Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Selling clutter-books on Amazon

Lately I've been weeding out possessions I don't really need as part of my quest to simplify things. I've been a working student my whole adult life, so I haven't accumulated a whole lot of "stuff." However I have found some things to get rid of: media I don't need or like any more, semi-obsolete computer parts, and materials for hobbies I no longer practice.

Most of these things have very little value, so I donate or recycle them. But a few seem valuable enough that I ought to sell them. I don't have a lot of time or energy for this, so I try to sell this stuff in ways that are fast and painless, even if I don't maximize the proceeds. I've been happy selling books through Amazon's used book marketplace and shipping them with USPS flat rate envelopes.

My process works like this:
  • Find the book's page on Amazon, enter the book's condition (e.g. "Used - Good"), and a brief description (e.g. "Crease on cover"), and my price. I usually set my price so my book is one of the cheapest available.
  • Wait for an email from Amazon saying that a book sold.
  • Go to Amazon's page and print an invoice for the book.
  • Put the book and invoice in a Flat Rate Envelope.
  • Go to the USPS web page and use their "Click'n'Ship" facility to buy flat rate postage and print a shipping label.
  • Tape the label to the envelope and drop it in a mailbox.
  • Go back to Amazon's page and send the buyer a message with the tracking number.
After some practice this only takes about 5 or 10 minutes per book. I've found it helps to keep a "workstation," with a pile of the envelopes and a roll of packing tape, near the printer.

The beauty of this system is that once it's set up, I can sell books without interacting with customers or leaving the house!

1 comment:

SavingDiva said...

I used to sell books on Amazon and half.com. Now, I only have a few books around that aren't worth much. I'm considering donating them to the local library.