An Updated Review of Profit Bandit for iPhone

I wrote a glowing review of Profit Bandit a few months ago.  At the time of publication, Profit Bandit retailed for a one-time fee of $14.99.  One can easily recoup $15 with even one successful use of the app.  However, the developers at SellerEngine decided that the cost of maintaining the app exceeded the one-time fee of $14.99 and changed to a monthly subscription model.  Instead of a single $15 outlay, users were now presented with the option of paying $9.99/month for a properly maintained app or holding out with their original purchase which would not receive any updates.

Many longtime users, myself included, felt betrayed by the developers of Profit Bandit and refused to pay a monthly subscription fee.  We kept using our old copies of Profit Bandit.  Everything worked as it should until the deployment of iOS 8.  The new operating system crippled several key functionalities of the outdated Profit Bandit on my phone and led to more frustrating force quits that cut into my scouting time.  I put up with it for a little bit.  I didn't necessarily need to see camelcamelcamel data straight away.  I could deal with restarting the app once or twice a day.  I could do all of that until I couldn't.  I couldn't take it anymore.

I tried the Amazon Seller app, but I didn't like the interface.  I was too comfortable with Profit Bandit's one page presentation of pertinent information.  I clicked around more with the Amazon app, which meant more time interfacing with my device and less time interfacing with potential inventory!  So I did it.

I upgraded to the subscription model Profit Bandit.  Yes, I gave in.  I gave in because I rely on Profit Bandit to give me an edge on the competition, and that small edge is worth $10/month.  It's not difficult to make an extra $10 each month.  However, it is difficult to make an extra $10 when your app is buggy and not compliant with the latest operating system.  I contacted SellerEngine customer service and squeaked a few free months of service out of them with my first payment.  Every little bit helps.

Everything I wrote in my previous review stands, except for the cost equation.  If you want to stick with your old copy of Profit Bandit and iOS 7, feel free.  I did it for as long as I could.  SellerEngine has promised some additional webinars and emails for Profit Bandit subscribers.  I have yet to use one, but I  did read an email about a webinar a few days ago and it seems like they are delivering on that promise.  Does it add value for a veteran like me?  Maybe, maybe not.  I'm always learning something new, so I could probably pick up a thing or two from the developers or other users of the app.

 

How to List Inventory Items on Amazon Using a Spreadsheet

 

genericisbn

Introduction to Barcode Theory

A general rule of thumb for deciding where to list your items comes down to one factor, the barcode.  Items with a barcode should be listed on Amazon for maximum revenue.  Items without barcodes should be listed on eBay.  Think of the barcode as a standard.  The barcode is the description.  When you sell items on Amazon, the buyer expects to receive the item to be comparable to the same item purchased at a local retailer.  The item should be complete, whether it is new or used.  Essentially, your item should conform to the information given on the Amazon Product Details page.

If you are selling a copy of this booamazonproductdetailsk, it should be the paperback 14th Edition with 480 pages, weigh 2.2 lbs and measure the same dimensions, and have the ISBN-10 or ISBN-13 (or both) shown on the back of the book or on the copyright page.  The picture of the item on the Amazon sales page should look exactly like the item in your hand.  Consider this the standard for a new or used book.  A new book will be brand new with no flaws.  Unless you deal directly with publishers or distributors, you should not list your books as new.  Assuming that you are selling a used book, you will grade your book (Acceptable, Good, Very Good, Like New) and write your condition notes (highlighting, cover scuffs, etc) when you are listing your book.

Items that do not meet the standard set by the ISBN or UPC on the product are better candidates for eBay.  Amazon buyers do not necessarily read the description of your item.  They expect it to be complete.  Your item will probably be one of many identical items offered for sale on Amazon, sorted by price and service.  Your competition is all on one page.  On eBay, your competition is individual auctions or fixed-price sales that show up after a user performs a keyword search.  The eBay buyer must click through each auction/sales page to find an item that meets the condition and price point of interest.  The eBay item might be missing components or have a tricky return policy.  An eBay buyer is expected to read the entire sales page and understand the conditions of the sale before purchasing the item, as terms and conditions vary from seller to seller.  An Amazon buyer expects the same terms and conditions of the sale independent of the seller, an expectation backed by the Amazon A to Z guarantee.  Sellers that do not conform to Amazon's expectations will not last long.

