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Sales Rank Part 2: Implementing an Intelligent Book Scouting Strategy


(If you missed last week’s post where I explained how to interpret a book’s sales rank on Amazon, you may want to read that post first before jumping into this one.)

Now that you understand the basics about a book’s sales rank, it’s time to look at some actual metrics to see how rank plays out in the real world.  After reading this post you should have the tools you need to put together your own purchasing strategy.  For example, if you come across a book with a 3 million rank that is selling for $10, should you buy it?  If you don’t know the answer to that question, read on!

Background:  One of the most prevalent misconceptions among the bookseller community is the myth about books with a ranking higher than 1 million.  Most “experts” tell you to leave these on the shelf and move on to find inventory with a better rank.  It’s possible that they don’t understand sales rank, but my hunch is they are trying to trick you into leaving those books on the shelves for them to scoop up later.  (sounds like a pretty good strategy to me!)  Either way, don’t believe the hype – look carefully at actual data to make up your own mind.

The Experiment:  I wanted to dispel this 1MM myth using my own sales metrics, so I set up a monster spreadsheet to track the sales ranks on every book I listed (I’m part of the rare breed that actually enjoys playing with data… the good news is you can simply read this article and save yourself the headache of crunching numbers).  The sales ranks I use in my analysis are the current ranks on the day I actually listed the books.  (I get that data from my closed batches in InventoryLab.)  Since sales ranks are updated hourly, I wanted to provide an anchor point that most accurately reflected the rank from when I made the decision to purchase the book.  For this analysis, I only used books that have been on the market for at least 6 months to give them a fair chance to sell.  For my inventory, this sample size was a hair over 2,500 books.

The Results:  I broke out my sales ranks into several ranges, as you can see below.  The “% sold” for each category is what percent of the units have sold at 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months.  (Note:  Since I don’t have any 12 month data yet for my young business, this last column simply shows the maximum time frame that I have for every book’s listing.)  Here’s how the data shook out:Sales MetricsAs you would imagine, the better a book’s rank, the more likely it is to sell.  At close to one year out, roughly 95% of my books with a rank of less than 100k have sold.  That’s higher than I would have anticipated!  Perhaps more surprising, however, is that 33% of my books with a rank between 2MM and 3MM have sold.  These are the very books that most people are leaving behind since their ranks are supposedly “too high” to sell.  While others may be ignoring these books, I am selectively adding them to my inventory and boosting my overall sales.  “Selectively” is the key word here, as you don’t want to add too many of these slower-moving titles to your overall inventory.

The 1MM Myth = Busted!  So there you have it… books ranked higher than 1MM actually DO sell on Amazon.  In fact, when I added up my total sales for the books in this experiment, books ranked higher than 1MM made up 42% of my overall earnings.  Sure, they will sit in Amazon’s warehouse for longer, but at an average of 2 cents per month in storage costs, I can afford to let them into my inventory to raise my overall sales by 72.4%.

Now that we’ve debunked that myth, let’s go a step further and see if we can put any of this newly-acquired knowledge into practice.

An intelligent purchasing strategy:  When you’re out at the local thrift store scanning books, you now know that you can take a closer look at books ranked higher than 1MM.  But let’s take it a step further… let’s come up with some concrete numbers to apply to certain sales ranks.  For starters, let’s assume that your average cost per book is $1, and that you want to triple your money within six months of purchasing a book.  The margins in books can actually be much higher than this, but let’s assume that if you can at least triple your money within six months then it is worth adding to your inventory.  Once we apply a bit more math, we can come up with a target list price for a given sales rank:Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 9.41.30 PMA few notes on how to interpret this:  first off, you should never be purchasing books that you think you can only sell for $5-6, as there will be little to no room for any profit after FBA fees.  So for the asterisks in the above chart, you should be aiming more for $8-10 as a target list price.  For the 2-3MM category, the target list price is $21.  We’re basically treating books like a collection of stocks: some of them will make you money and some will be losers.  When the dust settles, if your sales metrics are similar to mine, you will triple your money within six months if you follow the above chart.  Those are some pretty good margins for a “retail” business!  If you want to have higher margins, then find books with higher prices – or figure out how to sell a higher percentage of books… and then come do a guest post on my blog to share your secrets to success!

