How to sell books on Amazon: stack of books and a yellow mug in front of a wall

How to Sell Books on Amazon: Tips & Secrets for 2020

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Selling books on Amazon is a fantastic way to make some cash — and even to start building an Amazon business. (In fact, that’s how I got my start selling on Amazon five years ago!)

But, to get started, you’ll need to learn how selling on Amazon works, as well as how to find books to sell on Amazon and what types of books you should and shouldn’t sell.

 

How to sell books on Amazon (my story)

Long before I made six-figures selling my own branded products on Amazon, I sold books. 

It all started with a nine-to-five job; and I hated my nine-to-five job. It was back in 2012, and I was hired to sell cars (yep — all the bad stuff you hear about car salesmen is 100% true, at least in my case).

After three years, I’d had enough.

how to sell books on Amazon
My life as a car salesman–just end it now!

So, in 2015, I started looking for a way out. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur but, like many, I didn’t know how or where to begin. I was scared to make a move.

Sound familiar?

Then, my internet searches led me to blogs and videos about passive income. That’s how I discovered bookselling on Amazon.

I didn’t have a lot of money to start with either. Just a few hundred bucks. And frankly, I didn’t want to risk even that. I mean, who wants to risk losing their hard-earned money, right?!

Fortunately, I had an old comic book collection gathering dust. I thought, “Maybe I’ll list these online? See what happens!” And that’s how I started selling books on Amazon.

In just days, I had dozens of books listed on Amazon.

I was earning money, and I was learning about how to sell on Amazon as a way to replace my income. Now, five years later, I’m still an Amazon seller with hundreds of product listings and thousands in monthly sales — and the income that comes with it.

In other words, selling books on Amazon is absolutely doable! And I’ll walk you through all the steps you need to know in order to be successful.

 

How can I sell my used books on Amazon?

To sell a book on Amazon you need to decide three things: 

  1. Your fulfillment method (FBA or FBM)
  2. The type of seller you want to be (Individual or Professional Seller)
  3. How you source inventory

Once you’ve made those decisions, you can list your books on Amazon immediately — and then just wait for your first sale!

Let’s break it down further:

1. How will you fulfill orders?

There are two ways to fulfill your orders on Amazon: FBA and FBM. 

Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM)

With this method, when a sale is made on Amazon, you pick, pack, and ship the book yourself, using the carrier of your choice (eg. FedEx, UPS, etc). FBM sellers are also responsible for storing their own inventory.

So, when you are calculating your costs, remember to factor in storage fees if you’re not storing the books at home, as well as shipping and handling expenses and the amount of time it takes for you to pack and ship your orders.

Use FBM if you only have a few orders to fulfill or if you have a large enough operation that the costs to ship your orders are lower than Amazon’s. And again, you will have to have a place to store your books.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

With this method, when a sale is made on Amazon, Amazon picks, packs, and ships the book on your behalf. Amazon also stores your inventory for you and takes care of customer service.

Therefore, instead of paying storage, shipping and handling expenses, and labor costs on your own, you pay Amazon an FBA fee to cover those costs.

Use FBA if you have a lot of orders to fulfill and your operation isn’t large enough to have shipping costs lower than the requisite FBA fees. On the plus side, you won’t need a place to store your books as Amazon’s fulfillment centers will hold them for you until they sell.

2. What type of Amazon seller should you be?

There are two types of Amazon sellers.

Individual sellers

Individual sellers typically sell fewer than 40 products per month. This method is recommended for sellers who only have a few items to sell or are only selling as a hobby. Individual sellers have different fees than professional sellers (see the FAQ section below).

Professional sellers

Professional sellers are Amazon sellers who sell 40 or more products per month. This method is recommended for sellers who have large inventories and want to create a regular monthly income from their Amazon sales. 

Note: To find out what types of Amazon sellers are most successful, and what other categories they sell in, check out “The State of the Amazon Seller” report.

3. How do you find books to sell (ie. what is your inventory)?

Most folks want to sell books they already have online, but you can also source your inventory from a number of different places to continue growing your book sales on Amazon.

Here are some of the most popular methods.

Sell your own books

This one is probably the simplest way to find books to sell and it’s how I got started. Look around your house (yes, second-hand Marie Kondo-style) and see if you have some old books collecting dust.

Consider textbooks, rare topics, or — as I did — old comic books. (See the FAQ section for more on which types of books are best to sell on Amazon.)

Book sales

A lot of sellers love going to book sales as it can be kind of like hunting for treasure. Plus, there’s always a book sale going on somewhere, especially at libraries.

Head to these sales with a book scanner and look for some good picks that you buy and list online. 

Online arbitrage

Don’t feel like going out? Some sellers look on websites other than Amazon for books with prices lower than what you could sell the same book for on Amazon. This is usually called ‘online arbitrage.’

All you do is purchase the book from the one website, wait for it to arrive, and then list it on Amazon.

Bulk purchase/wholesale

You can often buy entire lots of books online for super low prices. You can buy full lots of used books on eBay, CraigsList, and Facebook listed at low rates. 

Estate/closing sales

Estate sales, closing sales, and moving sales are awesome ways to find books since large collections of books will be sold all at once. I used to go to estate sales and make offers on entire collections for pennies on the dollar.

