Mining Bookselling Gold with PicClick

by Craig Stark

25 May 2009

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Last month I purchased a book on eBay for under $30 that recently sold for about $250. Apart from making a nice profit on it, there were several interesting things associated with this process, not the least of which was that I didn't find the book using eBay Search or by browsing on eBay - or doing anything at all on eBay. Another interesting thing: During the course of the auction, just for the heck of it, I went to eBay Search and typed in a search string that I'd been using for years to find just this kind of book. Guess what? It didn't come up at or near the top of the results returned, nor did it come up further down the list. It didn't come up at all!

Without getting into too much detail about the book itself, I will tell you that it was a title that ordinarily would attract considerable interest among collectors, and it was scarce to boot. And yet there was only one other competing bidder. Now I know why.

Since this happened, I've done some additional back-and-forth checking of items I've placed snipe bids on and come across several other books that I could not bring up in eBay Search. Also, since I stopped searching on eBay for inventory, I've been finding a significantly greater number of candidates to bid on, and, in turn, been winning a greater percentage of these auctions, due in part to a drop off of competing bidders. Good news for me; bad news for sellers.

There's one other thing of interest here: Since I started buying inventory with my new method last year, I'm spending far, far less time finding what I'm looking for.

So - what is this search tool? An alarmingly simple one that does nothing more than bring up enlarged thumbnail images of eBay items, PicClick.

With my display settings maximized on both my computer and PicClick itself, I can view 120 items at once, and I must tell you that scanning through them is many times faster than scrolling through lines of text on eBay (and trying to make out thumbnails that are so small as to be nearly useless), so much so that I'm able to perform a more general search in significantly less time than it would take me to do a more specific search on eBay - in other words, I'm much more thorough now, and this is part explains why I'm finding more and better things.

Give it a try!

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Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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