Textbook Arbitrage With Zero Risk ( Almost Zero)

Textbook Arbitrage With A Twist

Amazon has a book buy back / trade in program. Many times on book listings you will see an offer “Sell yours for a gift card”.  This post will tell you how to make money from this.

Textbook Arbitrage

http://www.amazon.com/Sell-Books/b?node=2205237011

How Does The Buy Back Work

Amazon will give you a gift card for books in “good” condition and they give you a label for free inbound shipping.

When you click the button to trade yours in, it is going to ask you to verify the ISBN number. They are wanting the exact match to the book.

After you verify the book, and accept the offer, they give you a certain number of days to return the book.

I have seen 14 days as a common number of days, but at other times it has been less ( between late Dec. and early Jan) . I am not sure if it is variable based on the time of year or the book.

The price you are offered is guaranteed as long as you get the book in in time and it meets the minimum condition standards.

Also you are NOT obligated to send it in. You could just let the offer “die” or cancel it. ( this is important, as you will see later)

Arbitrage Opportunities

There are actually Merchant Fulfilled  3rd party sellers ( MF) that are selling textbooks for less than the trade in value.

This creates an arbitrage opportunity.

You can buy the textbook from a 3rd party MF seller and send to Amazon and get a gift card worth more than you paid for the book.

This is constantly changing. New offers pop up on book listings, sellers change their prices and Amazon raises or lowers the trade in value.
Other words, this is a HUGH opportunity.

ROI

The ROI most likely is going to be lower than you would expect than selling on Amazon FBA but you have to look at the risk.

In most cases, there is almost zero risk.

You know what you are buying a book for and you have the price you will get for it locked up say for 2 weeks. If everything goes as planned, you know what your profit is ( you don’t have to worry about a race to the bottom)

What Could Go Wrong

There are 3 things that generally could go wrong.

The book you buy could turn out to be in worse condition or the wrong ISBN. In that case, you would have to go through the hassle of returning it to the MF seller.

Second, you might not get the book in time. In that case, you could just start a new trade in and let the other one “die”. The price being offered may be lower, but in some cases, it might actually be higher ( and in that case even if you can get the book in in time, you would take the higher price and let the lower price “die” or cancel it.)

Thirdly, Amazon grades the book worst and doesn’t accept it. ( or it is missing something) In this case, you could return it to the MF seller ( a little harder since it has been a couple of weeks).

Hopefully you would catch this before sending it in. There are actually other book buyback programs, so you could send it to one of them or you could just send it into FBA and sell it.

With all that said, the actual risk of any of those happening is on the low side.

Finding Books For Textbook Arbitrage

In the past, I have manually searched for books. This works, but it is slow.

My son, who loves to do textbook arbitrage, came up with a Chrome extension to make the process easier.

https://gumroad.com/a/805057651

Here is a video on how the extension works

Get the Chrome extension I used in the video here: https://gumroad.com/a/805057651

As you can see, you still have to do research, but the extension makes it a lot easier.

Other Sites For Textbook Buyback

Amazon isn’t the only game in town. There are other textbook buyback sites and sometimes they pay more than Amazon will for a textbook.

Here is one that searches several sites at once

http://www.bookfinder.com/buyback/

Here is a video that shows how to add another Chrome extension to search for better prices than Amazon.

Conclusion

In many cases, you might decide that selling a textbook via FBA may make you way more money and choose to do that. In other cases, you might want to grab the guaranteed profit that the textbook buyback program offers.

This is good way to profit on textbooks when it is not “textbook season”. ( textbook season is the start of every college semester when textbooks sell at their highest prices).

You are faced with the choice of a quick return or a buy and hold scenario if you get textbooks out of season.

Get the Chrome extension I used in the video here: https://gumroad.com/a/805057651

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