Free books

Check out CraigsList or Facebook marketplace; there is always someone who is looking to offload books at no charge. All you have to do is go get them.

Just be careful, as sometimes these free books could be listed by other sellers who are getting rid of the books that don’t sell. 

 

What kind of books can you sell on Amazon? 

Finding books to list on Amazon is usually pretty easy. However, you don’t want to spend your time listing books that no one will buy. That’s why it’s important to know how to find the right books to sell on Amazon. 

Here are a few tricks you can use to sort through the clutter.

Check the book’s Best-Seller Ranking

Every single product on Amazon gets a ‘‘Best Sellers Rank’ (BSR). The lower a product’s BSR, the more often that product sells on Amazon.

For example, a book ranked #1 on Amazon sells 1,500 copies per month. Meanwhile, a book ranked #1,000,000 might not sell a single copy for months — if ever.

A book’s best-seller ranking can be found on the book’s page listing in the product details.

Note: The Amazon Best Sellers Rank you need to focus on is the BSR for the Books category. You can ignore the BSRs for the subcategories.

In my experience, you want to sell books that have a BSR lower than 100,000. That means there is a pretty good chance that your book will sell within 24 hours. 

Estimate the book’s likelihood to sell

There are a few tools you can use to estimate how likely a book is to sell on Amazon shortly after you purchase it.

  • Jungle Scout’s Free Estimator Tool: Simply put in a book’s BSR, the market you’re selling it in, and the category. From there, the Sales Estimator tells you the monthly sales for that product. For example, if a product has 3,000 sales per month, it sells about 10 copies per day.
  • Keepa: Keepa creates a graph that shows you how a book’s BSR has changed over time. Using that data, you can predict how often sales are made. Keepa’s premium version, which shows a book’s BSRs, costs $149 per year.
  • Jungle Scout Extension. Jungle Scout — an all-in-one platform for selling on Amazon — offers an extension too, which not only shows you the sales history for a single product but the estimated sales for an entire page of search results as well. This is useful if you ever expand your business beyond selling books, and the cost is $228 per year.
  • Book Scanners: Many book sellers use a handheld scanner to help them while they’re looking for inventory. To make life really easy for yourself, you can always use Amazon’s mobile seller app instead. It comes with a scanner of its own that gives you the product price, FBA fees, approximate profits, BSR, total number of sellers, and official Amazon category.

Note: If you don’t mind storing books in your own home for a longer period of time, or paying the additional storage fees (if you’re an FBA seller), then you can list books that sell more slowly. Just go with what you’re comfortable with!

How to list your book on Amazon

Once you become registered to sell on Amazon, you can start listing your books.

The easiest way to do this is to go to the actual product page for the book you want to list. That’s right—you can actually list your books from the Amazon page itself instead of creating an entirely new listing. Then, once you list your book, it appears on the same page.

Here’s an example:

 

To access the product listing page, type in the book’s ISBN (which is the book’s registration code) into Amazon’s search bar — just like you do when you’re searching for a product to buy.

The ISBN can usually be found either on the barcode or somewhere inside the book’s dust jacket. 

However, if the book was printed before 1970, it won’t have an ISBN. In that case, you’ll have to enter the title manually.

Once you’re on the product listing page, you will find a gray button that says “Sell on Amazon” just below the Buy Box.

After clicking on that button — and as long as you’re permitted to sell the book — you should see this screen:

How to sell books on Amazon: view of Seller Central offer page

From there, enter the following information:

  • SKU: This is your own personal code for the book. This can be whatever you you want it to be, though it’s best if it’s something that will help you remember it. If you leave it blank, Amazon randomly generates one for you.
  • Price: I recommend selling the book for the lowest price possible, unless there is a large difference between the prices on the varying conditions of the book. For example, books of ‘Acceptable’ quality usually sell for less than books of ‘Very Good’ value. For your convenience, Amazon has a button you can click to match the lowest price.
  • Quantity: If you have more than one copy of a book, enter the total quantity here. Otherwise, it defaults to one unit.
  • Condition: There are five conditions for Amazon books: ‘New’, ‘Like new’, ‘Very good’, ‘Good’, and ‘Acceptable’. If you can sell Collectible books (see FAQs), you will also have options for: Like new, Very good, Good, and Acceptable books. Furthermore, hardcover books with dust jackets have separate conditions for just the dust jacket.
  • Fulfillment Channel: FBM or FBA (see above in this article for the difference).

Once you enter that information, one of two things will happen:

  • If you selected to sell the book FBM, your listing for the book will appear on the book’s product listing page in 15-30 minutes. All you have to do is wait for it to sell.
  • If you selected to sell the book FBA, you have to prepare the book to ship to Amazon. It typically takes 1-2 weeks for your inventory to arrive at the destination fulfillment center. Then, it will take Amazon’s staff another three days to a week to unpack the inventory and distribute it to their network. This time could be longer if it’s a particularly busy period for Amazon, like the holiday season.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

WHERE ELSE CAN I TAKE MY OLD BOOKS FOR MONEY?

Where else can I take old books for money?

If Amazon isn’t the solution for you, or you only have a handful of books and it’s not worth all of the rigamarole, then here are a few more options for you to consider.

Donate them

The easiest option is scheduling a donation pick-up with the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or another non-profit. All you have to do is box them up, set them on your front porch, and they’ll send a truck to pick it all up. In exchange, you’ll get a receipt that you can write off on your taxes. This isn’t the most exciting option and you won’t receive cash, but it is pretty simple to do.

