Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tools of the Trade

Home book dealing is a relatively simple when it comes to the list of necessary tools. For your convenience, I have divided the list into two sections, the first are those tools that are necessary for sellers just getting on their feet and the second part is of those tools which are useful, and probably eventually needed, but not necessarily in one's first few sales.

Necessary Tools
  1. Scissors: For cutting packing material, tape and address labels.
  2. Packing Tape
  3. Packing Materials: More on this in a future post.
  4. Black Markers and Pens: For writing on packaging.
  5. Computer and Printer: For posting books and printing address labels.
Useful Tools
  1. Photographic Materials: A digital camera (preferably with the macros function), a black background (like a piece of cloth) and two light sources.
  2. Utility Knife: For cutting boxes.
  3. Rubbing Alcohol and Swabs: For removing price sticker gum from glossy covers.
  4. Ruler or Measuring Tape: Preferably the kind of tape used by tailors, so it can wrap around books
  5. Scale: Preferably a digital postage scale ($39.99 at the post office last time I stopped by), but even a kitchen scale works. A bathroom scale is not precise enough.
  6. ISBN Scanner: More on this in a future post.
Besides the ISBN Scanner, all of this equipment is relatively easy to come by. Quality is only crucial when it comes to the camera (blurry shots don't sell books) and the packing material (nothing looks more unprofessional than ship-shod packaging).


  1. I've used cut up brown paper bags from Wegmans and the Giant a million times to ship books. Two layers is as good as just about anything in terms of protection against the shipping elements.

  2. Thanks for your comment Joe. No doubt that would work for some, sturdier books, though you want to remember as well that it's not just how the book ships, but whether the purchaser thinks of it as sufficient and is willing to give you positive feedback.