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Arbitrage: The authoritative guide on how it works, why it works, and how it can work for you Paperback – September 13, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
I've read quite a few books on the subject of retail arbitrage and selling on Amazon. What I liked about this book firstly was that the author didn't fill the pages with information that you can find for free on Amazon.com. Instead, this book focuses on explaining WHY FBA works for sellers, and HOW retail arbitrage can help boost your profits.
Since I've been selling using FBA since September, many of the principals discussed in the book were things I already knew/had learned myself. For a newcomer to the whole subject, the information would be extremely valuable. Had I had this book when I began selling on FBA and using retail arbitrage to source my products, this book would have paid for itself within the first month alone! It would have saved me making many mistakes that I had to learn the hard way.
Even as a seller with some experience, I still found this book helpful and was not disappointed with it. The author had several personal experiences of selling on Amazon which he openly shares with the reader. Many of these accounts helped me to rethink my selling strategies and avoid making some costly mistakes. I paid around $10.99 for this book, and feel it was definitely worth the money.
I love Amazon. I have been buying from Amazon since '98 or '99. I buy many books (especially hard to find and out-of-print books) but also lots of other things, especially products I have come to like that I cannot seem to find locally anymore: guacamole mix, scented shoe liners, body wash, cinnamon tooth picks, facial serum and others. I have Amazon Prime, and as a Prime customer have a preference to buy from Amazon or FBA sellers over merchant fulfilled sellers. I have never, ever bought a thing on eBay.
I began my journey towards purchasing this book by considering selling handmade items on Etsy. As I was starting to organize a yard sale for my mother I realized I could also sell vintage items there too, and maybe I could supplement that with items I found while thrifting for myself. I started researching on the internet about selling online generally and stumbled across information about selling books on FBA. There is so much stuff out there about FBA, much of it affiliate marketing fluff, with referring link after referring link trying to get you to buy this book or that program and that is a real turnoff. There are a few folks around that give really good tips for free, including Mr. Green, but wading through all of that is time consuming. Which is fine if you have the time, and I did. I read lots of articles, watched YouTube videos and listened to some podcasts. Out of all of these things folks are shilling, I purchased this book at the reasonable price of about ten bucks. From Amazon. LOL.
Here in this Chris Green love-fest of reviews, many have said that this is a good book for the FBA beginner and veteran alike; I agree. Some have said most or all of this information is available online for free; I agree with this also, however, finding it neatly packaged into a book you can digest in a day or two, not so much. Even though I feel I have read everything out there for free on the internet (weeks of research, mind you), I found additional gems in this book. Others have said that this information is readily available in Seller Central, but since I am not a seller yet, it is not readily available to me. So rest assured there is value here. If you already know all this stuff, then obviously 1. you would not be interested or reading reviews on this product 2. you would be busy with your own FBA business and possibly writing your own book, not contemplating reading Mr. Green's. So let's be real...there's a reason you are reading this, and it is because you want to make more money by working smarter, not harder, whether you're a noob or a veteran.
I think most people already get the basic concept of retail arbitrage - buy low & sell high. What Chris Green offers additionally is the why and how to implement this profitably. One thing he repeats over and over is that he wants you to understand WHY he is recommending these things. That there is not a "list" of things to sell profitably via FBA. That he wants you to understand that each person will have differing amounts of time, energy and tolerance for risk when it comes to implementing the strategies he outlines in his book...and that the profits will vary accordingly. Mr. Green explains clearly the concepts and gives you examples of the math to do this profitably. He discusses the Amazon Prime customer (that's me...you get me, Mr. Green, you really get me!) and why they will pay more for an FBA item than a merchant fulfilled one. For people who are price buyers, it might take a minute to sink in...this part is worth chewing on until you really get it. Once you have those two main concepts lodged in your brain, that you, the price buyer, who would never buy your products for those prices, understand the Amazon Prime FBA customer and therefore the pricing (margins), then it is a matter of sourcing smartly.
A point that Mr. Green makes early on: using FBA is a little like buying a franchise, without the big upfront investment. If your goal is to dabble and make a little side money, then this is a way to do that. If your goal is to replace your full-time job, then this is a way to do that too, potentially. Here he makes no guarantees and places the responsibility squarely on your shoulders to do the right thing for you. He is teaching you how to fish.
With regard to being an advertisement for Mr. Green's scanning product(s), I think he does a fine job explaining how that came about as a means to an end. It is wise to have multiple income streams, and kudos to Green for making a product that people need and making some money that way too. That said, wouldn't you make clear in your book that you have this other useful tool available? I would. Indeed he points out that there are other products, some free. You choose the tools you want to use based on your level of commitment and ability at your pace.
Other topics discussed here that are worth mentioning are:
-your lazy competition
-why you should have an attitude of abundance and not scarcity
-creating new products by bundling
-using multi-channel fulfilment (probably worth another book)
-important differences between Amazon and eBay
-understanding the effect of pop culture and what you'll hear called "the long tail"
-you are playing in Amazon's sandbox and you have to follow their rules or potentially be banned for life
-taking advantage of your own product knowledge in a given category, as he did with tools
-Amazon's long term storage fees
What I did not find in this book that you will need to know:
-all of the Amazon rules for sellers (presumably in Seller Central, but some available to non-sellers on Amazon)
-detailed information about literally packaging items to ship to Amazon and the tools and supplies you will need
-how to clean and prepare used items to sell
-Amazon's brand new Unplanned Services
-how to set up your business right and legally protect yourself (registering or forming sole proprietorship, corp or LLC)
-how to insure your business and products; protection from disasters and lawsuits
-all the risks to working a small business from home
-how to get health insurance for a self-employed person
-how to handle taxes and expenses
-how to avoid complications of selling potentially counterfeit items
-why one would avoid co-mingled inventory
-understanding restricted categories and items Amazon will not allow you to sell
It might seem obvious to some people that the above must be considered, but for those who have now gotten excited about their new FBA business, this information is available from other sources. As they say, always seek the advice of a professional - get yourself a lawyer, a CPA and do it the right way. One book is not all you need. It's your business, so seek out other information.
I am not an FBA seller yet. I am taking the time to do more research and understand FULLY what I am getting into. What happens if I get banned on Amazon, and what do I do then? Green briefly discusses selling on eBay, and actually buying on eBay and selling on Amazon. Funny but true, and profitable when you understand the basic concepts.
All that being said, is this book worth the ten bucks I spent? Yes. Amusingly, Mr. Green has encouraged readers to sell their used copy of his book on Amazon FBA. I noted some FBA sellers pricing their "like new" used copies for as much as $25 at this writing, patiently waiting for Amazon to run out (for a little while) at $8.74.
I also watched a workshop the author gave on YouTube geared toward introducing Amazon FBA to current and former eBay sellers. The workshop was in three parts and it was really long, but worth it. He covers many of the same points in the book and makes others just as useful. I don't have the link handy so you'll just have to search for it...it is probably on his scan product channel or his blog.
Save yourself some time and a ride on the learning curve. Stop reading reviews and just buy the book. If you don't find it valuable, just call Chris Green (yes, his phone number is in the book) and he'll refund your money. How risky is that?
I just finished this book and gotta figure out the label part, but feel hopeful. A lot of great information. I'm gonna text Chris to get ideas for labeling products when you don't have the set up yet.
Buy the book and take a chance .