I break down three types of books I used to ignore, but learned to profit from (at least a little).
A book is not a book is not a book. A lot of booksellers get very opinionated about what kinds of books “aren’t worth the time,” and what categories of books you should avoid. I have my own opinions, and sometimes they change.
If you’ve been selling books for more than 30 seconds, you know that anywhere you go, you can’t (and shouldn’t) scan everything. You have to have a formula for determining what gets your attention. The three book categories that follow are ones I used to ignore altogether. Now, I’ve warmed up to them – somewhat.
None of these book categories are profit-centers for me, and all of them are low on my priorities when I’m deciding where to allot my time. But I now give them a glance, when I used to ignore them completely.
My advice with each of these is: Make these a low priority, but don’t ignore them altogether.
Here they are: Three types of books I never scanned, until recently.
Children’s books. I’ve never been a fan of these. In
What is most offputting about this category for most sellers is that children’s book sections at book sales, etc are usually a mess. Most of the books don’t have a spine with which to size up their content, and a low percentage have value.
All of this is true. But lately I have been braving the storm and finding consistent gems.
Of the three types of books I’m describing here, children’s books have been the most profitable.
Non-fiction mass-market paperbacks. I know I’ve said to avoid mass market paperbacks before, and so has every other bookseller. While it’s true these don’t offer the best return on your time investment, there is one exception to these: The non-fiction mass market paperbacks.
(For those unaware, I’m talking about those small, romance novel-sized books. That’s a mass market paperback.)
Only in the last year have I given these any attention, and this category has been growing on me. Here”s what I’ve learned:
98% of this category is fiction, and you can go ahead and skip the fiction wholesale.
Once you’re done ignoring those, you’ll find some weird non-fiction titles. Biographies of has-been celebrities and other oddball subjects. And among them are some real gems. Recently, I’ve found some very valuable mass market paperbacks on ghosts, aliens, and 80s video games. The trick is learning how to do a quick visual scan and isolate the non-fiction from the fiction.
This is another one for the “low priority, but still worth your time” file.
Audiobooks on cassette. See the previous sentence for my thoughts on these as well, but I always check these out when I see them. And I do it for the same reason I don’t ignore VHS tapes:
- A certain percentage of people still rely on the format.
- A lot of titles in this format never made it to the more modern format (in this case, CD or Audible).
Like VHS, there will be occasional titles that were never released on more modern formats. That means if you want them, you have to buy them on cassette.
The Star Trek audiobook I picked up the other day that is selling (albeit, rarely) for $40 will testify to my point: There are some hidden gems in the cassette audiobook category.