How to Search More Efficiently
Spend less time finding more books with these methods
Its been a little bit over a month since my last post, but I promise I didn’t forget - I recently started a new remote position, and that’s taken a lot of my attention recently. Now that I’ve settled in, it’s back to business as usual. This post will talk about some of the searching methods that I’ve experimented with to find profitable book flips.
Similar to my last post and every other book flipping related post that comes out of this substack, you’re going to struggle to understand if you haven’t read my initial post of the book flipping process (which you can read here). If you’re starting to flip books yourself and want to ask questions, I’d be more than happy to reply in the comments.
The Spreadsheet Method
While I don’t use this method as much anymore for sourcing books, I think that it’s a great one if you’re newer to book flipping and haven’t been able to find a lot of profitable books. This method uses a spreadsheet to help you keep track of what topics you’re searching and how often you’re going through them.
How The Spreadsheet Works
Let’s start by taking a look at the spreadsheet (I’ll be providing a template further down in this section):
As you can see from the screenshot, the spreadsheet is divided up into three main sections:
Niche - Different niche subjects under one broad subject
Date Last Searched - Self explanatory
Winners - How many profitable books I managed to find under that particular niche
There’s two reasons why I like this method. The first reason is because it helps you keep track of what topics you’ve searched for in the past. The second reason is it gives you a place to dump topics to search for at a later date.
The spreadsheet does a really good job of organizing topics you’ve already searched before, but how should you go about finding new subjects to dump into the spreadsheet? There’s two methods I mainly use to find niches, and I’ll go over them in this paragraph. The first one is quite simple - googling different types of a broad subject. For a very basic example, I’ll just to go Google and search for “types of math”. Here’s a blog post I found on the third search result:
After 10 seconds of using Google, I already have 26 new niche subjects that I can search through when looking for book flips. You can repeat this process with other broad subjects such as science, psychology, social studies… you get the idea. This requires extra effort on your end, but that extra effort is what separates the winners from the losers.
While the system I’ve just introduced can already make you much more efficient at finding profitable book flips, we can take this a step further. Most universities in the United States will list a catalog of courses that they offer online, which can be another great resource for finding niches. After about 30 seconds of using google, I managed to find the entire online catalog of courses for the University of Alabama. After another 30 seconds scrolling through the page, I was presented with two classes that I didn’t even know existed. I can add these to my spreadsheet later:
Going through this extra effort of finding niche subjects to search for will undoubtedly help you find books that most people trying to flip books won’t. It’s a lot more work than just looking up random subjects you can think of, but you have to be willing to put the work in if you want to succeed. As promised, you can find a template for the spreadsheet here. Click “File”, then “Make a copy”. Hopefully everything I talked about in this section helps you find more book flips!
This is one of my favorite methods, but it’s one that requires a bit more patience because of how it works. This method is also known as “storefront stalking”, where you find people who are also selling products in your niche and find out what they’re selling. If you manage to find someone who’s trying to flip books just like you, you can take a look at their stores for some “inspiration” (smile). In order for this method to work though, you need to find some winners first - This way you know that the people already on the FBA listings also know what they’re doing. You can’t just start looking at stores right off that bat because you’ll find large wholesale sellers that have lots of children and fiction books that are very difficult to sift through.
Finding Stores to Scrape
Like I briefly mentioned before, if you want to find a lot of leads from scraping you need to find some really good books to flip. With the spreadsheet method, it shouldn’t take you very long to find some books that might be good flips. Using the method myself, I managed to find this book:
As always, check the Keepa graph to make sure the sales rank is good enough:
This book dips into 5 digit sales rank during the busy season (which I’m currently stocking up for since we’re only a couple months away), so I would at least put it on my radar. I know the screenshot says that the current lowest FBA is $40, but once the 2 lowest priced listings sell, it goes up to $50. Considering that this book has been listed below $20 before, I wouldn’t be against trying to flip this book for the busy season. In my mind, this isn’t an outright winner but definitely one that I’ll be tracking for the future. That being said, let’s take a look at who’s currently selling this book:
Here’s the current lowest FBA listing. I’ve censored out their name in the off chance that this post gets a lot of views and a ton of people try stealing their leads. Next to “Sold by”, you get the name of the store selling the product as well as a hyperlink to their storefront. When you click on their store, you’ll get some information on the seller as well as their past reviews. This isn’t what we’re interested in though. When you go to their “Products” page, you’ll find a list of everything that they currently have in stock on Amazon. It looks something like this:
When looking through pages like these, you have a much better chance of finding books that are likely to be profitable flips. However, your focus should be a little different. Your main goal with store scraping should be to set as many alerts as possible. If someone like this is selling the book, it means that they were able to get a good deal on it and you might not have access to the same opportunity. If you do manage to find a cheap copy, consider it an added bonus. I’ve used this method to track several hundred books, many of which I’ve received alerts for at profitable prices at a later date. You can do this for a few hours and have over a hundred new books to track, and possibly have a few winners as well. You shouldn’t only scrape stores, but it’s a great way to find new books.
I hope that after reading this post, you’re able to implement the methods that I’ve shown you and find a handful of new flips without a lot of time invested. As always, I’ll be more than happy to answer questions in the comments and I recommend Book Flipping Mastery (not my product) if you’re interested in learning more. Good luck out there!