Yard sale/garage sale

You might also try selling them from your garage in a yard sale. Again, this is pretty easy to do. However, in my experience, books rarely if ever sell at yard sales. The last three yard sales I’ve had we just ended up giving the books away. 

Used bookstores

Another option you might consider that’s pretty simple and a little more profitable than a yard sale is selling your old books to a used bookstore. Spots like Half-Priced Books pay decent cash for good, used books. The only drawback with this method is that they won’t necessarily take every book you try to sell them. And they pay a pretty low rate for most books; even the goods ones!

Sell books on eBay

When it comes to selling books on Amazon vs eBay, personally, I feel Amazon is the better option.  I’ve sold books on both platforms and I’ve had a lot more success with Amazon.

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. You don’t have to hold your own inventory. Amazon keeps your inventory for you in their fulfillment centers and ships the products for you (FBA).
  2. Amazon gives each book a best-seller ranking. You can use this metric as a guide to estimate how likely a book is to sell on Amazon. This saves you a ton of time.
  3. Amazon has more than double the online traffic of eBay with less than 1/10th of the sellers eBay has. That means a lot more opportunity for you.
WHAT TYPES OF BOOKS SELL BEST ON AMAZON?

What types of books sell best on Amazon?

  • Textbooks. If there was a “gold standard” of used books that you can sell on Amazon, it’d definitely have to be textbooks. Textbooks are always in high demand, especially during the fall and spring, and tend to have high prices — even old editions! The only drawback with textbooks is that sometimes publishers “brand gate” their books to prevent non-certified sellers from selling new or used copies.
  • Niche books. Books that had low print runs and are a part of a larger collections do well on Amazon thanks to a lack of competition. For example, I made a lot of money purchasing Dungeons & Dragons books on eBay and reselling them on Amazon.
  • Comic books. You can sell comic books on Amazon, too. Both single issues and graphic novels perform well on Amazon, and if you have collectible issues they can fetch a decent profit.
  • Collectibles. First edition books, signed books, and any other book that could be considered “collectible” are also popular on Amazon.
  • Non-fiction. Overall, non-fiction performs a lot better than fiction on Amazon. That’s not to say that fiction does poorly, but in my experience, fiction books tend to lose their value faster than non-fiction books. 
  • Hardcovers. Naturally, hardcovers have higher prices than paperback books and tend to hold their value better.

What types of books don’t sell well on Amazon?

  • Fiction. As I noted above, fiction doesn’t sell well on Amazon. I believe there are a few reasons for this. First, fiction books have larger print-runs than non-fiction books, meaning that there are more copies in circulation. Also, readers are less likely to hold onto a book of fiction they’ve read than a  book of non-fiction which they can still reference. Finally, fiction books have cheaper cover prices. 
  • Children’s books. Another type of book people tend to get rid of quickly once they’re done reading them are children’s books. Children’s books tend to have much lower prices, as well, meaning that it’s tough to turn a profit when selling them competitively.
  • Cookbooks. For whatever reason, cookbooks perform poorly on Amazon. 
  • Mass market paperbacks. Of all the books you can sell on Amazon, mass market paperbacks probably perform the worst. Not only do they have high-print runs (which means more competition) but their sales prices are low. It’s not uncommon for major book sellers on Amazon to sell these books at a loss. 
  • Popular new books. New books — even new, hardcover, non-fiction books — don’t perform well on Amazon. The chief reason for this? Because you have to compete against Amazon! Anytime Amazon is selling a book, it’s going to be tough to beat their prices.

Tip: Overall, supply-and-demand dictates how well a used book will perform on Amazon. If there is a lot of demand for a title but there aren’t a lot of sellers selling that title, then it’s likely that the book will perform well.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO SELL BOOKS ON AMAZON?

How much does it cost to sell books on Amazon?

Like most online platforms, Amazon has certain fees you have to pay to sell on their platform.

Here is a brief description of the fees you should expect.

Individual fee OR subscription fee

As mentioned above, individual sellers are sellers who sell 40 or less products per month. If you are an individual seller, you do not have to pay the professional seller subscription fee, but you do have to pay $0.99 individual per-item fee. Like the referral fee, the individual per-item fee is deducted from the proceeds of the sale so you do not need to pay these fees in advance.

Unlike individual sellers, professional sellers are Amazon sellers who sell more than 40 products per month. A professional seller does not have to pay the individual fee for each sale. However, they do have to pay a $39.99 subscription fee every month. This fee is deducted from your account balance or charged to a credit card you put on file.

Referral fee

When you sell a book on Amazon, Amazon takes 15% of the sale price. For example, if you sell a book for $10, the referral fee will be $1.50. This fee is subtracted from the proceeds after a sale is made, so you don’t have to pay it upfront. 

Closing fee

Media products such as books, DVDs, CDs, and Blu-Ray, come with a flat $1.80 fee per sale, and only sellers who focus on selling these products need to worry about these fees. 

Like the referral fee, the closing fees are deducted from the proceeds of the sale so you do not need to pay these fees in advance.

Shipping costs

In addition to the two types of seller plans, there are also two ways to sell on Amazon: Fulfillment by merchant (FBM) or Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). 

