If you’re a book lover with a lot of books around you, you can actually earn some extra money with book flipping. If you’re confused about the concept, you can find all the answers you need in this article.
How to Start Book Flipping for Profit
If you’re a book lover, you probably have shelves full of books you’ve read or used for studies. Do you want to turn your book-collecting habit into a side business?
If you’ve been thinking about it, or this question sparks a book flipping idea in your mind, this post will be a treat for you.
Book flipping does not only mean selling out the books you already have. As a frequent book buyer, you can easily buy and resell books for profit.
Are you excited already? Here’s my complete guide to book flipping to help you get started right away.
To learn even more about how to make money online, check out my free side hustle email course.
Table of Contents
Book Flipping or Book Arbitrage – What Is It?
Arbitrage is a term commonly used in economics for a phenomenon where a person takes advantage of a price difference between two markets.
Confusing? Look at it this way. A person buys a product for a lower price from a particular market and resells it on another market where it can be sold at a higher price. The businesswoman keeps the difference between the two sums for herself.
Although it sounds quite sneaky, there are many examples of online arbitrage today, including ad arbitrage.
In the case of book arbitrage, you buy books at a nominal price from thrift sales and yard sales. You can get an excellent bargain for these books because the sellers deem them to have little to no value.
If you choose the books correctly, you can sell them online and at physical bookstores where they’re in demand. This way, you get a higher price for the books you bought cheap.
For example, college students spend lots of money on textbooks every year, only to find that they’re useless when the term ends. So these books go to new students, either directly or via a yard sale.
Yard sales are an opportunity in disguise because there’s a lot of room for bargaining. Simply purchase their books at low prices to resell them at a higher price to college students who might need them this year.
Where to Find Books for Flipping?
Now that you know what book flipping means, let’s get to the main part. The first step to make money flipping books is acquiring quality books for the task.
You cannot directly go to your local bookstore and buy a bulk of books to flip. It doesn’t work like that. The trick is to find high-quality publications at the cheapest rate, so you can keep a profit margin for yourself when you resell.
Here’s a list of places you can visit and find old books to invest in for money.
You can find a variety of books to resell from second-hand or thrift stores like Goodwill. The best part is that no one looks at thrift stores when they intend to buy books. That’s why you’ll find these stores full of flippers these days.
It’s common to find people scanning books at Goodwill to determine whether their selling price is profitable. Why? We’ll get to that as well.
You never know what kinds of gems you can come across while going through a garage sale. Especially if you live near college or university student dwellings, you should keep an eye out for any garage sales in your neighborhood.
Most of the time, people sell things without realizing their actual value. You can quickly grab the best flipping books from these sales and resell them for amazing profit.
You can find cheap books on eBay as well. Many avid readers out there realize they do not need the shelves full of books anymore and sell them through online portals.
Look for high-price books that are in demand and check their prices on eBay in the used or second-hand section. If the condition is good, there’s a high chance you can resell the book for profit.
Craigslist can give you some exciting flipping opportunities, especially if you live near college students.
You can acquire textbooks and overall fiction books at low prices. When purchasing a book for flipping, make sure the shipping is free.
The chances of getting a good resale deal on Amazon are quite low. However, it’s an excellent platform where you can search for high-quality, unique books that bring good profit.
Besides that, Amazon is a great marketplace for book arbitrage professionals. What you have to do is scroll through Amazon’s search results, and look for books with a higher trade-in price than the selling price. If you buy such books, you can earn hard cash through arbitrage.
But it’s not that easy. Scrolling through the long lists of search results and checking their profitability can get quite tedious and sometimes unfruitful.
The best way is to use book flipping apps to do the dirty work for you. I’ll list book flipping apps for you in this guide as well, so just read along.
If you intend to be a book flipper, you’ll need to have a knack for finding books for reselling wherever they are. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors if they’re willing to sell some books that they have lying around.
Do you know someone who loves reading books? Get in touch with them to see if you can get a good deal.
You can also strike deals with college students and buy their books from them every year, and have them refer you to their friends as well. This way, you can create a reputation for yourself and attract future resale opportunities.
How to Choose Books to Resell for Profit?
When you’re looking to resell books for profit, you’ll want to look for quality over quantity. You can’t just buy any book you get your hands on and hope to find a purchaser at a higher price.
