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Barcode Booty: How I found and sold $2 million of 'junk' on eBay and Amazon, And you can, too, using your phone Paperback – July 22, 2011


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Barcode Booty: How I found and sold $2 million of 'junk' on eBay and Amazon, And you can, too, using your phone + Arbitrage: The authoritative guide on how it works, why it works, and how it can work for you
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Weber Books (July 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936560062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936560066
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

1 ~ INTRODUCTION
Getting started | But this sounds too good to be true

2 ~ USE YOUR PHONE AS A TREASURE DETECTOR
A whole lotta scannin' going on | Buy upside-down for profits | Pic2Shop | RedLaser | Amazon Price Check | Snaptell | Google Goggles | Getting started with Google Goggles | Google Shopper | Bakodo | Half.com app | Campus Books

3 ~ AVOID SCOUTING-APP MINEFIELDS
Beware of generic, store brands | Troubleshooting barcodes and more | Troubleshooting your app | Seller profile

4 ~ FIND GOLD AMID CREATIVE DESTRUCTION
Supercharge your shopping | Find new books | Sidestep food allergies | Bargain down prices | Juice your grocery shopping | Seller profile: Andrew Rigney

5 ~ PROFIT WITH RETAIL ARBITRAGE
An aversion to haggling | How to profit from retail arbitrage | Slickdeals.net | DealCatcher | eBay | Craigslist.com | Local sales and coupons

6 ~ USE ADVANCED SCOUTING APPS & SERVICES
Amazon Sales Rank | Scan your choices | iBookSeller | Treasure Tester | ScoutPal | MediaScouter | FBAScout | A last word on scanning | Taking your business beyond time and space limits

7 ~ STAKE OUT THE BEST SALES PLATFORM
eBay.com | Half.com | Bonanza.com | Buy.com | Facebook | Barnes & Noble | ABEbooks.com | Alibris.com | Craiglist.com | Seller profile: Sue Johnson

8 ~ OUTSOURCE YOUR FULFILLMENT | Fulfillment by Amazon | Costs of FBA vs. self-fulfillment | Basic fulfillment | Competitive advantages of FBA | FBA disadvantages

9 ~ USE AUTO-REPRICING AND LISTING TOOLS
Listtee.com | RepriceIt.com | Aman for Amazon Sellers | Online postage | Heavy-duty services for mega-sellers

10 ~ DIG UP LONG-TAIL INVENTORY LOCALLY
Supermarkets | Off-price retailers | Wholesale clubs | Library sales | Estate sales | Thrift shops | Used bookstores | Local retailers | Storage unit auctions | Bankruptcy sales

11 ~ MINE BARGAIN INVENTORY ONLINE | Craigslist.com | Liquidation.com | Salehoo.com | Alibaba.com | eBay | Woot.com | Yugster.com | Groupon.com | Overstock.com | SmartBargains.com | JacobsTrading.com | FatWallet.com | Milo.com

12 ~ SCORE WHOLESALE BOOKS, VIDEOS & TOYS
Bookazine Overstock LLC | American Book Company | Bargain Books Wholesale | Book Depot | Bradley's Book Clearance | Daedalus Books | East Tennessee Trade Group | Fairmount Books Inc. | Great Jones Books | J R Trading Company | Marketing Resource | Reader's World USA Ltd. | S & L Sales Company Inc. | Tartan Book Sales | Warehouse Books Inc. | World Publications, Inc.

13 ~ RAID OUTLET STORES FOR RESALE PROFITS
Hassles for resellers of brand-name goods | Insider tips for outlet store shopping

14 ~ KEEP YOUR BUSINESS LEGAL
Sole proprietorship | Partnership | Corporation | Limited liability company | Local ordinances | Sales taxes | Income taxes | Supporting documents | Reporting by online marketplaces | Business use of your home | Insurance | Bookkeeping | Hiring employees

///////////////////////////////////////////

FROM THE INTRODUCTION:

One weekend last February, my wife and I packed a big suitcase, put our two children in the car, and drove up Interstate 95 to visit my mother-in-law near Philadelphia. Saturday morning was bitter cold, but to get some fresh air, I took my 5-year-old son for a drive.

Right down the road, before the car had warmed up, I spotted it--a big TJ Maxx store. I hadn't shopped there for 20 years, but recently I'd heard TJ and similar discounters were becoming gold mines for Internet sellers like me. For 10 years, I'd been an online bookseller, and kept so busy with it I'd never thought about selling anything else. But it never hurts to try something new.

We made a quick U-turn, pulled into the TJ parking lot, and backed our minivan up to the front door. Grabbing a shopping cart, we strolled through the door, right past the purses, beyond the bathrobes, and around the skirts. I craned my neck, squinted through my bifo-cals, and grinned--almost there.

