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The Book Hustle: Flipping Books for Profit on Amazon with ScoutIQ

Geri Mileva
October 24, 2023
October 26, 2023
The Book Hustle: Buying and Flipping Books for Profit on Amazon with ScoutIQ

Selling books on Amazon can be a lucrative side hustle. It’s also a great way for you to expand your reach without having to build your own eCommerce website. An IBISWorld report shows that the online book sales industry in the US alone generated a revenue of $7.7 billion in 2022. Furthermore, the industry shows no signs of slowing down. According to the same report, the industry has grown nearly 5% per year on average between 2017 and 2022. 

Amazon itself started out as an online bookstore back in 1994. In later years, founder Jeff Bezos would extend his business beyond books, growing Amazon into the eCommerce giant that it is today. Whether you’re looking for an additional income stream or want to build a business selling books online, Amazon is a great platform that lets you sell a wide variety of books relatively quickly even without a large inventory. 

In this article, we’ll dive into The Book Hustle, an exclusive series of videos that show you how you can use ScoutIQ to find profitable books to sell. 

The Book Hustle: Using ScoutIQ to Buy and Flip Books on Amazon

Flipping books for profit falls under online arbitrage and lets you leverage the price difference between different markets. For instance, you go to a physical bookstore (one market) to find deals and then sell it online (another market) for a profit. 

The Book Hustle shows you how you can buy and flip books on Amazon using ScoutIQ. The premise of the series is that the sellers start with a budget of £1,000 and hopefully make a profit of £100 by the end of the series. 

Episode 1 – Book Hunting with ScoutIQ

The first episode shows how sellers can use ScoutIQ to find profitable books from physical stores and what metrics they can use to determine if they can sell the books online for profit. Before using ScoutIQ, you need to set up your Amazon account and link it to ScoutIQ. In the video, the sellers, Elizabeth, Paulina, and Lionel, go into a bookstore to scan some books and maybe get some niche titles. However, upon using ScoutIQ to scan the books, they quickly found that the books in the first location were very expensive compared to what they were trying to get. 

They ran ScoutIQ and scanned the books’ barcodes. ScoutIQ has a profit calculator feature that shows you key information, such as a book’s list price on Amazon, the buy cost, Amazon fees, and your estimated profits. 

Book Hunting with ScoutIQ
Source: The Book Hustle Episode 1 - Book Hunting with ScoutIQ

To determine whether the scans are good, here’s Elizabeth’s game plan: she’ll consider the cost of the actual book, how much it’s going to cost to buy it, and the book’s price on Amazon. If the book’s price on Amazon isn’t higher, then it’s time to find other titles. 

ScoutIQ users can also use eScore to make more informed selling decisions. eScore is ScoutIQ’s proprietary rating system that accounts for a book’s historical sales rank and sales history. Using this feature allows you to measure a book’s historical demand or, simply put, how popular a book is on Amazon. A high eScore means that the book has been performing well on Amazon. 

Going back to the video, the sellers tried looking for books in another bookstore, this time a larger one. They focused on finding different types of books, such as children’s books, textbooks, and language books. However, they quickly found that finding profitable books to sell, even with ScoutIQ, wasn’t an easy feat, given the sheer number of titles they could potentially scan. 

There was a silver lining though. After checking out the bookstore’s clearance section, they were able to find great deals. For instance, they found a book that was originally sold for £50 but was on sale for £8 (buy cost).

The Book Hustle on Youtube
Source: The Book Hustle Episode 1 - Book Hunting with ScoutIQ

After finding more great deals, like a book on British Sign Language that has a potential profit of £12.50, they used ScoutIQ to check a title’s key metrics, including its sales rank, eScore, total offers, and the book’s size and weight. By the end of episode 1, the sellers made around 70 scans and increased their acceptance rate to 26%. The estimated profit for the 15 books they’re going to flip online, according to ScoutIQ, is approximately £204. 

The next step is to figure out how to list the books online, whether to use FBM or FBA, and if they’ll use Amazon as their main selling platform or venture into other eCommerce platforms. 

Episode 2 – Key Considerations When Selling Books Online

Episode 2 covers the nitty-gritty of selling the previously sourced books online. The sellers started by setting up a new Amazon seller account. While waiting for verification from Amazon, they also considered how they were going to pack their books to ensure that they wouldn’t get damaged in transit since they’d be fulfilling the orders themselves. Aside from Amazon, the sellers also considered using other platforms like eBay to sell their books. For sellers who want to leverage other platforms, you can use tools like ExportYourStore to ensure that your listings and product information on both channels are up-to-date and consistent. After strategizing, the sellers checked out some more books to scan while on their way to look for packaging materials. One key aspect the sellers accounted for was the cost of packaging materials.

Key Considerations When Selling Books Online
Source: The Book Hustle with ScoutIQ Episode 2

Best Practices for Flipping Books on Amazon

Online book sales have greatly contributed to the survival and growth of bookselling businesses. In 2023, it’s projected that the trade book segment will reach a global revenue of $78 billion. By 2027, that will jump to over $80 billion. While selling books for profit can be a relatively lucrative business, it does come with its own set of challenges. For instance, as The Book Hustle videos show, finding great deals on books can be an arduous process, especially if you have to manually find and scan each title. However, there are some steps you can take to help you streamline how you find, purchase, and sell books online. 

Identify the types of books you want to sell

Amazon lets you sell a wide variety of books in conditions ranging from New to Acceptable. You can even sell textbooks, books without an ISBN, eBooks, or antique and vintage books. When sourcing books to flip, make sure to check Amazon’s condition guidelines for listing books. To determine a book’s value when sold online, you can use tools like ScoutIQ, Keepa, or BookScouter to live scan barcodes, track prices, view price history charts, and more. 

Find a platform that works for you

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the best marketplace that will help you meet your business goals. The best way to go about this is to compare different marketplaces to see which one offers the best value for what you’re selling. For instance, while Amazon gives you a relatively straightforward and accessible way to sell books online and even gives you access to seller tools, it may take a while before someone actually checks out your listing and buys your book. 

Determine how you will fulfill orders

If you’re selling books on Amazon, you have two main fulfillment options. You can either ship the books yourself or use a fulfillment solution (Amazon FBA) that takes care of many aspects like storage, shipping, and customer service. 

Consider how you will price your books

Your pricing will be influenced by factors like the book’s type, condition, other seller’s prices, your overhead costs, and packing and shipping costs. To help you determine the optimal pricing for your books, you can use tools like Jungle Scout’s FBA profit calculator, Amazon’s cost calculator, or use ScoutIQ to get profit estimates. 

List your books on your chosen platform

Depending on your chosen platform, you can either list your books individually or upload your inventory in bulk. Amazon, for example, gives you a relatively straightforward way to list your books

Promote your business

Promoting your business expands your reach and builds awareness. You can use social media platforms to advertise your business. Don’t forget to check customer reviews. Doing so can help you gain your customers’ trust and enable you to give them a better experience. For example, if someone has a question, respond to their queries promptly and politely. If you get a negative review or encounter any issues, make sure to address these as soon as possible. 

A Smarter Way to Scout

ScoutIQ gives you a smarter way to find profitable books to sell on Amazon. In just a few steps, you can start making more informed decisions that will help grow your Amazon business. With ScoutIQ, you can quickly scan barcodes, calculate estimated profits, gauge a book’s performance on the platform, and analyze multiple data points to get optimal pricing. Discover how ScoutIQ can help you find winning products quickly.