggedy Ann children’s books that brought 10X their cost when sold individually on Amazon. Most retailers would love a 1,000% markup!


As you can see, finding plenty of used books to sell online can be easier if you know where and how to look. These eight tips will get you started if you’re ready to join the ranks of thousands of other part-time online booksellers who earn a steady income working four or five hours a week. To learn more about this fascinating but little-known business, read USED BOOKS INTO GOLD and OLD MAGAZINES INTO GOLD.