A couple of days ago I passed the 400 sales milestone in my Etsy shop!
Half of these sales have come in the last couple of months with a particularly memorable sale on the 27th December when a lady in Singapore purchased 20 prints for $182 in a single transaction! (these particular prints are from a book that was published in 1981 that contains 65 equally popular illustrations, I paid $7.37 for the whole book (including shipping to my door) I sell the individual pages for $9.14 EACH)
Currently my shop is stocked with 136 prints taken from just 4 books that cost a total of $19.79 (NO, this isn’t a typo – LESS than TWENTY BUCKS for ALL 4 books INCLUSIVE of shipping to my door!)
Remember, this isn’t complicated stuff – I simply research popular images (based on past sales), buy books containing similar images, remove the pages and list them for sale – it really is this easy to have your own lucrative and fun Etsy business!
I Want To Help You!
I want to help as many people as possible to change their lives with their own online business so I propose to dedicate this post to your questions about any aspect of selling on Etsy
If you want to take the plunge but there is something holding you back this is your opportunity to ask your question – so don’t be shy – simply click the link at the top of this page to leave a comment and I will answer it!
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Congratulations on your continued success, and more in the future. I am really tempted to pursue your Etsy Profit Machine course; I’ve been waffling with this image thing for quite a while but I’m ready to make a move. First, however, just to clarify in my own mind about copyright. For example, I already own a large book of Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh, last publishing date inside the cover is 1997. The book has some really nice plates inside it suitable for framing in a baby’s/child’s room. Would I be able to remove those, scan them for the listing, and list the actual plate for sale on Etsy without copyright issues? I believe, based on other comments above, that I can but I just want to make sure.
Yes, I believe you can do so without any copyright issues – as previously discussed, I have been doing exactly this very profitably for over a decade.
I just did a search on Etsy for “Winnie the Pooh art print” and there are 1778 items currently listed and many of these are pages taken from books.
There is just one thing to bear (pardon the pun!) in mind and that is Etsy’s definition of ‘vintage’ which is 20 years or more old – your book was published in 1997.
Christine Holroyd says
You sure know your stuff! Great sales there.
I’m somewhat confused and must be missing something. Not difficult at 4.30 AM!
Why do you scan prints if you are only able to sell one print due to the First Sale Doctrine?
Yeah, Christine – you should be sleeping at 4.30 am!
I scan my prints so that I have a nice sharp, bright image to upload for my listings
Bob White says
Wow! What a lot of good questions and tremendous answers! What a lot can be learned from such a conversation.
Thanks again Stuart
Charmain OConnor says
Was there an upgrade link when I downloaded the Etsy Profit Machine book and bonus?
I must have missed it if there was one, was it for the Platinum upgrade that I see mentioned? What is included in the upgrade? I’m interested in the Prints Make Profits video series, but I don’t want to duplicate. Thanks!
There is an upgrade offer made when you purchase Your Etsy Profit Machine!
For an additional $9.97 you get an expanded main ebook (extra 40 pages) covering Pinterest and Twitter marketing techniques plus an exclusive extra bonus ebook.
Please drop me an email if you want to upgrade:- email@example.com
The Prints Make Profits member site and videos are a completely separate product available here:- http://printsmakeprofits.com/
Sherri R. says
Oops… I see that I did upgrade to Platinum, so please disregard that question in my previous post.
Sherri R. says
I purchased your materials a couple months ago and found the training to be enlightening and well done. (I already sell vintage collectibles on EBay).
I then did a lot of research, as you suggested, and bought some great books at great prices after being patient in my search. I now have a LOT of wonderful pages and book plates to list. I also bought a good refurbished scanner at a great price, so now I am creating a workspace to set up and get going. Thank you so much for sharing such helpful info and also for being accessible after the purchase of your materials!
I am not sure if I got Platinum upgrade or not, how might I check on that?
Many thanks for your kind feedback, Sherri!
I checked my records and can confirm you did indeed buy the Platinum upgrade.
I have emailed you the download page link.
I don’t remember seeing the upgrade for Pinterest. I thought I’d bought everything you sell. Where is the upgrade?
The Pinterest chapters are in the Platinum section of Your Etsy Profit Machine!
I read one of your comments and it may have given me an idea for something I pondered for awhile.
The comment was “I don’t sell copies, I sell pages taken from books I own and my right to do so is protected by the First Sale Doctrine:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine
I have been making very nice profits doing this exact business model for the last decade and I have never had a problem with copyright law.