A FBM seller is responsible for shipping their own products once a sale is made. Your shipping costs depend on your carrier, resources you use to ship products, and the cost of labor.

A FBA seller uses Amazon’s fulfillment network to store, pick, pack, and ship their products. This comes with an FBA fee that replaces the costs you’d normally spend shipping goods. Your FBA fee is determined by the size and weight of the book sold.

You can learn more about FBA fees in our in-depth article on the subject. However, it’s worth noting that FBA fees tend to be much less than what it would cost to ship your own books. Plus, Amazon does all the work for you! It’s a win-win.

Example

Let’s say we’re selling a first edition copy of Stephen King’s “It” for $100. We’re shipping the book ourselves, so it will be shipped FBM. And we are an individual seller instead of a professional seller.

In this instance, Amazon takes $15 for referral fees, $1.80 for the closing fee, and $0.99 for the individual per item fee. We’ll use an old box we have lying around with some packing peanuts in it and ship it by USPS Media Mail, costing us $3.86. Finally, we factor in the cost of the book itself. In this scenario, we purchased it for $10 at a yard sale.

After subtracting the fees, that leaves us with $76.07. 

CAN I SELL BOOKS ON AMAZON FOR FREE?

Can I sell books on Amazon for free?

Yes! Well, kinda. Amazon has a program called Amazon Trade-in, which allows you to exchange video games, electronics, old books, and other items that you may not have a need for anymore. The only catch is that Amazon is pretty picky about what they accept.

Furthermore, Amazon only offers Amazon credit for the goods that you trade-in. And much like trading your books into a discount book store, they do not offer very much for your books.

Still, if you’re looking for another simple solution to getting rid of old books, Amazon Trade-in is the way to go.

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Have you sold books on Amazon before? What tips do you recommend for people just starting out? Share them in the comments below; we’d love to hear them!

 

 

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366 comments on “How to Sell Books on Amazon: Tips & Secrets for 2020

  1. Hello
    I created a brand new seller account. Interested in the Personal plan with Fulfillment by Merchant since my husband and I have a brick & mortar comic book store. We only want to list on Amazon trade hardcovers related to comic characters. Trying to list the first book, I ran into an issue with need to provide permission letter from Marvel to sell their products. Also mentioned was a commercial invoice from when we acquired the books. We have neither of these since all these books are used and generally come to our store from private individuals selling their entire collections. How feasible is it to obtain a letter of authorization from Marvel, DC, Image and other publishing houses?

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Amazon wants to be sure items from big brands such as Marvel are legitimate. To get approved to sell Marvel products, you will need to order items from an authorized Marvel distributor and send Amazon the invoice.

      If you search around on Google, you should be able to find authorized Marvel toy distributors

  2. Hello,

    How do sellers receive payment from books they sell via FBA? Must the books sell before receiving payment from amazon? Thanks!

    1. Hi Joe,

      When you make a sale FBM you will not get paid for the transaction until the order is marked as shipped. Once you ship the order, you will see the payment in your balance.

  3. I have an Amazon Fulfillment warehouse about 4 miles from me. Will I be able to take my items to sell directily there or will I still have to ship?

  4. I just talked to an Amazon rep because I couldn’t complete the setup to Trade-In 3 books. They said at this time they are no longer accepting books for Trade-In. But…I did enjoy your article and glad that you talked about the independent seller option!!

  5. I published a book and it was listed on Amazon 20 years ago.

    a link to the book page at Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.com/Sleeping-Angel-Roger-Campos/dp/0967606756/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=roger+a.+campos&qid=1596672498&s=books&sr=1-5

    1. I am my own publisher of my old book and have 100’s of copies. I want to sell them again on Amazon and/or Ingram as before. I don’t know how to get back on Amazon, make the necessary changes on their website so I am listed as the publisher and sell my inventory. I need some technical help with Amazon.
    2. Once I sell out of my existing inventory, I want to make some story text edits/changes and publish a new title and cover. This would be a new book perhaps coming out next year. This new book can have print on demand and all the new technology features available for selling books.
    To complicate the matter, I have a 13 song music CD that goes with my old book. My Son wrote and performed the songs. I want to have a soundbite of the theme song so the reader/audience can hear it. The CD goes with the old book. For the new book, I just want to have one song that will go with it.
    My first book was the first Rock Novel with Son and Father collaboration writing and performing. It’s unique.
    Can you provide some technical assistance or can you recommend someone for guidance?
    Thank you,

    Roger A. Campos 301 254-0048

    1. Hi Roger,

      If you are the publisher of the book (and can prove it) you should be able to submit changes to the listing and have seller support approve them.

      If you are making story edits and publishing a new title, I suggest creating a brand new listing for the book. Don’t use the old listing, since technically, it won’t be the same book.

      You cannot add a sound bite to the listing but you may be able to add a video to the listing. I am not 100% sure about adding videos in the book category.

      I hope this helps.

