How to separate the obsolete books from ones that will actually sell on
Readers of this site know I am a proponent of two closely linked things:
- The theory that “almost everything sells on
- Not being intimidated by
Amazonsales rank’s in the 1 million+ range.
Being misunderstood (what else is new)
Unfortunately, my message seems to be misunderstood more often than not, so this is an article to set the record straight: There are 1 million+ ranked books on
After writing about the two aforementioned points, I’ve received a lot of misguided messages from
“Thanks for the advice! I found a Apple IIe manual from 1982 selling for $50 on
Or,“So I followed your advice six months ago, bought a hula hoop exercise guide for $10 that is selling on
I realized some basic points had been missed, and some clarification is in order. So here it is:
The three-part “Obsolescence Filter Test”
First, understand there is such a thing as a poorly-ranked, obsolete, forgotten book that will never sell ever again.
So I’m offering this quick, three-question test you can apply to any 1 million+ ranked book that appears to have value on
If any of the following apply, do not bring a book in the 1 million+ sales rank range into your inventory :
1. The book has a more recent edition.
This doesn’t just apply to textbooks. There are many books that are revised and updated over the years. If you find a copy of “Rock Hounding in Mississippi, 2nd edition” and it’s going for $30 used, yet you see they’re up to a 5th edition, walk away. It’s not selling.
2. The book is on a non-estoteric subject AND has 5 or fewer used offers.
This is basic supply-demand economics. You can’t trust an
Note that this is not the case when the book in question is so esoteric that there is no other book on this planet that can replace it. In that case, the next time someone wants a book on voodoo rituals in southern New Guinea, they have to buy your copy. I’ll have no problem asking $100, even when I’m the only seller on
3. The book is obsolete.
That’s great that by some odd glitch in the
If none of these three apply, and your profit margins are good enough, you may have a winner. Even if the book is ranked 5 million.
And if one of these does apply, I apologize for dashing your hopes about that “How to start your own 1-900 number business” guide from 1981 selling for $200, but someone had to do it.