TikToker Explains ‘Book Flipping’ And How You Can Flip Books As A Side Hustle

When thinking about a side hustle to supplement your income, two of the biggest factors for consideration are time and ROI. Many people dedicate themselves to a side hustle where the juice isn’t worth the squeeze – The return on investment for the time and dollars you put into it just aren’t worth it in the long run.

This is what’s called opportunity cost – an important consideration in a successful side hustle. Time is money and that’s why it’s important to land on something you genuinely enjoy doing.

Retail arbitrage is one of the popular and straigh forward side hustles, with social media personalities like Gary Vaynerchuk popularizing it in recent years. It’s a pretty simple: You buy an item from a retail store – where that item might be deeply discounted to make shelf space for something of a higher value – and sell it for a higher price.

The difference is profit.

Sounds easy in theory, right?

Sort of!

In reality, all retail arbitrage is both an art and a science – you learn a lot about consumer appetites for certain products and how to use online reseller marketplaces for goods – IE. eBay, Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, and Mercari.

Retail arbitrage takes time, patience, and plenty of trial and error to find resell-able items that actually work, let alone where you can buy said items for the right price.

It also takes practice to develop a good eye for opportunity.

What is book flipping?

One of the most popular retail arbitrage side hustles is book flipping. Just like car flipping, it requires lots of research, but very little time and not a lot of upfront costs vs. other retail arbitrage side hustles.

Jarek Lewis is a former aerospace engineer who now focus on wealth-building strategies on TikTok and Twitter. He recently laid out his strategy for book flipping in a series of tweets and TikToks.

The steps for book flipping are pretty simple:

  • Scour your local dollar store for cheap finds. You can also look at yard sales, rummage sales, and thrift stores.
  • Use your phone while in the store to research how much those items can be resold for to get a sense of the marketplace value
  • Resell them on eBay, Amazon, or another reselling platform of choice.
  • Use a spreadsheet to keep track of what you paid for a book vs. what you sold it for to keep track of your profits.

Watch him explain in a TikTok:


He further elaborated with another TikTok showing the fruits of his labor:


On Twitter, he further elaborates how successful book flipping can be, especially when you find a killer niche. For example, college textbooks for a specialized field.

It’s essentially no different than the model almost all college bookstores employ: Sell a book for X to a student at the beginning of the semester, then buy it back for lesser value at the end of the semester only to resell it to another student for more at the beginning of the next semester.

It’s a great side hustle for college students since it requires minimum time and have a sense of the marketplace for specialty education books that can be sold at a higher value in their chosen path of study.

Like all side hustles, book flipping takes some individual learning and optimization to identify how you can make it work in your favor.

But once you learn the ropes and have a sense of how to make it work in your favor, the sky is the limit.

@jarrylewAs real as it gets. #fyp #DontSweatIt #BiggerIsBetter #moneytok #sidehustle♬ Purge Siren [Instrumental] – Remix – Young Mooski

B. Carlisle

Contributing editor at Wealth Gang. An entrepreneur at heart, he's passionate about meaningful ways to leverage technology and social media for business opportunities and side hustles.