September 30, 2008

Let your postal worker do the walking......

IF any of you remember the old commercial... (that now seems so outdated with the advent of the Internet).. that goes somewhat like this....
Let your fingers do the walking through the yellow pages.

(Doesn't the jingle come right back to you?)

Well, a new tip for you all over-busy, travel-weary, book sellers this buying season. Let your postal worker do the walking right to your door to pick up your daily mail!

Yes, tis true, you do not have to fly out the door at 10 to 5 everyday just in time to catch the sliding folding door close before you. You can sit back at ease and have your waiting mail on the door step and USPS will pick them up. Too good to believe? It works great!

A few criteria, though. You must order the pick up the night before (before midnight central time, I believe) and the pick up must contain one (or more) Priority or Express packages. You may include any other packages that you have ready at the time-first class, media mail, but for the pick up to be free, it must contain one of the above priority or express shipment speeds.

That's it. It works great and I do love it for those days when my car is in the shop or it is such a rainy season or I'm just tired of running out everyday.

The only draw back I can see is this. The postal worker does not drop off her pick up load until she returns to the post office after her day is done and so the shipment may not go out as soon in the day as you might want. I sometimes get my first class mail to my post office by 2:30 to catch the first class truck going out. I suspect, but have not confirmed this, that the mail that I may have gotten there by 2:30 would then go out by 5:30 instead. Not much of a delay but nevertheless a small one to consider if you are already late for some reason.

I plan on using this pick up service a lot more this coming winter season and may even upgrade a book to priority daily to qualify for the pick up. Once you get into the habit of using this service it might become addictive! Try it, you might like it, and let your fingers do the walking to the USPS site and have tomorrow's mailing picked up at your door.

January 25, 2008

The Ideal Family Business

Having a book selling business on Amazon is a wonderful business, part time or full, and has many advantages but some drawbacks as well. Learning to be self motivated helps but the paycheck also acts as a very real motivation. (I love the direct correlation to this fact and my boys get to see first hand, "No worky-no payee!")

Working at home has many advantages such as:

We can set our own hours.

We can shop for our clothes at Goodwill if we want to. (no fancy clothes needed -PJ's work, too!)

We can check my orders at midnight or 6:00AM

We can drive more than a month on a tank of gas. (No daily commuting costs)

We can take off whenever we want. (Just put my listings on vacation setting)

If one or all of us are sick, we don't have to call any boss to say we're not coming in.

No staff problems (I actually love my "staff")

I love the perks-finding more great books at steal prices for our own home library

Working at home has challenges, too.

We have to discipline ourselves to work when we need to and to quit working when we are done. (both important)

If we mess up, we have no one to blame but ourselves. (teaches self government and personal responsibility

Sometimes you tend to think you live at your job. It takes careful planning to not feel that way. See previous post on the "hidden business"

Record keeping becomes is a necessary evil.

Other people don't understand that it's a real job. (If only they knew how much money we make!)

I feel very grateful that my boys and I can contribute in a very practical and real way to our family income AND my boys are learning business skills at the same time: Product sourcing, customer service, inventory, pricing and competition, record keeping, etc. Invaluable skills that we are PAID to learn!

It is the idea family business!!

January 10, 2008

Cooking up some January sales!

Do you want to cook up some quick cash? You may have some serious dough sitting around on your shelves in your kitchen!

Since this is cookbook and diet book season what better time to purchase Family Business Ideas Cookbook files at a whopping 75% off?!

Their most recent cookbook sale was just the day before yesterday for $34. They paid $1 at a Friends of the Library sale. Julia Child has a following and many of her books can do well. Watch for the signed copies. You can have great success with French cookbooks, as well.

Julie Anna has over fifty titles selected and priced for you with the average final value price at $40. Everyone and anyone can make money selling cookbooks online. Don't forget you can send them through the mail at a discount service known as media mail, and media mail is travelling quite quickly now since the christmas backlog has cleared up, or upgrade to priority if your book is particlarily pricey.

Can you collect and assimilate this information yourself? Absolutely. But why spend the time when it has been done for you? Your time is so precious and could be easily squandered in information processing.

Julie Anna spent over six hours collecting and compiling this information. You are paying less than a dollar an hour for her time! Or think of it this way: For as much as a cup of Starbucks and a biscotti you can have information that potentially will make you hundreds of dollars each and every month.

This is a PDF or Excel file with all the bibliographic information for each cookbook title plus prices realized on eBay. There won't be links to pictures of the books like her private newsletter subscription provides. It's strictly text information.

To a prosperous book selling year!
Janet Langford

January 7, 2008

Velocity- Amazon Sales rank- the key to predicting a sale.

Many new sellers get excited when a new listing sells but ponder another listing that sits there for seemingly endless months. It is not a hit and miss happening that some may believe. It has all to do with velocity. Getting to know and interpret the Amazon Sales rank is probably the most important information you will need to learn. The ability to estimate when an item will sell could make the difference of buying it or leaving it on the table.

The Amazon sales rank can be found in the product details section on any sales page. Scroll down a bit till you find publisher info, number of pages, etc. This number can change frequently, sometimes even up to every hour but longer ranking items usually are a little more stable.

Amongst Amazon's over 5 millions titles listed it pays to know if anyone has actually purchased this book in the last year. The sales rank can be as low as #1 or high as that illusive five million. The lower the number, the faster you can expect a sale providing you have priced your listing competitively. If you list an item that has a rank of under 2-3000 you can usually expect it to sell within hours. If it is under 100 it could sell by the time you have listed it and flipped over to your email. Any listing that has a rank or N means that not even one has been sold in a year. If there are 32 items listed then walking away from that purchase at any price might be a good idea. Inventory criteria is going to be different amongst sellers but learning to establish your own boundaries are important for inventory space as well as your profitability.

It doesn't mean that you should rule out all high selling ranks. Some judgment will serve you well. If an item is in such short supply that that are none to sell then this will of course affect the rank. There could be buyers out there but none for sale. Be sure to do your research before listing it for 19.99 when in fact it could bring in much, much more. Keeping an eye on Amazon's published buyer waiting list could be more profitable than you think.