What is a Book Scout?

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  • Written By: K T Solis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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A book scout is a person who locates books for online booksellers. Book scouts hunt for books in used bookstores, library book sales, estate sales, thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. They usually carry a cell phone linked to the Internet.

They enter the book's ISBN into the bookseller's Internet-based system which determines whether or not the company needs that particular book. If the online bookseller needs the book for its inventory, the book scout purchases the book and sells it to the online bookseller. The online bookseller usually pays all shipping costs.

If a person wishes to sell used books, there are several book buying companies from which to choose. Unfortunately, the booksellers usually don't pay much for the books that are located by a book scout. The book scout sells the book for below price, but the bookseller sells the same book for a higher price to its customers. is a company that pays people to be its book scouts. The company is located in Beaverton, OR and buys and sells books. It promises each potential book scout fast payment and reliable communication. A member of the Better Business Bureau, this company pays book scouts to ship the books. When a book scout locates a book, she types the ISBN into the Cash4books website and hits the Enter key. The site quickly determines whether or not the company needs the book and how much it will pay for it.


Cash4books does not accept damaged books. It immediately rejects books with torn pages, worn binding, and missing or loose pages. Cash4books also refuses books with water and fire damage or strong odors. On the other hand, the company accepts a book that has a small amount of writing, underlining, or highlighting on no more than 20 percent of its pages. If a book was originally manufactured with a CD or DVD, the original CD or DVD must accompany the book. Of course, it must also be in excellent working condition.

CKY Books uses book scouts to hunt down a variety of books as well. Located in Nicholasville, KY, CKY Books promises to pay book scouts within 24 to 48 hours of the books being received. It also states that it communicates promptly with sellers. The website operates similarly to Cash4books.

The seller enters the book's ISBN into the website and clicks a button to see if the company wishes to purchase the book. It also tells the seller how much it will pay for it. If the book scout accepts the offer, the company pays for shipping. Go to for further information.

CKY Books and Cash4books are merely two among many book selling companies that require the services of a person who scouts for books. Visit to gain access to a variety of online companies who want to buy used books. The Bookscouter website allows the book scout to enter a book's ISBN into its system and view the array of companies offering to buy the particular book and how much each is willing to pay. The seller can then choose the highest offer. Working for book buying companies may not make a bibliophile wealthy, but it might be a useful way to make some extra money.


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Post 5

Dear anon102323: I was 16 once too! As you go into bookstores, estate sales, yard sales and thrift stores, through the years you will develop the skills necessary to do this with technical help. It will be like a sixth sense that develops.

Do some online research about what makes books rare. Keep searching for books, though. You may be able to make more than a cell phone bill's worth of cash!

Post 4

Amen! I agree with you exactly. I went to a book sale in Saint Louis recently and these jerks just took over the whole medical table, and stayed there all night. They were yelling out loud how much they were getting for the books and not letting anyone, even if they weren't scouts, to look at the table.

Personally, I'm turning 16 this September and I usually don't mess with rare(er) books as I know I don't know what I'm doing. I use a cellphone scanner and usually make enough to pay my phone bill and insurance every month.

Post 2


Book Scouts using cell phones is a relatively new phenomenon. Real book scouts use an even better technology: experience. Scouts have been doing this for hundreds, if not thousands, of years as they collect precious volumes without a cell phone. Experience can't be bar-coded!

The books digital scouts buy tend not to be exceptionally rare or interesting because scanners end their reign when there is no ISBN. Yes I know sometimes titles are put in but honestly do scanner people know about condition?

The scanning devices also can't tell a prospective scout the bibliographic complexities of a book. I know what I will hear about that 'Not everyone has the time to learn this stuff that's why the devices

help'. These devices only help the true art of scouting to be practiced by a dwindling few.

By the way, how about the scanner people develop some more manners at large sales without pushing people and hoarding books checking each one slowly because they can't tell what they're looking at by sight?

How much do they sell manners for on Amazon? Do your scouting devices list those prices? Sorry for the rant.

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