An eBay Book Seller Travels The World

How To Become A World Traveler With A Postage Stamp

I have been selling online for many years now. eBay has been my primary focus for the last ten years but I also have used AbeBooks and Kijiji. Selling online can be an adventure while, at the same time, provide you with fun and interesting challenges. It is also a place that does reward you financially and, often, will present you with some surprises along the way.

For most of my life I have been an avid collector of books. I own thousands of volumes and it can be an expensive hobby depending on the types of book one collects. My collection consists, mainly, of non-fiction first edition hardcover books which tend to be the more expensive side of book collecting. One day it occurred to me that eBay might be a great way to cull some of my books while, at the same time, providing me with the cash to finance further additions to my growing collection. It turned out to be a great experience and has worked out very well.

In the early days my book sales were modest but, before long, I was earning enough profit from those sales to allow me to go out and acquire more books. In time my collection got to the point where it was, for the most part, financing itself. For me it was a win win. I could, for example, buy a box of books from a yard sale or flea market...keep the ones I wanted and sell the rest on eBay. I would recover my costs with the online sales and would add new volumes to my collection at little or no cost, What could be better than that?

I was , at first, reluctant to list any of my books on eBay. It can be very hard to choose which ones to keep and which ones to sell. You can become very attached to your books. Only a serious book collector could understand the attachment you can develop with all your books.....regardless of how many you have.

In the early days I was a bit tentative and listed just a few books at a time. Sales did not come right away but about a week after listing my first lot of books... I got a sale. I still remember the book. It was titled "Towers of Clay" and dealt with the corruption of the banking system. The buyer was from Dallas, Texas. As I wrapped the book for shipping it dawned on me that my book was going to Texas. I, myself, have never been and may never get the chance to visit Texas but my book would soon be on it's way there. For some reason that thought gave me great pleasure.It was like a little piece of me was travelling with the book. The money I received was still important but I also received an added benefit that I had not expected......this was fun and I wanted to sell more. Very quickly I had over a hundred books listed for sale on eBay and they were soon selling to buyers from all over the world.

Most of my book sales are made to just everyday people....like me. To fellow collectors, avid readers or those who have been looking for that special volume and my book happened to catch their attention as they browsed eBay. Every once in a while, however, my books are sold to places and people that just make me smile. My books have found their way into the private collections of celebrities and politicians and in many of the most famous libraries around the world . Some of my military volumes are now resting on the shelves of the Sandhurst Military Academy in England, West Point in the US, The Royal Canadian Military College in Canada and at last count about 40 universities worldwide. I have sent books to buyers from more that 60 countries to date and every sale gives me so much more than just money. My books have made it to places that I will, probably, never see or experience. I still feel a connection to all the books I have shipped to all those faraway destinations.

I started out with an idea for selling books........What I found and experienced was much more than I could have imagined. I have been told that to be a "professional" seller it is not a good idea to get personally attached to the products you sell. I can't help myself I love books and I enjoy sharing them and introducing others to the joys of reading and collecting.

Selling books on eBay would not be a good choice if you are looking to strike it rich. . It is a lot of work and will take up more time than you might imagine. There is , however, something to be gained for those who sell on eBay. Money is part of it but for many sellers it is the full process of the sale that is so rewarding. Interacting with people from all over the world on subjects close to your heart is.........well... priceless!

As an eBay seller the entire world is my marketplace. It is an awesome place to "learn" the online selling business.You can start out small with just a few listings or go all in and open your own eBay store with hundreds or even thousands of items for sale...it's up to you! Ebay provides excellent training and how to guides for the beginner or the seasoned pro. There are also some great "ebayers" that are always willing and able to offer a helping hand if you would like the personal touch. If you're looking for a challenge or perhaps a rewarding new career....give eBay a try...there's a whole world out there just waiting for you!!




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Comments 32 comments

wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

oh i love books and i know it's hard to part with them. i have sold books on ebay a while back and i just need to get back into it. Pretty soon i will have more books than house!


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for the comments wetnosedogs. I know what you mean....I use to have a great den and office at one time. Now I sit at a desk surrounded by stacks of books. .....I have to reach over, around, under and sometimes through the stacks to get anything. My wife gives me the "look" from time to time but I think I'm starting to win her over. As long as she doesn't look in the boxes I have stacked up in the garage anytime soon............ I'm probably safe.


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Hi, Terry!

Good to see my friend, wetnosedogs, was the first to comment here.