Some books bring in a higher profit than others, and you should know how to pick these out of the plethora of options available. Here’s a list of the type of books you should look for to make money while flipping.
Textbooks are the holy grail of book flipping. Research shows that almost 45% of all students buy used books, while only 10% buy new ones.
Furthermore, the used textbook industry bags nearly 5 billion per year, which makes textbooks a safe investment for book flippers.
Besides that, used textbooks are easy to acquire. Most students only use textbooks for a year or a single semester, and then they’ll be up for sale. Also, you can buy textbooks for flipping at college campus sales and student yard sales.
Moreover, there are many textbook marketplaces online that’ll be willing to buy the books you acquire.
These websites include:
Books lovers and collectors will spend a fortune on first-edition books. First-editions of popular titles and authors are worth a lot of money if you can get your hands on them.
You can easily find modern first-edition books published about 30 to 50 years ago and sell them at a higher price to collectors and book enthusiasts.
Moreover, the older your first-edition books, the higher you can sell them in specific marketplaces.
Remember, you can come across modern first-edition books anywhere from garage sales to thrift stores. Make sure to check the publication date and the edition of every book.
You can sell these for about $50–$70 each, which is a high price considering you’ll invest only $1–$5 on each book.
You can generate good cash from books that are hard to come by. These include out-of-print books that are still in demand. You can find these books at old second-hand bookstores and thrift stores.
You can sell these books on Amazon or eBay by becoming a used bookseller. However, you’ll face a lot of competition in this area, which might decrease your profit margin. Also, if there are shipping charges involved, you won’t have much left.
Before purchasing the book for flipping, check the price range and competitor sellers on Amazon. That’s a great way to make sure that the out-of-print book will sell at a higher price.
See Related: Can You Make Money Selling Jewelry Online?
Where to Check Book Selling Prices Before Buying?
This brings us to the most important aspect of book flipping. The worst scenario you can get stuck in during your book flipping endeavor is buying a mound of books that don’t bring any profit.
To avoid making risky investments, you can check prices on certain book flipping apps and make sure you can resell them for a profit. Here’s a list of places you can check for book prices before you make your purchase.
You can find the best books to sell on BookScouter. The platform is connected with a massive list of book buyers, so you can find out how much each of them is willing to pay for your book.
All you have to do is scan the ISBN of the book, and the app will show you whether it’s worth investing in or not. With this app, you can find out how much money you’ll make by flipping it before you part with your payment.
Moreover, if you want to be extra safe, you can check their price history option. This will show you how much the book was sold for by sellers like you in the past.
As you gain experience in book flipping, you can upgrade to BookScouter’s paid version and get access to their premium features. However, as a beginner, the free version will work for you too.
You can get some essential information about the books you plan to acquire by browsing eBay. Start by entering the topic, genre, or title in the ‘completed listing’ section. By checking the results, you’ll be able to determine how much the book is worth on the portal.
However, you cannot expect to make lots of money while flipping on eBay. At most, you can sell your books at a profit of $1-$2. If you’re lucky, you can find some books worth $10-$20.
Furthermore, the process of research on eBay is quite tedious. Besides, you may have to pay for shipping as well, which will cut down on your profit. Nevertheless, eBay is an excellent place to start your market research as a beginner.
While BookScouter helps you scan books and get potential selling prices on the go, TexTrader can help you get this information for online books.
As mentioned before, book arbitrage on Amazon or eBay can become quite tedious if you do all the work manually. Instead, you can install TexTrader to find books that pay well on these portals.
It works as a browser extension. So while you’re buying books for flipping online, the extension will work in the background and let you know if the purchase is profitable or not.
For example, you can click on a specific category, and TexTrader will generate all the books from the category that you can find on Amazon’s trade-in list.
Also, the extension will show you the lowest buying price for the book and the highest selling price so you can make a final decision.
See Related: 10 Easiest Items to Flip for Profit
That concludes our guide for book flipping online. If you know where to source cheap books from, you can make a lot of money flipping books for higher prices online.
Just remember, you need to be honest and transparent. Show the book’s condition clearly, regardless of if it’s been written on or has a few torn pages. Otherwise, the buyer can claim the damage and even return the book.
It’s a good idea to learn how to clean used books properly and do some repairs to get them ready for flipping. Most importantly, don’t go for books that charge a shipping fee. It will cut a lot from your profit and won’t be worth it most of the time.