10 Overlooked Places For Sourcing Books

The #1 question for anyone looking to make money reselling stuff online is Where can I get inventory that will make me good profit? 

It the single most greatest factor for those who make 6 figures selling books and those who go to Amazons bookseller graveyard. Where can you really get a great amount of book inventory? Simple, go where no else does. So here’s is a list of 10 places that your competition is probably not doing.


Universities are great for non-fiction books. The trick is making a stunning flyer offering to buy a large lot of non-fiction books. Why large lots? Because typically people ask way too much for worthless books. And the odds of you finding some books with good sales rank and a pretty good profit. Personally, I use Canva. Canva is a simple website for those who want to make banners, flyers, etc. It’s really great for those who aren’t really the web designer type. I then just print them off at home. I only really print 20 at most, at a time. Try and target faculty and not students here. And as an added touch – to really save your butt from anyone calling you and rattling your cage for ‘advertising’ on campus- give it a pretend business name. A good one would be “Broke College Student Books.”

Used bookstores

A lot of booksellers overlook bookstores. The main reason is that they think they know the value of the item already. That’s really subjective. Some companies don’t look up the prices on Amazon or have their own calculation on how to price books for reasons unknown to me. As a result, there leaving a lot of money left on the table. This made really easy if you sell via FBA, because you can price your books and other items a little higher than seller fulfilled And the other nice thing is that Used Bookstores typically price new books as “used.” And if you have bought any used books from a library, you know you can get these for such a low price, it’s almost criminal. Just go prepared, you won’t be paying thrift store prices, so bring a decent amount of money.

dumpster diving

I heard on a Amazon FBA Facebook group from a large bookseller that he knows a guy who makes over $30,000 a year selling books he finds in the dumpster. People’s biggest objections about dumpster diving is A) the gag response and B) Not knowing where to look. It’s true that it can be very well inconsistent. That’s really what makes it lucrative. You could come out of a dumpster with hundreds of dollars of items to sell, or you could come out with a bag full of orange peels. Some consistent source of good books around me include a library in an upscale neighborhood, University library dumpster and a local thrift store.


Every day I check the free section and the book section on Craigslist. Typically I ignore all the single listing books, unless there textbooks. People around me ask a really good price to turn a profit on some of the textbooks. And there typically in great condition. Other than that, I look for large quantities of books. Another tip if too look for booksellers that are going out of business and listing their entire inventory under For Sale > Business.

University surplus

This is an overlooked and often highly lucrative way of getting books. You just have to figure out where their surplus goes, because if it is a decent sized school, they will have quite the amount of valuable books. Typically, universities will have 3 ways of liquidating their surplus books. And they are an on campus surplus store, online auction, or standard auction. As we speak, there are thousands of auctions going on, on hundreds of websites. Universitysurplus.com is one. You’re welcome.

recycling centers

All’s you have to do is go to your nearest recycling center and inquire about purchasing books by the pallets. Odds are they go through a lot of books. And who knows, you could be the first person to actually inquire about this. Rather than just going to one recycling center, go to a few. And try a few consignment stores as well. It’s all worth a shot!

Direct mail

Someone I know who lives in a major city who worked for a bookseller who sourced all of inventory through direct mail campaigns to “educated” zip codes. The way to do it is identifying zip codes populated by formally educated people. The postcard would have what they accepted, and what they didn’t want. The request called for collections of 500+. Of course it included all their contact info for inquiries that met their criteria. The cost of the postcards came to be about 50 cents each, and they did mailings of 10,000. This of course requires some significant capital upfront, but just imagine the returns.

eBay arbitrage

Look for large lots of books. Assuming that no one will want to ship more than 500 books, it will probably be local pickup only. This is good, eliminating most of your competition. Search by location, and identify large lots in driving difference. Another thing you can do is looking for relatively smaller lots that would be on your route to the large lot, then flipping the valuable books on Amazon and getting rid of the rest.

Thrift store overflow

Like I touched on a little earlier, thrift stores are often another good source. Thrift stores don’t view books as a profit center. Their heavy, cumbersome, and don’t bring in a lot of money. A lot of people have had success approaching thrift store managers asking if they have more books they can handle. They often do. And they will typically let you in the back room to look at them before they hit the shelves. Or if they don’t at the time, give them your name and number so they can give you a call next time they receive a large donation of them. Offer to pay by the lot for a lower price-per-book rate if they just want them gone, or cherry pick through what they have and offer more than their usual book price to make it worth their time.


Sign up for freecycle and watch your inbox blow up for free things people don’t want.

Freecycle rocks!

Treasures and a nice chunk of money is out there. You just have to work for it.

Things To Look Foward To This Week on The Arctic Thrifter Blog:
  • I’m planning a thrift shopping day trip, hitting up at least 10  Goodwills in my area and a few book sales, and other thrift stores. I plan on traveling a little over 300 miles of the Southeastern part of my state, and will likely spend more than 10 hours shopping and driving, combined.
  • Keywords for those eBay listings that aren’t selling.
  • Diversifying your FBA inventory.

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