      Brian

  6. Hello,

    I have come across a YouTube video about reselling books online and it sounds very appealing. What the YouTube video talks about is how easy and profitable it is to buying book and reselling them using their training and software. The cost for the program is 2000 dollars. I will provide a link of the video. It seems for real but I am just afraid it may be a scam. It looks real when I spoke to one of the sellers and he showed me everything, but I am not sure. You must watch the video that is an hour and some odd minutes long before you can request a live zoom meeting with a seller.
    If you can assist me with this I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you and God bless. Here is think to the video. https://approved.clickfunnels.com/bookoprofitsmemberstorieslevi27590071

    Sincerely,
    David Vitale

    1. Hi David,

      I can tell you right now that you don’t need to invest in a $2,000 course to help you get started selling books on Amazon. There are tons of free resources out there, including Jungle Scout about selling books.

      Check out Reezy Resells on Youtube. He has a ton of free videos about selling books.

  7. This was a great article! We have one book for now that we wrote ourselves. I have two questions: (1)… I see that our book is already listed on Amazon (though we did NOT list it) because two used book sellers are selling it. There is no photo of the book with product details, etc. So how would I go about listing it ourselves as OUR property? (2) what happens with shipping costs for Prime members? I assume that we add a shipping fee into the price of the book? Our book’s sales price is $24.95 on the back by the ISBN number. Can we list it for more to include at least part of the shipping cost? ie… shipping is about $6.80 so if we listed it for $28.95, we would at least get back about half of our shipping. Is that the way to go?

    1. Hi Marilyn,

      The listing for your book has no images on it? Then the listing should not be live if that is the case.

      You can list under that same listing as “new” since it is your book. Since it’ll be listed as new, you will get the buy box.

      If you ship your book into an FBA warehouse, your books will be prime and you won’t have to worry about adding a shipping cost.

      If you are shipping yourself, you can add an extra shipping cost. Though, I recommend offering free shipping as it will increase your conversions.

      With media mail via USPS, your shipping costs will be very low.

  8. Hey I love the passion and effort in creating this blog to educate the like minded entrepreneurs. I am 34 and is interested in starting a business selling college text books. I only have 4 used text books to resell. My main focus is to branch out and be a College text book seller on Amazon. If I do list those 4 text books, they may or may not even seem. Where and how do I find new text books to sell? Th interested of mines have been there for 2 years I am ready to take the leap. Thank you!

    1. Hi Shernelle,

      You can start by listing the books you have right now as FBM. That way, they can sit as long as they need to before they sell.

      You can find used books to sell at thrift stores, Goodwill, garage sales, FB marketplace, college campuses, library book sales, estate sales, and more.

  9. This was an awesome article. Thank you. I wonder if everything still applies now, as it was written right before the COVID plague onset?

    I’m ONLY interested in FBM to sell books I own already. I DO NOT WANT TO PAY AMAZON $40 PER MONTH. If I sold 20 books per month, I’d be ecstatic. My situation is that I have way too many books that I myself have purchased over the past 40 years; have recently inherited a whole bunch more; need more physical room in my home; and have come to realize that I just don’t have (life)time to read many of these (esp as I will be buying more books in my specialized field in the future). Also – and this is where I really need advice – I seem to have quite a number of old books (but old books mostly in excellent physical condition, books that were never read and sat unused on shelves for 20-40-60+ years) that a superficial glance at their Amazon prices suggest sell for a lot of money (assuming they ever sell …).

    Why are some books bizarrely/obscenely overpriced – and do those hyper-high prices actually sell? How are such prices set? Here is a single example among many. Look at author Don Pendleton’s The Executioner #1 – War Against The Mafia (really, it’s instructive to do so). There is a contemporary paperback of this 1969 pulp fiction actioner priced at about $12 (this from memory). But if you click on “Mass Market Paperback” for this title – which is what I have from my long ago teen years – that edition lists for … $850 (or a little more)!!! How can that be? At first I thought I missed a decimal point. What does that mean? Why would that price be so high, when the exact same novel can be had for $12? And – most importantly – DOES ANYONE ACTUALLY PAY THAT PRICE, or anything like it??! And why wouldn’t sellers undercut each other? I would be delighted in this example to sell my copy for $100. Why aren’t prices bid down to a free market-clearing competitive price?

    Note: I understand that these outrageous prices are for NEW copies, and that most people who bought that particular edition (at some point from 1969 to the 1980s) probably read it such that the copy they now have is no longer “new”. But for me, here’s the deal. I have that entire series (around 20-25, from WAR AGAINST THE MAFIA to SATAN’S SABBATH), but only read fewer than 10. I purchased all of them during grade and high school, but never read many of them. Eventually, before college, I put them all away in a box, and there they’ve sat forgotten for 40 years. They are in pristine condition, other than being 40-50 years old. (And I have many brand new, unread but older books, among the many of mine and ones inherited I wish to sell.)

    Therefore, for at least a dozen of the overall “Don Pendleton’s The Executioner” series I can honestly list them as “new” on an Amazon page. Does that mean I can expect to get the hundreds of dollars for each of them (not every one lists for $850, but they’re all pretty high if “new”) that Amazon and its affiliated sellers list them for? That just doesn’t seem right. I have many other books which Amazon lists for obscene prices, but can’t believe anyone actually pays those (and don’t understand why people don’t undercut each other’s prices …).

    I have some other questions, but before I write any more, I want to see if this one gets answered.

    I’m not experienced in this. Maybe we could even do some kind of deal together? (Of course, as I’m not in any kind of desperate cash flow situation, it might be best to wait to really start selling stuff until the economy picks up, which might not be until the COVID crisis has passed.)

