The simple answer: Yes. The complex answer: It depends on many factors, primarily how much time and money you can invest in this business. Venturing into independent online bookselling and scouting for books has its pros and cons, so you can never accurately predict if there’s good money waiting for you when you do both at the same time. But one thing’s for sure–you can earn decent income from scouting books and selling books online as long as you work hard enough.
To make things clearer for you, consider these two scenarios. Suppose you’re an online bookseller who commissions book scouts to locate particular books that you’re going to resell. Imagine how less of a hassle it will be if you do the book scouting yourself. Of course, that requires more time and commitment from you, but at least you won’t need to allot a budget for the commissions and shipping as well as go through the trouble of communicating and following up with your book scouts. On the other hand, if you’re a book scout who is commissioned by online booksellers, you receive just a measly share of the book’s total resale cost. Of course, the online bookseller is out to make profit, too. But if you want to make book scouting a full-time endeavor and you have time for it, then you might as well consider online bookselling yourself.
If you’re seriously thinking about doing these two tasks at the same time, then you must carefully consider several factors. That way, you will determine if book scouting and selling books online really is for you.
Possible income – As a book scout working for an online bookselling company, you’re limited to just 10 to 15 percent of earnings from the real cost of every book you locate. If you run your own online bookstore and scout the books yourself, you’re more likely to earn more income than being commissioned by somebody else.
Sources of books for resale – If you’re an online bookseller who decides to do the book scouting on your own, you will need a list of various sources of cheap but great books. These include thrift shops, flea markets, garage sales, and book auctions, among others.
Startup costs – Do you have money for all the tools and equipment for selling books online and book scouting? For that, you will need a computer, Internet connection, mobile phone, bookshelves for storage, and books for your inventory.
How much time, dedication, and patience you are willing to devote – Is there a need to say more?
Investing in a book scouting service – A scouting service is a software installed on a PDA or mobile phone that you can use while scouting books to check their current prices on e-commerce sites. This can help you decide whether you can make profit from a particular book or not. Of course, you will spend bucks for the monthly service, so you have to think carefully if you will take advantage of such technology.
Online bookselling and book scouting at the same time may be worth your time, patience, and money if you are prepared for it. Although scouting for books and selling books online may not make you rich overnight, your passion for books and the good income that comes with it are enough motivation for you to go on.