Copying copyright protected art for the purpose of selling the copies is, of course illegal.”
So is it right that if I take a page with art work or photograph from a recent book, say up to 2000. Can I sell the page as is, not copying it? However can I use the said same page to make another product with it?
I’d hate to infringe copyright laws, that is way I love Public Domain.
There are 2 important points to consider here, Kevin – you can sell a page taken from a book published in 2000 but not on Etsy under the vintage category (must be 20 plus years old)
Creating a new product from a copyright protected product can be a breach of copyright.
Kevin and Stuart (and everyone else here) – Please be careful when dealing with images from books still in the public domain! I got in trouble selling images from a book on eBay because the artist was part of the VERO program and flagged my listings as violation of copyright infringement. It is a slippery slope when dealing with works still in the public domain. My advice, based on what happened to me, is that you DO NOT sell images from a book that is still under copyright. We may argue what the First Sale doctrine is and is not, but if you get caught, you will be forced to take down those images. It is not worth it, IMHO.
Sorry for the confusion, but what I meant to say is to be careful of selling original images from books still under copyright protection. I misused the term “public domain” in my earlier comment.
It’s not a slippery slope at all, Serena. It is not illegal to sell original pictures that you own, and it is not copyright infringement. And if you don’t think it’s worth it, you better not sell anything at all on ebay because doing so opens you up to bogus VERO claims like the one that has already happened to you.
To clarify, I got in trouble selling the ORIGINAL images from a book that I had purchased, NOT copies.
How do you know when a particular method of printing has been used, e.g. lithographic? Also,out of curiosity, do you sell more matted or unmatted prints?
Thanks for your question, Lynn!
I am selling pages from modern books which tend to be printed using offset lithography.
I have had a mix of matted and un-matted prints in my shop for the last year and have found that un-matted are the better sellers.
With this in mind I have decided to focus on un-matted prints which will considerably reduce my up front costs and save a lot of time in fulfilment.
What a splendid idea. Of course you can resell your books – one time. So, I am taken with this idea, and all product sales thus are one time. Once you sell your etsy book/prints, you are not able to re-list and resell, correct?
Your course then, I take it, has more than one idea on selling etsy items?
thank you & blessings, Karen
What I do, Karen is buy additional copies of the source books so that I can relist as soon as I make a sale.
Your Etsy Profit Machine! includes lots of ideas for items you can sell on Etsy in addition to book illustrations.
congratulations on that awesome sale of 20 prints… Well desired !
I wondering a couple of points on Etsy… If I be selling Download prints, and prints on DVD from Public Domain (Not in copyright ) I sold prints from books like you would I need to open 2 stores?
Would there be anything wrong from PD prints?
Also does a store name need to tie in to your product? Because I see a lots of shops that have a totally different name then what they are selling…
Thanks again for all your help and staying in touch with us…
I think it is best to use 2 different shops to sell original prints and downloads/copies. Mixing these items will confuse potential buyers and confused shoppers don’t buy.
There is nothing wrong with selling PD prints – lots of sellers do it very successfully – so long as your buyers know what they are buying it is a great business model.
A good store name should be memorable and convey the theme of your shop.
Thanks for your help it puts my mind at rest…
Now to start working on the shops.
Christopher Nantais says
Hi, Stuart, Great info, your a Genius. I’m in the process of taking pictures of my Book Plate Prints(I have 51 prints). What’s a good number of prints to start a store on Etsy?
How do you mail the unmated prints? In your course, you show how to mail matted prints not unmated ones.
Keep up the good work
Thanks for your question, Christopher!
I started my Etsy shop with just 20 prints and made my first sale within a week. I have found that you get increased traffic whenever you list so my advice is to list little and often – in other words don’t wait till you have a couple of hundred items to list.
I mail my un-matted prints protected in self seal cellophane bags placed inside rigid (cardboard backed) envelopes – exactly the same method I use for matted prints.
Karen Young says
Congrats on your great success with Etsy! I purchased your course and upgrade and it is packed with great info! I was also considering purchasing Prints make Profit because it contains videos(the one on taking a book apart without damage being the one I’m most interested in) but would the info be redundant, also the bonus with that product was something I already received with the upgrade on Etsy Profit Machine. Thanks.
Thanks for your question, Karen!
The Prints Make Profits membership site was updated in May 2014 and the videos are all bang up to date.
