A few weeks ago, I wrote an article detailing how I had tons of books to donate–and when I say tons, I mean tons. I donated over 50 books to my local library to benefit their weekend book sales. Yet, there were also a bunch of books that were in totally new condition, read once, and still trending. Naturally, this gave me another idea. What if I could resell books online?
I took to the internet to figure out the best way to resell books, and honestly I didn’t find much. While Amazon used to buy books, they don’t anymore. Instead, they have sellers pay a fee every month to use their service, and then they can sell online if they want to. In my case, that didn’t make a lot of sense, given that I only had a small stack to sell, and I wasn’t even entirely sure they were going to sell in the first place. So, Amazon was a no-go.
Next, I searched for bookstores that allow people to resell books through the web (or locally). I know my area has a 2nd and Charles bookstore, so that was my first course of action. When I went online to resell books, I found that the store paid very little to the seller for what the book was actually worth, even though the books could sell for over $10 online. I checked a few different bookstores that are online, and I found this to be generally true with all of them–If they even wanted the books, they would buy them for a fraction of the cost of their total worth.
There’s an App For That!
With little options left, besides Facebook Marketplace, I thought maybe it was time to expand my search. Lo and behold, after a quick search in the App Store, I found Pangobooks. The app seems well put together and my research on it brought positive feedback, so I decided to give it a try and share my experience.
The app is relatively user friendly and it works similarly to Poshmark, except the goal here is to resell books. Just like Poshmark, you create an individual store for your items and then each item has a unique listing where you can choose things like categories, genres, and hashtags. There’s even a section where you can write in a short synopsis, or list any damage, if need be.
I had 32 books to sell and it was time to put the app to the test.
Listing In Style
I noticed that many of the more successful sellers on the Pangobooks app seemed to have clear, HD pictures with pretty standard hashtags. For simplicity’s sake, I figured it would probably be best if I listed my shop the same way.
To do this, the first step was to find a good background, in my house, with half decent lighting. Thankfully, this was easier for me than most–I actually have a professional lighting set from a previous endeavor. So, I set up the lighting poles, cleared off my white desk, and found a little fake plant to stage the scene.
Then, I took photos of each book from the front, laying on the desk, the jacket or back cover, and any photos showing damage, like dog-eared book pages. This step was probably the most time consuming of the process, taking about an hour–though thankfully, my setup was nice enough that I didn’t have to go back in and edit all of the photos.
Once the photos were taken, I took to the app to upload them. Each photo needs to be added to the individual respective listings, so this was a pretty time consuming process, too. The nice thing about Pangobooks though? If you have your book readily available, the app allows you to scan the ISBN number and it will input all of the basic book info for you, making your job a little easier. I thought this was such a nice feature, and it really made things easier for me.
Now We Wait For the Ka-Ching!
Once all of my books were up and listed, it was time to let my shop speak for itself.
As soon as I listed the books (And while I was still listing books), I started getting notifications that buyers were liking and saving my books. I was pretty excited about this, as I thought it would translate into sales. Spoiler Alert: It didn’t. I found, even with competitive pricing to places like Amazon, buyers weren’t purchasing my books.
Plus, Pangobooks takes a percentage of each sale made, so if I listed for something for $7, I might only get $5 from the sale. That’s not all that much, in the grand scheme of things. So, as a last resort, I decided to try out selling in a Facebook Group.
Reselling Books to Gals Who Read
One of my all time favorite Facebook groups that I participate in daily, Gals Who Read (You should totally join if you haven’t already), allows members to resell books one day a week, typically on a Sunday with the hashtag, #Sellingsunday. I decided to upload the same photos I added to Pangobooks to Gals Who Read and see if my results were the same. Except, since Facebook doesn’t charge a fee like Pangobooks does, I offered free shipping of two or more books if buyers paid with Venmo.
I was shocked. Within a few hours, I had over a dozen messages from people who wanted my books!
Within one night, I sold 15 books!
Everyone was very easy to work with and I found that I didn’t have to worry about the sites taking a percentage of my fees. Though, unlike with Pangobooks, I had to do a majority of the advertising myself on Facebook.
The General Consensus
So, after all that work to list my books on Pangobooks, I ended up selling most of my books through a Facebook group.
After taking down the books I sold on Facebook from my Pangobooks store, I decided to leave the remaining books in the store. They are books that might not be as popular as some of the ones I sold, so I don’t mind sharing a bit of the profit if it helps me clean out my shelves and make a few dollars at the same time.
While I won’t be selling my books on Facebook every week, I appreciated that I was able to get such a great response so quickly from the Gals Who Read group in one night. I think, if I continued to resell books, I would likely continue this route over the Pangobooks app, since it was an easier process, even if the Pangbooks app was relatively user-friendly.
So, now—the question I’m sure you’ve all be wondering: How much did I make?
Well, I made exactly $127, after shipping fees, from selling my 15 books. And, in case it wasn’t obvious, I’ll be spending every cent at a bookstore replenishing my now empty shelves.