The Art of Flipping (Books?)

I’m in the process of looking to buy my first house (exciting and terrifying, I know!). One thing I’ve noticed is listings for houses on sale tend to use the same key phrases: spacious rooms, great light, charming, near x, y, z freeway, close to shopping, etc.

However, even though on paper a house may sound perfect, in person they can be completely different. In the past few weeks, I’ve seen houses that should be condemned, houses with add-ons just slapped on that actually make it less livable (but somehow more expensive), and houses that failed to mention the neighbors could easily see inside your bathroom. Yikes.

The same goes for domains and websites. Recently I learned about Flippa, a platform where you can buy and sell websites, domains, and apps. There are probably a lot of similar sites to Flippa, but I do like its interface. And I’m considering using the site.

Browsing through the websites for sale, I noticed a similar pattern. A few key phrases seem to pop up in most descriptions, such as professionally designed, 100% autopilot, done for you, etc. But a quick check of the url will show it’s not always the case. One of the websites I saw for sale claimed to make a few hundred a month, passive income, with a few Kindle books. When I clicked on the url, I saw a basic WordPress site, with only the original post, “Hello World!”

This got me thinking about ebooks. I wonder if anyone out there flips ebooks? I know there are ghostwriters, but that’s not the same. Ghostwriters are paid up front to complete a work. I remember seeing somewhere once a ghostwriter who also sold her own ebooks, and then she put one of those ebooks up for sale. I believe her offer mentioned it was doing okay but she didn’t have enough time to market it (which is similar to many of the sites on Flippa), and once she sold it she would take it off the market and let the buyer change the cover and author name.

That’s similar to flipping, but I’m curious if there are writers out there who flip books for a living. I’m talking about using a pen name, putting the book up for sale long enough to get some statistics, like an average revenue per month/average number of sales per month, and maybe even building a small platform. Basically like Flippa, where sites show their Google page rank, Alexa rank, revenue per month, and even social media sites, but for books.

So, for example, there’s a book called “Best Selling Book.” A writer publishes it under a pen name, makes like $60/month regularly, and maybe has a small following of a few hundred people on Twitter and Facebook. If they made their living from flipping, they get bidders to buy the book and the social media handles/pages, and then turn over the pen name to the winner. Their ad could say something like, no work required! 100% autopilot, just spend a few minutes a day marketing.

I’m not saying it’s the best plan, but it might be an interesting concept. I could see flipping books being a lot of work, but then again some of the sellers on Flippa build, maintain, and sell hundreds of websites for a living, so I guess it could be possible.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “The Art of Flipping (Books?)

  1. Intriguing idea Sabrina, I think you’re onto something!

    It reminds me of when I’ve been tricked while buying kids books (without looking closely) and I’ll see the cat in the hat emblem on the book and think it’s a Dr Suess story, instead the author must just have paid for the right to put the CitH image on the book… well, it certainly worked for my purchase decision! Similarly, a well known author could make lots of money flipping other’s work… at least until they lose credibility.

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