How to List Your Items on Amazon Using a Spreadsheet

Listing items on Amazon is easy.  No pictures required.  Click through a few short forms, write a few notes, and your item is live on the third-party Marketplace.  Literally, your item might sell within minutes of listing if the demand is there.  If you have a lot of items to list, you can use a spreadsheet to work offline and upload your items in bulk.  That means less clicking, less waiting, more listing.  Like any skill, there is a learning curve here.  Read my tutorial below to accelerate your learning curve.

Materials Needed

  • Inventory items
  • Computer on the platform of your choice (Mac or PC)
  • Spreadsheet - Microsoft Excel or Open Office Calc (FREEWARE)
  • OPTIONAL, but highly recommended - USB barcode scanner

You probably have most of those things at your disposal.  If you do not have a barcode scanner, I recommend buying one.  I purchased one for $25 a few years ago when I got sick of typing in UPCs and ISBNs into spreadsheets.  It's a very small price to pay for efficiency and you can use it for plenty of other websites (like Bookscouter).

Procedure

InventoryaddFind an inventory template and the accompanying documentation provided by Amazon.  You can find it in Amazon Seller Central by hovering over the Inventory tab and selecting Add Products via Upload.

 

 

 

 

You will be presented with the following page.

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Click on the Download Template or Learn more links.  Both take you to the same place.  Read that page in its entirety.  Scroll down to the Templates part of the page.  This is where you will find the inventory templates you will need to modify to upload your products in bulk to Amazon.  DO NOT SKIP THE DOCUMENTATION!

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For the sake of simplicity, I use the standard Inventory Loader file.  I use it to avoid specific details and speed up my listing process.  I list many books, but I never use the Book Loader file.  The Book Loader file is bloated with lots of bullet point type descriptions that enhance your listing, but will not necessarily help you sell more books.  If you are selling Collectible books, the Book Loader is the way to go.  I do not list many Collectible books on Amazon; they sell better on eBay because collectors are picky and want lots of pictures and descriptions.

Download the Inventory Loader file and open it in your favorite spreadsheet program.  I use Microsoft Excel on my Mac.  If you're a college student, you may be able to get Microsoft Office for free from your school.  Look into it.  You can get Open Office for FREE!  It's even free from Amazon!  I use it on my PC.

Your screen should look similar to this.  Click on the image to expand it.

flatfileinv

You've got a lot of columns there!  What do they all mean?  That's where the documentation comes in handy.  READ IT.  This is why I told you to read it.  Print it out and keep it next to you for a quick reference.  Before I get to explaining what these column headings mean, let's get rid of a few.  We don't need all of them filled out to list our items.  All that stuff about shipping and tax codes can be set globally in Seller Central when you upload the file.  I'm going to cut out a few columns.  Right click on the letter at the top of the column, K, for example, and pick Delete.  The column will disappear.  Let's get rid of the dead weight.

Invcut

I cut out half of the columns and stretched out the names for readability.  Let's talk about each one of these headings and what they mean.

