Why I never let anyone see me scanning books when I’m out sourcing Amazon inventory.
Confessions of a secretive book hunter
If you were to see sourcing Amazon inventory at a rummage sale, or anywhere used books are sold, here’s what you’d see: me, making very subtle movements with my right hand, held very close to a book at waist level. Then I would glance at my phone a moment later after putting the item down. If you were a layperson, you wouldn’t even know what I was doing.
- I’m constantly aware of who is in eyeshot of me when I’m out sourcing.
- I never scan overtly when anyone is looking.
- I never do anything to reveal to anyone that I’m a reseller.
Why do I put the scanner away if anyone is looking? Why am I so weird and secretive?
The reason I’m secretive is this:
I go out sourcing inventory about 4 days a week. Let’s estimate I’m in eyeshot of 250+ people each day. That’s over a thousand a week. Several thousand a month. Well into the five-figures every year.
If one person who sees me scanning books has a lightbulb moment and thinks: “Hey, I could do that…”, my income just took a huge hit.
That means they’ll be out finding books to resell at my sources. And my piece of the inventory pie shrinks accordingly.
More competition = less books for me to resell = less profit on Amazon.
And the chances of one person in 20,000 becoming inspired to become an Amazon bookseller are pretty good.
The logic of stealth Amazon sourcing: Part Two
The second reason:
I source from about 60 “fixed sources” (places with a schedule and fixed physical location). If one owner or employee of one of those sources saw me scanning and has a lightbulb moment and thinks: “Hey, we could do this...” And realizes they too could sell books on Amazon, that book source is finished.
Its just not worth it. So when I’m sourcing books “in the field,” I’m staying under the radar.