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How to Collect Book Donations for a Good Cause

Here’s a way that I’ve been getting used books for (almost) free and making a difference in the community. In short, I ask people to donate their books, and in return, a percentage of the profits go to charity.

Here’s how it works.

  1.  Put an ad in the local paper offering to pick up unwanted books.
  2.  Answer the phone and make an arrangement with the donor.
  3.  After the pick up, scan all the books and separate the ones that have Amazon value.
  4.  List those books on Amazon will a unique SKU number for tracking purposes.
  5.  After each month, pull a sales report from Amazon, and donate 20% of profits to the charity of your choice.

Here’s the process in more detail.

Put an Classified ad in the Local Paper

This is where your creativity will take place.  You will need to market your new business. I’ve tried Craigslist, expensive business advertisements in papers, and door-hanger advertisements. But, I found the most inexpensive and successful way is to put a small ad in the classified section of my local newspaper. Obviously your results may be different. Here’s the ad that I use:

 

Pick a Charity

You will need to pick a charity to give your customers a reason to donate to you. It will make your business more meaningful as well.  I picked the charity DonorsChoose.org.  For this organization, you donate money and it goes directly to the teachers and the classrooms.  It’s 100% transparent. Here are some screenshots of their site.

 

 

I recommend DonorsChoose.org for several reasons:

  •  You know exactly where the money is going
  •  You can directly impact your local community
  •  You can start a campaign that tracks your donations, projects funded, students helped, schools served, and teachers supported.  You can then put this on your website to create more legitimacy. See screenshot below.
  • After you make a donation, you can leave a comment on the Donors Choose page to market your business even more. See screenshot below.

 

Create a Campaigns and Track your Donations. Put this header on your website!

 

 

Write a comment after the donation and briefly mention what you do for additional advertising.

 

Create a Website and Pick a Name

Make a website for your new business for legitimacy and marketing purposes.  On the website:

  1.  Explain that you will come and pick up the books.
  2.  Offer to pick up CDs and DVDs as well.
  3.  Tell what cities or counties you are willing to drive to.
  4.  Mention the charity that you are donating to.
  5.  Include a form where the customer can schedule a pick-up right on your website.
  6.  Include your phone number and email address.

Here’s my website.  It’s called DonateBooksinFlorida.com

 

 

Collect and Sort the Books

After making an appointment, I drive to the donor’s house and pick up the books.  I tell them to put the books in bags or boxes and leave them outside their front door so they don’t have to be home.  Depending on where you live and the weather that day, this is not always the best case.

Then, I take the books to my storage unit and scan each one with FBAScan. For the one’s that have Amazon value, I put in a separate pile and list those on Amazon. I use a unique SKU number to this those, so I can track the sales later. For example, I use SKU prefix DBF-4/13/17 when listing these books on ScanLister.

For the books that don’t have Amazon value, I usually check some online book buyback sites using BookScouter.com to see if they will buy them. Then I donate the rest to Goodwill.  Keep in mind there will be a lot of leftover books, so you will have to be creative in deciding what to do with those. For example, you can:

  1.  Trade them in to a local bookstore for trade credit.  Then turn around and use that  trade credit to buy valuable books from that store
  2.  Try to sell them in bulk on Craigslist or eBay
  3.  Start a brick and mortar used book store
  4.  Sell them to online book buyback sites using BookScouter.com
  5.  Sell CDs and DVDs to Decluttr.com
  6.  Use the Amazon Trade In Program for expensive DVDs if you’re not approved to sell them on Amazon.

 

Tracking the Sales and Donating Money to Charity

After, each month, I generate a report on my Seller Central account.  I go to ReportsPaymentsDate Range Reports.  Then I generate a report for the last month. Then I open the report in excel and sort the SKUs. For all the SKUs that start with “DBF”, I add up the values in the “Total” column. So, basically I’m adding the up the sales after all the Amazon fees are taken out.  Then I take 20% of that total and donate it to a local classroom using DonorsChoose.org.

For example, my total Amazon sales for book donations was $289.50 was last month.  I also made $30 using Powells Books, and $32.96 on the Amazon Trade in Program.  My total inbound shipping costs were $42.50  So my total profit for the donations was $309.86.  I took 20% of that and it came to $62.  So, I donated $62 to a specific classroom last month.

 

Benefits of this Model

1.  You have a real business that you can advertise. The more creative you are at advertising, the books you can get. In other words, this business is scalable.

2.  Based on the charity you choose, you are making a difference in your local community

3.  Word of mouth can spread, and you can become the “go to” guy or gal in your area. Most people just want to get rid of their books without having to lug them in their car to Goodwill.

