The future of FBA bookselling: Introducing the concepts of Blindspot Sourcing & Social Sourcing, and how to buy tons of books to resell for big profits on Amazon
Two innovative concepts in FBA book sourcing
In the last few months, I’ve had some major epiphanies about selling on Amazon. I’m going to share two of them with you.
These aren’t new concepts – and certainly not ones I invented – but I’ve been thinking about them lately in more specific terms, and how most of my Amazon revenue can be attributed to these two concepts.
- Blindspots: Identifying inventory most Amazon sellers don’t believe or don’t know will make them money.
- Social Sourcing: Making bulk buys driven by relationships (aka getting tons of inventory by talking to strangers)
Blindspot Sourcing: Profiting from what other Amazon sellers can’t see
Over Christmas, I was reading a book about the most successful jewel thief in history. He figured out that most balcony doors on the 2nd story or up are left unlocked, because the balconies are perceived by their owners as being inaccessible.
And I thought: “This is how I make most of my money on Amazon.”
Not through thievery, but by exploiting blindspots. Money laying around unguarded that other sellers don’t notice.
That’s where the money is.
The core concepts of Blindspot Sourcing
- Sleepwalk Sourcing vs. Blindspot Sourcing: Nearly all Amazon sellers follow the Sleepwalk Sourcing approach. That is, they take the cream off the top (i.e. “textbooks,” etc) and are completely blind to other 99% of the inventory pie. Blindspot Sourcing is the opposite: Defying conventional wisdom, and understanding the real money on Amazon is in what other sellers miss.
- The Amazon inventory landscape has changed. When it comes to sourcing, most FBA sellers are walking around with a decade-old mindset. They think there are “eBay items” and “Amazon items.” What these obsolete dinosaurs don’t realize is that everything has changed. Today, anything will sell on Amazon. It’s not 2010 anymore.
- The only way to make money on Amazon is to look at where other sellers are getting inventory, and do something smarter. What else do I need to say…
Now, for an overview of an equally exciting concept…
Social Sourcing: Where the real money is
Within the subject of “blindspots” is another huge category: “Social sourcing.”
Social sourcing is tapping into the hidden iceberg of inventory that isn’t for sale – you have to ask for it.
Otherwise known as:
- Social engineering.
- Relationship building.
- Getting employees to give you tons of stuff.
Have you heard stories about people picking up unwanted books dumped off at bookstore buy-counters? Or arranging to buy library book discards?
That’s social sourcing.
These concepts are the future of FBA inventory sourcing
This concept first crystalized for me in a book I read way back in the day titled How to Source Used Books by Adam Bertram.
He drew the distinction between two kinds of FBA inventory sourcing: Single Sourcing and Social Sourcing. The Amazon inventory you cherry pick one at a time, and the bulk buys you make by getting outside your comfort zone and talking to people. (And the inventory you obtain from talking to people usually isn’t for sale until you ask).
And the exciting reality is that the vast, vast majority of Amazon inventory is only obtained from Social Sourcing. I’m talking about 99%, easily.
Let’s take books. If every possible unwanted book were represented by a chart, this image captures is what Single Sourcing represents:
This is a HUGE subject, with even huger potential. How did I get a local second hand store to sell me their unwanted books at a rate of $10 per shopping cart? Social sourcing. I have countless other examples of huge book scores obtained only through talking to strangers and making deals.
These concepts are the future of sourcing huge amounts of profitable books to resell on Amazon.
Love the picture of your mom! Recently ordered your books and can’t wait to dig int them.
Ken Cude says
Hey Peter. My question to you is not directly related to your most recent article, but I am hoping that you will be willing to respond as soon as possible. Monday, I was “laid off” from my job and I have (2) kids (5&8)to take care of. It is a scary moment in my life, but I am going to look at it as a new “chapter” and an opportunity to succeed and work for myself. I have been following you for a couple of months and have purchased Amazon Autopilot and Book Sourcing Secrets (excellent books). Of all the other Youtube opportunities out there, I have decided to follow your lead. I have a new scanner, but I have no experience using it. I have a free trial with ASELLERTOOL and have been studying how to use that. Luckily, there is a book sale this Friday (advertised for 8000 books) within an hour of where I live. My goal is to use your strategies and spend a full day and a half at the sale (opens at 1:30 -5:30 on Friday and 9:00 -5 on Saturday). I would greatly appreciate some guidance on setting “triggers” on FBASCAN. The concept is not clear in my mind as to how to set this up. As you explained in your book, I want to be able to go on “Autopilot” and avoid the many moments of indecision. I would like to go in there with confidence and leave there with my car overflowing with books, go home with a smile on my face and be excited as I send off my first shipment to Amazon FBA. I understand your 2X, high ranked rule, the “normal” 3X rule and the not selling anything under $10 (I believe that is the number that you use). The problem is that I am a confused as to how these guidelines translate into setting “triggers.” For example, if the books are selling for $1, and I set the trigger at $3, will that result in doubling your money? (after the cost of the book and after all Amazon/shipping fees)? Also, what criteria do you set for the comparison (Lowest MF offer, 2nd MF offer, etc or is it something else)? Thanks so much for any guidance that you are willing to give me. I hope to hear back from you soon.
Ken Mason says
Went into a Thrift Store that was just opening. They still were putting things out for display. I purchased several items when I noticed several boxes of books which were obviously new. I asked the manager of the store if he would be interested in selling the boxes of books “as is”. He said it would save him time putting them on the selves. He asked if $.25 a book would be to much. I started to count the books. There were six boxes. He said that would be to much work, pay me $6.00 and get them out of here. Two days later, while sorting the books, I found a collectors edition of an English Garden book which I sold for $119.00 on Amazon. Went back to this store several more times and got great deals out of this Store Manager. Sadly the manager left and the store closed a few months later. Lesson learned was form relationships with people you deal with. I helped him with inventory issues and in return he sold good deals to me for pennies.
My social Sourcing example is very straight forward. My wife and I enjoy garage selling. We just drive around the city going to sales blind. I do okay finding books, but this isn’t the main purpose, it’s more of just something to do and spend time together….but at every sale I always ask if they have any books they want to get rid of….it usually doesn’t pan out, I think most people don’t want to invite me in their dirty homes, but every once in a while I hit a gold mine.
Thanks for the information you’re sharing. I’m a fairly new seller and really appreciate your posts. I have so much to learn!
Bob K says
Good stuff. Looking forward to your emails in the coming days.
Peter, What separates you from most others online is how straight forward you are. I have never had the sense you are trying to BS me or others, If only I could get off dead-center and put your help into action.