It’s official, we are no longer selling books on Amazon. For those of you who didn’t know, we have been selling books on Amazon in the Amazon Marketplace (those are the used and new books you see when Amazon is sold out or when you just want to buy the same book Amazon sells for $39.99 for $.01) for years. Yesterday we sold all our remaining inventory, some 4,000 used/new books in one large bulk sale to a buyer in Texas. For Deb and I, the books had become (as Andy Stanley put it last week) the old sofa that no one wants to get rid of because it has always been there.
We started selling book on Amazon at the same time we were full time eBay sellers (eBay lost out as a viable place to sell as a business long long before Amazon) back in 2005, and sold full time on Amazon in 2006-2008, and it was some of the hardest work, most laborious, and in the end least profit making work I can ever recall doing in my life. It came at a time when Deb and I needed to work from home, needed and wanted to work together, and many blessings came our way over those years of selling books online.
Over our selling life on Amazon, we sold over 9,000 books at a retail price of $65,000 (that’s not as much as it sounds when you divide by 3 years and then start thinking profit margins), kept a high feedback rating, and learned a lot about hard work and to appreciate what we were given. Not much different than what we gained and learned from our previous businesses we started and ran together, except that this particular one took over our entire house top to bottom.
After running several small businesses over the past 10-12 years I have come to understand that each business or product has a defined life cycle, especially when you are running very small self made businesses. Products come in and out, jobs, customers, and life in general, has a lifespan or timeframe where some things work well. The key is to know when it is time to move on and get rid of the old sofa. For the books, yesterday was that day, and we were both thrilled. There were many many reasons, but knowing it was indeed the right time to let it go was a good feeling.
Anyone that wants to know the inner workings of selling on eBay or Amazon feel free to drop me an email. Combined I think we have about 12-15 years experience selling on both platforms and we lived and breathed eBay and Amazon, so we do know our way around. We certainly know how to get in trouble with big brother, and how to survive when the rules get changed (and they always do).
Our online selling life was great, and really is always something we think about no matter what we are working on or doing. In those years, we managed to:
- work together 24/7, netting 20,800 more hours spent together
- fought off fraud
- and copyright infringement issues
- fended off domain landsharks
- had $300,000 in sales without making a profit
- sold alongside corrupt competition
- continually fought customer theft
- avoided a few lawsuits
- didn’t sue a few times when we could have
- were falsely accused of anything and everything
- Witnessed to many (I hope)
- were praised and awarded
- made some great friendships
- ate at a huge unknown number of restaurants
- filed for our own patents and trademarks
- never clocked in once
- travel to every state in the country
- live in a bus, apartment, house, tent, campground
- lived in Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Alabama (and many others)
- filled approximately 250,000 orders
- counted approximately 2 million crystals
- imported products from Austria
- invented our own products
- worked for a competitor
- took 50,000 product images
- went through about 30 computers
- used miles and miles of tape, boxes, and packaging
- cried, laughed, bled, and cherished every second
Thankfully for us, now, we have both moved on to a new chapter in our lives together and it doesn’t look like there will be much online selling involved, and that’s a good thing, because I am exahusted.