Every White Line Isn't A Crosswalk

greg murphy textbooks Dec 06, 2017

It is officially December, and for many Amazon sellers it means getting all the stuff they can get out the door for the Christmas rush.  And I do totally understand that thinking.  A lot of money is made during Q4.  But, I like books better.  By staying focused we are set up for an amazing textbook season. 

 To me it kind of feels like you might have to make a choice.  We did $500,000 in sales last January and 99% of those sales were in books.  It is the most wonderful time of the year, but you have to be ready.  So if you are serious about books, ship in the rest of the doodads you bought from Walmart and let’s get down to business. Go ahead.  I’ll wait…

 You didn’t go.  That’s ok.  It’s a free country.  You might not be convinced yet that Q4 isn’t the golden goose. 

“Greg,” you say. “Everyone is talking about Q4 on Amazon.  Isn’t that the easiest way to make money online?”

 Maybe.  But, maybe not.  I tried to do the whole Q4 thing.  Kohls cash and credit card cashbacks.  Rebate websites and Disney sales.  I worked hard to stay up to date with the hot toys and hope the price doesn’t tank and everything else.

 I even got creative with it.  Walmart used to sell Monopoly games for $8 during Black Friday.  So I bought them all a few years ago.  Every single one.  Hundreds of Monopoly games.  Then I pieced them out and sold the money, the houses and hotels, the pieces, and even the boards.  You could get $40 worth of product by unbundling them.  It was fun.  But it was a distraction. 

 Plus, I really hate shopping. 

 But retail arbitrage is way sexier than books, and maybe you like shopping.  I would never try and convince someone that is killing it at retail arbitrage to do something else.  But most people reading this are either already sold on books or are struggling to find a way to have the freedom they want in their lives. 

 I’m not going to pretend to be unbiased, but I think books are best.  More importantly though, if you think Q4 is where it is at, then do that.  If you think Textbook season is where it is at, then do that. 

 The problem comes when you decide to try and straddle the middle.  You can end up spending too much time planning for both that you never really execute either very well.  I’m sure this isn’t you, but some people try to make everything perfect and can confuse making plans and getting things in order with putting in the work.  (In our case the work is buying stuff and sending it into Amazon’s fulfillment network.  Everything else is window dressing.) 

 It reminds me of one of my favorite Stephen King books, Bag of Bones.  In the book, the protagonist comes upon a 4 year old alone in the middle of the freeway who thinks she is safe because she is walking on the white line.   She confuses the line in the center of the road for the crosswalk. 

 Don’t do that :)

 No matter what you do, buy more stuff and sell it.  It really is that simple.  Don’t be distracted by me or anyone else.  As my partner Nick Jump likes to say, “Keep the main thing, the main thing.”

We are going to be talking more about the upcoming textbook season in the next few weeks.  It isn’t too late.  There is still plenty of time to have an amazing season. 

We have an amazing free Textbook Lifecycle Video we are going to be sending out in an upcoming newsletter.  It clears a few things up that some people are still in the dark about.  We look at the way the textbook market works for different types and ages of textbooks all year long.  Check out below to sign up and get access.  

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