How to Sell Books on Amazon

posted on 20/Fri/03/2020 08:55
Why Sell Books on Amazon?
How to Sell Books on Amazon
Sourcing Books to Sell on Amazon
3 Steps to Listing Your Books to Sell on Amazon

Amazon is, by far, the most successful company that the world has ever seen. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has built a service that is an integral part of the world’s supply chain. He’s the richest man alive because of his unrelenting success. He’s so successful that he made his ex-wife the richest woman in the world simply by giving her money in the divorce preceding’s. It’s an unprecedented amount of success.

So, how did he do it? A little known fact about Amazon is that it started as a website that sold books. Amazon originally branded itself as the world’s biggest library and bookstore because it carried so many books. This book-selling version of Amazon was highly successful. They netted more than $158 million in profits after only their third year of operation.

Of course, the Amazon we know today is an entirely different beast. You’ll find that they sell anything from fully-built houses to common household tools, to fresh groceries delivered to your doorstep. After their initial success with selling books, Amazon expanded its reach to provide more for consumers.

While Amazon has changed, selling books on Amazon is still as profitable as ever.

Why Sell Books on Amazon?

amazon sell back books

Selling books on Amazon is relatively easy and has the potential to be highly profitable. You’ll need at least a small initial investment to cover the costs of your supply, but you can quickly recoup the money you’ve spent.

Many Amazon sellers have reported making thousands of dollars per month as they sell various genres and types of books on Amazon.

You can do all of this from the comfort of your home office as well, making this an excellent option for those who already have a full-time job or want the pleasure of working in the comfort of their own house.

While there are many benefits to selling books on Amazon, it does come with the cost of time and effort on your end. You’ll need to dedicate quite a bit of time to set up your new hustle and begin to see significant returns.

How to Sell Books on Amazon

Wondering how to sell used books on Amazon? Selling books on Amazon is a relatively easy process. However, you’ll need to figure out several things before you jump in. Here are the things you’ll need to consider before you’re able to sell books on Amazon:

  • How you’re going to source your books
  • Your fulfillment method
  • The type of seller you want to be

Once you’ve considered these things, you’ll almost be off to the races. You’ll then need to simply list your books online and start selling.

Fulfillment Methods

You have two methods to choose from to fulfill your orders on Amazon: fulfillment by merchant (FBM) and fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).

The FBA method uses Amazon to make the sale happen. They’ll deal with the entire shipment process. This includes picking the item, packaging it, and then shipping it on behalf. With this type of method, you’ll never have to touch the items you’re selling.

The FBA method also allows you to skip the often frustrating process of dealing with storage facilities, shipping, and handling expenses that you normally would if you were to process the sale yourself.

Consider using the FBA method if you have a lot of orders to carry out but you’re not large enough to reduce your shipping costs significantly. Amazon will charge you a fee for utilizing this service, but it’ll likely save you more money in the long run. Once you’ve grown large enough to reduce shipping costs lower than the FBA fees, consider switching to the FBM method

The FBM method hands the fulfillment of the sale over to you, the merchant. Of course, the sale is still made by Amazon but you’ll be responsible for picking, packaging, and shipping the book off to its destination yourself. You’ll be able to pick the carrier of your choice. This method is only available to those who are responsible for storing their inventory.

The FBM method is ideal for those who are just starting or those who have a large enough operation that the shipping costs are lower than the FBA fees. If you’re just starting out and only have a few orders to fulfill, the FBM method is a lot easier to manage by yourself. Although, if you receive a sharp uptick in orders, consider the FBA method to reduce expenditures on storage and handling.

sell my books on amazon

What Type of Seller Should You Be?

When selling products on Amazon, you’ll have to identify yourself as either an individual seller or a professional seller . What you choose will depend on a few different factors.

Individual Sellers

Individual sellers are those who make a relatively low amount of sales per month. They may be hobbyists or those who are only selling products part-time. Typically, an individual seller will sell less than 40 products a month.

Choosing to be an individual seller is ideal if you’re only selling a few items per month or if you want to sell books on Amazon as a hobby.

Individual sellers are also charged a different fee than professional sellers. Individual sellers are required to pay $0.99 per item they ship. They’re taken out of the profits generated by the sale itself, so don’t worry about paying these fees in advance.

Professional sellers will be required to have a subscription and the cost of that can outweigh the standard shipment fee that individual sellers pay.

Professional Sellers

Professional sellers are typically defined as those who sell more than 40 products per month on Amazon. The standard of 40 products is used because a subscription to become a professional seller on Amazon costs $39.99.

