I am a freelance author, writer, critic, artist, and entrepreneur living in the Heart of the Texas Hill Country.
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I decided that I wanted to sell books online. I would build a website to have kind of a home base, and I would maintain Abebooks, Alibris, Biblio, and Amazon accounts for my inventory.
Only, where was I going to get the inventory?
Sure, I had been collecting books now for a little while, and I had a pretty decent collection, but to sell these books, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. How do you sell Signed First Printings of 'No Country For Old Men?' by Cormac McCarthy, First Printings of 'Brave New World?' "To Kill a Mockingbird?' 'Infinite Jest?' and many others...
I started going to library sales, garage sales, estate sales, book sales, I sent out for ads on craigslist, "You have book that you're trying to get rid of? I'll take them off of your hands." It didn't take me long to realize that once the word got out that I was looking for used books, that I would go through them, that I would pick them up, I would have to start turning people down. If you operate a used bookstore, whether online or in a store front, you quickly realize that finding books is not the hard part, the hard part is figuring out what to do with all the books that you amass.
anywhere that I could. I had to devise an inventory system for myself so I knew where each particular book was once it had been ordered, so I could go straight to it's location in my two bedroom, two bath, house directly across the street from the Rose Park in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Once ordered and in my hand I cleaned it, with Windex and/or lighter fluid (trade secret, lighter fluid evaporates almost immediately, and is a spectacular de-residue'r), then I would wrap it in a brown paper, place it in a box filled with peanuts, according to size, and print a shipping label directly from the USPS website, and send it off.
The whole process was very much trail-and-error, and it took some time to settle on the best way to do things, but even once I had a system, the work was almost too much for just me to do. Because, I was working, also, as a freelance writer, book reviewer, and at an independent bookstore. While, not to mention, I helped to parent my girlfriends two kids - we all lived together!
It got really interesting when I decided to work on my business strategy, and plan, and I sat down to research and write only after putting the kids to bed, and completing whatever other writing project I was working on...
I'll save that for another day, though.