"Toys!" my boy squealed. Or did I say it first? Anyway, it was true--the back shelves were jam-packed with toys of every kind. Hundreds of them! Dart guns, dolls, train sets, miniature china, soccer balls, board games--all marked way below retail. Was it my imagination, or could I see more variety right here than in a mammoth, big-box toy store?
"Looks like Santa had some leftovers this year," I told my son. "Let's look around."

I didn't know where to begin. On the bottom shelf, partly hidden to-ward the back, was the biggest, most intriguing box in the store. Inside was a giant, remote-controlled robot.
 
I'd never seen anything like it, and I wasn't prepared for the price--$30, batteries not included. Gulp. I almost threw it back.

"Let's get it, Daddy!" my son shouted. I glanced around at a few raised eyebrows from the older ladies rummaging through the dress racks.
I felt my ears getting red. I caught my breath. The ladies went back to their shopping, and I pulled the phone from my pocket. "Who are you calling, Daddy?" my son asked.

"Just checking something," I said. After pointing my phone at the bar-code on the robot box, my phone emitted a soft "beep" and then displayed its Amazon price, $280. "Holy cow!" I muttered, "I've made about $250, and we just got here."

I dropped the robot into the cart, with the same satisfaction I might get from hitting a hole-in-one, or pulling a slot-machine arm and hearing the jackpot rain down, red lights flashing. But this was no gamble. Thanks to my phone's free scouting app, I knew my likely profit before risking a dime.

The feeling was familiar, but the surroundings were refreshing. In the past decade as a secondhand bookseller, I'd worn out the knees on five pairs of jeans by scooting around in musty basements and moldy at-tics hunting for books. Here, in a brightly lit room with the smell of perfume, soft music, and friendly people, it hardly felt like work at all.

Diversification is good. For a decade, I'd made my living selling books, mainly on Amazon. I'd developed a knack for spotting valuable books just by looking at the cover. Now, with a price-scouting app on my phone, I could improve my book-picking tremendously, and expand into toys while I was at it.

And why stop at toys? Now that Amazon has opened virtually all its categories to us independent sellers, I could sell virtually anything. Instead of waiting until the weekend for yard sales or library fundrais-ers, I could scout for inventory anytime, practically anywhere--Wal-Mart, the pharmacy, the local warehouse club.

That's what this book is about: cashing in on stuff other people have written off as "junk." The bean counters at a big retail chain--perhaps Target or Toys 'R Us--decided those robots didn't sell fast enough, or they didn't have enough left for a big display. So, to free up cash and shelf space, they dumped the rest at TJ Maxx for pennies on the dollar.

Using my phone's scouting app, I found 11 more money-making toys that day at TJ Maxx--vintage Cabbage Patch dolls, last year's Thomas the Train accessories, special-edition Monopoly games. All were in short supply online, commanding $75 to $120, while gathering dust at the back of TJ's, marked down to $20 or $30.

After an hour of treasure hunting, I left the store with my son, who helped me load the van. He'd forgotten about the robot after finding a football jersey (an Eagles McNabb No. 5) and a giant puzzle (marked down 75 percent). Not including those goodies, I'd spent $130 to get $1,000 worth of inventory.

After dinner that evening, I smiled and told a briefer version of my robot story. Some people are amazed to learn how you can earn money using your phone, without even making a call. "Incredible!"

"Just another day at the office," I said, rolling my toothpick.
Then I turned to my wife and said, "Honey, we need to visit your mom more often!" And that, perhaps, was the biggest surprise of the whole weekend.

More About the Author

Hey, thanks for visiting my page.

I'm Steve Weber, publisher of KindleBuffet.com, where I post a daily list of five-star Kindle books offered free that day. I also have a book called "Kindle Buffet" (Guess what? It's free!). It's one of my several nonfiction tomes about bookselling and collecting, publishing, authorship, book marketing, and social media. You can check out all of my books right here on this page.

I'm from Charleston, West Virginia, and currently live in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.

In college I studied Journalism -- BS, 1987, West Virginia University (Let's Goooo, Mountaineers!) I was pretty green back then, and I figured a career in newspapers was just the ticket for a guy such as myself who enjoyed writing but had no ideas of his own.

After working several years as a reporter and editor, I started a home-based business selling used and collectible books online (mainly on Amazon). Five years later, I wrote my first book based on that experience: "The Home-Based Bookstore." It's a short book but it took me a long time to write it. I'd never written anything longer than 25 paragraphs or so, and had never used an outline since grade school. I still don't know how to use one. Maybe that's why it takes me so long to write, and all my books read like an upside-down pyramid ;-)

Recently I've been fascinated with publishing my books on the Kindle, and all the other great books available. I'm especially keen on checking out each day's free Kindle books, of course. They're irresistable, like candy or free beer. Or, as one Kindle Buffet reader put it, "They're like potato chips. Nobody can download just one."

I started Kindle Buffet in the summer of 2012, and it draws on my experiences in book-picking, interviewing, writing and publishing. I feel like I have a knack for recognizing what other people might want to read, and talking them into doing it. I figured it would take just 20 minutes a day to update the site and, for a while, it did. Just as with everything else I do, it ended up taking about 25 times longer than I'd figured. So these days I've got about 20 minutes left in my day after I've finished with Kindle Buffet.