 

Do you have a question or a comment regarding this business model?  Please leave a comment below.  If there’s enough interest, I may write a 2nd blog post or a detailed PDF guide.

 

 

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New Repricing Settings for RepriceIt

Here are my latest repricing settings for RepriceIt.com. I decided to revisit my settings after Amazon’s latest FBA and storage fee increase to make sure my inventory was selling smoothly.  I currently have 6 templates set up. Each scheduled to be priced in order in the middle of the night.

Note: These are just my templates for my personal use. These are not meant for you to copy exactly. These are just to give you an idea of how to use the templates. If you copy these templates, and it doesn’t work for you, I’m not responsible for any losses you may occur.

 

 

Template #1: Global

My strategy for this template is to match the lowest FBA seller for any condition (with the exception of “acceptable condition”). I set a minimum price of $9.95, and I also price at least 10% below Amazon if they happen to be selling the item.

If RepriceIt does not find any FBA sellers to match, it will automatically set a default price of $200. You most likely will have many prices at $200 after you reprice since the Amazon API only sees the lowest 20 offers. That’s ok for now. More on this later.

Detailed Summary:

• Match Low FBA offer for any condition (exclude acceptable offers)
• Minimum price is $9.95
• Exclude sellers with a rating below 95%
• Never price more than 10% below Amazon
• Default price to $200 if there are no competing FBA offers

 

Template #2: Acceptable

The second template is only for items in acceptable condition. Since these items are in ‘not so good’ condition, I want these to be priced lower, therefore, I will match the lowest possible competing price. This could be FBA or non-FBA sellers. I will also match other items in acceptable condition as well (unlike the first template).

Detailed Summary:

• Match lowest competing offer whether FBA or non-FBA
• Match lowest price in any condition (include acceptable offers)
• Minimum price of $9.95
• Never price more than 20% below Amazon
• Exclude sellers with a rating below 90%

 

Template #3: Over 180 Days Old

This template is for items that haven’t sold after 180 days. This is especially important with Amazon’s new storage fee policy. Once an item is in the storage unit for over 6 months, Amazon charges a long term storage fee.

Detailed Summary:

• Match lowest competing offer whether FBA or non-FBA
• Match lowest offer in any condition (exclude acceptable offers)
• Exclude sellers with a rating below 90%
• Minimum price $9.95
• Never price more than 10% below Amazon

 

Template #4: Sales Rank

I set this template for all my items with a rank higher than 2 million. I have found that many of these items have prices that have been inflated by mega-sellers. I have this template set up to make the first sale if someone decides to buy the book.

Detailed Summary:

• Exclude sellers with a rating below 80%
• Minimum price of $9.95
• Maximum price of $49.95 (Just a theory that I’m testing)
• Match lowest competing offer whether FBA or non-FBA
• Match lowest offer in any condition (exclude acceptable offers)
• Never price more than 10% below Amazon

 

Template #5: Items Priced at $200
This goes back to the first template. There will typically be many books priced at $200 because there were no FBA sellers to price against (at least that the Amazon API can see).

This template gives me valuable information in that there are no FBA sellers within the lowest 20 books. Basically, I will match the low price for that book then add another 25% or so.

Detailed Summary:

• Exclude sellers with a rating below 90%
• Minimum price of $9.95
• Match low price for FBA or non-FBA offers
• Add 25% above competing offer
• Never price more than 10% below Amazon

 

Template #6 Amazon Price Below $10
As you may have noticed my minimum price is $9.95. However, what if Amazon is selling that book new for less than $9.95. In this, case I will want to override my $9.95 minimum price.

In order to do this, I use a third party program called ScanPower’s Evaluator. In Seller Central, I download a report of all my current inventory. Then I copy and paste those ASIN and SKU numbers into a spreadsheet and plug it into the Evaluator program. When it’s finished, I can see all my inventory that has an Amazon price of less than $10. That’s what I’m looking for.

Example of getting the Amazon New price and along with my SKU numbers

 

RepriceIt has a template where you can assign specific SKU numbers and just price those. So I copy all the SKUs with an Amazon price of less than $10 and create a template for it. The goal here is not to arrive at the minimum price but to get just below Amazon’s new price.

Here’s the detailed summary:

• Minimum price of $4.99
• Price against only FBA offers
• Price my items against same condition or better
• Exclude sellers with a rating below 90%
• Never price more than 7% below Amazon

 

Conclusion

For more information on how to use the repricing and template settings, I highly recommend this $4 kindle book: Unlocking RepriceIT: A How To Guide for Creating Your Amazon Repricing Strategy by Manuel Caamano.

