Intro to Sourcing Used Books To Sell On Amazon

Welcome to the fifth segment of Book Flipper University! Today, we’re going to have some fun and dive into sourcing books. While we’ll show you some of the basics for Merchant Fulfilled (MF) in future sourcing segments, a majority of our training will be focused on Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA). 

Today’s goal is to get your phone and scanner set up so you can do a few dry runs before going out into the field scouting for books. It’s important to get to know your technology before you hit the thrift store or a library sale to avoid hiccups or a bad experience. 

Today we’re testing on our colleague Matthew’s bookshelf using the following sourcing tools: a smartphone with the Scout IQ scouting app installed and a Bluetooth scanner (we’re using the Opticon 2002). This scanner is discreet and lightweight, so we recommend attaching it to your phone using something like VELCRO® Sticky Back Tape so you can do everything with one hand. 

If you haven’t already, now is the time to pair your Bluetooth scanner to your phone. Once paired, hop over to the Scout IQ app on your smartphone. When scanning books, speed is important, which is why we’ll be in Data + Live. 

We also recommend turning off the sound on your phone unless you’re using headphones so you don’t attract attention. If you aren’t using a Bluetooth scanner, simply click the magnifying glass in the corner of the Scout IQ app to bring up your phone’s camera and scan books in that way.

Now, let’s get started! Go ahead and grab your first book and scan it. See how operating your phone and scanner with one hand is so much more efficient? As you get faster, you should just be able to pull books out from the shelf just far enough to quickly scan the barcode. 

As you scan, the book’s data will pop up almost instantly. At the top of the page, you’ll see either a green bar that says ACCEPT or a red bar that says REJECT (we’ll dive into the specifics of the date in the next segment of Bookflipper University). The rules on Scout IQ are pretty conservative, so if the app recommends you accept the book, it’s probably a decent buy, especially if you can pick it up for a buck or two. You can also adjust the buy cost in the corner to learn your estimated FBA profits. The Scout IQ app is pulling the best list price based on live data from Amazon and crunching the numbers to determine if it’s worth it to accept or reject the book.

Any books that seem like good buys, we’ll pull and set aside. For this test round, because these are books on our shelf we’ve got the buy price set to $0.00. On the first book we scan, we should make a profit of about $4. 

The next book we scan gives us a rejection because we’re looking for a minimum profit of $2.50 per book, and this one comes in at an estimated $1.68. 

As we continue scanning, we’ve found it easiest to pull the books that are recommended to accept and assess them later, and to just leave the recommended rejections on the shelf. Once we have a stack of good books, we’ll dive a little deeper into the data points to determine our strategies. We’ll get into that more in future segments of Book Flipper University.

And that’s it! These are the basics of scanning in books. Get familiar with your phone and scanner by testing on a bookshelf in your home, or your friend’s home. Make sure to tune in for the upcoming tutorials as we explain sales rank and Amazon’s fees so you understand which books will end up being profitable. Then, we’ll take you with us to the thrift store to show you what sourcing looks like in the field. See you next time!



This week’s video: 

Book Flipper Blog:​

Book Flipper Facebook Group:​

Free Listing Spreadsheet:​

Tracking Spreadsheet:​

The Book Scouting App I Use:​

My Online Arbitrage Tool:​

The 100 Book Challenge:​

The Listing Software I Use:​

Box Level Contents Spreadsheet:​

Scouting Tools I Use (scanner, printer, etc):

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