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BookThink Special Report

The Frugal Bookseller

by the Frugal Bookseller

#133 SR1, 23 March 2009

Part I

Craig has asked me to share some thoughts on frugal bookselling ideas. Since time equals money, I will try to keep this short and to the point. No flowery words here - just getting down to brass tacks.

There are at least two ways to save money - smart and dumb. Here is a brief example.

You want to slip each book you sell into a plastic bag to keep it dry while in transit. Good idea! You could go online to any number of packaging suppliers and order a few gross of assorted plastic bags. In order to get their best price you order in a bunch of bags, pay some shipping fees and wait for the UPS or FedEx truck.

"Hey, I just got those bags for $.03 cents each! Pretty smart, eh?!"

"No - dumb. You purchased 3,000 bags plus shipping of $10. That works out to $100.00 but you are only selling 40 books a week. So you have about 75 weeks of supply. You could have spent $10 at the dollar store and bought 10 boxes of 40 bags each - or 10 weeks of supply. The other $90 could have been used to buy more books at next weeks FOL sale."

"Oops, yeah, not as smart as I thought."

So with this example in mind, let's be frugal booksellers. Here are four more tips in this issue.

  1. If you are using several PDAs with one scouting service ask the service provider for a discount. You might be surprised. Even 10% off is a good savings.

  2. Hotel or motel costs are often a necessary expense. Most hotel and motel chains have frequent user plans. Stay 6 nights get the 7th free type of thing. Sign up for these and keep track of the various rewards programs. If you are a road warrior, these can build up fast. Also look for places that offer free internet and free breakfasts. The Frugal Bookseller uses the online sites to check out reviews and prices. I like for research.

  3. You might be tempted to use a general hotel reservation site. One popular site is promoted by a retired star ship captain. You can often get a better price by calling that individual hotel or motel directly. Plus, you will have better cancellation policies than online sites offer. I Google the hotel name and location and call them directly.

  4. Frugal booksellers save money by eating out as little as possible. I know, you need a break from the asphalt jungle. But time is money, and you can easily put together some brown bag sandwiches, fruit, munchies, etc., and load up a small cooler with drinks. The money you save in driving PAST the burger joints and munching down at rest stops can often pay for a nicer meal after scoring some great finds at that BIG sale you went to.

Do you have other practical and useful savings tips? Drop me an email at

Next issue the Frugal Bookseller will have tips on how to save some real money on your phone bill, wireless bill and electric bill.

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