A lot of people ask me how I manage to do it all. "Steve," they say, "how can you possibly read 60, 70, 80 books a day, seven days a week?"

My reply is always the same: "Doesn't everybody? I mean, c'mon, they're FREE! There's no excuse not to!"

Customer Reviews

The information is well written and easy to understand.
Herdin
Now I can scan and see if I have at least the potential to find a good buy and actually make some money off it.
MBow
Has a lot of very good information and tips for the beginner.
norma kelly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 126 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on June 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Barcode Booty is, I believe, the fourth book Mr. Weber has written and self-published on the subject of reselling on the Internet. It would be interesting to know why Mr. Weber does not publish through an established Publishing house, since the quality of his material, and the interest it would find is certainly high.

The book passes my first test of a superior volume. I found something interesting and useful within the first five minutes of reading. If this doesn't happen, whether its cooking or theology or hiking or computer engineering, I immediately assume 4 stars or less. The easter egg in this book is when Mr. Weber describing finding a toy at T. J. Maxx for $30, which he sold on Amazon for $280. The way he was able to accomplish this discovery, with a cellular phone camera with barcode reader and pricing applications, is the primary subject of this book. Otherwise, the book essentially follows the pattern of his earlier works. Thus, if you don't have his earlier books, this rates five stars. If you do, and you are familiar with the barcode reading abilities of cell phones, maybe three stars. I split the difference.

There are two kinds of people who may be interested in this book. The first is people who wish to imitate Mr. Weber's self-made career. The second are those who may wish to avoid the first kind of people, and find where this stuff can be bought cheap.

Since the Amazon page contains lots of detail, and since there are many reviews, I will stop there and end by repeating that Mr. Weber's task is not "easy". It requires a lot of hard work, but you have the advantage of working for yourself, and a reasonable certainty of good rewards for good effort. However, it does require some basic computer talent and a place to store inventory, at least some inventory.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Joe Waynick VINE VOICE on July 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
Steve Weber knocks another one out of the park with the latest addition to his online bookselling series. This time Steve educates his readers about the benefits of product diversification. While everyone else is worried about eBooks and how they will affect Amazon booksellers, Steve is busy reselling children's toys, power tools, grocery items, and the like. All the while using the exact same skills he developed scouting for books. And by the way, he still sells lots of books too.

I mean this guy is cutting edge! He tells you what equipment to buy, what software to use, and how to spot bargains waiting to be bought and resold from just about any retailer you care to mention. He literally explains how you can use your smart phone as a "treasure detector."

For example, he regales the reader with stories of how some of his students patrol stores like TJ Maxx, Big Lots, HomeGoods, Marshalls, and Burlington Coat Factory; picking up bargains from $0.25 - $0.50 on the dollar and reselling them on Amazon at full retail. It's safe to say that Barcode Body is the ultimate arbitrage tool for online sellers of all kinds.

Just because a manufacturer discontinues a brand or model doesn't mean it can't be sold profitably online. Manufacturing companies closeout merchandise all the time. That can spell big bucks for you if you know what to look for. Weber shows you how.

This compact 156 page book packs quite a wallop. If you're looking for a part-time or full-time endeavor, or if you want to branch out into new territory in your bookselling business, then this is one book you can't afford to pass up.

Joe Waynick, Author
"Internet Bookselling Made Easy!" series
[...]
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By John Landahl on August 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
For those who don't want to read a lengthy review, I'll just say that "Barcode Booty" started my thoughts running in some interesting new directions and has given me some valuable insights as well as some fresh ideas I'll definitely follow up on, which is why I'm giving it 5 stars.

For those curious about what my opinion is based on, I'll start by saying that Steve's book contains a lot of information that was new to me - so much, in fact, that I'm still in the process of absorbing it and sorting it all out.

By way of background, several years ago I discovered by chance that some things squirreled away in my closets had surprising value as vintage items on eBay, which led me to start going to estate sales and thrift stores to try to ferret out more! My success was encouraging enough that I went on to write a book about what I'd learned, "Estate Sale Prospecting with craigslist and eBay". I also had a first try at selling used books on Amazon.com, but was unsuccessful in figuring out how to do that on my own, so in that book I expressed a negative opinion about the business potential of online bookselling.

Then I ran across Steve's first book, "The Home-Based Bookstore." Reading it I soon realized that I'd misunderstood online bookselling on Amazon. I'd assumed it was like selling at auction on eBay when it's actually quite different in several important ways. Following Steve's advice I did much better selling used books on Amazon, so much so that I've turned my efforts in that direction for the last several years, eventually writing a book on that business that I've just published, "Musings of an Online Bookseller".

As I progressed in online bookselling I purchased a laser barcode scanner, a pocket computer, and a database subscription.
Read more ›
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