Selling books online is a great way to make extra money. Believe it or not you don’t even need to use Amazon to get started. Selling your used books through a buyback vendor using BookScouter can be a great way to clean your bookshelf — or flip books — for quick cash.
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BookScouter is an aggregator that connects you to companies looking to buy your used books. The site primarily works with students looking to buy and sell textbooks for the best price but you don’t have to be a student to use it. If you have a book someone wants to buy, you can find a vendor willing to buy your book on BookScouter.
To get started, type an ISBN number in the search bar (or scan the barcode if using the mobile app). BookScouter will return several results, listing the best buyback price at the top. This allows you to choose the vendor who’s willing to pay top dollar for your books.
Every now and then I pick up a book at the thrift store I can’t sell on Amazon. While it’s no secret that textbook publishers restrict the distribution of their books on Amazon, I’ve noticed a few nonfiction publishers — like Christian publishing house Zondervan — start to restrict their books as well. Occasionally this leaves me with inventory that I can’t sell on Amazon even though it’s worth selling.
Selling Books through BookScouter
I recently put together a few shipments of my duds and used BookScouter to send my books into TextbookRush and SellBackYourBook. The experience was easy and I’m looking forward to adding this revenue stream to my book flipping business.
I picked up a writing textbook back in January that I thought I could sell on Amazon. It turned out it was a restricted book so I listed it on eBay instead. By mid-April it still hadn’t sold. I scanned it with the BookScouter app and found that TextbookRush was willing to offer me $18.75 for it. Ironically, this is higher than I would have made on Amazon once you factor in FBA fees!
TextbookRush provided a free label to send the book off to their facility. I packed my book in a reused Amazon polymailer and dropped it off at Office Depot.
After about two weeks the book was processed and I received a payout via PayPal. I typically skip textbooks when I’m sourcing at the thrift store because I know most are either too highly ranked or are restricted. Now that I’ve had experience flipping a thrifted book on TextbookRush I’m going to start sourcing more books to sell to them.
The other vendor I found through BookScouter is SellBackYourBook. In the past month, I’ve sent two shipments of 25 books total to SBYB and received about $29 paid via PayPal. While most books were worth less than a dollar there were a few that generated $3+ in revenue.
Like TextbookRush it took about two weeks to process and receive my payment. SBYB also provides a free shipping label making the selling process painless.
SellBackYourBook Integration with ScoutIQ
If you’re a bookseller you’re probably aware of the recent restock limits put in place by Amazon. If you’ve never sold on Amazon before essentially sellers used to be able to send in as many books as they wanted into the Amazon FBA program. That is no longer the case. This new policy changes how booksellers source books, putting a higher priority on fast-moving, high-profit books.
Adding a revenue channel through a buyback program on BookScouter might be one way to get around the new Amazon limits. I use ScoutIQ to source books at the thrift store and they recently updated the app to include pricing for SBYB. While this update won’t give you the pricing of all the other book buyers out there, as BookScouter does, it will give you a quote for SBYB right in the app.
The SBYB box is also clickable allowing you to add any book you scan through ScoutIQ right into your SBYB buyback cart. I used this integration in my most recent SBYB shipment and I was definitely pleased with the result.
Ways to Use BookScouter to Increase Your Revenue
Using BookScouter to find a vendor like TextbookRush probably won’t yield the highest revenue per book. It’s like selling through any other consignment platform — you’ll get quick cash but it won’t be as much as if you sold an item yourself. That being said, there are a few instances where adding a revenue stream through BookScouter might be worth it.
As I mentioned the new restock limits imposed by Amazon means resellers will need to get smarter with the books they source. SBYB might be a good option for books that have a decent eScore on ScoutIQ but aren’t moving quick enough on Amazon. Consider using SBYB or another vendor on BookScouter to supplement your existing Amazon strategy.
When you purchase a gaylord of books or acquire a whole bunch of books at once, inevitably you will have some duds. Figuring out how to dispose of your duds winds up being the biggest headache of bulk buying.
One way you can dispose of your books is to bundle them into lots that you can sell on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Another thing you can consider doing is scanning your books with BookScouter. This will allow you to get rid of large quantities of your books at once without waiting for them to sell.
Flip Cheap Books
On average I spend about $2 per book I source at the thrift store. I’ve been to a handful of thrift stores where I’ve paid as little as 10 cents a book though. If you can source books for less than a dollar and double your money with BookScouter, you might be able to create an entirely new revenue stream. Consider this when you go to a yard sale or book sale. Negotiate to get as many books as possible at the best price.
So is it worth selling books via BookScouter? If you’re not already in the book business it won’t make you rich overnight. This revenue channel is definitely volume-based meaning you’d have to send out a lot of books every single day to see a profit. If you want to get started book flipping though, using BookScouter to identify profitable books can be a great way to dip your toes into the water.