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Dave,

      Glad you enjoyed the article!

      I will try my best to answer your questions.

      All of this still applies, even with COVID-19. Amazon sales are stronger than ever and people are still buying books.

      You do not need to pay Amazon the $40/month if you choose the individual selling account. Though keep in mind, if you sell over 40 books in a month, it would be more worth it to switch to the pro account. With the individual account, you are charged $0.99 per transaction.

      To help give you a better understanding of if these books are actually selling, you need to look at the sales rank. I even suggest downloading the chrome extension “Keepa” as it will show you a graph of the sales history. Each spike in the graph represents a sale.

      For example: if you see a book with a sales rank of 100,000… it sells approx. 1x per day. If you see a book with a 1 million sales rank, it probably sells 1-2 times a month.

      The higher the number, the less it sells. Even though a book might be ranked 1,000,000, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt to sell it. If you are going to be selling FBM, you should list every copy you have and let it sit until it sells.

      I would be careful listing any books as “new.” You may be restricted or asked for an invoice/proof that the copy is new and that you got it from an authorized distributor, etc. If you have books in near perfect condition, I would list as Used-Like New.

      I see what you mean with the mass market paperback price. Why is the price that high? I do not know. Do people actually pay that price? Well, you would need to look at Keepa to figure that out. According to the keepa chart for that book, at least 1 person in the past year, has paid upwards of $800 for that book. Why? No idea, but some people will pay a ridiculous amount for certain books.

      Sellers absolutely do undercut each other in price but that often leads to a price war and race to the bottom. If you are selling a book that is currently priced high, it is best to price it similarly to your competition, based on the condition of the book — Especially if the book is actually selling for that high of a price.

      The best way to figure this all out would just be to list all of the books you have as FBM. That way, they can sit as long as they need to before they sell without worrying about FBA storage fees, etc.

      Now, if you have books with low sales rank (below 50,000), FBA would be a great option as well.

      Selling used books is one of my personal favorite ways to sell on Amazon because you can usually acquire them for very cheap and some books resale value is very high.

      I hope this helps!

      Brian

  10. Hi!

    Is it possible to “buy” eBooks from somewhere else and then sell it on Amazon? Is it even legal? Will Amazon allow that?

    Please enlighten me as I also don’t want to get into trouble with the author or publisher.

    1. Hi Ann,

      Thanks for the question! I believe you can if your business owns the “master resale rights” of the ebook. Not every ebook you purchase will have a transferable license. Do some more in-depth research before jumping in!

  11. Helloo..
    I read your article..thanks for all the nice info you shared.I have 3 books written by me and i would like to market them..
    I would lime to have your concrete recommendation how to start moving..
    Looking forward to hear your suggestions
    I live jn Israel…
    +972 54 80 40 424
    Best regards
    David Levi

  12. Please Dave help me to sell my novel it has two years and nobody has viewed. Titled COUGAR JUSTIFIED BY BONIFACE MACHOKI

  13. I have reached my senior years and am having some difficultly getting all that is needed to get my new book on Amazon. Is there anyone who could help me with the details.?
    I need a helping hand!

    Thank you

  14. Hey! I read this article but every time I try to do an individual account, it’s still charging the 39.99 selling fee per month. Did they do away with the feature for people just wanting to sell a few books? Thank you for all the other helpful info! Im wanting to sell but not sure If I have enough to make the $4o fee a month plus profit.

    1. Hi Kylie,

      Thanks for the question!

      They still offer the individual selling account. You can downgrade in seller central.

      Top right in seller central hover over Settings > click on Account Info. On the left-hand side, you’ll see Your Services. Click manage and you will be able to downgrade.

      Also, I suggest contacting seller support and state that you have not used the professional selling account and have tried to downgrade several times. Ask for a refund for the months you paid, they should be able to help you out.

      I hope this helps!

      Brian

  15. Hi Dave, very helpful advice overall. I am an individual seller, just want sell few books that I own ( less than 35 a month). The difficulty I am facing is that even when I press on the BASIC plan, it still takes me to £25 a month plan! It’s so annoying

    1. Hi Jane!

      Thanks for the comment. If you cannot sign up first off under the individual plan, sign up for the pro plan and contact seller support and state you would like to downgrade and receive a refund. They should be able to help you out.

      Brian

    1. Hi Anita,

      Do you have physical copies of your book or is it an ebook?

      If you have physical copies, the best way would be through FBA. You can sell your local language book but the listing information will need to be in English.

  16. Hi Dave, I published my own children’s book last year and I want to sell it on Amazon. Is it worth it or even profitable just selling one book or is Amazon best for just selling lots of different books? Thank you, Liz.

    1. Hi Liz,

      You should absolutely list your book on Amazon! Even if you have just one product, it can be worth selling it on Amazon.

      It is worth testing out how it sells.

      Brian

  17. I found there is a monthly fee for
    Global Selling Promotion
    Pay a monthly fee of 39.99 USD to access North America, Europe and Japan marketplaces.

    I remember that I had an account that I can upload used books without paying any fees.

    I wonder selling books in amazon seller central charges monthly fees?

    is there any amazon website i can upload books without fees?

    1. Hi Joy,

      The $39.99 charge is for a professional selling account. The free selling plan is the “individual account”, but charges you an additional $0.99 per sale.

      You can downgrade in your account settings.

