Saturday, February 22, 2014

Is there Room For Everyone to Sell Online?

Recently I have seen several attacks by online sellers, most of whom sell on eBay and Amzon Marketplace, saying that there are just too many people coming to those places to sell.

These people complain that the new sellers are out to make "a quick buck" and are spoiling life for them by driving up prices at thrift stores, buying items that they could have bought to re-sell and that to add insult to injury then sell too cheaply on eBay and Amazon.

The real fact is. Yes there are a growing number of people selling online, including stores like Goodwill,  once a major supplier to many re-sellers.

Prices rise both because demand rises as supply falls, but there are also additional reasons, costs for thrift stores rise too, they have rent to pay as well as insurance and utillity bills.

In my travels I have come across several re-sellers. During the course of these meetings I have learned not to fear them because as of yet we have not wanted the same book. They have their experience in the market and I have mine. They may take a book from a different area, I for instance stay away from  Romantic fiction, their customers may demand that from them. I have learned what I am happy to sell and aim for that area, sometimes dipping a toe in other areas.

When I arrive at a thrift store to buy I have a mental image of my customer. They are very much like me, looking for particular qualities in the books I buy for them. Clean for the most part, no highlights or inscriptions, covers not folded over and looking at least good.

Occassionally I buy a roughly handled book if it is in a popular area for my customers and it is at a good enough price. Even the best book at too high a price stays on the shelf. I leave that and many others for the next person to find and enjoy. My purpose is to stay in business, not to read a book for fun.

I also have budget limits. If I decide I have $100 to spend this week I cannot afford to buy everything I see. I have to choose carefully. I can still walk away with over one hundred books for my $100. I may have seen several hundred that fall into my sales criteria. But put them back. Bargains are like trains and buses, another will be along in the future, you can take advantage  then. Someone following me may wonder at the books I leave behind. But I stand to remain content with those I buy.

I have been working in retail since I was about 8 years old. My first business running errands for workmen on a building site. The brick-layers and their laborers were paid by the numbers of bricks laid. Ten minutes lost going to the shops to buy newspapers and cigarettes was expensive, my opportunity. Be there everyday wait for an order and run the errand for them for a tip, or even free for some. Very soon I was earning one or two pounds per day (I grew up in England and in the late 1960's selling cigarettes was not so frowned upon).

The opportunity was open to all the other kids in my area, but non took the time to do the job. When I pursuaded a friend or two to join me, they soon bored of the constant running to the shops.

The moral of this story is there will be plenty of room for all who want to to try to sell merchandise on eBay and Amazon or any other online venture. Many may move to be in the same liune of business as I am, most will gravitate to other areas. Many like my friends will be happy to do the work for a short time but repetition will begin to bore them, the need to earn the income become too much and they will fall by the wayside.

I do not fear competitors. There is plenty of opportunity out there for our paths rarely to cross. I will watch out for them. See if they succeed because if they do, I know the marketplace is strong enough for  all of us. I will be sad if they fail because I have been to that place and it is not nice to go there.

In the end there is a huge market, as long as we are happy being able to work only on our own businesses and not waste time fretting and complaining about others businesses there is plenty of room for us all.

What are your thoughts about this post or the question?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Preparing for Tax Season

Over the past few weeks I have been preparing my accounts for tax season.

Having several sources of income ranging from a part-time job to blog income my taxes can become a little complicated.

It did not come as much of a surprise to find my part-time job is becoming less important to my finances.

The last year has seen much of my blog income level out. But a major part of my income has now become my online bookstore on

Blogiing is my least important income. It brings in enough to cover minor bills and pay for small luxury items, here I include things like a coffee at Starbucks.

Next come product designs in my zazzle store. Last year saw lots of orders for items such as greetings cards and T-shirts. Several of those order from Europe.

Overall though the sale of second-hand books has eclipsed all the other forms of income. Income from Bretsuki's Books, my online bookstore at amazon has been recycled to increase my stock. I began with just 17 books and now have approaching 500 books. All income from sales has been used to cover ongoing costs and not taken out to pay a wage but I can now see a time in the not too far future when I will not need to reinvest my ongoing income and be able to take a wage from that business.

The moral of the tale is therefore, if you are looking for real income from the web, look to producing real goods or at least look towards marketplaces such as amazon or ebay where you can sell real goods. That is where there is real cash generation potential.