  • sku - Stock Keeping Unit.  This is a number or letter or word you assign to the product in your inventory.  I write SKUs sequentially, numbering at 1.  So my first unit ever listed in inventory is 1, the next is 2, etc.  Amazon doesn't care about how many SKUs you have in their system, it's just a relationship between your SKU and the next column, product-id.
  • product-id - This is the barcode number: the UPC, the ISBN, the EAN, or the ASIN.  The ASIN is the Amazon Standard Identification Number.  You can find it in the product details page.  They look like this: B008XAXAC4.  For books, the ASIN will be the same as the ISBN-10.  Instead of typing in a bunch of random numbers, you can use that barcode scanner I recommended to input the numbers for you.
  • product-id-type - Defines what the number in the previous column means.  1 = ASIN, 2 = ISBN, 3 = UPC, 4 = EAN.  I primarily use 1 for ASIN/ISBN and 3 for UPC.
  • price - Your selling price.  This one little column deserves a post all its own.  If you're using FBA, make sure to factor shipping into your price.  You don't need any dollar signs, just an integer.  10 = $10.
  • item-condition - Another numeric signifier.  Do not write any words here, just a number.  Reference the Inventory Loader File Instructions for the numbers.  I mostly use 1 - 4, where 1 = Like New, 2 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 4 = Acceptable.  If your item is NEW, put 11 in this column. Collectible condition grades use 5 - 8, mirroring 1 - 4 for standard conditions.
  • quantity - Number of items you are listing for sale.  If you have 1 of an item, put a 1 in this column.  Got 25 of the same thing to sell?  Great, put 25 here.  Advanced trickery - this column is not needed if you are doing FBA.
  • item-note - DESCRIPTION!  Talk about your item here.  I keep it pretty generic and focused on condition.  I wrote about that on my book grading post.  Example:  Softcover, light shelfwear.  No writing, highlighting, or underlining in text.  Fast shipping!  Write it exactly as you want it to be seen.  Include punctuation, spaces, a diary entry, whatever.
  • fulfillment-center-id - FBA ONLY!  If you are not using FBA, clip this column too!  If you are using FBA, just write AMAZON_NA in this column for every item.  Amazon figures out where to place your inventory for you.

IMG_3108

Start filling in your boxes.  All of the information should be right in front of you.  You will want to open up a browser page on Amazon to get the job done.  I used Wong's Essentials of Pediatric Nursing as an example.  Not a lot of upside in this book, but I got it cheap and it fetched a higher price when I originally listed it some months ago with the intention of writing this post.  Procrastination kills.

examplewong

That's it.  That's all I had to say about that book.  Do that a few hundred times and fill up your file.  No more clicking through pages on Amazon to get your stuff loaded.  Fill it up with your skus and get back to me when you're finished.

SAVE YOUR FILE!

Alright, this is where it gets a little tricky.  Amazon wants to see your spreadsheet in a plain text file.  It doesn't want all of that Excel formatting with the color and fonts and all that business.  It wants the text only.  We need to save our inventory file as a text file.  Save it as an Excel file (.xls) first.  Then open Save As and find Tab Delimited Text (.txt).  That's the option we want.  If you have Comma Separated Values (.csv) format available, pick that.  Amazon doesn't really care either way, it's just a text monster, eating all text presented to it.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.27.58 AM

Upload Your File

Get back to the Add Products via Upload page in Seller Central.  Start going through the drop down menus.  The page will change as you do this.

upload1

Pick Inventory Loader File if you followed my example.  If you used one of the other templates, pick the appropriate one from the drop down.

upload3

Set your shipping information if asked.  Choose the file you want to upload (the text file we created using a spreadsheet).  When you have picked it, the name will appear on the page.  Hit Upload now and wait for the file to upload.  It shouldn't take long.

finisvoiladone

After a few minutes, maybe longer depending on the size of your file, you will get an update on your inventory status.  Your status may say "In Progress" if the Amazon server is still chewing up your text.  When it's "Done," the results will be provided.  In this example I uploaded 156 skus, 156 skis were activated, and I made no errors in my file.  If you make an error in your file, you have to click on View Processing Report to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.  Amazon provides error codes and tells you where to look in your file for the error.  It's not always obvious.

I recommend starting small with this method.  Try putting 5 items in to your spreadsheet, creating the text file, and going through the upload process to get your feet wet.  When you feel comfortable with the process, start ramping up your files to include all of the inventory in your batch.  This is merely an introduction to what can be done with Amazon's bulk uploading process.  Pictures, bullet points, and other descriptive flourishes can be added to your listings if you are willing to put in the time to learn the ins and outs of the various inventory loader files.  Personally, I keep it simple and list all of my media this way.  If an item requires more description to sell it, it probably belongs in another marketplace.

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A Veteran Bookseller’s Review of Profit Bandit for iPhone

Profit Bandit - Try Free for 7 Days!

What is Profit Bandit?

For the uninitiated, Profit Bandit is an app for iOS and Android devices designed for Amazon Third-Party Sellers.  Turning your smartphone eye into a barcode scanner, Profit Bandit retrieves selling data from Amazon servers and returns it to your phone in an appealing presentation.  The amount of data shown on screen after a single scan would take several clicks and screen views to generate using Amazon's own app or website.  That's time.  As the old adage goes, time is money.  The less time you spend on buying decisions means more money in your pocket.  Profit Bandit for iPhone improved my buying decision making process.

