Imagine a roofer without a hammer. Or a chef without a skillet. Without the proper tools, a craftsman will struggle to complete even the most basic of tasks.
My craft is flipping books. In order to perform this task at the highest level, I rely on a variety of tools – both physical and digital. In my last post, I shared the physical tools that I use when I’m scouting books. Today we will take a closer look at some of the digital tools available to help you find quality books quickly and efficiently.
Before we get to the app reviews, it’s important to understand one key shortcoming that all third party applications have to deal with: Amazon’s API. Apps can only “see” the lowest 20 prices, and if an FBA price isn’t among the lowest 20 offers, then the app won’t show any FBA data. All apps, with the exception of Amazon’s own app, have this limitation. For a more detailed explanation of why apps sometimes don’t show an FBA price, check out Peter Valley’s post about this very topic.
Amazon Seller App
- It’s free!
- It’s the only app to reveal the true lowest FBA price every time.
- It’s slow. Extremely slow. Since it’s looking up the current data, it takes a second or two to pull in all the data points.
- It’s cumbersome to use. It requires numerous additional steps. You have to click around several times in the app before you can look up the next book.
- It’s hard to see any FBA price other than the lowest price. See the image on the right above. It simply shows all of the prices, not just the FBA prices. If another seller has priced their FBA listing too low, say around $4.00 (this happens more often than you may think), but the next lowest price is $14.99, there is no easy way to find this information.
Conclusion: Time is money, and the time you lose by using this app could mean the difference between finding 75 books at a library sale or finding only 25 books. That lost revenue by using a slow app will actually cost you money in the long run. If you’re serious about flipping books, invest in yourself and your future by spending money on a true scouting app.
Scoutify, by Inventory Lab
- It is simple to use, yet powerful. The image on the right shows all of the additional research tools you can use to find out more information about a book once you have scanned it.
- It allows for unlimited licenses for people within your business. Simply give out your username and password and anyone else can use this app for scouting purposes. This comes in quite handy if you’re trying to build a business.
- You can see more pricing information than just the lowest prices (stock traders refer to this as Level 2 data). This helps you to identify outliers and ignore irrelevant prices that may exist with some titles.
- It doesn’t always show the lowest FBA price (see the note above about Amazon’s API limitations).
- It is cumbersome to click around to actually find the lowest FBA price on Amazon by using this app.
- It’s slow. It’s not a downloaded database, which means it still requires a cell signal and takes a second or two to pull the book’s details from Amazon. It’s faster to move between books when scanning with this app than Amazon’s Seller App.
Conclusion: This is a feature-rich app which allows you to share it with others in your business. However, it is not a downloaded database and is still slow when compared to other true scouting apps.
Website: inventorylab.com (affiliate link)
FBAScan, by ASellerTool
- It’s fast. Lightning fast. You can scan books as fast as you can pick them up, especially when coupled with a Bluetooth scanner.
- It works even when there is no cell phone reception, because it’s a downloaded database that exists on your phone, not in the cloud.
- It is easy to find the true lowest FBA. Look at the image on the right. If you click the word “FBA” within the app, it will pull up the information on the right, directly from Amazon. Now this little feature does require a data connection, but it will save you from making poor purchasing decisions and only costs a second or two with select titles where you may have questions.
- You can access their data with a smartphone or with a PDA device.
- It still doesn’t reveal the true lowest FBA price, but it does as good of a job as any app I’ve tested.
- Additional licenses still cost you a few extra bucks a month if you’re looking to build a team.
- The data is only updated on their end every so often (seems like every few days in my experience). You will never be working with up-to-the-minute data, but if a book met your purchasing criteria two days ago, odds are it will still be a good buy today.
Conclusion: This is my preferred scouting app, hands down. I do not receive any compensation for recommending their software, but I will continue to refer others to their app because of its speed and utility. Do yourself a favor and check it out today!
A video review of these three scouting apps: For those who are more visual by nature, you can watch a video I put together which showcases these three apps. Check it out here: