Flipping Books for Profit: How to Make Money Selling Used Books

Flipping Books for Profit: How to Make Money Selling Used Books

Are you looking for a unique, fascinating, lucrative side-hustle? Many find a fun and creative outlet in “flipping” furniture, renovating rooms, or repurposing old clothes and things. Books are another thing that many people don’t realize can be “flipped”—improved, beautified, cleaned up, remade to be newly appreciated—and then sold for cash.

Why Flip and Sell Used Books?

Literature is an area of deep, character-forming interest. Dedicated fans of an author, series, or genre are often willing to spend a significant amount of money out of their devotion. In fact, there is an added element of sentimentality and charm that comes with a “used” book that can be a further draw for interested consumers. Special editions can make unique gifts, sentimental acknowledgments of a work that someone identifies with. In addition, educational texts that are used for one term or semester and then left unopened can be a valuable resource for other students! You can be a source of these repurposed texts that would go otherwise unused (and therefore un-useful) and unappreciated. A used book only needs some attention and the right tools to repair it for new readers to enjoy.

What Tools Do You Need to Get Started?

Books, especially old ones, are inherently fragile and tricky to repair without causing further damage. The key to safely restoring books is having the right tools. The most common tools for book repair are acid-free glue (like PVA glue), a bone folder, wax paper, a paintbrush, binding tape, and a small, sharp razor. With these supplies, you can fix a used book that has tears or binding issues.

You also need tools for marketing and selling these books! There are apps and resources to estimate how much a given book is worth on a platform such as Amazon, for example. That way, when you put the book up for sale, you can be sure to ask for a fair price.

Where to Get Books to Resell

You can find and “save” used books from a variety of places. Thrift stores are common dumping grounds for unwanted books; yard sales are also excellent spots to check, as these books are probably in slightly better condition than donated texts. Library sales that are attempting to cycle through their old copies of books may be another good source of used books. Last but not least, there are online sites where individuals are trying to find a safe home for their old books.

What Are the Most Profitable Books to Flip?

So, what kinds of books do consumers want? Classic books can draw a lot of attention, for obvious reasons, but also consider the needs of readers! Textbooks, music, guides, and religious texts are all highly sought after and welcomed (often regardless of the condition the text is in). These usually don’t require a significant amount of repair and can be very profitable on the market.

How to Deal with Shipping Costs

One book is easy to handle, but stacks of books can get heavy, fast! However, the USPS has specialized pricing on book shipments that make their shipping much more affordable. You might also look into partnering with a larger company like Amazon for shipping—this is a platform many people are already comfortable with, plus it has a positive reputation for shipping fulfillment, and they have special terms with UPS so that even orders weighing dozens of pounds will cost mere dollars to ship.

Where to Sell Used Books

Once you have your product, list it in as many places as possible to get as much exposure and accessibility as you can. Online platforms are a great starting point! Etsy is perfect for independently made, unique, repurposed products. Amazon partners with hundreds of thousands of independent or small businesses and can offer impressive benefits. Also, look for local markets you could set up a booth in! Small marketplaces like this are a great aesthetic for used books. Finally, see what other businesses you can partner with to get you access to an established customer base, take away frustrating business fees, and get your product the professional background it wants to draw in customers and sell.

Don’t be afraid to try it out! Start collecting those valuable books that can sell big, and give them a little TLC to get there.