Features of Profit Bandit

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Profit Bandit dumps data on your screen.  Being mostly text, Profit Bandit uses disproportionately little cellular data to transmit the data dump to your phone.  The Profit Bandit layout presents the data in a colorful, interactive interface packed with features.  The obvious information of interest to a reseller is the current selling prices, and Profit Bandit delivers those data points broken down by categorization (FBA, New, Used, Collectible) and condition (Acceptable, Good, Very Good, Like New) all on one screen.

Sales Rank

My favorite datum, the one I most desired when looking for items to resell on Amazon, is Sales Rank.  Sales Rank is an indicator of how well an item sells on Amazon.  Though subject to daily, even hourly fluctuation, Sales Rank remains the most important metric for an Amazon reseller to gauge turnover.  If an item has a very low Sales Rank, it will sell quickly; conversely, a high Sales Rank means an item will probably sit in your inventory longer.  The current selling price tells an incomplete story about the future of the item in your hands.  Knowing the demand for the item can finish the purchasing decision for you.  I have passed on items with high selling prices because of high Sales Rank.  I have purchased items with little profit because of low Sales Rank, knowing that they would provide a small, short return on my money.  There's no such thing as a sure thing, but Sales Rank points to the probability of a sure thing.

Profit Calculator

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Accustomed to mental math, I ignored this feature for a few weeks before discovering its power.  Input a few settings on the back end of the app, type in your purchase price, and Profit Bandit calculates your potential profit on an item.  Being a veteran seller, I have my own algorithm for divining the profit on an item and thought the inclusion of this feature was trivial.  One day while scanning a book, I made an errant click, and the calculation at the bottom of the screen changed.  How did that happen?  I didn't change the purchase price and my profit increased?  I discovered that clicking on any price in the information field will change the calculation.  Think your item is in Very Good condition?  Click on the Very Good item for sale and see how it changes your profit.  Got a collectible?  Click in that column and watch your numbers change.  It's a nice feature that I cast aside for too long.  See the two pictures above for reference.  In the first (scroll up a bit!), I selected a VG (Very Good) copy for sale at $105.79, giving me a profit of $83.91.  In the second, I picked a LN (Like New) copy for sale at $121.76, delivering a $97.49 profit on my $1.50 investment.  Tap on the Profit in the lower right hand corner, and Profit Bandit will show you a detailed breakdown on the gross and net proceeds of your potential acquisition as shown below.

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Sell It

Want to sell your item while you're on the go?  Click on the Sell It button in the Profit Bandit app and start filling out the fields to list your item.  It might sell by the time you get home.  Reference that profit calculation made earlier and maximize the potential earnings from your item.

History

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Like your favorite web browser, Profit Bandit remembers the things it sees and compiles a History.  Want to see what you scanned that day?  Read through your History.  When I scrolled through mine, I was surprised to see how many items I had scanned in a day.  When I looked through a bag of my purchases and thought, "Why did I buy this thing?", I referenced my History and remembered why: great resale price, low Sales Rank, high profit!  Like that favorite browser of yours, you can clear Profit Bandit's History whenever you like.  If so inclined, you can even email a spreadsheet (CSV) of your History to yourself.  Information is power, and Profit Bandit gives you plenty of information for your education.

Special Functions

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This hidden feature allows you to search other marketplaces for the item of interest.  Tap on the name of the item and a dropdown menu appears containing links to search for an item on CamelCamelCamel, Google Products, eBay, PriceWatch, PriceGrabber, BookFinder, or PaperBackSwap.  I like to give certain items a quick cross reference on eBay without firing up the official eBay app.  That eBay link also saves you the time of typing the title of your search into eBay.  However, it does not get into specifics like Sold or Completed Listings that are often the true metric of the eBay marketplace.  Another great reference is CamelCamelCamel, which shows historical price data for the item on Amazon.  Integration with BookScouter would be a welcome function in the menu.  Of course, there is an official BookScouter app that you should have on your iPhone if you prefer to wholesale your finds instead of retailing them yourself.

