#54, 31 October 2005

Profile of Brenda J. Grolle

NAME: Brenda J. Grolle

NAME OF BUSINESS: brendagrolle

LOCATION: Elyria, Ohio

WEBSITE (if any): My eBay Items, My Blog, and My Discussion Forum

NUMBER OF YEARS IN BUSINESS: 5

PART TIME OR FULL TIME: part-time

BOOKSELLING VENUES USED (in order of importance): eBay exclusively

SIZE OF INVENTORY: small right now, maybe 50-75 books

SPECIALTIES: collectible fiction, both adult and children's, collectible Large Print fiction, collectible non-fiction in the areas of history, Christianity, law, investing, sports, art, military, genealogy, homesteading, Native American, Western Americana - now you know all my secrets!

WHY I SELL BOOKS: I've always had a passion for books. They're an essential part of my life, so it was easy for me to fall into selling them on eBay. Actually, my husband had been telling me about the success that his co-workers had been having by dragging junk out of their attics and selling it for big bucks on eBay. So I pulled one book off the shelf that I knew I didn't want anymore - a gardening book. I put it up for an opening bid of $4.00, and it sold for $12.00! That was enough for me. The very next week I started buying books for resale.

ADVICE FOR NEW BOOKSELLERS: Work in areas of bookselling that interest you. This doesn't mean that you would want to read every book that you sell. It just means that the book itself must hold something of interest - the subject, the illustrations, the author, the plot, etc. Remember, you're the one who is going to have to spend time cleaning it up, photographing it, listing it, maybe relisting it. Do you want to have fun with it, or do you want to be bored?

Stick with the book scouting venues you're more comfortable with. If you don't enjoy the scouting process, you'll be finished before you start. I'm most comfortable with library book sales. I used to also attend garage sales, but I grew disillusioned with driving around for hours every week and often coming home empty-handed.

Also, when scouting for inventory, don't box yourself into a corner. Take a look at my specialties above. They're not so much specialties, as areas where I've had some success. There will always be another area I haven't dealt with that might have a book that would get my attention. Keep your options open.

Trust your instincts. As you develop them, the good books will jump out at you from the dreck. When you've spent months and years book scouting, you'll be able to recognize the "same old same old" and pass it by quickly. Buy what you don't see all the time.

BEST BOOKSELLING TIPS: Decide what sort of a bookseller you want to be. People usually want entertainment or information from books. If they want entertainment, they're usually looking for a bargain. If they want information, they're usually willing to pay up for it. It's difficult to try and work in both areas. When a customer sees a mix of cheap books mixed in with a few expensive books, s/he tends to distrust your judgment, not realizing that the prices for both might actually reflect a fair value. Try to stick with either the entertainment area or the collectible area. If you must do both, consider using two different selling IDs, or having your listings reflect only one type of book at one time.

Try to learn what the customer wants (except if it's something for nothing). Pay attention to the questions they ask, particularly in the areas of more expensive collectible books. Sometimes the customer knows more than you do about the book. Learn from these questions and use the information to make better listings.

Learn about the tools that are available to make your bookselling easier - online postage, detailed hit counters, auction management services, ordering shipping supplies online, etc. Most of all, subscribe to Craig's newsletters and visit BookThink often!

FAVORITE AUTHOR(S): Stephen King, Dean Koontz, F. Paul Wilson, Mary Higgins Clark, Nelson DeMille, John Grisham, Robin Cook, Scott Adams, Shel Silverstein ... probably others I can't think of right now.

FAVORITE GENRES: Supernatural horror, thrillers, humor, self-help, and again, probably others.

FAVORITE QUOTE: I can't think of a single favorite quote, but my favorite book of them is Proverbs.

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Contact the editor, Craig Stark
editor@bookthink.com

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