Those who have purchased a subscription will have their shipment fees waived. So, if you’re selling under 40 products a month, subscribe to become a professional seller simply isn’t worth it.

Unlike the individual seller fees, the subscription will need to be purchased in advance. It can be deducted from a standard bank account or charged to a credit card that you have listed on file with Amazon.

Consider how many products you’re selling per month and then you’ll know which type of seller is right for you. If you’re hovering in the upper 30s for sales per month, it may be worth it to purchase a subscription in case you have a sharp uptick in sales for that month.

Sourcing Books to Sell on Amazon

If you’re wanting to sell books, you’re going to need a source of books to sell. Of course, you can simply sell some of the books you already have for a quick buck. However, it’s become a growing trend amongst entrepreneurs to source your inventory from several places at once to grow as a seller of books on Amazon.

Here are the various sources where you can find books to sell on Amazon.

Your Books

If you’ve got some old books lying around your house, fantastic! You’re off to a good start. Don’t forget about those textbooks you purchased for college and now have sitting around forever. They can sell for a pretty penny.

Using your books is a basic and easy way to begin selling books on Amazon. If you’re wanting to dip your toes into the whole process, try selling off some of your old books to get a feel for how the entire process works.

Free is Best

If you’ve been around the internet much, you know that there are a million different things that get thrown out every day.

Try checking Facebook swap n’ shop groups or Craigslist for listings on extremely cheap or downright free books that are being sold.

Even a beat-up, an old book can still net you a few dollars. Plus, it’s free. It’s profit waiting to be had, so make sure you’re getting after it.

Garage Sales

how do i sell used books on amazon

Garage sales are notorious for being hidden gems of valuable goods and products. You’ll often find dozens of books being sold in at one garage sale for only several dollars.

These are great opportunities to make the most out of an investment and grab books to sell. Even if they’re used, you’ll likely make at least some amount of profit off of the book.

Garage sales are incredibly popular throughout the Summer months as the weather tends to be nice. Use this time to stock up on books you’ve found and begin to store them. If you use your time with garage sales wisely, you’ll be able to stockpile a lot of books to have constant sales throughout the rest of the year.

Estate and Closing Sales

Any sale where the items are about to go to waste is going to be a great spot to look for books to sell. Moving sales can also fall into this category.

Not only will you find a great deal on the price of books, but there will likely be a large collection of books being sold at all once. While this can be a bit of a larger investment on your end, you’ll likely get a great price for the number of books you’re purchasing and will be able to net a nice profit in the long term.

It’s not uncommon to get books for pennies on the dollar when large enough collections are being sold off.

The Internet Provides For All

If you’re wanting to develop extra sources for books to sell, you don’t need to look any further than your computer screen in the comfort of your own home.

Various other websites throughout the internet specialize in selling books, used or new. You can also find some wholesale sites.

These aren’t the only options. Looking at other Amazon sellers can be an excellent way to flip some books. Amazon is used by thousands of people who are making money off the entire supply chain process. You’ll find some cheaper books being sold by other Amazon sellers. Take advantage of these prices and turn a profit without leaving the comfort of your home office.

Other websites similar to Amazon, such as eBay, may also be valuable resources to consider when looking at websites to purchase books from.

Book Sales

Book sales aren’t hard to find. From the local library to the downtown Barnes & Noble , book sales are going on all the time.

Sometimes you’ll find really good deals at these sales. Look for prices that are worth much more than they’re listed to make a large margin of profit on your purchase.

Be warned, book sales are incredibly popular places for other Amazon sellers to look for new material. Arrive as early as possible to these book sales to get the best deals before someone else can!

Wholesale and Bulk Purchases

Wholesale and bulk purchases are the best way to go for someone who wants to make selling books on Amazon seriously.

You can find wholesale and bulk purchases everywhere. This is especially true on websites such as eBay , Craigslist, and Facebook. You can find tons of books for pennies on the dollar.

However, these books will likely cost a fairly large amount because you’re buying so many. Expect to pay several thousand dollars for full-lot collections of books.

While it’s a lot of upfront cost, you’ll be turning a profit based on how cheap you’ve purchased each book for.

In these cases, it’s also extremely helpful to be an expert in books and trending topics and reads. Finding a great deal on a bulk purchase of books is fantastic, but it only does you any good if you can sell the books. Be wary of purchasing books that you’re not familiar with or that you can’t find well-reviewed online.

Books that are known to perform well are your best bets. People like to read what they know others like to read, so don’t wander too far off the beaten path in terms of authors and the content of the books you’re wanting to sell.

