A quick backstory: About nine months ago I made the decision to start approaching my book hobby as a real, legitimate business. I had dabbled in selling books on and off for nearly a decade, but a friend of mine finally encouraged me to take the FBA plunge (I’ll explain more of those reasons in a future post). My initial goal was to make enough money selling used books to pay my monthly mortgage. This seemed like a rather daunting task, so to make it more manageable I broke it down into a simple goal: to source, list, and ship 100 books each week to Amazon’s warehouses. I had a full-time marketing job where I traveled roughly 30% of the time, so I had to carve out time in the evenings and on the weekends to accomplish this goal. My initial experience with books indicated that it would take some time to build a sizable business, since books are more long-tail in nature. For example, if I listed 100 books in the first week, I may only sell 2 or 3 of them by the next week. As I built up a larger inventory of books over time, the sales would steadily increase to the point where I could be making some decent income. It’s an incremental, cumulative business model that rewards you for persevering. Before starting out, I created a simple spreadsheet to help me estimate what my sales might look like a few months down the road. Here were those initial assumptions:
- 100 books listed each week
- 2.5% inventory turnover per week
- $1.00 average cost per book
- $20.00 average selling price per book
- $0.50 per pound in shipping expenses to ship to FBA warehouses
- 60% of my sales dollars would be profit after factoring in all of Amazon’s fees
Based on those assumptions, this is what my initial sales estimates looked like:
(note: every third month above contains 5 weeks, which is why there are sales spikes in months 3, 6, 9, and 12)
The first month projected a loss of $300, which was due to slow initial sales coupled with inventory and shipping costs. Month two projected a modest profit, and then the sales really started to accelerate! By month six, I estimated that I would net nearly $2,000 in profits – in a single month! By the end of the first year, the total profits could potentially exceed $20,000. This was definitely some life-changing revenue, especially for a part-time venture. With these goals in mind, I set out on my FBA journey.
The 100 book weekly challenge: Based on the above figures, I challenge you to source and list 100 books a week for the next year. If you can set aside a few hours a week and a few hundred dollars of initial capital, you will be well on your way to some significant supplemental income. (Disclaimer: The above figures are NOT intended to be a guarantee of your financial success. Individual results will vary. My results so far have been even better than estimated above, and I hope yours are as well!)
Tortoise or the hare? You won’t get rich quickly selling books on Amazon, but you CAN build a sizable income stream with just a few months of calculated work. You won’t be able to quit your day job next week, but if you stick to a solid plan you could bring in a solid part-time (or even full-time) income within half a year. This blog is designed to help kickstart your path to financial freedom with a step-by-step guide to help you scale your Amazon FBA book business. Whether you are just starting out or already have a sizable FBA book business, it is my hope that this blog will make your business even more profitable. I am by no means an expert book seller, but I look forward to sharing my experiences with this community. I know that I will learn even more through interacting with each of you!
Future blog topics: Here is an outline of what I plan to discuss over the coming weeks and months. If the topic appears in blue, click the link to jump to that specific blog post.
- Why sell books? Why use FBA?
- What tools do I need to get started?
- Scouting apps and scanners
- Listing software
- Office supplies
- How to interpret sales rank
- Which categories of books have value
- Where to source books (Part 1)
- Pricing strategies
- Repricing strategies
- Dealing with customer feedback
- Hiring others
- Online sourcing
- Sourcing while traveling
If you have any topics you’d like to add to the above list, comment below and let me know!
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