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    Review of THE HOME-BASED BOOKSTORE by Steve Weber (see his website)

    WeberBooks, 2006

    People who read voraciously, as I do, end up with with their houses full of books. If you take the books to a used bookstore, you'll be lucky to get a penny on the dollar you paid. So, what's the answer? Beginning a few years ago, the Internet became a huge part of book sales--and used books exploded from being a tiny niche part of the market to being one of the fastest-growing elements. I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering whether this should be a business I could address. After all, I've got thousands of books--many of them wonderful. Somebody is making money on Amazon and other Internet venues. So, what would it take to make this a successful business for me?

    If you've been asking yourself this kind of question, THE HOME-BASED BOOKSTORE by Steve Weber is a critical resource. Weber mentions his own experience (he was able to quit his paid job, move into a house from an apartment, and supports himself selling books), but the real meat of the book is dealing with the real issues of on-line used book sales. Weber brings up real issues--like customer insistence on paying for the cheapest postage, then complaining when the book doesn't arrive promptly--and suggests strategies for dealing with them. In order, Weber discusses how to buy books, what kind of books to buy (and critically what kind of books to avoid), how to describe your books for maximum customer satisfaction, how to organize your collection for minimal handling time, and the many automation tools available to Internet-based used book sellers.

    Like many self-help books, parts of THE HOME-BASED BUSINESS turn into lists of features in different packages rather than a real critical analysis of what is best or worst. In a list of software with prices ranging from free to more than a hundred dollars a month, it would be useful to have discussion of whether the free software does the job. In contrast, Weber's discussion of the merits of media mail vs. priority mail, and how to get delivery confirmation for 13 cents vs. 50 cents standard are exactly what the prospective book-seller needs.

    Unlike some self-employment books that overly hype their subject, Weber brings balance to his analysis. Sure he talks up the opportunity, but he also mentions the volumes needed to generate revenue, the requirements to achieve positive customer feedback (including daily trips to the post office), and the risks involved in getting stuck with unsalable inventory. THE HOME-BASED BOOKSTORE answered my questions for me. I now believe it's possible to make a living selling books on the Internet--and that doing so is not how I want to spend my time. Definitely a good return on investment for me.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 12/12/05

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