      Brian

  18. I took a break from selling books on Amazon but now getting back in. When I now list a book, the only description of used book condition is like-new, very good, etc. Previously I could give a better description like “no highlighting or markings”. Now I cannot find how to do that. Is that option gone?

    1. Hi Casey,

      Thanks for the question!

      I think I know the issue. The new layout in seller central has that section hidden. When you are adding your offer, you should see ‘advanced view’. Click that and you will see the condition notes.

      Hope this helps!

      Brian

  19. Having Amazon do the shipping sounds great but….. If after 6-12 months there are books that did not sell can I request they be returned to me instead of paying more storage fees? Would there be any monetary penalty for that? How then would those titles be removed from where they were posted for sale?

    1. Great question, Cheryl! And yes, if you sell FBA, you can get any books that don’t sell back by creating a removal order. We have more information about what you can do with unsold stock in our Liquidating Amazon Inventory article. I hope this helps.

  20. I Dave I have published a book entitled The Character of Ireland. an enitial
    addition of 1000 books ,Hard back with dust cover selling at 35 euros or approx 40 dollars
    How do you recommend I go about selling on Amazon

  21. Thanks so much for this informative post. I am a graduate student and have an individual seller account and would like to know how to automate pricing so that my books will be priced at the lowest and sell more quickly.
    I see that I can type in a range of prices I will accept, but when I look at my inventory, I see that my prices often aren’t matching the lowest price even if that price is within the range I designated.
    Am I not reading this correctly? How do I make this work on its own so I can just ship them as they sell?
    Thank you!

  22. I have some interest in a few books books that I would love to purchase but they are expensive how could I get them at a lower price if the publishing company just remain at that price target with out dropping the price at wholesale rate that a person can make a profit off these books of interest I know some publishing companies may sell books in bulk are clearance sale you can also explain how this method works when purchasing books to sell them back for profit.

  23. Dave, thank you for the detailed info. I’m a reading teacher with a ton of books I’d like to sell. Won’t it be costly to ship boxes of books to Amazon for FBA? After that shipping cost and fees won’t it be difficult to make a profit?

    1. You’re right, Anna; there is a chance that it may be more expensive to use FBA to ship your books. For that reason, we recommend looking into the FBA fees that you’d be required to pay per order and compare that to the costs you’d incur if you pack and ship your books to customers yourself. Doing that will give you a better idea of which fulfillment method will result in bigger profits for you. Hope this helps!

  24. Great site!
    Two questions:
    a) When I sell a book on Amazon, will they send me an email to let me know it has sold?
    b) I won’t know the shipping costs until the book sells. (I plan to use the US Postal Service.) How do I arrive at a total cost for the book without taking it to the post office first?

    1. Christopher,

      1) Yes, typically you’ll get an email. I recommend getting the Seller app since it’ll send a notification to your mobile device.
      2) You might consider purchasing a postage scale. For media mail, it’s usually $2.57ish base plus $0.50 for every pound over the first.

  25. I was surprised by how well Penguin Classics do on Amazon. At first I spent too much on packaging and postage, but I learnt to pack books lightly. Avoid selling heavy books online!

  26. Thanks for the great info, Dave. I’m looking for some specific advice. We live in the US and have about 3,000 or so books. Most of these are signed or inscribed by the author, with dust jackets in Mylar, that range from Very Good to Like New condition. These range from rare celebrities, 20th century presidents, history and military history, non-fiction, sci-fi, natural history, science, and several volumes of expensive collectibles from Maggs Bros. Ltd. Rare Editions of London.

    We don’t want to donate or give these away, but we do want to get rid of the library so we can downsize to a smaller home quickly, and without a lot of hassle. What do you recommend we do? I don’t want to have to package and ship them. Would Amazon store all these and ship as they’re sold? Would I need to list each book on Amazon? Should I do this as a professional or FBM seller?

    Or would it make more sense to use an estate seller?

    1. Hey Suzanne,

      Great questions all around. If there’s a number of high-value books in the collection, you might find an appraiser and sell it as a lot. If you were looking to do it quickly, Amazon probably isn’t the way to go. Even in my fastest periods of breaking down multiple thousand collections, it took months to comb through the list. And it’s even harder if you don’t have ISBNs (old books, etc.)

      If you do sell it yourself, you’ll have to list them all individually. You should probably do it as a professional seller (since it’s likely you’ll sell more than 40 per month) and yes, you can use FBA to store and ship the goods for you.

      An estate seller likely won’t know the value of the books and will price them as they normally would a large book collection: in the dirt. So be conscious of that!

  27. Hi, I am new in Amazon to sell books. I bought few kids books for $3 CAD each,which is already listed in amazon for $8.99 by other sellers and bsr of books are 50k to 100k. Now, the FBA fee is charging me around $6, which doesn’t give me any profit, rather I am in loss if I sell them. What am I missing here? Should I look for cheaper books or increase the selling price knowing others are selling in less price? Can you suggest please?

    1. Nabila,

      Good question. The profit is always in your buy. For books, I never try to spend more than a few cents. Also, I shoot for collectible books or rare books that sell for $10+.

