844
10 min 12 sec

Avid Reader Sells Used Books On Instagram

An IT analyst makes page-turning profits after building a dedicated audience of book enthusiasts. You can make money without a large following!
Books Product Reselling Social Media

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What It's About

Bibliophile has a novel idea that breathes new life into old books.

Business Model
Social Media
Skills Required
Sourcing & Organization
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

If you're selling books, in particular, determine the genres you'll cover. Some people exclusively sell vintage, or horror, or children's books. It helps if it's something you're knowledgeable and passionate about. Then, you can look at social media hashtags in that niche and find out which books are new or popular.

Fun Fact

Instagram has become the go-to social media platform in recent years. It’s become the place to promote a brand or business. In the US, 71% of businesses use Instagram and 80% of users follow at least one business.

Notes from Chris

Episode 844

Taylor Mack is a book fanatic. She has spent countless hours being absorbed in the great novels and modern classics. Everything from Stephen King to J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis to Edgar Allen Poe. A good story, composed in a good book, sets her world on fire.

In 2017, while working as an IT professional in the healthcare industry, Taylor began working on a story of her own. One directly related to the topic she was most passionate about.

She loved to share her passion for books with others and was particularly fond of what she called gently-used books as well as vintage books. Her home was something of a small library. One day, while pondering her collection, she thought she might have some success as a used bookseller.

Not wanting to touch her own precious stock, she set aside a budget of $300 and hit the streets to find some quality used books. She rummaged through second-hand bookstores, plundered local markets, and investigated thrift stores. In no time at all, she’d accumulated an inventory of books she thought would be perfect.

With those in hand, it was time to start selling. For that, most people would go straight to the large online platforms like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy. But Taylor was determined to write her own narrative. She was wary of the high fees these platforms charge, and she also saw the value in building an audience of her own. It might be slow-going at first, but if it worked, she’d end up with a set of long-term, loyal buyers.

So in what was a very novel idea, she decided to try her luck selling on Instagram instead—not using ads, just free, organic posts. She created an account called SilverFire Books: an online haven for lovers of used books far and wide—or at least in the U.S. To keep costs down, Taylor doesn’t ship internationally.

She took photos of the books and posted them to her Instagram account. Then…. Nothing happened. And things stayed that way for weeks.

A short while later, Taylor turned a page. She began selling, slowly at first, but those sales motivated her. Taylor got better at the process of sourcing, listing, and selling books. She’d focus on specific genres and titles that she knew were hot topics. And she kept selling—within a few months, hundreds of books, and by the end of 2018, year two, more than 3,000 books.

By the time last year came to an end, Taylor had sold so many books using her unique method, that she made a profit of over $10,000. (She also pointed out that, because of her husband’s work, they were in a high tax bracket. Someone else with lower household income would actually make more.)

While she wasn’t exactly putting Amazon out of business, she was thrilled with that result. She was actually making a real side income pursuing something she loved by communicating directly with her audience. It was a dream come true.

And Taylor plans to keep at it, finding great used and vintage books to sell. She’s also launching a side, side hustle, to help other people start stores using a similar model.

SilverFire Books is a real page-turner of a story—and it’s one story that’s far from over.



MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • SilverFire Books: Learn more about this novel idea over on Taylor's website, and check out her Instagram page to read through her current book lineup!
  • Small Biz Refined: The resource blog and coaching service that Taylor created to help other online shops and creative entrepreneurs thrive
  • Shopify: Taylor used Shopify to set up her site for SilverFire Books, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

CREATE YOUR ONLINE STORE

Create your online store with Shopify using an exclusive discount for Side Hustle School listeners. For a limited time, get a free 21-day trial and a 10% discount for a whole year.

Many Side Hustle School listeners are building sites using Shopify's easy-to-learn platform. Try it free today!

Learn More

GET YOUR FIRST 1,000 EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS

Social media is nice, but building an email list is still the single best way to get customers and clients for your hustle. It's not hard to get started—sign up for a 30-day trial and join the list-building challenge! You’ll be up and running in no time.


Learn More

Quote of the Day
"You have to get really clear on your ideal audience. Figure out what problem you're solving for them and/or how you're adding value to their lives. Then find out where they hang out and interact with them!"
—Taylor Mack #SideHustleSchool

Sponsors & Gratitude

Try ShipStation for 60 Days FREE!

Today’s episode of Side Hustle School is brought to you by ShipStation, the #1 choice of online sellers. 📦

To get a 30-day trial AND an additional month free, click the microphone at the top of their page and enter the word HUSTLE.


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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau