If you are looking for new places to source inventory and buy books to resell on Amazon, the following are my favorite places to scout that I’ve used in my 10+ years experience selling books on Amazon:
- Thrift Stores
- Library Sales (events)
- Library sales (Ongoing)
- Garage sales
- Estate sales
- Other online booksellers
- Classified ads (Where are you create a listing)
- Classified ads (Where you browse other listings)
Thrift stores are a fantastic source to continually find books to build your inventory. Many of the thrift store chains – Goodwill stores and Salvation Army, have started listing the books on online. Even so, they are still a good source to find inventory in my experience. In fact, Goodwill stores are some of my favorite places to scout books. I think it depends on the Goodwill store, but I am guessing they only list the most expensive books online. There are still a lot of great books that you can find (assuming other local booksellers don’t deplete all the good books before you can get there).
Library Sales (events)
Nearly every public library will hold large library sales. These are often a goldmine for booksellers to find profitable books at great prices. You’ll see a mix of ex-library books and books donated from the local community. I would say that most of the books are actually donated, which is better for re-selling since ex-library books are less desirable than good & very good condition books. Each library will typically have these larger sales once or twice a month. Visit booksalefinder.com to find a library sale in your local area.
Library Sales (ongoing)
A lot of libraries will also have ongoing sales. These are sections of the library that they designate to selling used books donated from the community, along with ex-library books. You usually scout these books during normal library hours. The number of books you can find will depend on the library, so visit all the local libraries to find the best sources of used books. Some will be gold mines, others won’t be worth your time.
Garage sales can be a good way to build up your book inventory. The benefit of garage sales is you can haggle to get the prices of books dirt cheap. People mostly just want to get rid of their stuff, and if the books haven’t sold by the last day, you may be able to get loads of books for free. The drawback to garage sales is they are more spread out and sometimes there will only be a small selection of books. Garage sales have been hit or miss for me. It also requires you to travel to a lot of different garage sales, so it can take all day driving. To help prevent wasted trips, you can do some research beforehand. You can sometimes see pictures of what they have or it will be listed that they have a lot of books. Visit the following websites to find garage sales in your area:
Estate sales can be a great place to build up your inventory. Sometimes you can find a whole library of amazing books. Other times you will only find a small bookcase of books. Just like garage sales, it all depends on the sale, and you should do your research beforehand. If you go on the last day of an estate sale, you can sometimes offer to buy a whole bookshelf of books for a very good price. After all, they will just want to get rid of everything when the estate sale is coming to an end. You can find estate sales through the following websites:
Bookstores can be an okay spot to find inventory. It is more hit or miss with bookstores since they are a business trying to make a profit. So many of their books will be more expensive compared to buying them at libraries or thrift stores. However, sometimes you can get books under $5.00 and sell them for $15-$30+ on Amazon. So, bookstores can still be a viable spot for scouting.
Other online book sellers
Though it’s not as easy to find a lot of profitable books online, there are still deals to be found. You can often find books listed lower than you can sell on Amazon. You can even buy books on Amazon where sellers have priced their books too low, and you can turn around and list that book for a higher amount.
Classified Ads (create a listing)
If you want to be proactive at finding used books – and where the book opportunities seek you out, you can post in the classified ads. You can place an ad on craigslist or another free classified ads website (or newspaper) to let people know that you will buy their books. You can create an ad that says something along the lines of: Will pay cash for books
Classified Ads (browse listings)
Besides creating an ad, you can also peruse the current listings that include used books. You may find some people selling their entire library of books on craigslist, or you may find a lot of books being sold, but at garage sales. I’ve also had success looking on craigslist and buying used textbooks to resell on Amazon.
eBay is known for bargains, and that doesn’t stop with the selection of books! The only drawback is you will likely have to pay the shipping, which could make the books a little more expensive. You may have luck buying a collection of books, and resell them individually on Amazon.
My 3 Favorite sources to find a consistent supply of used books & Tips while scouting
- Thrift Stores (Goodwill, salvation army, other local thrift shops)
- Library Sales (Larger sales – booksalefinder.com)
- Library Sales (Ongoing sales – booksalefinder.com)
Thrift stores are an amazing place to find used books and media to resell. The great thing about thrift stores is you can scout for inventory daily because they often will put out new items that got donated on a daily basis.
Because of this, thrift stores are many people’s bread and butter for finding inventory to sell on Amazon.
Here you will find new and (mostly) used items such as:
- (Literally, anything with a UPC, to scan quickly)
I use thrift stores even more than library sales because there are so many in my local area. These could be a goldmine for you if you live next to a lot of thrift stores as well.
Library book sales are a great resource. There are two types of library book sales. The first is the ongoing library book sales. The others are big library sales that they only have every once in a while.
