How I was reminded that my local Amazon book sourcing competition never have any idea what they’re doing
How I learned my bookseller competition has no idea what they’re doing
I constantly have to remind myself: My Amazon seller competition has no idea what they’re doing. And an experience this week at a local thrift store confirmed this fact (once again…)
Thrift stores are one of my favorite sources. However, these are a competitive source for Amazon booksellers, and a lot of sellers have sworn them off because the competition is so fierce.
One reason I’ve been so successful sourcing at thrift stores is that I appear to have no Amazon seller competition for used media in my town. I’ve only seen one or two signs that there are other sellers sourcing at my spots. And they clearly aren’t very good at book sourcing, and they haven’t kept me from making nearly six-figures on Amazon last year.
Encountering an Amazon competitor
This week, I encountered my first real-life sighting of an Amazon seller with a barcode scanner sourcing books at a thrift store.
I was a little rattled at first. So I held back and spied on the man (he had a friend with him) from behind the VHS shelf. It took me about 30 seconds to realize this seller was no threat.
This became obvious when his friend asked the seller what to look for so he could help, and the seller replied:
“Look for the books with the highest cover price.”
Seriously, this guy thought there was ANY relationship between the cover price of a book, and it’s value on Amazon. This was all I needed to know to confirm this Amazon competitor wasn’t competition at all. Like: I’m pretty sure John Grisham hardcovers sell for $29.95 new. Try making a profit on Amazon by selling one of those.
I’m not within a thousand light years of having an economics degree. But if you’re going to sell anything via FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), you need to have a basic understanding of the most basic basic basic principles.
Punchline: I made money from his leftovers
When he left, I came up behind him and scanned the shelves he had already picked over.
And I left with more profitable books than I’ve ever gotten at that store.
Point proven: Your Amazon competition almost never has any idea what they’re doing.
Great post – I’ve had similar experiences. There are 2 guys in my town who scan together in slow motion and I will find books they missed – I have no idea what they are looking for.
CCGAL Janelle says
Without knowing that man’s business model, there’s no way you can really say he didn’t know what he was doing. You don’t even know if he was selling on Amazon, yet you’ve jumped to some mighty negative conclusions.
Based on what you’ve described here, my guess is they are taking books to a place like Half-Price Books where new editions can get you anywhere from 10% to 50% of the cover price. In that case, what a book sells for on Amazon would have no meaning what so ever, and cover price would be the main criteria for choosing. FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) is not the only game in town, as much as we’d like to think it is. More people do NOT know what it is than those who do and utilize it.
That would be a reasonable assumption, but in this case it was pretty clear he was an Amazon seller: He was using a PDA and the A Seller Tool program.
Hi Peter, thanks for all the spot-on advice in your books. Related to the subject, I followed a PDAer at a garage sale today. He scanned everything and bought nothing. I then negotiated for 50 new, hardcover, nonfiction books with $800 FBA value for $30! He must have set his PDA to avoid anything over a 200,000 rank and moved along. Jeez, there was a box of 13 copies of a new book with a 1.1m rank and a $22.00 lowest new price.
Peter Valley says
Love this! That guy is definitely not reading this site…