Ponca City, We Love You writes: "In a good example of how advancing technology, the internet, and informationally efficient markets can work together to create new niche opportunities for entrepreneurs, Michael Savitz writes how, armed with an a laser bar-code scanner fitted to a Dell PDA, he makes a living spending 80 hours per week haunting thrift stores and library book sales to scan hundreds of used books a day and instantly identify those that will get a good price on Amazon Marketplace. "My PDA shows the range of prices that other Amazon sellers are asking for the book in question," writes Savitz. "Those listings offer me guidance on what price to set when I post the book myself and how much I'm likely to earn when the sale goes through." Savitz writes that on average, only one book in 30 will have a resale value that makes it a "BUY" but that he goes through enough books to average about 30 books sold per day and earn about $1,000 a week in profit. "If I can tell from a book's Amazon sales rank that I'll be able to sell it in one day, I might accept a projected profit of as little as a dollar. The more difficult a book will be to sell, the more money the sale needs to promise." Savitz writes that people scanning books sometimes get kicked out of thrift stores and retail shops and that libraries are beginning to advertise that no electronic devices are allowed at their sales. "If it's possible to make a decent living selling books online, then why does it feel so shameful to do this work?" concludes Savitz. "The bibliophile bookseller, and the various other species of pickers and flippers of secondhand merchandise, would never be reproached like this and could never be made to feel bad in this way.""
Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity?
And where does it go after it leaves the toaster?
-- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"