YEAH! We had a FANTASTIC month selling used books on Amazon FBA!
We have been building our book inventory on Amazon for a little over a year and learning as it grew. Books brought in some money from the beginning, but using the model we are using, we knew we wouldn’t really start to bring in book money until our inventory grew. We hired a few “book scouts” to go out and bring us books and tried to make it to as many sales and shops as we could in our town.
We had some early success and spent some time mastering our processes, but life happened and books seriously took the back burner while we dealt with many other issues, professional and personal.
Then August came along—our book numbers jumped, our profits soared and all of a sudden books became very interesting!
|DATE||Ordered||$ Sold||Avg. Price|
Why though? Books had been relatively flat in sales and income for seven months.
We guessed at first that part of the reason was the season—books sell best August through January. That could account for some of the jump. Then we guessed we sent in a much higher number of books in June and July and our inventory was higher. So, we went looking for data.
What we found out at first was that yes, August is one of the top months of the year (if not the top) for selling used books. This didn’t quite explain the huge jump though. And when we pulled up my inventory numbers from the past year there wasn’t the large jump in book inventory we expected.
|DATE||Ordered||$ Sold||Avg. Price||Inventory||Turn|
Okay, this was even more of a mystery! Why was our inventory turn SO MUCH better during the beginning and end of the measured months? I love a good mystery and knew there had to be a logical reason….then it hit me!
We started out using a repricer and used it for several months. A repricer is a program you can buy that automatically reprices your Amazon inventory based on the parameters you set and the prices of other sellers. Most large sellers on Amazon use repricers. Repricers are a bit tricky within the used book category due to the number of offers on each particular book and the amount of data they consider when repricing. However, if you are selling books in bulk (I would say anything over 1500 books,) it is almost impossible to keep your books priced competitively without a repricer.
We use RepriceIt and I will write about my experience with that software very soon. We turned it off when we thought it was underpricing some of our books, our Virtual Assistant oversaw a limited version for a couple of months and then we turned it back on full force in August. Hmmm.
|DATE||Ordered||$ Sold||Avg. Price||Inventory||Turn||Reprice|
|Aug, 2016||1106||$16,220.00||$14.67||6019||18.38%||YES-not outsourced|
LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE WITH A REPRICER! Look at the difference with just letting the repricer run (without outsourcing the oversight of the repricer.)
We thought, during May, June and July, that we had the best of both worlds. A repricer that was overseen by a human, my VA. In hindsight, we spent only about one hour training her and rarely reviewed her work. I imagine, if I were to go back to her work, I would find her to be extremely conservative with pricing. This is not her fault, at all, but the fault of an over-extended entrepreneur not watching numbers or the work of her assistants.
Right now, we are running the repricer daily and not worrying about an occasional undersold book. Inventory turn is very important and we are going to focus on acquiring books that we can sell for a profit and turning the inventory relatively quickly.
I LOVE selling books on Amazon and I love talking about book selling. Please email me if you have any questions or wish to discuss the crazy world of Amazon.