One note of caution when it comes to pricing: if you come across a book with a rank of 5MM that is selling Merchant Fulfilled for $5 but the lowest FBA price is $75, you probably shouldn’t buy it.  You can’t look only at the FBA price, especially if the book has a high sales rank.  Be sure to factor in the MF prices – in the case above I would want to see the MF prices closer to the target list price of $65 before I added it to my inventory.

Conclusion:  This was a fairly in-depth post with lots of facts and figures… congrats on reading it all the way through!  Hopefully this data will allow you to make wise business decisions to be even more profitable moving forward.  Here is a quick summary to wrap up this post:

  • Books with a sales rank over 1MM can be quite profitable… IF you approach them with a purchasing strategy backed by actual data.
  • 42% of my overall sales have come from books with a sales rank higher than 1MM.
  • If you’re out sourcing books, you can either print the “target list price” chart above and take it with you, or go by a simplified version that I use:
    • <1MM rank = $8-10 target list price (or higher)
    • 1MM-2MM rank = $10-15 list price
    • 2MM rank = $20 list price
    • 3MM rank = $30 list price
    • 4MM rank = $40 list price
    • 5MM rank = $50 list price
    • etc.

A quick request:  I believe this is the first time anyone has publicly gone into this much detail regarding sales ranks.  If you found this data helpful, would you take a minute to share it with your favorite social network?  The buttons to share it are on the bottom of the screen.  Thanks in advance!

Did you learn something new from this post?  Do you disagree with any of the data?  I’d love to hear from you – simply comment below to start a dialogue.  Happy flipping!




  1. Wow. This is some good info. I have been doing this for a while and I have come to a buying profile based on experience and instinct. I am not a number cruncher type of guy and I knew I probably needed to adjust my standards a little. This gives me some data to do so.

    Do you use a repricer? I have stayed away because I have so many high dollar textbooks but I really need to do something to move my lower priced books

    • I’m glad it gave you some data insights, Billy! I just started dabbling with a repricer, so my figures in this post do not reflect that. Right now I am tagging all of my textbooks and having the repricer ignore those. I am also not allowing it to kick in until several months in, just to help move the older inventory. I take pricing very seriously and I don’t want to let a repricer mess with my original price until it’s been on the market for a few months. There will be posts later on repricers on this site – stay tuned!

      • What did you find with the repricer testing?

        I’ve tried almost all of them and none seem intelligent enough to handle used books and media. Reprice against ‘same or better?’ end up with you Good book priced 1 cent below a Like New. Good luck making that sale.

        Reprice a % lower than a book with a higher condition? Featurre doesn’t exist with any of the popular rrepricers. I’ve tried 5.

        Reprice against only your subcondition? Featue doesn’t exist and even when offered money for custom development, no one seems interested to do so.

        Lowest FBA price out of the lowest 20 offers? You’re SOL. Some repricers will actually price you to your MIN automatically, murdering your margins!

        Interested to hear your experience.


        • Jim – those are some phenomenal questions! I’ve started a repricer test and will be sharing my results over the next few weeks. I know a lot of successful media sellers who swear by repricers, and others won’t touch them. I’m going to approach this subject with an open mind and see what happens. Stay tuned…

  2. Yes. Thats kind of where I am at. What repricer do you use?

    • RepriceIt. I like it because you can easily set up filters to not reprice anything until it’s been in your inventory for a certain amount of time. There’s no GREAT repricer out there yet, but it seems to work in my small tests so far!

  3. Very smart post, and I’ve noticed good results with my higher ranked books as well. You’ve identified some key things sellers need to know. My only other thought on this concerns the book’s condition. The higher the rank the more concerned I am to make sure the condition’s very good or better UNLESS the competition’s pricing is in line for a successful sale at “good” or below. I tend to sell only very good or like new books anyway, but sales rank and condition can be important to consider in pricing.

