I dumpster dive 400+ books from a college library dumpster, list them for sale on Amazon, and tally the results
Dumpster diving for books: A secret Amazon inventory goldmine
I realize I’ve been talking about dumpster diving a lot, but it’s too much fun (and too lucrative) to not talk about.
And of all sources of used books to resell via FBA, dumpsters are the most under-discussed. Seriously, I don’t know of any other Amazon selling blog or YouTube channel talking about this.
Bottom line: In your town right now there are there are thousands of dollars (maybe tens or hundreds of thousands) of used books in dumpsters. These sad, lonely books are waiting to be rescued and resold on Amazon.
My history with this college library book dumpster
This week, I pulled off an all-out heist at a local university library dumpster.
I discovered some months ago that this library threw out hundreds of books a week, and I’ve pulled several hundreds books from the recycling bins on their loading dock already.
In the switch to all things digital, the university library book is among the most tragic casualties.I hate to see it, but I’m doing my part by rescuing as many books as I can.
But my book rescue missions were a always a little short of all out war. That changed this week.
My huge dumpster diving book heist
I decided to escalate from picking through the recycling bins, to an all-out book heist.
The college library puts their book throwaways in giant gaylords on their loading dock. So I backed my truck up to their loading dock and shoveled the contents of an entire gaylord into my truck bed.
And I barely scratched the surface of the dumpster, leaving two other gaylords of books behind.
Here was my score:
Nearly every book was seriously obscure, mostly old (1970s and 1980s), scholarly non-fiction titles with a very limited potential audience. Very few FBA sellers would touch books like this. That’s why I like them so much.
My dumpster book score: The final tally
Total: Approximately 400 books.
Books with a value of $10 or more: 112
Total listing price: $5,900.
Total time: About 1 hour of loading and transport time, 3 hours of sorting / listing on Amazon.
Average Amazon sales rank: 4 million (again, few sellers would touch these books).
My final analysis
These are some seriously, seriously obscure books with a very limited demand on Amazon. I would be extremely surprised if even 20% of these sold over the next year.
But that doesn’t matter. Because some of them will. And most will sell eventually.
I didn’t pay anything for them. And as a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) seller, I am unburdened of having to store them or even think about them ever again. I just sit back and collect the money – some of it next week, some of it next year. But I don’t really care, because for 4 hours work, I’m totally happy.
Dumpster diving yields profitable books yet again.
– Peter Valley