Sourcing Used Books on eBay – Part 1

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Over a decade ago, way before OAXRAY existed, when I was primarily a bookseller, I used to get a good portion of my inventory with the following method of sourcing. OAXRAY would have saved me an incredible amount of time and streamlined the process greatly.

Here’s how it works. Do a search for some kind of used books on eBay – ideally nonfiction and set various filters up how you like according to price, auction ending time, etc. I like to focus on auctions about to end in the next day or so – not ones that are within minutes of ending so that I don’t have time to research them. Nor ones that have several days to go so that the price is likely to change substantially. It is best to filter out older books using eBay’s tools because you’ll need eBay’s pre-filled item information for OAXRAY to produce the best results. Specifically, this means, the ISBN/EAN needs to be listed in the listing for OAXRAY to make an exact match. Also, set results to 200 per page.

Next, be sure to turn on used data in your OAXRAY settings. Then scan. I used the following page to scan on:

After the scan, I click “Positive ROI” and then set my filters on rank and ROI to 500000 and 100 respectively. I’m left with 9 books that look like I could more than double my money on.

The best ROI one turns out to be a dud because of faulty information in the eBay listing.  The rest appear to be profitable, but may not be enough margins to spend your time on – that’s up to you.

The next step is to repeat the process.  Ideally, you’ll compile a big list of links, load them in your links tab and run them. The books will always be changing while the links should stay the same.  Run enough data and you’ll find winners that are even better than the examples above.  Do be careful about international edition textbooks, digital versions and other shenanigans that happen on eBay.

Use your favorite sniping software to put in bids at the last second to reduce your costs.  You’ll win some, lose some, that’s how it goes.

In a future post, I’ll show you another, related, but somewhat different tactic for finding good used books to resell on eBay.

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