    • Thanks Dana – I’m glad you enjoyed the data! You’re absolutely right about the book’s condition coming into play on higher ranked books. When I stumble across a book that has a rank of 4MM, I know I absolutely must be the next sale to have a chance of ever selling it. If it’s in acceptable condition, that chance goes from slim to almost zero. Great piece of advice – thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks SO much! That is incredibly helpful. This tells me I’ve probably been picking up too many 1 million ranked books because I will accept under $10 sales price, but I have just started looking into 2 million and almost never look higher than that unless it has a legitimate high sales price. So, even though I may take a few too many 1M books, I certainly don’t take anywhere near enough 2-5 million ranked books. Definitely something to think about at the book sale this weekend.

    • Awesome! Definitely don’t ignore the books in the 2-5MM arena, but just think twice about the price you can get for it before snagging it.

      • This is one of the areas that really confuse me. How do you make that determination about what price you can get for a high sales rank book? It seems so against logic to think that people will spend big bucks for an FBA book when there are so many MF books at even better conditions priced at $.01…. blows my mind. I guess PRICING is one of the areas I need to master. Thanks for your guidance.

        For such a young man, you have much wisdom and I am grateful to be able to tap into that wisdom.

        • Thanks for the kind words, Gene. Some of it is a “sixth sense”, where you know that someone will still value a book even when the rank has drifted quite high. If a book is ranked 4 million and has penny offers, I’m going to avoid it, even if Prime offers start at $20. Others may snag that book, but in my experience and with my data it’s not worth my time or cost to roll the dice on that particular title.

  5. Excellent data collection and analysis. And your writing skills summarize it, very well. Great topic for all levels of sellers, because it also includes the simplified version guidelines.

    Looking forward to hearing which scanning app(s) you recommend.

  6. Caleb,
    Great Posting! I’ve been open to find Books up to around 3-4 Million Sales Rank, yet if there’s very few to no FBA Sellers with “Very Good Condition”, is a decent Non-Fiction Book, and can Purchase less than $2 ( I rarely buy any over $1 ) I’ll grab that Book to sell in 1-2 Years. Do you feel that this “Slow Quarters” mindset is too long? Just found your Blog about a month ago, excited to read and share in the future…

    • I’d welcome any thoughts and comments you have – thanks for taking the time to share. My “rules” that I outlined are mostly for books where there is a current active market, with at least a dozen or so sellers and an FBA seller or two. When there are very few listings and no FBA, I’m more likely to take more risks with a book. Since roughly half of Amazon’s buyers ONLY but Prime items, if there’s no FBA listing for a particular book, then the book might as well not even be for sale to that subset of buyers. You may sell some of those faster than you think. If you have a healthy mix of fast nickel, slow dime, and slow quarter books, when those quarter books sell it’ll be a nice profit bonus for you!

      • Sounds like much wisdom but I am afraid that I don’t understand what you are saying. Could you explain a little bit more for us noobs?

  7. Hey I have been following your blog intently. I haven’t touched anything in the form of actually selling to avoid any gray areas for me but it is fun to see other people enjoying and contributing to our industry! Hope your enjoying this as much as it sounds like you are!

    • Thanks AJ – I owe some of it to you for helping to get me started! I’m definitely enjoying this industry and it’s been a blast to help others get started on their own journeys with bookselling.

  8. Good article.

    I sometimes wonder if the two fulfillment methods would provide different sales ranks. That is, do high sales rate items sell faster on FBA than FBM?

    There’s probably no way to gather those states from Amazon, but from personal experience, very many books with very high sales rates (5 Million and well above) that had languished in my inventory for years as an FBM seller sold within a matter of months when I converted my inventory to FBA. Currently, I only have a handful of long-tail books that have been in my inventory from before the beginning of 2015 (when I began converting everything to FBA.)

    I suspect that the high sales rank of many books may present a false impression of their sales potential because of the comparatively large number of FBM selllers carrying the item with fewer to no FBA sellers.

    It would be interesting (if unlikely) to have two sales rates – one for FBA, one for FBM.

