Friday, 6 July 2012

Goodbye books :-(

I have had to come to a painful decision this week.

My ebay shop is approximately 85% books.   I worked hard to get 1,000 items in my store.  For the past few months I have been slogging away, keeping my stock at above 1,000.   I was very proud of myself.

Now I look at my sales figures and realise the harsh reality - books don't sell.    My sales are actually decreasing.  I thought having a magic big number of items in my store would bring the buyers.   My items are very reasonably priced compared to other sellers.

But now there's too much competition - from many fellow sellers selling the same books as me, to overseas sellers - mainly from - flooding the Aussie market with cheap second hand books - to cheap brand new imported books from the US.     Don't even get me started on e-books.

It breaks my heart.   I love books.   Since I was a child, I spent all my time reading - I was (and still are) very much a loner, and an introvert, and prefer to spend time with a book than a human being.  Books have always been my companions, and they can take you to places you can only dream about, or you can learn about new things.  
So I've gone through my books in stock - I have about 2,000.    I have culled many that I am sick of the sight of - they got taken to the op shop.    I have now sent about 300 off to the Fishpond warehouse to sit there and hopefully sell.  At least I won't have to look at them anymore.

What I have left, I will either send to Fishpond next month, put up on the free Quicksales website or sell as bulk lots.  Only the rare and very popular shall stay.

My bookshelves are looking emptier now.   I have more space, but I don't know what to fill it with.   My ebay store is now hovering around 900.   Once I cull more books and send more off to Fishpond, it will get even lower.

In the past year I was looking for more cheap items to stock my store with.   I found board games - and the good ones I bought have sold, but I still have ones sitting around for over a year - and far too many of them that have parts missing.  I'm getting better at picking which ones to buy - but they are not filling much of a $ void.

Then I discovered VHS Videos - and they have added some much-needed extra income.  They are hard work - they need testing and cleaning.    Then my 2 favourite local op-shops that were the source for most of my cheap videos - THREW ALL THEIR VIDEOS IN THE BIN.  They no longer sell them.   I have very few places to pick them up cheap anymore.  Bang goes another source of stock.

I tried selling bulk lots of children clothes - and they seemed to sell in the beginning.   I thought they were going to save me - but now the sales have dried up, and I have lost the drive to keep buying more clothes just to have them fill my closet.

I feel like I am going backwards now.   I look around my unit which has stock lining the walls, and all I can see is money & effort spent for nothing.
I have had some sales with my other selling venues. -  When my 3 parcels of books that were picked up today reach them - they will have 300 of my items in their warehouse.   This is great because they take care of the shipping, emails, etc. to customers, and they pay pretty quick.   I have even noticed (obviously they get a good deal on shipping) that sometimes I also get a little extra from $1-2 extra which is a refund from the set postage of $4.99 that the customer pays.  Pretty good.  These items don't sell for much, because you have to undercut all the others selling the same item - but it is money in the bank.

So far this month I have made : $59.

Quicksales have also given me some sales.   I have been madly cutting and pasting across from ebay, and so far I have 320 items on their website.

In the past month and a bit, I have sold:

1 x video  $8
3 lots of Mills & Boons   $33
bulk lot of Clive Cussler books   $15
2 x board games    $20

So at a total of $73 - that's not too shabby.   The fees from all those sales have been less than a dollar in total.   I will definitely work harder on Quicksales.

I thought that I might try magazine lots - they're fairly cheap at only 20 cents, but we shall see.
I also try to pick up any vintage knitting pattern booklets.

Does anybody have any idea on some other items I could branch out into, that are low in cost ?????

I have no idea about clothes.
I will not even touch a pair of used shoes.

I'm in serious need of some ideas.   I'm finding it hard to get past not selling books.

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Now I'll put down my tiny little violin of pity that I'm playing and show you some sales I got this week:

These 2 x Diet Books only took a few days to sell:

Sold For:   $29.99
Paid:     50 cents
I always pick up horse/pony children's books when they're cheap and sell them as a bulk lot.  It's school holidays here, so I hoped these would sell.    There are 17 books in this lot.

Sold For:  $21.99
Paid:  about $3.50
I picked these books up on a whim to fill a bag of books for $5.   I have never heard of them before, and they were published in 1985 - so a bit vintage.  I had 3 and put them up separately.  They sold the next day to the same buyer.

Sold For:   $15
Paid:   50 cents
I've had these up for a couple of months.  I always pick up Tae Bo videos.

Sold For :   $18.99
Paid:    $1.00 (probably less)
These took a while to sell, but I was happy to wait because Linda Howard is a popular author.

Sold For :    $18.99
Paid:    $1.00

Due to my dwindling income, I am now on a vicious hunt to cut my expenses - both business and household.   I'll share some of my tips with you next time!


  1. I know EXACTLY what you mean about books. We are British ex-pats in France, and when we first came here, we sold English books at fairs - English books were hard to find. Now, they are everywhere, so I started to sell on-line, which was OK until the French abolished the cheap postage rate. I have watched the prices of books fall to such an extent that it now costs me money to sell them! How can you compete with companies that sell books for a penny! I have got over 7000 books taking up lots of space. So, what do we booksellers do? In your case, can you sell on Amazon? At least then you don't have to pay a listing fee, or is that the same as Fishpond?

  2. I started out by trying to just sell books, but you're right, it's a very slow and painful process and simply not worth it. Right now, my store is a mish mash of clothes, house decor, books, toys, etc. We go on vacation next week and after that, I want to rework the entire store...I'm just not sure how. You shouldn't be afraid of used shoes. The right brand (Doc Martens, Clarks etc) can net you a really nice profit!

  3. Adult clothing seem to be consistent sellers for me. I hate listing clothes because you have to spend time measuring and describing them in careful detail, but I realize that I make up for the time in shipping because they are so easy to ship. I simply have an assembly line of tissue paper and poly mailers. Workout clothes and exercise equipment/dvds are good sellers...maybe you could start with sourcing those items to get a feel for adult clothing. I would also join the ebay underground discussion board and thrifting with the boys facebook book group. I've learned so much from those two groups of what to sell, it's completely turned around my selling ability and tactics. It's also nice to have a support group to get you through slow sales periods. Good luck!

  4. Karina, I know someone who used to specialize in VHS tapes--old, hard-to-find, etc. His local thrift began throwing them out instead of selling them, just like in your situation. He went to the thrift and called on the manager and proposed that they keep a box in the corner of their work-room and put all the donated VHS in that box INSTEAD of throwing them out. His proposal was that he would stop by once a week and give them a flat $$ amount for all in the box. It was guaranteed income for them vs just throwing in the he pitched to them that it was a much greener, and environmentally more friendly way to dispose of unwanted items. Recycle, reuse, etc. He now gets all their VHS with minimal hassle, and the thrift doesn't have to deal with them any they make a little $$. The squeaky wheel gets the grease...remember...the worse they can do is "no"...but I'll bet they will be pleased to get your "solution" to their problem. I would say a win-win for everybody. :)