Member Blogs > Kristian Strom, Bookseller10 Action Steps You Can Take When Online Bookselling Sales are Slow or Stagnant

  • Wed, 01 May 2013 01:48:16    Permalink
     Here is a list of ten practical things I have done during periods of slow or stagnant sales.  I do realize that they aren't for everybody, and that the idea of haggling on Ebay can be a controversial topic among the IOBA membership, not to mention even listing on Amazon in any way, shape or form.  Also, some of these tips might not be as practical for those with brick and mortar shops, and are more geared towards the online bookseller.

    1.  I added the "Best Offer" feature to my Ebay Store items.  Whenever I receive a reasonable offer, I simply compare the offer to the current market (items in similar condition) and also factor in the period of time that I have had the book on my shelf. 
    2.  I added Amazon's FBA program to my arsenal in 2009, and it has been the single greatest area of growth in my total sales.  I typically use FBA for items not worth photographing and creating a comprehensive bibliographical description for, typically books ranging from $8-20 with an Amazon sales rank below 2 million.
    3.  I started using as a tool for converting items from collection buyouts that are not worth cataloging into a source of immediate cash (and/or Powell's and Amazon credit)4.  I have started listing more subject-oriented lots on Ebay and more complete sets on Amazon.  The truth is that I list via FillZ to a variety of sites, but I have noticed a particular increase in sales of sets (yes, even Time-Life) via Amazon.
    5.  I will manually reprice my inventory using FillZ and SellerEngine Plus.6.  I will add photographs and modify descriptions for older listings that may not have been as professional or comprehensive as my current listings.  This includes adding photographs of signatures and related ephemera laid-in to collectible volumes.
    7.  I will take 10 boxes of books in good condition to the Hastings in the area for either cash, store credit or gift cards.8.  I began listing several classic Book Club Editions that I once avoided like the plague and now bring $25 and up everytime.  BookThink has some great resources on this topic.
    9.  I check out a book from the local library or refer to my personal collection of Firsts Magazine or "Books about Books" to educate myself on titles and authors that I had not been previously familiar with.  I am constantly amazed and how much there is still to learn after 10+ years in the business.
    10.  I set up Google Alerts for booksale searches within my state (and surrounding states) to find library sales that I had not previously been aware of.11.  I throw my hands up in the air, dream about what might have been had I stayed in school and pursued an MBA, order a pizza and turn on the tube for a Black Books marathon.
    12.  I just remembered, I also started selling books in the local Antique Mall several years ago, and while it has not been the cash cow I had hoped it may become (I am proud to report that I have only had a negative balance for one month out of about 60), it has resulted in some excellent contacts and purchases of several large collections.  It is also nice to pretend that I have a real brick and mortar shop, which I do always dream of opening someday...

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