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Book scouting anyone?

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I hit as many library book sales and B.I.G. sales as I can and everything in between. In doing so, I see many folks, even at thrift stores, scanning barcodes on their cells or little handheld PDA devices. I asked one woman who hesitantly said, "It let's her know if the book is worth paying the asking price for." That didn't sit well with me, not the answer so much as her hesitation and almost 'mind your business' behavior.


So in researching this, I found it to be called 'Book Scouting'. Many of you may be familiar with it but for those that aren't here goes a basic explanation. You download software to your cell or purchase/rent a PDA from a scouting company and you then use this system to scan barcodes for books, cd's, dvd's, even some video games and toys and a value pops up based on what is selling and for how much on Amazon. You are basically being told by the info. on the screen whether that book or item is worth buying for the sake of reselling. If you have older items without barcodes, some software/devices allow you to manually type in a name and other info. on the item and you can see what they are valued at and selling for. Of course there is the cost of the unit and/or software and a monthly subscription fee which I have seen range from $12 all the way up to $30 or more per month. And the PDA's are in the hundreds so if you own a smart phone that seems to be the way to go.


My question is two-fold: does anyone here do this as a means to earn a little extra cash since the majority of us are single income homeschooling households and are you having much success?


Heather in MD

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This is just a newfangled technology for using library sales or thrift stores to scout for book reselling. And I have no problem with folks doing that. If the library or thrift store is content with the price they are being paid, no problem.


What I do have a problem with is when the people doing this come into a sale in a large group, with dollies or carts and block the aisles or access to shelves. What they do with the books once they buy it is up to them. But they don't have a right to prevent my also accessing the books, just because I'm buying them for personal use, rather than as a business.


It is the same complaint that I had back in lead pencil days 12+ years ago, when I had book dealers shoving me out of the way to get to closer to the door of the book sale when I was very pregnant.

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)
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We live in an affluent area with lots of library book sales. I haven't seen that here. Then again I mostly shop the kid's section and often wait until the end for the $2 a bag sale. I'd have no problem with the practice--if I ever saw it. As long as the dealers aren't getting special privileges like early entry to the sale, it seems fine.


Christine W

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I have my books scanned into my phone. I scan barcodes to check and see if I already own a book or not. Sometimes when in a bookstore I check on amazon to see if the book is cheaper there. I don't sell books as a business. Just to say, there are sometimes other reasons for people scanning books.

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Yes, there are other reasons people scan and doing so to make sure you don't buy a duplicate or grab one you don't have is a fab idea.


I was mainly wondering though if anyone here actually does this as part of a small home based business to help offset some expenses of the household.


So far, I haven't seen anyone who does this getting special treatment at any sales I have been to.


I personally prefer pre-barcode books anyway so just being able to look up their value would be my interest. It might be nice to have something to hand down to my kids.

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