    • That is a very good point. Since half of Amazon’s customers ONLY buy Prime items, if there are only MF offers then that book may as well not be for sale to some buyers. The rank could slowly drift up until someone like you comes along to list one FBA. On a higher-ranked book, my goal is to be the very next sale. Selling FBA allows me to hold my pricing without racing to the bottom, and still have a higher chance of being the next sale. If two MF sellers are using repricers and their prices have slowly come down to around $30, but I’m the only FBA offer at $45, I still feel good about getting the next sale.

  9. Thanks for a very well written article. I have one question. Regarding your “Low Rank – High Rank / Target Price” chart, I note your explanation for setting a target price on the first 4 or 5 (from the top down) rank ranges. However, I don’t follow how you come up with the target prices on the higher rank ranges. Particularly for an FBA seller, with an assumption that one’s cost is $1 or less, other than the 15% Amazon sales commission and a variable charge for the weight of the book, the other Amazon FBA fees are fixed. So even if you have a book whose rank is 5mm, why would your target price be $49 (which implies you would not want to buy the book if you could not price it at least that high), if the competing offers show you can only expect to get a reasonable but lower price — say $35. The inference from your chart is that you wouldn’t buy that book, even though you’d still get a great rate of return, even if you had to wait a couple of years to sell the book. So I’m not sure I follow the logic of that part of the chart.

    • Hey John – great question. I tried to stay away from most of the “heavy math” in the post, but since you brought it up, let’s go there. First off, my assumption is that my total payout from Amazon after they take their fees is roughly 60% of the total sales. Since my goal was to triple my $1 investment within 6 months, that means I need to get a factor of 5 times my cost of the book (60% times 5 = 3, which is 3 times the cost of the $1 book). I take that factor of 5 and divide it by the “% sold” at 6 months. For the example of books with a rank between 4MM and 5MM, that sell-through rate was 10%. My factor of 5 divided by 10% lands us at $50. It turned into a $49 because of some hidden decimal points somewhere along the line. Hopefully that all makes sense! Remember, these rules are just designed to triple your investment at only 6 months. You may wait much longer to sell that higher-ranked book, and it may sell for you in 2 or 3 years. It still may be worth adding to your inventory at $35, but that’s a decision you will have to make for yourself. Thanks for the question, and I’d welcome any follow-up questions you may have! I’ll have better long-term data as my business matures.

  10. The 2 articles create a point of confusion. When looking a sales rank for the above Target List Price chart, what rank data do you use? Current, most recent low, or most prevalent high rank over time,…

    Great insights and help in both articles. Keep ’em coming!

    • Insightful question, Allen… right now I use the current sales ranks and a bit of historical sales ranks when I’m out scouting and making purchasing decisions. There isn’t great data out there to look at average sales rank or even number of times a sales rank has spiked (indicating a sale), so I go with the data that my scanner puts right in front of me. I figure on a 5MM ranked book, it hasn’t sold in several months and it wouldn’t change my buying opinion about it. I do “spot check” books that are ranked somewhat lower though… if a book is ranked 500k and I pull up the camelcamelcamel data and it has only sold 1 copy in the past 6 months and was most recently a 5MM rank, I’ll treat it as a 5MM copy.

  11. Stupid question… How do some comments have the writer’s pictures?

  12. Hey Caleb,

    Great post! I am currently repricing all of my inventory right now and would love to hear your pricing strategy for books! Will that be a topic soon for a future post?


    • There is one specific question I’d like to ask about pricing and it’s on whether or not you ignore the MF offers when you price.

      For example, I have some books in stock where the FBA offers are at $35 but the lowest MF offers in the Used column is $0.01. This is for poorly ranked items so I am looking to be the next sale. So I can work with one of two assumptions:

      1) I could maximize my profit and assume that the customers will pay $30 more for a book that will come in 2 Days and is fulfilled by Amazon even if they could pay $0.01 plus shipping for the lowest MF Used offer. Also, since some of these books that fall into this situation have the Buy Box at higher prices and are in newer condition, I can ignore those $0.01 MF used offers. Therefore, I would price at the lowest FBA offer and disregard the low MF offers by pricing at $35.

