A sourcing success story…

By Sharon Fussell, January 23, 2014

Sourcing success storyYesterday I received a phone call out of the blue from a charity shop manager…

Sometime in November last year, I had had handed him a business card…

The shop was newly opened and I presented my case that I bought good quality books and paid 25p each for them.

He remembered this and once he had accumulated enough culled books for me to look through (books taken off the shelves that had failed to sell within a set time), he explained all the books I did not want would be sent to other charity shops within the same chain.

Now, I am often asked if it is possible to purchase books that have a high profit margin from charity shops. I know it sometimes seems like charity shops stock nothing but low-value paperback fiction… but that’s not the whole story!

If you think about it, a lot of people buy popular fiction on a regular basis and once read, take it to their favourite charity shop for donation.

So, there is more of a chance that charity shops will stock them – which is good news for their sales, as most buyers are looking for this type of book.

However, back to the charity shop manager: I was invited into the back room of the charity shop in order to sort through the books.

First I went through two large boxes predominantly filled with paperback fiction. I would have left practically empty handed if these were the only books I was allowed to sort through…

But the manager gave permission to go through shelves that were stacked with books presumably ready to go down to the shop at some point.

I am always amazed by the quality of books not on display in the shop – and am always amazed how often the books in the back (usually inaccessible to customers) are great niche titled books.

Luckily, this manager was open for me to take any books from the shelf – but In fact this is not the norm. In many cases, managers will ask me not to take the paperback fiction, because it is needed to restock the shop!

I happily agree to this request: after all, for my purposes, niche non-fiction books in good condition are exactly what I am after and can be extremely profitable, whilst, in the main, popular paperback fiction only attracts low value profits.

I left the shop with over 130 pure quality non-fiction books. I paid £35 in total but I know that I will receive that back with only one or two sales.

So, next time you go hunting for stock, remember to avoid paperback fiction be sure to ask if there is any other stock you could look through!

You might well be surprised!


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