How I Started Bookselling

I feel like I’ve been an Internet bookseller forever, but it really hasn’t been that long at all. I made my first significant bookselling income on Amazon.com in January 2003. I had sold some books on Half.com before that, but if I must choose a date when I really became a bookseller, let’s set it at January 2003.
 
During the waning days of my full-time writing career, I began to look for ways to make extra money.
 
I opened an eBay account and began selling things I already had around the house and things I found at thrift stores on eBay. Half.com seemed the best place to get rid of some books I had collected when I was writing book reviews, so I tried it. It worked so well, I began buying books to resell.
 
When eBay bought Half.com, my growing feedback rating on Half.com was incorporated into my eBay rating and I suddenly looked more experienced with eBay than I really was. Nonetheless, I eventually gave up eBay because it is much more work than bookselling. (I don’t sell books on eBay because of the high listing fees and low interest in books there.) I rarely list on eBay now and almost never buy anything there. Amazon.com is my primary venue with Half.com and a variety of others rounding out my stable.
 
To make a long story a little less tedious, I backed into bookselling accidentally. And I’m very glad I did. I’ve been able to make substantially more money than I did writing, I have no deadlines and I enjoy the work more. My life experiences culminate in bookselling:
  • I grew up in a family of small business owners and I had been one a writer, so I knew the problems that come with being self-employed.
  • When I worked at RadioShack corporate headquarters, one of my job titles was “postal planning coordinator”. I remain one of the few people on the planet who have actually sat down and read passages of the Domestic Mail Manual. (None of the others work for the Postal Service, either, although the DMM is supposed to be their Bible of rules and regulation.) Knowing postal regulations better than most postal clerks simplifies shipping packages.
  • My seemingly useless jobs in high school and college working fast food taught be a little about customer service.
  • And my college degree (in Broadcast Management) taught me nothing specifically usable, but it taught me that I’m smart enough to learn anything anytime.

I was almost literally born to be a bookseller — and I’ve certainly been preparing to be one all my life. I suppose I’ll be one until either the opportunity or the fun of it goes away.

This post originally appeared on my So Much More Life blog at www.gipplaster.com before I decided to focus that blog more tightly on simple living and minimalism. I moved this post here because it doesn’t fit in very well there.

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