A flea market or a street market is a great place for selling second hand goods, including used books. This is for the simple reason that the clientele there are particularly in search of second-hand deals and objects that are no longer available in regular markets. Hence, a flea market is the best place for one to sell used books, some of which may not even be in circulation anymore.
To be successful at selling used books in a flea market, it is important to know what your clientele's requirements are. Then, you should stock those books that are most sought after, those that would sell anytime of the year and those that are evergreens, like Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Mills & Boon and lately the Harry Potter series. Other kinds of books that could sell well include those on cooking, recipes and cuisines, gardening, interior design, nature and life sciences like the National Geographic series or Readers Digest and of course the Do-It-Yourself and the self-help books. Across decades, one can find a ready customer base for these kinds of books, and there are always many people who continue to be interested in them, or want to take up a hobby. You could be one of them yourself.
How do we sell used books? There are a number of ways one can opt to sell used books. Some of them are as follows:
- Price your book appropriately, remember, people come to a flea market looking for unbelievable deals. It helps to offer a discount for bulk purchases, to segregate a bunch of books and offer at say 1 dollar; mark coffee table books, books on art, architecture, photography and so on at a higher rate and offer a discount - they are the eye-ball catchers and help draw crowds to your stall.
- Market yourself and your shop well; position your shop in a vantage point and try to be available there at all times. Nothing is better than appearing consistently at the same spot for your discerning customers. Keep a smiling, genial and customer-friendly appearance is always the right kind of approach, which will ensure return customers and also help in pushing a reluctant customer to buy a book that is not moving so well. Of course, I have come across the real grumpy book sellers at flea markets, but they are very good at their job and have actually been able to source some great books for me at reasonable prices.
- You could try selling them at those flea markets that are long established for used books. They assure a consistent and ever-increasing number of people visiting them.
- Restore torn, mutilated books, wrap them in polythene, protect them from dust and grime, keep an elegant display - all of this is surely crowd catching.
If selling in a flea market is not your idea of business, you could try selling online through ‘virtual markets' on the internet, such as e-Bay or amazon.com or even sell through some non-profit organizations such as greendaily.com.