I love this article! First of all, I'm a fellow eBayer. Secondly, I totally get what you alluded to about envisioning yourself traveling along with your books to their many interesting destinations. Finally, just as we are enjoying here on HubPages, I love the connections made with my customers and fellow sellers...present company included. (If anyone else reads this comment, please count me in, along with Terry, as an eBayer who is willing to help answer any of your questions or respond to your comments.)

One question I have for you, Terry, is this--I am wanting to list more books on eBay. Is it mandatory that I use their online catalog information? That is, if I DON'T use the catalog info, will my listings not be seen? I just want to list my own pictures and description without the hassle of having to find which of their catalog versions fit my book. With your experience, I am hoping you can give me an insider's perspective. Thank you!


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thanks hawaiianodysseus for reading my hub. The connections we make here and on eBay are so rewarding. As to your question.......You do not have to use the online catalog info. You are perfectly free to take your own picture and write you own descriptions. After you type in "book" on the sell an item page and choose fiction or non-fiction for your category simply click on the link "Proceed without a product" and you will be taken to the selling screen where you can go ahead and enter the information and photos yourself. When completed your listing will be shown and seen by all regardless of whether you used the the 'catalog" or not. Hope this was helpful.


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Thanks! It was. I thought that perhaps eBay "consequences" those sellers who do not comply by somehow manipulating the algorithms so non-compliant eBay sellers become less visible.

I appreciate your experience and wisdom regarding this issue.

Have yourself a terrific Labor Day Weekend, my friend!


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

No problem...glad I could be of help. Labor Day will find me "swinging" the detector and enjoying the holiday.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

A couple of my friends sell on ebay and they have profited from the experience. The site does have some really good incentives for those who partner with them in this. Great share.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thanks for the comment teaches...I appreciate it. eBay offers opportunity and rewards for anyone who wants to try online selling. One of the great things about eBay is you can do it within your own comfort level. Whether just a few items or a full blown online store with thousands of listings it's your choice. eBay is a great and fun way to learn the online selling business at your own pace.


Carmen Ferreiro profile image

Carmen Ferreiro 4 years ago from PA

I also have thousands of books. I was considering selling on e-Bay because I'm planning to move in the next year. Your post was most useful.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comment Carmen I'm glad my hub was helpful. I would encourage you to start selling your books on eBay. It's free to join and register as a seller. You can get 50 free listings a month plus all sports related books, up to 500, can be listed on the sports memorabilia publications category for free as well. So it is a good time to start selling on eBay. If you need any help just let me know.


LauraVerderber profile image

LauraVerderber 4 years ago from Mobile, AL

I've dabbled with the idea of selling some of my old books on Ebay. Like you, I am an avid book collector and have a humongous collection. I would like to cut down on some of it. In the past I have donated to libraries, but perhaps I'll give Ebay a try.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments Laura. It can be very difficult to sell books from a personal collection. You don't want to get rid of any of them but sometimes it is necessary and eBay can be a good choice. If you decide to try it just list a few books and see how it goes and, more importantly, how you feel about selling your books.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

It's encouraging that even with the growth of digital media, books are still popular enough to produce income on the secondary market. And eBay sounds like the perfect venue for it. Voting this Up and Useful.


point2make profile image

point2make 3 years ago Author

Thanks for the vote up alocsin...I appreciate it. eBay is an excellent venue to sell books but you need to do your homework and learn what your customers are looking for. Selling books can be a very demanding and, at the same time, rewarding experience. You need to know your "subject" but, I believe, the future is bright for selling quality books online.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Congrats on your success with eBay selling. I keep meaning to find out more information about the process but have not had time as I concentrate on writing right now. Your hub gives me inspiration to try my hand at it! Thanks.


point2make profile image

point2make 3 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments Christy...I appreciate them. Selling on eBay can be an excellent way to make extra money but it does take time and effort. I am often torn between selling and writing. My eBay efforts do take over much of my free time some days. I am trying to make selling more efficient using an eBay store which, I hope, will give me back some of my lost writing time..