Genres of Books to Sell

how to sell my books on amazon

You should consider what types of books you want to sell on Amazon before you dive into any large investments. There are a few types of books that are known to produce good results. They are:

  • Current test prep books
  • Newer/good condition textbooks
  • Repair manuals
  • Medical books
  • Self Help
  • Business and money
  • New computer and technology books
  • Education and teaching

As you can, you’ll have a variety of books that you can purchase. These are all known to be genres of books that are known to perform well on Amazon.

Some of these books are seasonal. For example, textbooks will fly off the shelves before the start of the Fall and Spring semesters and may struggle during the actual school year. Because of this, textbooks should ideally be as current as possible. The textbook industry is known for producing editions every few years if not every year with their textbooks. This helps them churn a profit but will make your old edition books less valuable.

While these are known to perform well, there are categories of books that may be hit and miss. However, if you can find a niche audience and perform well within them, you can take a larger share of the Amazon selling market. Here are categories that may be volatile when selling:

  • Children’s books
  • Cookbooks
  • Parenting and general relationship books
  • Comics and graphic novels
  • Children’s book
  • History/Law books

Take note that some of these genres are extremely specific to a single demographic, like children’s books or comic books. History and law books may be a good investment during the months before LSAT testing or when a current event begins trending that is relevant. Consider global events and the season you’re buying in when deciding on whether to invest in these types of books.

3 Steps to Listing Your Books to Sell on Amazon

Listing and selling used books on Amazon is a quick and painless process. The entire set up from start to finish can be done in four short steps.

Step 1. Create a Standard Amazon Account and Your Seller Account

amazon sell books

You can do this by simply joining Amazon. Go to their website and register with your e-mail address, create a password, and go through the normal routine.

Once you’ve done that, head over to your Account setting and find the “Your Other Accounts” option. Click on this, from here you can create a seller back.

Read above to find out information on which selling plan is right for you. Once you’ve decided whether you want to be a professional or individual seller, lock in your choice. You can always upgrade to the professional service plan at any time if you’d like to get away from your original choice.

After that’s all said in done, you’ll need to enter your payment information into your account. This will allow you to make purchases on Amazon as well as allow yourself to get paid for selling books. You may need to verify your bank account information to complete this step

Step 2. Listing Your Books For Sale

Once you’ve got everything set up, you’ll now need to list your books on Amazon for people to purchase. Create a new sale on the website and select that you’re wanting to sell a book.

You’ll need to find the title of the book that you’re going to be selling. You’ll need to do this each time you post a new product for sale. You can search for the title of the book by the ISBN in the search box that is provided. You can also find a “Sell on Amazon” button on the original product page if you’d like to simply do that.

If for whatever reason you still can’t find the title of the book by the ISBN or through Amazon listings you can enter a new book title. You may have to do this if you’re selling books from an unknown author.

After you’ve got your title locked in, you’ll need to sell your books. If you’re looking to get a quick buck, many newer sellers will list their books at a low price to get quick sales. Be wary, this can lead to a lot of lost potential once you start selling a high number of books.

Finally, you’ll enter the condition of your book (be honest about it) and then select the shipping method that you’ll be using. You have the option between FBA and FBM methods.

Step 3. The Fulfillment Process

Once you’ve listed your book, you’re going to need to decide how you’ll be fulfilling the sale once someone purchases it.

If you’re doing the FBM method and handling the shipping and handling process on your own, it’ll be relatively simple. Just grab your product, head to the post office and ship it off to your customer.

If you’re using Amazon to fulfill your order, you’ll need to send books to the nearest Amazon fulfillment center. From there, Amazon will take care of everything for you. It’s relatively simple and comes at a low cost. You’ll also save money on storage facility overhead.

You should know that you can convert any list into an FBA listing if at any point you decide you’d rather not deal with the FBM process.


Can You Make a Living Selling Books on Amazon?

Absolutely. However, you’ll need a relatively large investment off the bat to be able to quickly gain an income. Even then, you’ll be met with challenges and bumps along the road.

Most people who make living selling books on Amazon do so after quite some time. You’ll need to build up consistent sources of books and build a brand and trust with your Amazon customers.

Can You Sell Books on Amazon for Free?

In a way, you can sell them for free. Amazon will allow you to trade in items such as video games, old books, and various other electronics and goods in exchange for Amazon credit. However, they’re fairly picky about what they’ll accept.

Instead of selling a book for free, you could always donate it as well.

Is it Worth it?

The answer to this question lies with how willing you are to dedicate your time and effort to selling books on Amazon. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, it’ll be worth it.

However, making a steady income off selling books won’t be an overnight adventure. You’ll need to build your business, like everyone else. But, in the long run, it’ll likely always be worth it.