      2) However, if I were to assume that price sensitivity is the important especially at such poor rankings, then I ought price no more than $4 to $10 above the lowest MF offer causing me to price my book around $3.99 to $9.95.

      I have been following the #1 but am wondering if assumption #2 is better and safer.

      Do you mind answering that here or in a later post?


      • That question alone could be the subject of multiple blog posts! I like your rationale behind being “the next sale” with higher-ranked books, that’s definitely the right way to look at it. In that particular case, I would also look at the MF new prices and allow that to guide me. If the MF new price is $15, I may come in just a hair under that ($14.95) to allow someone to buy it used and Prime for cheaper than new. If the MF new price is $40, then I may match the current low price at $35. $35 is also a key number since anyone who doesn’t have a Prime account can still get free 2-day shipping if their total orders add up to $35. Some buyers ONLY buy Prime, and some buyers are extremely price conscious. This is why this scenario is tough to judge. Price high and you’ll get better margins (if it sells), price too low and you may get a quick sale but settle for lower profits. You could always price high and wait for the sale, then lower your price if it doesn’t sell within a set amount of time. Keep the questions coming!

      • Caleb had some good insight here. I may add also that pricing $4-$10 higher than a MF seller priced at $0.01 should actually be $8-$14 because you have to factor in the $3.99 shipping MF buyers have to pay. I am always amazed to see the lowest FBA price at $4 (or worse yet. the ONLY FBA).

        The reason is that MF sellers (who do volume) actually make a profit on penny books, but FBA sellers lose money at $4.

        So you have a listing where the MF sellers are:

        1. Using slow shipping methods
        2. Often doing mega volume which means quality can suffer.
        3. Making a profit!

        …but the FBA sellers “competing” at $3.99 are:

        1. Spending more time processing (labeling, split shipments, etc.)
        2. Paying inbound shipping costs.
        3. Paying much higher Amazon fees overall
        3. Losing money on every sale at this price point!

        • Great insights! There are some larger players out there who just match the lowest price and don’t seem to care if they sell books at a loss. It’s a shame, but hey, it’s their business to do with as they please. Jenson Online and RentU seem to be major culprits here.

    • Sounds like quite the endeavor (depending on how large your inventory is!). Yes, I will go into great detail on both pricing and repricing.

  13. Another great post. I need to go through my inventory and do some repricing.

  14. Good stuff. I appreciate this info

  15. Caleb, great article. Question… when you set your scanner up, do you set it to alert you based on the FBA price or the MF price?

    • I don’t use alerts – I like to see the data personally and process it that way as I scan. If the book is ranked under 2MM, I typically compare it mostly to FBA prices. If it’s over 3MM, I need to see a high MF price and I typically ignore the FBA prices. Between 2MM and 3MM, I rely on my gut.

  16. Caleb I love your site. One question and one comment here

    Question: What do you use to calculate sales tax. I just got started 2 months ago and have about 600 books in my inventory but It never occurred to me that I would need to research individual taxes for each state i’m warehoused in. I’ve heard Taxjar may be a good solution but i wanted to get your input first.

    Secondly about this post. The margin on a book that you charge $5 for is pennies especially with the changes to the FBA fees coming in February. By the time you label and ship it you’d probably be in the hole even for a Low ranked book. Do you really send in $5 books?

    Thanks again and love you site its so great to see a numbers based approach to all this. I’m working hard to hit my 100 book a week goal thanks to your motivation and coaching.

    • Thanks for the questions!

      Regarding sales tax, I’ve heard great things about TaxJar. I will give you the same advice I give everyone regarding taxes – ask an accountant. Sorry I can’t be more specific, but everyone’s situations are unique and I don’t even want to start trying to offer accounting advice 🙂

      You’re spot on regarding $5 books. I only send in books that I can sell for at least $8, but I’m starting to even reconsider that amount in favor of aiming closer to $11-12.

      Good luck on the 100 book weekly challenge – let us all know how you progress toward that goal!