Both types of library book sales are great resources for reselling books on Amazon. The fact is that many people will donate their used books to libraries and oftentimes these are newer or specialty books that are great to sell online. Libraries also have to get rid of some of their books to make room for other books.
This allows libraries to have a consistent supply of books that they sell to the public. It helps the library get extra income, it helps booksellers and it’s also great for the general public to find great deals on used books. It’s a win-win!
Library book sales (big sales)
The large library book sales are many bookseller’s favorite places to buy books. Some booksellers only do book selling part-time so they primarily visit the big library sales whenever available. This is because you can get hundreds of books from each sale.
I have heard of some booksellers that wait until the very end of the book sale. The idea is you can get a bunch of books for very cheap that the library just wants to get rid of. I’ve never done this because it doesn’t make sense to me. Most likely you’ll be getting a bunch of lower priced and or slow-selling books.
Because the reality is, there are many other booksellers out there that are also scouting books and getting all the good books the first day. So my recommendation is to always go the first day to get the best books and then you can go back at the very end to take your time and scout for any remaining gems.
Most likely, you’re going to find the best supply of books from big library sales. Thrift stores are great too, but Library sales are good for getting a lot of books in the shortest time possible.
So how do you find library book sales?
You can first visit the great free resource for booksellers – aptly named booksalefinder.com. If you just bookmark booksalefinder.com and fbafaq.com (this blog), you will have all the resources needed to make a living on Amazon. So do that now before you forget!
I’ve been using Booksalefinder.com since over years ago. It still remains a great resource for booksellers because it lists all the major library book sales in your area.
A library book sale is a sale that libraries have once every month or once every few months. Libraries need to get rid of their old books and they also get tons of donations from people. You’ll find everything from donated textbooks (worth $100+ a piece) to poetry books. You can probably at least find one great library book sale every month by going to each library sale in your area. And at each sale, you can likely find 50-200+ books that you can then resell for a profit on Amazon.
Combine this method with other methods of finding used books locally, and you are well on your way to creating a full-time income on Amazon.
How to succeed buying from the big Library book sales
The only drawback to big library book sales is you basically need a book scanner to succeed. The reason? It is competitive at library sales. You will see many other booksellers and it becomes a race against time on who can scout and scan the most books.
I guess you could use your phone and use your phone’s camera for scanning, but to maximize the number of profitable books you find, you really want a scanner. It is definitely worth the cost of the scanner and a scanning app service (local database) because you will be able to get hundreds more in profit from the all the extra books you scan.
You need to have a scanner for these library book sales because you’re going to see a lot of other booksellers there. If everyone else has a fast laser scanner and you are still using your phone & camera as your book scanner, it is going to be much slower for you. Other booksellers will snatch up all the best books, leaving you just a few.
So to be competitive you really need to have laser scanner as well. You can utilize a laser scanner through several ways. You can connect a Bluetooth laser scanner to a PDA, which a lot of booksellers still do. Or you can also pair a Bluetooth laser scanner to your phone and do that as well.
I recommend also utilizing a local database scanning app like asellertool or neatoscan because the local database apps are going to allow you to scan way quicker than using a live database. A local database is a database you download to your device. A live database is using your internet to look up each book price and sales rank. The benefit of the local database is it is faster, spotty internet connection doesn’t matter and it delivers better battery life.
If your laser scanner is the speed of light, the slowness of your internet connection on your phone can become the bottleneck in your efficiency. Even with how fast the internet connection we have on our phones nowadays, you’d be surprised how much more books you can scan per hour with a local database app.
You need to use everything in your power to gain a competitive advantage over other booksellers. Otherwise, everyone else is going to beat you to it and get all the best books while you’re sitting there with a tiny bag of books.
Library book sales (ongoing)
Though you will find the majority of your books from libraries at the main library book sales, you can also go to each library in your town to find an ongoing sale section.
These are the sales that you can go to any day, any time. You can simply walk into your local library and start scanning the books they have on display for sale.
Each library is going to vary. They range anywhere between a small few bookshelves of books for sale, all the way to a full room full of books. It just depends on the library. What you want to do is go to every single library in your area to check out their selection.
You usually pay by cash or check into a dropbox (honor system), or there may be someone there that can ring you up. Again, this depends on the library.
This can be a great resource for valuable books that you can visit on a weekly or daily basis. The trick is to visit all the libraries for a while until you get a feel for which library has the best books that you can source. Keep note of the best libraries, as these can be a goldmine.
Some libraries will have a plethora of valuable books that you can resell. While other libraries will have a pitiful offering. Once you get an idea of which library has the best books, you can drop the other libraries from your route.
These are probably the top places you can utilize to find a consistent supply of books to sell. At least in my experience, in my local area, these have been the most consistent for me for years. There are more places, however, and you can start experimenting with the following until you find a good mix of sources for your book scouting route.