Friday, July 13, 2012

Accounting for Textbooks Sales using and Excel

Since the beginning of this blog, my article on selling textbooks through has remained the most popular and so I thought it was about time to make a follow-up post.

Textbook sales are particularly complicated because every textbook buyer requires a minimum order size to justify paying for shipping and when using you receive (when you're lucky) numerous competing offers.  It would be nice, of course, to simply pick the highest offered price and sell to them, unfortunately however, sometimes the highest price doesn't cover that particular company's minimum or it is necessary to sell a few books at a lower price so that you can sell everything you bought instead of having books left over from companies whose minimums you didn't meet.

To do this, especially after a trip to a book fair where you have a pile of books to sell, is easiest when you use a spreadsheet.  I previously described a spreadsheet to be used to keep general accounts and this textbook spreadsheet is designed to work in tandem (probably in different tabs in the same Excel or OpenOffice Spreadsheet file).
Click Image for Full-Sized View
 The system here is similar to that of my other book spreadsheet.  Column A is the book's title, column B was the cost of the book for me and column D is the book's ISBN (for more on ISBNs, see my post on the matter).  I will get to Column C in a moment but it is the highest price column.

The rest of the columns are listings of companies that buy books via  So "BookByte" is, TextRUS is and is  I write the ISBN into the spreadsheet and then cut and paste it into the search engine, I then copy down all of the prices (if any) into the appropriate column.  It tend to bold the highest price and then write that company's column letter into Column C.  So, on row 11 (Plato's Symposium), the highest price was Bookbyte, which offered 75c and is in Column E, so I wrote "E" into Column C.

Row 12 (and it varies because you need to add a row in for every new book) is one of the few formulas, which simply totals all of the prices for that particular company.  So the formula for BookByte (column E) is as follows:


The first letter changes depending on the column, and the final number (in this case the "11" in "E11") is the last row before the total row, so as you add more books, it gets higher.

The next row, Row 13 in our example case is fixed and it is a listing of the minimum prices that each company will ship for.  The ones you're most likely to use are:

Bookbyte: $10
Textbooksrus: $15 $10 $10
1st Class Books: $15
Powell's: $5 (nice!)
Valore: $10
Sellbackyourbook: $5
Bookitbuyback: $10
Moola4books: $8
Webuytextbooks: $5

From here on out it's just a matter of comparisons and a bit of math.  If you have a large number of books, such as after a book sale, you may have to juggle a bit.  I highly recommend selling books as quickly as possible as prices change rapidly (and, in my experience, downwards), so you may not always get the best price for your books in an attempt to fill the orders and sell as many as possible.

P.S.: Those of you who want to know more about how to work Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Spreadsheet, here is a good primer

Good luck!


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  2. Thanks for giveng us usefull information about How to sell Books online.

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