Why you should go niche when sourcing gardening books

By Sharon Fussell, March 31, 2016

I trust you had a lovely Easter break – the weather could have been nicer I think, I do hope that any planned event such as car boot sales, especially charity fund-raising events, did not get cancelled due to storm Katie.

Spring is here now, and it is time to consider what type of books are popular at this time of year.

Gardening books have to top the list. One of the problems of looking for gardening books to resell is to find gardening books that have a niche aspect to them that also have value on Amazon.

Many gardening books are just too general a topic, and so attract lots of competition, which ultimately drive prices down on Amazon.

Also, many gardening books are very heavy and postage costs have to be taken into consideration when placing for sale, such as the RHS encyclopaedia, which weighs around 3kg and thus out of bounds to be sent using Royal Mail.

(For heavy books such as this, I use parcel2go, a comparison site that has come in very useful for books weighing over 2kg).

So what do I mean about avoiding run-of-the-mill gardening topics and what makes a gardening book have more value?

For any type of book, the value, price-wise, usually comes from the fact it is out-of-print and yet in demand, causing a shortage.

There are plenty around and about, but it’s just finding them; you cannot judge a book by its cover, that’s for sure.

For example, is it possible to look at a row of gardening books on a shelf in a charity shop and determine which copy would likely have more value that the others around it?

What about its age? Unfortunately, how old a book is or how old it looks does not ensure it will attract a premium on Amazon.

What if it’s new? New copies often attract a premium price if there are only used copies available on the online site, especially if the book is in demand and out-of-print.

What about condition? You might see a used copy that is in pristine condition; it doesn’t altogether mean you can ask a higher price than books in lesser condition though.

What if the writer is a well-known TV personality? Unfortunately, the fame of the writer doesn’t always convert to higher prices for used books – in fact, the reverse might be true because publishers might print millions of copies, thereby creating a glut of them; also they may print them on a regular basis, so they never get to be rare or hard to find.

What about size? You might think a huge encyclopaedia book will attract high prices, especially when you factor in postage costs, but unfortunately, size really does not matter: many sellers still sell very heavy books for 1p plus £2.80 p&p. I have no idea how they make a profit from this, but smaller sellers will just not be able to compete, that’s for sure.

The only real way you can establish the value of books on Amazon before you purchase to resell, is to search on Amazon whilst in the charity shop.

I have to say the existence of mobiles using 3G and 4G really makes this easy.

That said, if you don’t have a phone, or a signal, then any book that looks very light in weight, that is below 500g and is a large letter, will fetch a small profit once posted, as long as you only pay pennies for it and you are a ProMerchant seller.

If you are buying to resell on eBay you will likely have a good chance of selling gardening books profitably if you choose very niche subjects, no matter how cheaply sellers on Amazon price their books.

Here are a few book examples below that may help you…

Avoid these 1p books:

The Flower Expert: The World’s Best-Selling Book on Flowers (Expert Series) (paperback) – 1 Apr 1999

Alan Titchmarsh How to Garden: Container Gardening

Complete Book of Bonsai (hardback)

The Royal Horticultural Society Gardeners’ Encyclopaedia of Plants and Flowers (hardcover) – 1994

Right Plant, Right Place: Over 1400 Selected Plants for Every Situation in the Garden

Instead, LOOK FOR these premium-priced books…

Bark: An Intimate Look at the World’s Trees (hardcover) – 5 Aug 2010 by Cédric Pollet

Serene Gardens: Creating Japanese Design and Detail in the Western Garden (hardcover) by Yoko Kawaguchi

Plant Analysis Handbook II: A Practical Sampling, Preparation, Analysis, and Interpretation Guide (hardcover) – Jun 1997 by Harry A. Mills and J. Benton, Jr. Jones

Chinese Bamboos (Biosystematics, Floristic and Phylogeny Series) (hardcover) – Aug 1988

Habitat Creation and Repair (hardcover) – 1 May 1998 by O.L. Gilbert and Penny Anderson

Happy searching!

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