Settings

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Customize Profit Bandit to reflect your situation.  Live in a foreign country?  No problem!  Set Profit Bandit for Amazon's United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, or Italy sites.  Do you fulfill the item yourself?  No problem.  Use FBA?  There's a button for that!  Want it to vibrate at certain profit or Sales Rank thresholds?  Sure.  Change your calculation to account for Sales Tax, FBA fees, Postage, and more.  Got a bluetooth scanner?  Integrate it if you like, but it will cost you a one-time fee of $49.  Configure Profit Bandit to meet your needs.

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Scanner

Profit Bandit uses a built-in scanner app called ZBar that turns your smartphone camera into a barcode scanner.  Scan UPC, ISBN, or QR codes and Profit Bandit returns the information.  Used to using the popular Pic2Shop scanning app?  Set Profit Bandit to use Pic2Shop under Settings and continue enjoying the Pic2Shop experience.  I like the ZBar scanner.  It finds the barcode and boxes it in before snapping the shot and returning to the Profit Bandit interface.  The barcode can be anywhere in the visual field and does not need to be aligned to a horizontal red line across the screen.  Occasionally, I shake my phone or the object to bring it into focus.  Once in awhile, the scanner fails me, and I resort to typing information into the search bar at the top of the app.  If I type in the ISBN or UPC exactly, Profit Bandit returns the correct item.  If I type in the title or a few keywords, Profit Bandit generates a list of potential hits that must be scrolled through and selected from before arriving at the correct item.

The Cons of Profit Bandit

Above are 1,100 words about how much I like Profit Bandit.  Surely, I must have a few criticisms of the app.  Having used it for a few weeks, a few irks and quirks jumped out at me.

  1. The manual search could be improved.  When I type in a title or a few keywords about an item, the app returns a laundry list of possible items related to my search.  It would be nice to be able to narrow this down by category (Books, DVDs, etc.) and streamline my buying process.  Perhaps this feature exists and I am frustratingly free of this knowledge.
  2. Sometimes I have to rescan an item.  For whatever reason, the app convinces me that it sees what I see and closes the scanner but returns to the last page I saw, not registering a successful scan.  I press the Scan button again, rescan the item and get the expected data on my second try.  
  3. Occasionally, Profit Bandit is uncommunicative with Amazon servers.  Perhaps the service is overloaded, maybe a squirrel chewed through the server's power cord.  I don't know, but it frustrates me, and I know that my cellular connection is good because other apps function seamlessly in the interim.  The outages have been brief, but, like the rescanning bug, time lost is money lost.
  4. It's not free.  You read through all of this, skimmed it, and arrived at a price tag.  Profit Bandit will cost you $14.99 at the App Store or iTunes or whatever they call it these days.  Being exquisite gentlemen, the lads at SellerEngine responsible for developing Profit Bandit offer a 7-day Money Back Guarantee on your purchase.  That's pretty good.  That's almost free.  

How is that almost free?  On your first trip out, I can practically guarantee you that you will earn that $14.99 fee back.  If you have been at the reselling game for any period of time, you know how to turn $1 into $5, or $10 or $20 or $50 or $100 or more.  For $15 (don't be fooled by that $14.99), you will be working faster and smarter than you were before.  Data driven decisions are better decisions.  Trust your gut, but verify.  That's what I do.  Having been in the game for longer than I care to admit, I know the ballpark value of most things I pick up.  Knowing today's fair market value and the relative demand for the item empowers my decision making process. Try Profit Bandit and see what it does for your process and your profit.      

