Updated: Jul 12
Imagine you come across a library sale that is not advertised online and you find yourself being the only person there to scan for profitable books, CDs, and DVDs. There are a couple of older ladies there browsing through the fiction section. You have your scanning app of choice downloaded on your phone but you only have live mode. You're able to scan the barcodes with your phone but its taking extremely long for your phone to process the result. You realize that there is no wifi available and your recption is horrible, but you continue to scan. After 10 minutes of scanning, you have scanned aproximatley 80 books, and you have found 2 books with good profit. Off to a good start, but its taking a long time to make any real progress. As you're scanning you notice 3 guys come into the sale just a tad bit late, but all of them are equipped with blutooth scanners, phones attached to their arms with phone fitness arm bands, and all hooked to external batteries charging their phones. These guys are the real deal, and as you're trying to make progress but you can't help but watch them scan books at lightning speed. Before you know it, they already have a pile books they can barely hold. You realize that you are out manned, and you have an insignificant pile compared to theirs. After about 2 hours, you have scanned 3 good sections and have about a stack of 20 profitable books. Curious of the other guys, you see them checking out with over 100 books and lots of CD's and DVD's. They were in and out in under 2 hours and they have scanned all of the nonfiction except the couple of sections you were scanning. They came in and stole the oppertunity of being the first one there because they were better prepared. You realize that something needs to change if you are going to keep up with them, so you ask how they were able to get done so fast and the answer you get is: "We use a database and bluetooth scanners."
This is based on true story that I found myself in at my first book sale. The book sell had nearly 100,000 books and there was a couple, with their 2 kids all scanning. At the time I only had live mode with a scouting app, and the amazon seller app to do cover scans. I ended up making some money, but they left with way more books than I did. Moral of the story is that they were better prepared. and I learned quickly how competetive book sales can be. After that, I upgraded to the database version, ordered an Opticon blutooth scanner as well as a fitness band for my phone. I already had an external battery and 2 days later (thanks to Amazon Prime) I had everything I needed to scan lightning fast. When the next library sale came around, it was I who was dominating the competition. Since then, I haven't looked back on my decision and now I feel confident I could compete in some of the biggest library sales.
Database processes your results faster!
Blutooth scanners are faster than your phone!
Fitness bands make viewing data easier!
External battery ensures your phone doesn't die!
Database Mode Is Faster Than Live Mode
If you are unfamiliar with the terms "database mode" and "live mode" then you probably don't have a scouting app. A scouting app, such as Scoutly, will allow you to scan barcodes, ISBN's, and even titles to pull data from amazon to help you make buying decisions. The app has triggers that can be set up for finding items with a significant amount of profit by using the data from amazon to determine if you should buy the item or pass on it. You will ultimately pass on most items but when the trigger is activated, the app will notify you with an ever so joyful cha-ching sound. You have found something worthy of selling on Amazon and this process is as easy as scanning a barcode.
Now that we have gotten the basics out of the way, lets talk about where the data is coming from with live mode. When scanning in live mode(cheapest option) your phone will scan the barcode, send a signal through your carrier to a satelite, beam the signal down to amazon's servers and grabs the data. the signal then goes back up to the satelite, and then finally back to your phone with the result. This process has a delay that can take a few a seconds, and in a building with bad reception can take an absurd amount of time. On the other hand, there is database mode. The difference is that you spend about 10 minutes downloading the database, which is a snapshot in time of all the media on amazon as well as some of the important prices. The database is now on the hard drive of your phone and the time it takes to get a result is as fast as your processor (smart phones today have fast processors). Now instead of taking a few seconds, its a split second decision. In the course of scanning a thousand items, the database can get it done in about an hour while the live mode will take 2-3 times as long. Now it doesn't matter if you have reception or not, you are able to buy 3 times as much product in half the time. This is a key secret when becoming a media seller and you too can posess a database. I personally use Scoutly for scanning media, and by clicking the link you can get a 30 day Free trial when you sign up for a professional account.
Blutooth Scanner Vs Phone Camera
There is no question that a blutooth scanner can scan faster than your phone's camera. Most scouting apps will allow you to use you camera to get the bare code or ISBN, but it takes a while for your camera to pickup the numbers, not to mention that it doesn't work well with certain lighting conditions. The valuable time it takes to pick a book up, get the barcode to register, process the result, and repeat the process could be sped up with a blutooth scanner. Most bluetooth scanners use an infared laser that can pick up barcodes with lighting speed. The downside to using a barcode scanner is that it does not read ISBN's. I will usually flip books without barcodes on there side and come back to them with the phone camera. This will insure you are operating at optimal speed and not missing any potential profit. My most recommended blutooth scanner is the Opticon 2006, a fast, compact, sleek, scanner with a long battery life. Its more on the expensive side and unless you're a professional, you may opt in to get an Eyoyo Ring Scanner, my next favorite scanner for about a third of the cost. This one also frees up a few extra fingers that will be useful when flipping through the books.
Phone Bands Helps Keep You Organized
A fitness phone band will keep your phone strapped to your arm and will help you see the data without you placing your phone on a shelf. There have been many times when I have been scanning without my phoneband and I place my phone on the shelf. Usually, I have to back track to grab my phone, and it can sometimes be harder to hear the audio cues. Also, if the books can be shifted while you are scanning them, they can knock your phone down. A broken screen could mess up your whole day of scouting. I suggest using a phone band to keep your phone on you at all times, typically on your forearm so you can see the data. i also suggest getting one that can turn and be able to use the camera quickly, for those books that you "just have a feeling about." The one I recommend getting is the VUP Running Detachable Armband because it doesn't interfere with your screen, I can still use it with my phone case, it rotates for scanning ISBN's fast, and its detachable for when you want you want do to things that are not done as easy when your phone is on your arm!
External Batteries Are A Lifesaver
An external battery wil save you time and time again. Whether it's charging your phone while you scan, or charging your scanner in between thrift stores, it is your saving grace from the number 1 killer of a potentially great sourcing day. I have had moments when I have been out sourcing without a battery, and my phone would die on the 3rd thrift store on my list for the day. I couldn't just sit in the car and wait for it to charge up long enough between thrift stores because the 10-15 minute commutes wouldn't charge the phone enough to make it through scanning another. Now I keep an external battery, and will scan with it attached to my phone keeping my phone charged all day long. This has allowed me to visit 6-8 thrift stores a day, and instead of sourcing 20-50 books a day, to over 100 books a day. Talk about massive action. I recommend getting an Anker PowerCore Essiential 20000 power bank. This thing can charge my phone 5 times on a full charge. Its perfect if you are forgetful like me and need a battery that doesnt require a charge everyday. In fact, you only need to charge it a few times a week if you are using it everyday.
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