Small Business Idea: Selling Used Books

If you want to earn some extra income or if you’re looking at starting up your own business venture, then you may want to consider selling used books. Selling the books online would be the most economical way of starting up. On paper, selling used books sounds like a solid plan. However, where will you get the books from? Also, if you’re selling online, what platform will you use?

We will answer these questions below and try to guide you on your journey of starting a used book sales business. It doesn’t take a lot of capital to start up a used book sales business, and books can be sourced cheaply. The overhead costs of doing this online are also low. It’s therefore definitely worth a shot trying this idea out.

Where to Get Used Books

You can get the books you need for little to no money. One source of used books is charity shops. These shops can easily become overloaded with books. When that happens, they may have to resort to throwing books away.

Why throw books away when they can be read? In many cases, the shops will be thrilled that someone is willing to take their books. You can take these books and help to connect readers with the books they always wanted.

Thrift stores are another treasure trove for used books. You can always find quality items at affordable prices from thrift stores. It turns out that used books aren’t an exception. Spend some time scouring thrift stores in your area to try to find books to sell.

You should also consider checking out garage and yard sales. Also, try searching online, buy and sell marketplaces, or asking friends and family. You may just be surprised to see what you find.

Where to Sell Your Books

Now that you have an idea of where to source your books, you have to find a place to sell them. There are several options, and we will consider some of the popular options out there.

1. Amazon

Amazon charges $0.99 per item sold or $39.99 per month if you’re planning on selling a lot. A site like Amazon has high levels of traffic constantly passing through the website. This means that your book is more likely to sell here than on other websites. Just check some guides on how to sell books on Amazon and get started.

2. eBay

eBay is another giant when it comes to the amount of traffic passing through it. It’s therefore also a solid choice for selling used books. The fee structure can be a little complex, but you usually get your first 50 listings per month for free.

3. Etsy

Usually, Etsy is synonymous with handmade items. However, vintage items are also popular on this platform. If you have older books for sale, then you may want to consider selling them on Etsy. Etsy charges $0.20 per listing.

4. Start Your Own Website

Instead of going through a middleman and paying fees, you may decide that starting your own website to sell your books is the way to go. If you decide to go this route, then there are a few things that you will need to consider: a working website, search engine optimization, payment services.

How to Repair Damaged Books

Given that you will be selling used books, you should expect that many of them won’t be in mint condition. Some books may even be unsalvageable and may need to be recycled. However, many books are salvageable. Let’s take a look at how to make some commonly needed repairs. We’ll focus on paperback books since you’ll encounter these often. They’re also easier to repair than hardcover books. You’ll need the following things to carry out the repairs listed below:

  • A pair of scissors
  • Archival document-repair tape
  • Bone folders
  • Acid-free glue (glue with acid will eat at the pages)
  • Wax paper
  • Linen book-binding tape
  • A small paintbrush
  • Rubber bands

1. Repairing Page Tears

Page tears can be repaired with clear archival document-repair tape. First, cut 2 sections of tape using your scissors. These pieces of tape should be slightly longer than the tear. You should then place the tape on both sides of the tear. Afterward, you can press down and smooth out the tear with a bone folder. If there is extra tape beyond the edge of the scissors, trim it with scissors.

2. Repairing Book Cover Tears

You can repair book cover tears with linen book-binding tape. You should first measure the length of the tear, then cut a piece of tape with a pair of scissors that’s just longer than the tear. Next, remove the backing of the tape and then press it onto the tear from the inside of the book cover. You can then smooth and press down the tape with a bone folder. Trim any excess tape.

3. Reattaching Pages

First, open the book to the section where the page in question has detached from. You will then need to place a thin line of acid-free glue along the inner spine. You can then stick the page in place. Use pieces of wax paper on either side of the restuck page to prevent the glue from getting on the pages before and after the restuck one. After all of the loose pages have been repaired, you can then close the book and keep it secured by placing some heavier books on top of it. Allow the glue to dry for the time recommended in the instructions on the glue bottle.

4. Reattaching Detached Covers

If you have a detached cover, brush some acid-free glue along the spine of the book with your paintbrush. Then, press the cover of the book into place. You can use rubber bands to hold the cover in place while the glue dries.

Wrapping Up

Selling used books online is a low-cost business that you can start. After you acquire an inventory of books, there are several websites that you can use to get started. These include Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. You also have the option of starting your own website. You’ll also have to deal with repairing any damage done to the books. While sorting the good books from the bad and carrying out any repairs will take some time, the other aspects of a used book sales business can be relatively painless. It doesn’t have to take a lot of effort or money to start up, so if you’re interested, give it a shot and see how far it takes you.

Leave a Comment