About buying and selling used books and stuff online. Plus my adventures and random thoughts.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Beating the Competition

Re-selling paperback novels for 75 cents, the price of 98% of my offerings, just barely allows me to break even. The stiff competition, with jillions of cheap books offered by every idle Mom with a keyboard and a broadband connection, is killing me.

So, to beat the competition, I gotta be smarter and faster.

The guys to beat carry cell phones with scanners attached. They go to the same sales I do, scanning the barcodes on the backs of books, and buying only books certain to make a profit for them. Anyone can subscribe to the service, which tells the user the market value of books with barcodes. These guys shove me and push me, agressively trying to beat me to the best buys. And usually they do.

But what about books without barcodes?

Well, there's where I can beat somebody who relies on scanners and cellphones and internet subscription services. Instead of having my knowledge and judgement in a mechanical device, I keep it between my ears. Instead of relying on historical data of what has worked in the past, I can try to think about what people might actually want and be willing to pay for.

So, the hunt is on. I'm looking for those rare and valuable books published before everything had barcodes and before there was such a thing as an internet.

Wish me luck.


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