Simplify Your Used Book Buying Criteria For Your Shoppers

Uncategorized Jan 12, 2016


Before we decided to simplify things a bit for our book-sourcers (“book-sourcers” are the people we hire to buy books for us), our criteria was a tad too complex. It consisted of a chart. On the left side we had a purchase price range and on the left we had the corresponding sale price and sales rank that we would need to be within a certain range for the book to meet the criteria. Suffice to say, it was way too over complicated, so we came up with a simplified criteria:

  • Only buy books for $2 or less.
  • Only buy books that can be sold, in their current condition, for at least $10.95.
  • Only but books with an Amazon Sales Rank of 1 – 5,000,000.

That’s it! Very easy for our book-sourcers to memorize and apply and really captures the essence of what we are looking for in a book. Whether you source at thrift stores, or focus mainly on retail or online arbitrage, I would highly advise you to sit down and think up a simplified buying criteria. Not only if you’re planning on outsourcing your sourcing, but also to bring clarity to what you are really looking for in a product.

In addition to these three bullet points we also ask out book-sourcers to be mindful of these things:

  • Make sure that the title of the book you are scanning matches the title on the PDA.
  • Are there any pages missing?
  • Is there excessive writing or highlighting? Does this obscure the text?
  • Is the ethical nature of the book questionable?
  • Is the book supposed to have a dust-jacket? Is it intact?
  • Does the book promise any extras (DVD or CD)? Are they enclosed?
  • Does the book come with an access code? Has it been opened/scratched/removed?
  • Although Amazon Rank is typically overlooked here are a few things to consider:
  • Is the poor rank a reflection of a lack of supply?
  • Is the poor rank a reflection of a lack of FBA sellers?
  • According to your good judgment, is this book outdated, and unlikely to sell?

How our book-sourcers answer these questions could help further assist them in determining whether or not to buy the book. When it comes to buying books split-second decisions need to be made. Sourcing books is a numbers game, and we want to set a foundation for success for our workers and help them have the information necessary to make those split-second decisions.

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