  17. Thanks for the info Caleb. One question I have is, this sourcing methodology, especially the caveat to make sure long tail (eg 5MM +) ranked books have a relative parity between MF and FBA prices is in direct contradiction to the eFlip model you created, no? There, you LOOK for the $5 MF book to flip for $75 FBA, right? This is exactly what you’re saying not to do here…?

    Thanks for the insights!

    • Hey Tony – thanks for the question. You’re correct in my pricing strategy for long-tail books, in that I will price closer to the lowest MF price instead of raising the price quite high. The reason for this is that on a 5MM ranked book, the next sale may not come for 3-6 months. When it comes, I want to be the NEXT SALE, not wait for every other buyer who places a high value on Prime.

      With eFLIP books, I’m looking for books that are selling consistently (at least a few times in the past 3 months) to justify taking the risk. In those cases, I’ll price high and wait for the sale that (should) come eventually!

      eFLIP has a database of over 20 million ISBNs that we consistently monitor, but we only include ISBNs ranked under 3 million in our database that our customers can view because once a book slips over the 3MM rank, it is unlikely to sell consistently in the future. If it sells again and drops in rank, we’ll throw it back into the database until it again rises over the 3MM mark. This will help our customers find books with the best chance of selling again and being able to flip them for a profit by selling them FBA.

      Thanks for asking!

  18. I just found out that our only library is having its annual book sale this weekend. Perfect timing! I’m going to use the info from your posts and give it a try. The prices at the sale are $4 for adult, $1 for juvenile and $1 for paperback. Which section would you hit first if time is limited?

    • That’s a great question – and also the topic of a future blog post – but I would definitely start with non-fiction and look for textbooks, art, music, math, science, history, religion, and business, in no particular order.

  19. Wow! That was some AMAZING information. I think in my early excitement I’ve picked up too many books that are $5-6, but hey, I’m still learning!

    But this was so helpful. I too have passed over way too many with the “under 1 mil rule”.

    I will DEFINITELY be pinning this and using your formulas in my future purchasing endeavors!

  20. I just started reading your blog. (I was on the call with Greg Murphy – great job, the both of you)! Thank you for this post (and the previous one about sales rank). I’m glad you crunched the numbers so that I didn’t have to 😉 Now I have some guidelines to go on when I’m out scouting. I tend to rely on past experience and what I’m feeling the day of a given book sale. I’m happy to see that I’ve been in the ballpark of what you recommend. At the end of the day, we can use guidelines to help us make decisions, but we need to also trust our gut. Thanks for giving us info we can follow that’s backed up by data :0)

  21. This and part 1 cleared some things up about the scanner app brother, thank you. Glad I read it before I got to deep into this. It definitely will help fine tune my decisions.

  22. Caleb, I appreciate your wisdom and help thru this blog. I am need of some solid guidance. I started using eFlip and stopped to get rid of my own personal library of several hundreds of books. Then I will go back to eFlip as my main arbitrage sourcing effort.
    In pricing my books for sale FBA I have found many times other FBA sellers with ridiculously low prices such as $9.84 for a book that should be $35 or higher for a long tail book. As I am 77 years old, I am not interested in pricing for the long haul of 1-2 years for a sale; instead I want sales in the next 6 months… in my quest to be the next sale of this long tail book, what do I do about these low ball FBA offers of books with the same condition as mine?

    • You can do other things to help your listing stand out: make sure you maintain 100% feedback scores, and describe the book carefully and accurately. If your description is precise and someone else’s is vague (“may contain markings and/or highlightings, may have spine wear”), then your listing can stand out from the crowd and you may be able to command a higher price for your book. Even though books are commodities, there are still effective ways to help your listings stand out!

  23. When preparing my shipping plan for books from my own personal library, I have got this type message from AZ for around 20 of my own long tail books: “this item is either overstocked or is a slow seller and you will most likely incur storage charges. Do you want to send in the book or remove it?”

    What should I do about it? I already own the book, it is in very good or like new condition.
    How much are the storage charges? My initial reaction was to remove the books from the shipping plan but maybe I shouldn’t have.
    What say ye?

