We recently had the opportunity to interview Jon Shugart and Luke Sample, the founders of Book Profits, and learn how online entrepreneurs are discovering the profit potential of the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com
Jon Shugart, CEO of Book Profits, obtained his Bachelor of Science in mathematics with honors from North Georgia College & University. Mr. Shugart received his Masters of Education Leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi. However, after teaching high school mathematics for four years, Mr. Shugart caught the technology bug and enrolled at the Georgia Institute of Technology to study Computer Science in the year 2000. It was that decision that has led him down the path he is currently on.
Over the past 19 years, Jon Shugart has followed his passion for technology and entrepreneurship and he has built several multi-million dollar businesses from scratch along the way. But more important to him than just the revenue is that the they have helped improve the quality of their customers’ lives.
It takes a lot of talent, passion, creativity, dedication, discipline, hard work, and leadership skills to build several multi-million-dollar businesses from scratch and to reach the top of several fields in a single lifetime. Luke Sample has been able to do that and much more in his early life.
Luke’s success in so many diverse areas comes from a combination of his insatiable desire for excellence coupled with an unrivalled ability to never give up until the goal is reached.
One doesn’t get featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal as a 23 year old entrepreneur, or generate more than $50 million in online sales without putting everything together successfully.
Whether it’s his early successes in life as an athlete, a student, an artist, a musician and band founder, or in later years a successful founder and builder of companies, Luke is always striving for that next big goal or achievement in life.
But what is most unique about Luke and the thing he is most proud of is his ability to create success in other people. Creating success for himself is one thing, but the ability to help someone else achieve their own dreams and reach their own goals with his help is what really drives Luke now. He has been able to help thousands of people quit their jobs, make hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in several cases millions of dollars.
Creating several millionaires from humble beginnings or scratch is no small task yet it’s one Luke has been able to do over and over again, most recently with his partner Jon Shugart and the Book Profits training program.
Can you share with our audience how people can make extra money on Amazon?
Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely. So let me paint a picture real quick, because when I tell people this and when we show people how to do it, they have their eyes, they widen, right? Because they’re like, “What, you can do this?” So basically here’s what happens. You can actually go to Amazon.com right now and do a search for textbooks. And there are situations where you could purchase a textbook on Amazon, have it shipped to you, or there are ways to avoid getting it shipped to you, but we won’t get into that right now, but have it shipped to you, and then immediately send it right back into Amazon in their trade-in program and make a profit.
That’s it. It’s as simple as that. You buy a book from Amazon, you get it shipped to you, and then you turn around and you send it back to Amazon and you make a profit. And here’s the great thing. It’s zero risk, because you claim your trade-in when you buy the book, and Amazon keeps the trade-in value active for up to 28 days. So it gives you time to receive the book and then turn around and ship it off to Amazon and get paid that profit. So you know before you buy something how much money you are going to make, and it’s like I said, it’s guaranteed. I mean, there’s some nuances as far as book condition that you got to watch out for, but I mean, they’re very simple. But anyway, in a nutshell, that’s one of our the easiest methods that anyone can do to make money, get a little extra money right there. And we go deeper, of course, into the whole other methods, but that’s the first.
Can you tell us a little more about the Amazon trade-in program?
Yeah. Yeah. So this all, and we’re only talking about Amazon right now, but I’ll throw this out there. We actually have other sites that will buy the books as well. Okay? But let’s just focus on Amazon, because it’s the big behemoth and everybody knows Amazon and it’s easy to use.
It’s not just books, but Amazon has something called a trade-in program. So if you have electronics sitting around the house and you’re like, “I’m not using this,” or whatever, you can actually go to Amazon and see if they will give you any money for it, without even selling it. Just straight up basically giving you some cash. Think of it like a recycling program.
Is Amazon buying the book back or are Amazon customers?
Amazon’s the one that’s going to pay you. Now, I’ll throw this little monkey wrench out there, because I don’t want anybody to say I didn’t say it. When Amazon pays you … And this is only Amazon. Everyone else pays you different, in cash … Amazon will actually pay you in a gift card credit on their site. Okay? So if you buy the book and you trade it in, then you’re going to get an Amazon gift card credit balance. For most people that’s great, because they can just buy whatever they want to on Amazon, whatever they’re normally buying, if they’re shopping on Amazon. So it’s basically like cash. We have methods of turning that into cash and we won’t get into all that right now, but that means I just want to be clear. You won’t get a check from Amazon. You’ll get a gift card balance, but you can buy anything with that on Amazon. So it’s basically like cash, because you buy anything on Amazon.
So with a trade-in through Amazon you receive a credit. What happens when you resell to an Amazon customer? Are you paid cash?
That’s right. You’re absolutely right. Let’s take that one step further. So we teach people how to do this, and what we do is we say, “Look, start with trade-ins, which is what we’re talking about first, and get a gift card, balance built up. And then use that gift card balance to actually purchase books, continue to purchase your books. But instead of trading it in, become a reseller and learn how to sell books on Amazon as well.”
And we’ve got people who have started with 500,000 bucks and they’re doing 10, $20,000 a month selling books. And you’re looking at about 50% margins. So $10,000 in sales is probably about $5,000 in profit, just because everybody asks, “Was that sales or profit.” So just straight up, it’s between 40% and 60% margins usually.