Also, if you would like to see screenshots of the exact repricing and template settings that I use for RepriceIt, click on the button below.

 


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Does Amazon owe you Money?

FBA Inventory Reimbursements are difficult to find. If you sell on Amazon with FBA, you are owed money for destroyed, lost, and others due to Amazon errors.

AMZRefund is an Amazon seller tool designed for this problem.

Here’s how it works:

1. Sign up and give your Amazon credentials
2. Generate a report
3. The report will tell you which items are missing and how much you are owed
4. You then contact Amazon support and give them this information
5. Amazon will then start reimbursing you money

Everything is within Amazon rules as well.  You contact Amazon support when you want. There are no software programs or outsourced individuals who contact Amazon on your behalf. You have complete control.

I’ve use it twice, and so far I’ve got over $900 back.  See screenshot.


AMZrefund charges an 8% upfront fee of your estimated reimbursements.

This article contains an affiliate link.  If you use this software, I will get a small commission.

 

 

 

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Hiring a Book-Lister and Renting Office Space

For the first time in 10 years as an Amazon seller, I decided to rent some office space and hire an employee to list books.

In this video, I go over:

  • A tour of the office space
  • The cost of the office space
  • The benefits of working outside the home
  • Why I didn’t want an employee to work from my house
  • Why I didn’t want to outsource the listing process
  • My employee’s listing procedure
  • How I hired her
  • The benefits of having someone source and list books
  • Working on the business instead of in the business.

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For more information on:

1. The exact ad that I placed on Indeed.com

2. The book listing procedure

3. Two training videos to give to your employee

Please click the button below.

 

 

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Going Broke and Listening to Podcasts to Recover

Back in 2012, I was in a really big financial slump for my online business. I had just moved to a new town, and all the thrift stores seemed to be dry.  I lost my confidence, and I wasn’t sure where I was going. I wasn’t making enough to pay the bills, and I was getting (multiple) $35 overdraft fees from the bank – going deeper into debt.

I was lost and depressed.

I eventually had to get a full-time job to get myself back on track. While the job was a good experience, it just reminded me how much love entrepreneurship. I was really motivated to get back to my online business lifestyle.

When I quit the job after 9 months, I promised myself that I was going to pursue this online business full force, and never look back. I was going to commit to selling books on FBA, blogging, and any other complementary income stream.

But I needed some serious inspiration…

So I started listening to business podcasts in my car while driving to thrift stores and library sales.

Here are my top 3 podcasts in no particular order.

Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn
Pat is an expert in blogging and multiple income streams in general. He is known for his transparency and he posts his income reports on his blog every month. He posts his expenses, income (to the penny), and lessons learned. This podcast inspired me to post my book sale and book-sourcer results on my blog.

 

Entrepreneur on Fire with John Lee Dumas
John does a Podcast 7 days a week, and he interviews successful entrepreneurs. I learned so many nuggets of wisdom from his guests, I feel like I should be sending him a check every week. Just seeing people (like me) who are trying to make it on their own was very comforting. You see, being an Amazon seller can be a lonely experience. No one quite understands what you’re doing. Friends and family are often confused, and think I’m weird cause I don’t have a real job. Hearing other entrepreneurs’ ups and downs gave me the confidence that I was on the right track.

 

Silent Sales Machine Radio with Jim Cockrum
This is a new one, and I’ve only listened to two episodes. But there have been golden nuggets of information in there already. I showed you my backstory with Jim Cockrum in a recent email broadcast, but I will share it again here.  ​​​​​I read one of Jim’s eBooks (Silent Sales Machine) in 2009 and it BLEW me away. All these creative business ideas started trickling in my brain. I realized that I could be an entrepreneur.  Not just an Amazon seller.

Conclusion

After listening to these podcasts and reading a few business books, it gave me the confidence to add these income streams:

1)     Blogging and how to monetize it
2)     Email Marketing
3)     Creating and selling software (you don’t need to know how to code)
4)     Affiliate marketing
5)     Writing a free (valuable) eBooks to create an email list
​​​​​​​6)     Creating YouTube videos on how to monetize it
7)     Hiring a Book-Sourcer
8)     Another creative way to obtain books (which I haven’t mentioned yet)

I highly recommend listening to these Podcasts to expand your online business horizons.  Once again, FBA is a great place to start, but I think it’s just the beginning of creating a successful online business.

 

 

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