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

A few years ago I sold several things on eBay, but I didn't keep it up. It sounds like you have built a good business in something you enjoy, which is always a plus. Interesting hub. Voted up.


point2make profile image

point2make 3 years ago Author

I'm glad you found it interesting Pamela....thanks for the vote up. I enjoy selling online. It is a very interesting "hobby" that can be quite lucrative as well. It can be very interesting and rewarding....not the same as writing, mind you, but enjoyable just the same.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

So good to hear of your success with ebay! I have been selling books on Amazon and have started to think about ebay---


healthwealthmusic profile image

healthwealthmusic 3 years ago from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York

I loved reading your hub - a true entrepreneur indeed! I am also into selling online, but have not entered the Ebay marketplace yet. I am doing most of my physical products sales through fiverr.com.... but yes, everything starts small at first, but if the idea is good, it can grow onto something great!


point2make profile image

point2make 3 years ago Author

Thank-you for your response healthwealthmucic . It nice to hear from a fellow online entrepreneur. You should really check out Ebay ....it could , potentially, make a huge difference in your online sales . I have never tried fiverr.com so I will give them a look see. Thanks for the tip.


point2make profile image

point2make 3 years ago Author

Hi Audrey...thanks for the comments. I am pleased with my progress on eBay to date and hope to increase my activity and my sales this year. I want to retire early and Ebay is a big part of that plan. I sold books on Barnes & Nobel a few years ago but have never tried Amazon. I'll give it a look. Thanks again for the comments. ...I appreciate them.


freecampingaussie profile image

freecampingaussie 3 years ago from Southern Spain

I love books and will go into secondhand book shops as we travel the world ! Maybe I should watch out for some to sell as we go .. Voting you up ..


point2make profile image

point2make 3 years ago Author

Thank-you freecampingaussie....appreciate the comments and the vote up. Good luck on your upcoming world trip. I would love to tag along. Keep us posted on your travels. Stay safe........and don't forget to have fun.


Lady Wolfs 3 years ago

Congratulations. It sounds like you worked hard at making a business on ebay selling books successful. Everything always does take time, effort, and patience. I'm a strong believer that perseverance is the key to success or failure. Nice hub. Thanks for sharing.

Voted up and useful!


point2make profile image

point2make 3 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments Lady Wolfs..I love books and I enjoy buying and selling on eBay. The biggest thrill I get is having the opportunity to deal with people from all over the world on a regular basis. I also love the fact that my books, that were once on my shelves, now reside in nations around the globe. For me collecting books and selling on eBay is a privilege that I appreciate.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 3 years ago from Wisconsin

I always find myself quite pleased that we live in a world wherein, these days, we seem to have so many ways to actually make an attempt to make extra money, or for some an entire living, doing things that may have been much harder to do in the past for the average person.

Selling things on eBay is certainly one big example of this, and while, as you rightly pointed out, you may not get rich, I think that there is at least the potential for it, done right.

I have been considering selling items picked up at garage sales and thrift stores to sell on eBay. So it is funny to me that I landed on this article while looking at my own hubs a bit to see where I can make a few changes and get back into HubPages writing.

I suppose at the end of the day it matters little WHAT you sell on eBay, but rather that you have some idea about what WILL sell, and what something is really worth.


point2make profile image

point2make 3 years ago Author

I appreciate your comments Springboard. Because the eBay marketplace is , essentially, the whole world your opportunities to sell are greatly enhanced. There seems to be a "market" for everything. Starting with garage sales and thrift store items is a great idea. Having an eclectic collection can work well. The best advice I could offer is to always check what the items, you are planning to list, have sold for rather than what they are listed for. The asking prices are all over the place. Doing your homework on the actually historical selling prices of an item will pay off in the end. Good luck and happy selling.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

You are clearly in love with books and convey that quite well in your article. Although I do enjoy physical books, and own a rare book or two, I love the new ereaders because I can carry my library with me. Voting this Up and Interesting.


point2make profile image

point2make 3 years ago Author

Thanks again for the comments alocsin. I have an iPad and my wife has a small library of ebooks downloaded for her own use but I have not "crossed that line" yet! I will, one day, give in and join the ebook world I suppose but that day has not come yet. My book collection has grown since I wrote this hub. It is now being housed in two separate locations. I still sell them on eBay and the numbers keep growing each month, which is great, but I can't seem to stop adding to my own private collection. I am now focusing on signed first editions and have a substantial collection of nearly 500 volumes. This will be the start of a new eBay venture. Rare signed first editions...wish me luck or at least "don't tell my wife"......she doesn't know that I will need to start buying more books for this new venture.


SaffronBlossom profile image

SaffronBlossom 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

I am an avid reader as well, so your hub fascinated me! It's so hard for me not to keep everything I read, but if I really love it I keep it in case my future children are readers too (growing up we only had a small library, and whenever I found a good book it was like finding a gold nugget). I also find that I love the physical book much more than the e-books. :)


point2make profile image

point2make 3 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments and taking the time to read my hub SaffronBlossom I appreciate it. The truth is I still "want" to keep every book I acquire but I have learned to "let go" for the sake of a sale. I still have my private collection that is "not for sale" and , like you, I intend to keep those books for a very long time.

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