    • Send it in. It’s Amazon’s way of saying that they have plenty of that particular copy in stock compared to its historical sales, but their data isn’t always all that good. If there are no other prime offers, then by all means send it in! Or if you can drop the Prime price a bit and still turn a decent profit, then go for it!

  24. I appreciated your blog/article, my question is – If you go by sales rank to choose your inventory, what influence does the number of competing offers have? I have a lot of books to sort through and need a plan. For example – a book has a sales rank 10K -100K, has 100 or 50 competing offers including 5-10 FBA offers. I can list it for $12.99. what would you think?

    • The greater the number of offers, the more likely there are to be low-ball FBA offers. If a book is ranked 2 million, and has 200 offers, odds are there are several FBA offers in the $4-5 range, and you should pass on it. If a book is ranked 50k with 200 offers, it may still have a high enough Prime price to send in. If the Prime offers are realistic and high enough, then ignore the number of offers and send it in!

  25. I wonder how your target sales rank and price targets change with the new long term storage fees implemented by Amazon. Thanks for the information.

  26. Caleb, I want to thank you for all the time you spent studying, gathering, and sharing your selling knowledge with us. May God bless you to the point where you have enough residual income from software and affiliates to do whatever you wish.

    I am wondering if you are working on a new Sales Rank guide. I like the chart for FBAscan trigger setup but since March 1st it’s outdated. If you aren’t already, can you help us with an updated chart?

    Also can you make a new blog post with scouting advice for beginners? I just started scouting this month, and I want to know how you decide which books to buy and which not to buy. I noticed that when scanning I would be looking mostly of the profit box, regardless of rank (Unless it’s over a few MM) I would focus on the cheapest FBA price to decide whether to buy or not.

    I recently realized that if a book has a very good rank, but shows only $1 in profit, that I could set a higher price and wait for the cheaper options to sell out.

    Or should I forget about the profit box, and just focus on target list price? For example, never buying a book that has a lot of offers under $9. Unfortunately, the city I live in, most books I’ve scanned are under $10 list price. Out of around 60 books that I’ve purchased so far, only maybe 3 have list prices over $20.

    I know that you use a bluetooth scanner to quickly scan one after another. So what key things do you look for when deciding to keep the book or not? Sorry for all the questions, but I am struggling with scouting.

    • Hey Vadim, welcome aboard the book train! Thanks for the kind words – it’s been a fun journey so far, and hopefully will continue for many years to come. You can take the current sales rank/list price charts and add $2 to the prices to factor in the new fees. That will set you off in a good direction. Be careful trusting the Profit box on FBAScan – they don’t factor in the actual book’s weight and those numbers could be off by a few dollars depending on the actual weight of the book (unless you’re using live mode for everything). In general, I like to price based on the lowest 5 FBA offers. If the rank is awesome (sub-100k), I’ll price closer to the 5th slot (or higher), and if the rank is higher I’ll aim to match or beat the 1st or 2nd FBA offer. If the rank is super high, I ignore FBA offers and price a bit higher than the lowest MF offer. Over time you’ll develop your own “feel” for pricing and for selecting books. Best wishes to your own business journey!

  27. I think this is atleast my 2nd time reading this post. I love following your blog and soaking up the helpful information. I searched for this post today since I just picked up my first (free!) lot of books. I’ve started scanning them and picking out the profitable ones and even though I didn’t pay anything for them I don’t want to lose money on shipping and storage fees buy sending in books that don’t have much chance of selling. How much money do you think a book would cost in fees if it didn’t sell in a year or a year and a half?

    • Good question – a normal-sized book costs about 2 cents a month on storage fees, plus about 30 cents for the 6-month LTSF and 65 cents for 12-month LTSF. That puts you at $1.19 for a full year on a book. If it’s super long tail (5 MM rank or higher), you’ll want to be sure that you can price it higher than $30-50 to absorb some of those fees.

  28. Hey Caleb,

    Awesome material. Do you still manually re-price or are you using a re-pricer nowadays?



    P.S. Do you have a training course?

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