And so the methods that we’ve done, we’ve been doing this for about two and a half years teaching people, and what we’ve seen the best method is use the training program because it’s guaranteed money, easy to do, and basically risk-free. Because the other thing I forgot to mention was let’s say you have a problem with the book that you buy or let’s just say it wasn’t the condition that they sold it. They said, “Hey, it’s great condition.” It turns out like missing a cover. All you have to do is refund it. So you’re not going to be out your money for that book. So Amazon has an A to Z guarantee. So you’re always covered when you make a purchase on Amazon with their guarantee. So if you ever have a problem with the book, you just send the book back to the seller.
How do I know that Amazon will buy it back for a higher price than what I sold it for?
it’s a great question. That’s why this method is so awesome. When you purchase the book, you know at that point in time what Amazon is willing to pay you for trade-in. So let me give you an example. Let’s say you see a textbook, and Amazon, when you’re searching that day, it says you can buy this book, not from Amazon, but from a third party, in their marketplace. You’re not buying from Amazon. You are trading back in to Amazon, but you’re not buying from Amazon. Let me be clear on that. You’re buying typically, because Amazon only sells new books, unless it’s in a warehouse or something. But they only sell new books, so you’re buying from a third party.
And so you buy from that seller on Amazon, though, so it’s fully covered through their warranty or A to Z guarantee. You know when you buy it how much Amazon is willing to trade in, you’re going to make any money. And what you do that day or at the same time, you claim. There’s a little link that says, “Claim your trade in.” The claim your trade in link. And you say, “I have this book that I’m going to trade in.” You haven’t even bought it yet. You’re about to buy it. But you go ahead and claim the trade in, and Amazon gives you a shipping. So there’s no shipping costs. They actually pay for the shipping. They give you a shipping label and they give you a guarantee that you put in with the book that tells you how much they’re going to pay. That’s it. And it’s locked in for up to 25 days. As long as you ship that book within 25 days, you are guaranteed to get that price that they told you.
Let me draw a line in the middle. The trade-in method, the margins on that are probably 10 to 50% return on investment. So you might buy a book for 15 or 20 bucks, and you’re going to make five, $10. Maybe you only make $3, but it doesn’t matter. It’s profit. And when you start running the math, you can’t get a better return anywhere, really, I mean, what we’ve seen, but for that capital.
That being said, when I mentioned 50% margin, that’s when you become a seller of books. So the trade-ins are really good money. Whatever the spread is between what Amazon’s going to pay you and what it costs you to buy the book ,and you have to pay, well, you have to pay for shipping to your house from Amazon, which is it’s all factored in, right? The price of the book plus the shipping. You don’t pay for shipping to Amazon to do the trade-in. They cover that. So whatever the spread is, whatever the trade-in amount you’re going to get minus whatever you pay for the book plus shipping, that’s your profit, plain and simple, easy-peasy. Nothing to it.
If you decide that you want to go and instead of trading it in, you want to resell it in the marketplace, at that point, then you become what’s called an Amazon FBA Seller. And you’ll go and you’ll ship your book to Amazon as you did before, but you ship it to their warehouse. And then when it sells, Amazon takes a fee. So you don’t know what you’re going to make ahead of time, and that’s why we have rules where we’re like, okay, We call it the rule of three. We want you to invest three times what you buy there. And if you do, then you’re going to make at least 100% on your money. So like I say, we’ve been doing this a while. So we’ve got it all figured out in terms of how to really, targets to shoot for and all that. But the truth is, I mean, you can make 30 to 300% on your money reselling the books. You’ll probably make 10 to 30, maybe 50% doing trade-ins. So, I mean, there’s a more margin in doing the resell, but it’s more work, too.
If you are an Amazon FBA reseller there is some risk, right? What happens if you aren’t able to sell the book, aren’t you stuck with it?
That’s right. So the resell increases your risk level. With more margin, you get more risk, right? The trade-ins are, I mean, it’s like risk free. I mean, there’s really, because if you don’t like the book, you can return the book and get your money back. If Amazon rejects the book, let’s just say that you didn’t pay attention, you shipped it in, and it did have water damage and they don’t want water damaged books. They won’t accept this as a trade-in. You should let them know that ahead of time and get the refund so you don’t have to worry about it.
However, the cool thing is it is possible to do this business without ever touching a book. And so you may or may not know the condition of the book, unless the people that are managing that tell you. So sometimes it’ll slip through or whatever and they don’t catch it, and it’s no big deal. Like I say, you can just get a refund for that book or you can resell it if you want. Right? So either case, you’re covered in that scenario.
There is an increase in risk as an FBA seller. We actually have teachings on how to buy the books, because you want to focus on books that are going to resell. Our goal is to try and turn a book in 60 days or less. And so if you can buy the right books and you buy them at a price that the market will pay more, you’re going to make money.
And so we’ve got, just to give you an idea, we have 500 video testimonials from people that have been doing this over the last two years. And we’ve got people that are going to be hitting a million dollars this year, and they started with us about two and a half years ago. And I mean, they’ve just been consistently working it. They didn’t put a lot of money in it. They’ve just taken their initial capital, let’s say they may have started with $5,000 or $6,000 and they’ve taken that and they just keep cycling it over and over and over. And it just grows because of the returns that you can get.
To give you an idea, just the textbook market alone is about a $20 billion market in the United States. It’s a big market and there’s a lot of ways you can pull some money out of that market if you know what you’re doing.
Thank you to Jon Shugart and Luke Sample for sharing their experience on how to succeed in selling books for profit on Amazon.