So, maybe right smack dab in the middle of Q4 wasn’t a good time to start a Book Business Challenge. That’s ok, though! Adapt and overcome!

Not only have I been more swamped than expected trying to keep up with Q4 madness, I’ve also been affected by holiday closures! As it turns out, there are no thrift shops open in rural Tennessee on Thanksgiving weekend. Who’da thunk it, right? My first week out was a complete bomb due to the holiday weekend. I should have seen that coming, but didn’t.

This book sale is held in a garage on the back side of the library

After the rough start, the (second) first week was great! In fact, I expect it to be better than most. I was able to find a used book store with a lot of good inventory AND a library sale nearby.  This is obviously not going to happen every week, so it made me realize that my original goals need to be reexamined. More on that later.

“I’m sure it was pure coincidence that the thrift store that doubled as a homeless shelter had a variety of stolen shopping carts to choose from… But I digress.”

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take the time to ship them in last week.

That’s kinda a problem with books. With regular RA, you gotta get that crap out of your RV with a quickness. You can’t be living in an RV with boxes laying all around the place! Books take up so little space that it’s hardly noticeable. I usually keep them in a waterproof box (like this one) in the back of my truck. They are out of the way and allow me to concentrate on my main business during Q4.

As you can see, there wasn’t much to choose from at the Salvation Army.

On the bright side, it only took about four minutes to scan everything!

My second week was pretty much a bomb. I was stuck in an area that I had to travel 30 miles to the nearest thrift store. There were two in that town, a Salvation Army and a building that was a combo thrift store/church/homeless shelter. I’m sure it was pure coincidence that the thrift store that doubled as a homeless shelter had a variety of stolen shopping carts to choose from… But I digress.


One hundred books per week is going to be tough to come by given my self-imposed restriction to only work this challenge part-time. I have certain times that the sourcing trip can be considered for this challenge. This is due to the fact that I want to prove that this can be done part time with someone who has a low budget. Only the books I source on trips during those times will I consider valid for these reports. Because of this, my original goal of 100 books per week will be seldom attained.

So, let’s see what happens! I still believe that anyone can start a profitable business in their spare time using these methods. Sure, I could have made it easier on me by doing retail arbitrage instead of a book business. That is, after all, how I started out. It would have been a lot easier to do that considering the time restraints. There are two reasons I opted not to go this route:


Books are cheap. Someone with minimal budget can start out in books and get HUGE returns on their money. While books do sell slower than other inventory, the margins make up for it. Once a large inventory is accumulated, it provides a steady stream of high-margin income.


I realize with my long history of sales and ungated categories, I would have it easier than the average person starting out in retail arbitrage.  I know it can be frustrating for a lot of new sellers. We should all be restricted on the same books, so this puts us on a level playing field. If I can do it, you can do it!

So, I’m going to roll with this challenge, with no real goals except to try my hardest and hustle like you should if you don’t already have a business. I’m determined to prove that someone with minimal budget can start this business in their spare time while working a full-time job! The part-time hours restriction will stay in place.

Since I’ve just shipped my finds from the first two weeks, nothing has sold as of yet. Also, I won’t be assuming any kind of “expected” profits, as profits don’t exist until they are realized. What we will be doing in this article is examining the start up costs of a venture such as this. After all, the first thing you are probably wondering is how fast you can start making money, right?

Let’s look at how much money a newly minted entrepreneur would have invested up to this point. There is currently no monetary output for ScoutIQ or Accelerlist, as they both currently offer 14 day free trials. For a full description of what both do and why you should be using them, visit the first book business post.

ScoutIQFree Trial
AccelerlistFree Trial
Tracking Spreadsheet$170
Bluetooth Scanner$75
Product Labels$10

What other business could you start up for $306? The best part is, I sourced enough books to pay for that! Don’t get too excited though. The question is how long will it take those books to sell so that I’m back in the black. The way I’m sending in these shipments so far, it’s gonna be a looong time…

No worries, though. Q4 is all but over. Things should be calming down soon. Then my shipping frequency for the books should increase.

In a lot of ways, I see this as easier to do for someone who has a full-time job. At least when 5 p.m. hits, that person has some free time. In the world of the entrepreneur, the work seemingly never stops. There’s always more work that can be done.

So, while I am trying to run this challenge part-time as someone who has a full-time job, it has proven difficult for me to find the free time that a full-time employee would have! Just remember the next time you sit down to watch Netflix, you could be packing a box!

Are you joining in the challenge? Comment below and let us know how you’re doing!

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