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How to Check Your Pending Orders in Amazon Seller Central

I compulsively check my Pending Orders in Amazon Seller Central.  A Pending Order is an order placed by a customer that has yet to be paid in full (Merchant fulfilled) or shipped (Amazon fulfilled).  There are a number of reasons why an order may be stuck in the Pending limbo, and you can read up on them over at Amazon's Order Timeline.  Generally, it boils down to whether the item is fulfilled by the merchant or by Amazon.  After an order is placed and payment is verified, there is a 30-45 minute wait before the merchant fulfilled order is escalated from Pending to Unshipped.  The merchant will receive a "Sold, Ship Now" email from Amazon when the payment and waiting window is completed.  For Amazon fulfilled orders, an item will remain Pending until it is shipped out.  This could happen immediately or indefinitely.   Amazon does provide an Expected Ship Date for FBA orders.

expected

So, how can one check Pending Orders?  Just change a few settings on your Manage Orders page.

unmarkedorders

 

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The Importance of Checking Pending Orders

I recently sent in a shipment of books to the FBA warehouse.  As soon as Amazon processes my shipment, I see my Manage Orders page populated with Pending Orders.  Great!  It's nice to see that this whole arrangement works.  Something about one of the Pending Orders caught my eye, and I clicked on it.  It revealed that the item was selling for $4.00, but it was supposed to be selling for $44.00!  I quickly called Seller Help and had them cancel the Pending Order.  I explained that I must have dropped a digit when I entered the price into my Excel spreadsheet.  They were able to cancel the order before it shipped, preventing a loss of $30+ in profit.  Of course, that also benefited Amazon, because 15% of $44.00 is much better than 15% of $4.00.  Had the item shipped at the $4.00 price point, I would have lost about $7 on the transaction when I figured in the cost of the item.

If that same item had been Merchant fulfilled, I could have canceled the order and correctly priced my inventory.  However, canceled orders are one of the metrics that determine your Account Health and viability as a third-party merchant on Amazon.  If you cancel too many orders, your selling privileges may be revoked.

Time to hit refresh on my Manage Orders page!

How To Remove Price Tags and Stickers from Books, Records, and Everything Else with Bestine!

I buy a lot of books from thrift stores.  I truly love the stores that charge a flat fee for their books and do not feel the need to place a color sticker or price tag on every single book.  Other stores tag their books with stickers, leaving me the chore of sticker removal and adhesive cleanup.  Removing stickers used to consume a significant portion of my time.  Thanks to my best friend Bestine, the task is quick and painless.

IMG_3093

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Formulated for thinning rubber cement, Bestine is also a most versatile cleaner. Bestine readily cleans up inks, spray adhesive and is an exceptional parts cleaner. Over the years, professionals have used Bestine for removing both decals and labels from all types of surfaces...

Features

  • Great for thinning and reducing rubber cement
  • Adhesive removing
  • Fast Drying

What is Bestine?  Bestine is an organic solvent.  It's gasoline's little sister.  Bestine is made of heptane, which is one carbon and two hydrogen atoms shy of being octane, the chemical you pump into your gas tank to get you to the thrift store.  It has a slight odor, but nothing like gasoline.  Gasoline is a blend of many petrochemicals, several of which give gasoline its immediately identifiable smell.  Heptane (Bestine) has a faint odor that dissipates quickly.  Use Bestine in a well-ventilated area free of any potential ignition sources.

Solvent Safety

 

IMG_3092

This is the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Bestine.  Exercise caution when you are using Bestine.  Work safely with small amounts.  I recommend picking up a pair of chemically resistant gloves and an eyedropper to limit your exposure to the solvent.  When I first started using Bestine, I used a shred of paper towel and my bare hands to apply the solvent to the labels.  This worked fine, but I ended up with smelly hands at the end of a long work day and a wad of potentially flammable paper in my garbage can.  I came to my sense and realized that a little Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) would be a good idea.  I use an old paring knife to lift the edge of the sticker and aid in complete removal of the sticker and any remaining adhesive.  You want a tool with a good handle and a blade that is somewhere between dull and sharp.  Too sharp a blade could damage the book, too dull could require more effort.

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List Price: $8.99
Sale Price: $3.55
  Eligible for free shipping!
16 new from $3.55

Description

(1) 100 transfer pipettes (2) Volume: 3 ml. (3) Graduation: 0.5 ml (4) Bulk packaging, 100 per box (5) Nonsterile

Features

  • 100 transfer pipettes
  • Volume: 3 ml.
  • Graduation: 0.5 ml
  • Bulk packaging, 100 per box
  • Nonsterile

The Sticker Removal Process

Removing price tags with Bestine is quick and easy!  I used to use hair dryers, high pressure elbow grease with a razor blade, rubbing alcohol, and even rubber cement to remove stickers before I found Bestine.  I tried Goo-Gone and a few other adhesive removers, but none did the job as well as Bestine.  It's my go-to, and I remove a lot of stickers, so trust me when I tell you that it will change your life!  I spend about 15 seconds on routine sticker jobs.