For a one off payment of just $19.97 you get to learn the whole business model with easy to follow, step by step videos – you will make your investment back with your first couple of sales (email me if you don’t and I’ll refund your money)
John Corbett says
Hi Stuart, I’m still on the fence as to what to try to sell on Etsy. I wanted to open a shop to sell off some of my large vintage record collection but the whole listing process is burdensome (at least compared to eBay and AZ) But the reason I ask this question here is that I am also interested in the prints business but it seems there is just a ton of competition in this market. How big is this market? Hit me with some words of encouragement. 🙂 I am only halfway or so through the ebook so maybe most of my questions and concerns will be answered with that. Thanks for the great blog post.
Thanks for your contribution to the conversation, John
I can’t put a figure on the size of the market for printed art but it is vast simply because there is an infinite variety of subject matter out there.
I’m never put off by competition – there are lots of other sellers selling identical items to mine (many of them having read my guides) but that hasn’t stopped me making a very satisfactory level of sales.
Competition proves there are buyers, it is the niches with no other sellers that I’m wary of.
Success is all about differentiating yourself from the competition and doing a better job – from the quality of your images and your marketing efforts to the speed and reliability of your fulfillment service.
Notice I didn’t mention price – making sales is not about selling your items at the lowest price – particularly on Etsy.
I must say I don’t find the listing process burdensome at all. If you are selling lots of similar items (vintage records or art prints etc.) then you can create a ‘master’ listing which can then be copied for each new listing with just a small tweak required to the title and image – most of the detail will stay unchanged.
Once I have scanned all of the prints from one particular book and written the title and description I find it only takes a couple of minutes to list each individual item.
Steven Spiller says
Congrats on the milestone! I bought your original course a while ago and found it to be both easy to understand and great information. Although I have not had the success you have had so far (mainly because I have neglected the upkeep of my shop) I have made many times the initial investment back – paid £15 for three books, have sold £110 of prints.
Do you do any form or marketing? I picked up a Pinterest course recently as that seems to tie in nicely with Etsy. Going to start with that then see where it goes!
Thanks for your congrats and question, Fred!
I use Etsy’s Promoted Listings for onsite advertising as discussed here:- https://stuart-turnbull.com/tutorials-2/how-to-boost-your-etsy-sales-with-promoted-listings/
Using Pinterest to market your shop is covered in the Platinum upgrade of Your Etsy Profit Machine!
Happy New Year mate. Congratulations on your success on Etsy. Looks like the way to go. Great profits mate, nice one. Must look into it.
Happy New Year to you too, Donald!
Thanks for your congrats!
Can you tell us exactly how you remove the pages from the book and how do you scan a page that is too big for the scanner or do you photograph them.
Thanks in advance.
Most of the books I buy are bound by fine cords holding groups of pages together – if you look at the end of the spine, you’ll see these page groups.
Simply find the middle of the group, open the book out flat and snip the cords with a sharp craft knife – the pages will then lift out.
I use a guillotine to separate the 2 pages and tidy up any rough edges.
This method is demonstrated in video in the Prints Make Profits member’s area (as is the rest of the business model):- http://printsmakeprofits.com/
I use a Kodak ESP C110 scanner/copier/printer to scan my prints (set at 300 dpi) and find that this is big enough for my needs.
Try a local print shop for one off scanning of large items.
Thanks Stuart, you are on top of your game with the quick reply.
Peter Evans says
This is almost criminal. Who would have thought?
I can’t imagine what made you think of this as a potential business. Well done.
Thanks for your comment, Pete!
You are right, the profit margins I achieve are insane!
I have been toying with the etsy thing since your first email and I cannot get past the copyright on these plates, mainly if you copy them and sell as limited edition photo copies or as images, can you clarify the copyright laws on this.
There is no issue with copyright law doing what I do.
I don’t sell copies, I sell pages taken from books I own and my right to do so is protected by the First Sale Doctrine:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine
I have been making very nice profits doing this exact business model for the last decade and I have never had a problem with copyright law.
Copying copyright protected art for the purpose of selling the copies is, of course illegal.
Are you promoting your shop in Etsy for prominence?
Are you tagging your pictures?
Are you following others to bring your shop to notice?
Are you favouriting many other shops?
Thanks for your question, Ronnie!
The main promotional activity I do is using Etsy’s Promoted Listings as discussed in this post:-https://stuart-turnbull.com/tutorials-2/how-to-boost-your-etsy-sales-with-promoted-listings/
Periodically I go through the people following my shop and I follow them back if they have a large number of followers (100’s)
I don’t favourite other shops (or items)
I’m not sure what you mean by tagging my pictures?