The used book business continues to grow as people look for ways to save money. You can find a number of specializations, but the most profitable one is the used textbook business. Even with websites like Half.com and Amazon, students are always looking for used textbooks at a great price. When it comes time to sell though, most of them aren’t willing to put in the extra effort to sell them online, and they’ll be quite willing to sell their used books at a fairly low price if you’re willing to give them cash up front.
To get the cheapest deals on your stock, your best bet is to travel to college campuses right around the end of school to see if you can get some of those books. The one difficulty with this is that you wind up investing a lot of time in travel and searching. This means that you need to economize your time better in other areas.
Use an Online Inventory Software
When you’re running a used textbook business, the used textbooks are your business inventory. When you’re preparing to make a purchase, you need to know how many you already have of that book, if any, your rate of sale on that book, and how it compares to other items you are selling. The simplest way to do this is to invest in business inventory software. Asset Panda is great because it’s free, but what makes it even better for an inventory of used books is that you can scan the ISBN number and it will bring up all of the relevant information. Since you can search for the information you already have in your business inventory, you can know right away what you have and what you need.
Additionally, if you regularly update and check your inventory, you will not have to spend so much time at the beginning or the end of the year handling the reconciliation of your books. This is one of those tasks that is easy to procrastinate on, but very hard to get caught up on again. Getting caught up will inevitably cost significantly more time.
Track Your Expenses As You Make Them
Speaking of procrastination, tracking your travel expenses is another place that’s easy to procrastinate on and which can chew up a lot more time later on. It is much easier to track how much you have spent in your travels for your business if you make it a habit of saving the information as soon as you get out of the car. You can either put this into an app that handles business expense tracking, or you can just make note of it on a pad of paper. You also need to make sure that you save all receipts. Even though the IRS only requires receipts for business expenses over $75, it is much easier to demonstrate the validity of your position when you have receipts for all business expenses.
Get a Contact Point at the University
The best way to get good deals on books is when the students know that you’re coming. You can make this work much better for your business if you have a contact point at the university. Generally, this works best with someone who is a student and who you know. You may even want to hire someone to assist you in this regard. While it will not make your profit margin quite as high, you could hire a contact point and promise him a small fee. This same contact person could also help you advertise the books you have for sale. If money is tight, you may only want to do this for the larger universities. In terms of getting more bang for your buck, see about having the contact point assist you with advertising through social media as well.