Hi, I’m Steve. A year and a half ago, I quit my job and started a used bookstore with Amazon FBA.
I started the business with $300, and turned that into $136,162.62 in sales in my first 16 months. And 97% of those sales were used books.
So, out of that $136,162.62, how much money did Amazon actually deposit into my bank account?
Not enough to buy a yacht, but certainly an improvement over the paltry wages of my job.
On top of the decent income, running your own online bookstore with Amazon FBA has some excellent benefits:
- You are your own boss. You choose your hours and work at your own pace.
- The return on investment is insane. Most books cost $1, and many sell for $50-$250+.
- Searching for books is a relaxing, almost meditative process.
- Amazon stores and ships your books. You don’t have to clutter your house with inventory or ship packages to customers
- If you source your books online, you can make money without ever leaving your house.
- This is easy. You don’t need a complicated degree or some high IQ level to be successful at this.
If starting an online bookstore sounds like something you’d like to try, I recommend the course I learned bookselling from: Peter Valley’s Amazon Altitude. It’s an extremely detailed video course that takes you step-by-step through every part of the FBA bookselling process, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to quit their job and pursue a better life.
The remainder of this article will cover how I came to quit my job and start selling books. If you’re interested in that, read on. If you’d rather get started on creating your own bookstore, check out Peter’s course or explore the rest of this website.
How I quit my job and started a six-figure online bookstore
In February of 2017, I worked at a library. I was the assistant to the librarian’s assistant, barely scratching $12 an hour. Although my wage was decent compared to some, I was only making enough to pay my bills and buy post-shift 6-packs.
If you texted me to ask how I was doing, I probably would have said “great! 😂”. And I would have been lying.
I was miserable. All I did was wake up, drive to work, put on a mask of indifference, and pretend to care about my job.
My enthusiasm for life, which had at least been somewhat present during my college years, had been destroyed by the endless grind of my crappy job.
Life had become unbearable.
Something had to change.
The Road Less Traveled
I saw two options in front of me:
- I could continue working at the library, year after year, wasting my youth and wondering what could have been.
- I could change.
Running the hamster wheel of a crappy job was definitely not how I wanted to live, so I decided to go with the second option: change.
Great! I’m going to change… but then I moved onto the harder dilemma: how should I change? I needed money, badly. What was I going to do about that?
Go back to school?
I first considered going back to college. I had received my degree in English, and thought a technical degree might open up my employment opportunities.
But I had just finished a 4-year college marathon, and was in no mood to dive back into that rigorous lifestyle so soon after escaping it. I also wasn’t that interested in dolloping another $50,000 onto my student loan sundae.
On top of that, I didn’t want to wait a few years to start earning good money.
So college was out of the question.
Get a better job?
I then considered remaining at my library job while I continued search for a better job.
While this seemed like a sound course of action, the plan had one critical flaw: I didn’t actually want any of the jobs I was applying for.
Each job sent resumes to sounded worse than my low-stress library gig. Sure, I’d be making more money, but at what cost? I wasn’t too keen on the strings attached to that money:
- Someone telling me where and when I needed to be every day.
- Inane office politics
- 80+ hour high-stress work weeks
- Enduring 1-hour commutes for the next 45 years
- The value of my labor going to some rich jackass who happened to own a company
More than anything, these jobs seemed like fast tracks to dull mediocrity. I decided I couldn’t live my finite life in such an unfulfilling fashion.
So getting a better job was not the answer.
Start an online business?
After dismissing the last 2 ideas, I began thinking about using the superpower every one of us has: internet access.
I’m not kidding. Having access to the internet is basically a superpower. It gives you abilities that nothing else could:
- The ability to communicate with anyone at any time
- The ability to purchase anything and send it anywhere.
- The ability to make money without ever leaving your bedroom.
This last ability was of particular interest to me. Make money on my laptop? It seemed like a potential answer to my problem.
But it also sounded a bit far-fetched. There was no way you could make good money working on the internet. If there was, everyone would be doing it… right?
Testing the waters
I decided to start with the most straightforward way of making money online: selling my stuff.
I rifled through my belongings, looking for something valuable. Near the back of my closet, I uncovered a few old Nintendo games I played as a kid. I snapped a few pictures, listed them for sale on eBay, and waited.
They sold within minutes.
I ended up making more money that day than I had all week working. Thrilled at the immediate profits, I began trawling through my stuff for things to sell.
Once I had offloaded all of my nonessential items of value, I began using my days off of work to scavenge garage and estate sales, looking for more stuff to sell. I scrounged up a few more items worth selling, but quickly found myself in need of additional stock.
I spent most of my off-days driving to garage sales and estate sales. It wasn’t making me rich, but eBay selling was clearly a decent method of earning extra cash.
It wasn’t enough that I could quit my job though. I also found myself resenting the amount of work I had to put in just to sell a single item. Every time I wanted to make some money, I had to go through an exhaustive list of actions, all of which required my physical presence in a specific location. I had to list and ship every item myself. That alone takes a ton of time. Add on the time needed to find things to sell, and you’re racking up a bunch of hours for not much return.
There had to be a better way to do this.
Ironically, the answer came to me at the job I was trying to leave. The library had a “$.10 per book” shelf to sell older books that weren’t circulating. On a whim, I walked over to the shelf and looked one up one of the books on Amazon.
I found the $.10 book in my hands was selling for over $80. I was stunned. I then went down the row of books, and found many of the books showed similar profits. The 15 or so books were worth about $500, and the lot was selling for $1.50.
I didn’t know the first thing about selling books on Amazon, but that didn’t stop me from buying out the whole shelf and quitting my job that very day.
Onward and upward
I’ll finish this story here. You already know how it ends.
Here’s my honest recommendation: if you hate your job, consider starting an online bookstore using Amazon’s Fulfillment program.
- You can start with $200 and see $100,000+ sales within a year.
- It’s an easy, stress-free way to earn a living.
- You get the freedom of being your own boss and working from home.
Running an online bookstore isn’t for everyone. But it’s way better than the vast majority of jobs out there. No matter what you decide, I wish you luck.