1.  Find the offending book.

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What's the purpose of that sticker?  A stupid 11 that probably translates into November.  Is that really necessary, thrift store?  No, it's not.  Do you even consider the feelings of the regular customer who wants to buy a book for pleasure?  These stickers are not formulated for easy removal.  These nuisances used to boil my blood until I met Bestine.  This book does not have a very high resale value, but it was in great condition and I can eke out a small profit on it when it sells.  Grist for the mill.

2.  Apply Bestine

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It's very difficult to take pictures of the application process without a tripod and a timer, so please use your imagination to make pictures in your mind when I tell you that I dipped my pipette into the solvent reservoir, withdrew a small amount, and expelled an amount small enough to totally cover the price sticker.  Look closely at the tag.  You can see the paper change color as it absorbs the solvent.  You may have noticed my frequent use of the word "solvent."  A solvent dissolves a solute.  Our solute, in the case of price tags, is the adhesive gluing the paper tag to the cover of our book.  As the solvent works its way into the paper tag, it finds the adhesive molecules underneath the tag and renders them useless, imprisoning them in a layer of similarly polarized molecules in the solvent.  The solvent needs to be present in excess to capture all of the solute.  You're bored.  I used to teach Chemistry for a living and I currently work in a research lab.  Forgive the slight nerd-out.  What's next?

3.  Lift the edge of the sticker, then gently scrape at any remaining adhesive residue

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Again, difficult to photograph the entire process with only two hands.  Use that imagination like Mr. Rogers taught you.  I lift the edge of the sticker with the paring knife, remove the sticker, and gently scrape at any remaining residue with a light touch.  If a great deal of residue remains, I hit it with another dropperful of solvent and use my paper towel to wipe away the excess.  Bestine readily evaporates at room temperature.  Do not be surprised when you apply some and it vanishes.  It did its work and left.

4.  Finished

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Is there anything more satisfying than a job well done?  That book is extra clean!  For bonus points, take a little isopropyl alcohol and give that jacket a rub down.  It's great at removing dust and dirt from dust jackets.  Because I did such a great job removing the price sticker and cleaning the book, I think I will grade it Very Good and use Fulfillment By Amazon to complete the sale at a slightly higher price than my competition.

Swan Isopropyl Alcohol, 99%, Pint, 16 OZ Swan Isopropyl Alcohol, 99%, Pint, 16 OZ
List Price: $7.00
Sale Price: $3.07
  Eligible for free shipping!
11 new from $3.07

Description

Isopropyl alcohol, 99%, 16 ounce. When fighting infection isopropyl is highly recommended. For external use only. Active ingredient: isopropyl alcohol 99% by volume.

Features

  • When fighting infection isopropyl is highly recommended
  • For external use only
  • Active ingredient: isopropyl alcohol 99% by volume

What, you want more proof?  Here are some more pictures of Bestine at work!

In the title of the post, I said something about records.  Yes, you can safely use Bestine to remove price stickers from vinyl record jackets.  Same rules and procedures apply.  Use Bestine on virtually anything to remove stubborn stickers.  Amazon sells the quart container at a very reasonable price.  If you want to try a smaller bottle, visit your local hobby or craft store and you should be able to find a pint sized bottle for about $6.  Seriously, they could repackage this beauty into a little Billy Mays style infomercial.

FEEL THE POWER OF BESTINE!

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Bestine  Solvent and Thinner, 1-Quart Bestine Solvent and Thinner, 1-Quart
List Price: $16.45
Sale Price: $12.84
  Eligible for free shipping!
17 new from $12.84

Description

Formulated for thinning rubber cement, Bestine is also a most versatile cleaner. Bestine readily cleans up inks, spray adhesive and is an exceptional parts cleaner. Over the years, professionals have used Bestine for removing both decals and labels from all types of surfaces...

Features

  • Great for thinning and reducing rubber cement
  • Adhesive removing
  • Fast Drying