It’s hard to believe that, for me, 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of selling books online.
How did it all begin? In 2005 I subscribed to two Canonbury Publishing products: eBay Confidential by Avril Harper and What Really makes Money by Nick Laight.
It’s safe to say that both those publications changed my life. They gave me information that I acted upon to try selling books on eBay and Amazon.
At the time both Clive and I were working in jobs that were OK, but both of us wanted to work from home.
Commuting to work and home again after 5/7 hours really took its toll on us both because we just didn’t want to be out working.
Not that we travelled far, unlike some people that spend hours of travel on buses, tubes and trains. I have to say that that is not a lifestyle either of us would wish for and I have great respect for those that do it day in, day out.
Also, having bosses that dictated our timetable all day and having childcare issues every school holiday was at best annoying. We both wanted to be at home with the kids!
So identifying a product where we could market our products online and work from home was brilliant.
Building a business was not a quick process: at first we both worked at our jobs and selling books online was a hobby.
When I found myself without work suddenly in December 2005, it presented the opportunity to build our hobby into a business.
Clive continued with his work, but chipped in on evenings until we had built up the business to replace both income levels.
Bookselling online does have challenges – then, just like now – due to the nature of it: the opportunity of something with a low-cost start-up and being an easy-to-operate ventures, there was and is huge competition.
However, no matter how big the competition, there is always room for you. It is often the case that knowing how to compete with and beat competition makes the difference.
Believe me, it’s not all about selling for the lowest prices. Especially when you realise that every single bookseller has a unique book inventory. Yes, some popular titles will be the same in many collections but rare and out-of-print titles will be much less likely.
There is a balance between shifting stock quickly and making a healthy profit. There really is little point in selling books for a loss and conversely pricing items so high you damage your prospects of a sale. You not are aiming to be a book-hoarder but to be a bookseller
Bookselling is a genuine way to make money: you have a product that you sell it for the best price you can. Like any retail product, your aim should be to purchase for X and sell for Y – at a higher price, pocketing the difference.
Like most products, book prices rarely stand still: market forces means that prices fluctuate on a regular basis.
Like all businesses, bookselling involves managing change: it’s imperative to accept that book markets are a living entity and to adapt to market changes as they arise.
Now, just as when I began in 2005, my philosophy remains the same: ensure a win-win situation! I make a profit on every sale and I guarantee customers are happy with their transaction.
Postage cost sale!
You may not be aware of it, but Royal Mail has reduced prices of small packets for the Christmas period.
They have also greatly increased the size of parcel you can send for the lower rate.
If you have items under 2kg, take advantage during the Christmas selling period. Go to www.royalmail.com to find out how you can save.