  28. I just read Brandod D. Wison’s article on selling books on Amazon.
    He made almost $6 after 6 months of selling.

    Here is a breakdown of the fees to sell this one book through the FBA program:

    Amazon Referral Fee: $1.35
    Variable Closing Fee: $1.80
    Per Item Fee: $0.99
    FBA Fulfillment Fees: $4.71
    Total Fees: $8.85

    I can’t see how it makes any sense.

    1. Heya Noor,

      These days, you really have to focus on niche books. Cheap books are pretty tough to sell on the platform since they introduced the VCF. A lot of my success has come from selling collectibles.

  29. Hi! I am from Brazil and want to sell several books (in English) on Amazon, and would rather sell them by FBA. But I have a question. Would I only be able to send my book to Amazon if they were already bought, or can I send them off once they are only listed? For convenience and price of shipping, I’d rather send all of the books I want to sell in one package to Amazon, so they store it until someone buys them, and they dispatch it. Would they accept that?
    Thank you in advance,
    Sara

  30. Very helpful information to get us started. I would be dealing in American Civil War related books, so my big question is, Does Amazon have a problem with displaying any portion of a Confederate battle flag?

    1. Hey Jim,

      Good question. Doing a quick search on Amazon, it looks like Confederate flags are not allowed. The ones that are on there are labeled as “old school southern states flag” or it’s a historical flag. However, if it’s in a book and it’s a picture, you should be fine.

      The best thing to do is to check to see if the book already exists. Remember: you don’t have to create listings for the books since they already exist on Amazon.

  31. This should probably have some additional information about the buy box. If you are not eligible for (or eligible and not winning) the buy box you are not going to get many sales on books. Also a lower BSR means more competition and a lot of times pricing wars between repricers. Can you make money selling books? Absolutely. Is it as easy as buying books and listing on Amazon? Absolutely not.

  32. I live in europe , its really good opportunity to sell books. But only problem in europe is , do i need to register tax numbers for each country that im going to send my books ?

    i might send only english books and probably my marketplace will be UK , but still if i can find other languages for example german i can even send them to germany as well

  33. Re: “[Bezos] also stated that 140,000+ businesses selling on Amazon made more than $100,000 in sales.”

    Are you saying that each of those 140,000 made $100,000 in sales? Or are you saying that all 140,00 businesses’ combined sales totaled $100,000. I find both interpretations astonishing:
    — If it’s the latter, then each business only made $1.40. 🙁 That can’t be right.
    — But if it’s the former, then all of those business made (what I would consider to be) a TON of money! :-0

    Can you clarify the correct meaning? I can’t seems to infer it for myself because I find both of them fairly plausible. (If the former interpretation is correct, then I need to get cracking on this project! LOL!)

  34. Dear Mr. Hamrick: :
    This article was one of the best I have read in a long time. You really sound like you love your job. If I can get the knowledge and wisdom you have from your article I would be the happiest woman in the world. I have been looking for something to make some money on for a mighty long time now and I think this just be the kind of thing that I can do. In the past I gave up, got taken and lost too much money.
    Two years ago I wrote a book and had it published and it is on Amazon. The Book Co. never did advertise it and did not live up to there helping me do it either.
    Since then a lot has happened to my health and my husband and I ran out of money. I now can hardly walk or leave the house.
    Don’t think i’m looking for pity, that i’m not. I have worked all my life and want to help my husband with the bills and make myself worthy of getting up each day.
    I love books and would be a good way to get books to people that really like good books.
    Thank you, Oh I forgot do you have to have the tools right away to get started.? Hope you don’t mind I copied your article. Thanks Maudie B. Dussault

    1. Hey Maudie,

      When I started, I just “dipped my toe” in the water to make sure it was something I wanted to do. From there, I saw the advantage of having the tools and built out from there. These days I publish my own books.

  35. How to I get around of paying the 39 dollar fee? Do I have to do international? I don’t have a lot of money to start and this would be a side job… I do have book inventory though

  36. Great article! I am looking to sell some books FBM but was wondering what is the least expensive way to package and ship a book. Can you provide some details on how you packaged books when shipping FBM? THANK YOU!!

    1. Hey Michelle,

      Awesome question. There’s a few methods, but I’ve found two that I particularly like.

      First, you can buy bulk bubble wrapper envelopes. I purchase mine through a company called fastpack.net which is not only the cheapest I’ve seen online, but their turn around time is crazy fast (hence the name). I usually buy 10 x 15 as they’re a good catchall for all sizes. For smaller books, I just stuff the book into the bottom of the envelope, fold it, and print.

      I’ve also done the cardboard shell method. You can buy a roll or corrugated cardboard from Uline or Fastpack, then wrap the book and staple it together with a high powered stapler. While marginally cheaper than envelopes, it is slower. Plus, the staples can sometimes stab your mailman.

      Hope that’s helpful.

  37. If you are listing books FBM, can you suspend your account for a few days/weeks if you go on vacation or have an emergency and cannot ship right away? thanks.

    1. Jane,

      Awesome question.

      Yes and you absolutely should. Amazon is very particular about their late shipment rates. Failing to ship books on time can get your account suspended. So make sure that you’re setting your account to away mode when you’re away.

  38. Best information ever!!! I’ve been on the fence, but will now continue to completely climb over and hit the ground running!

    Thank you sooo much!

  39. This information was very helpful to get me started on selling some of my books… I assume paperbacks are the way to go, although, I do have many hardcover books. Not sure if it is worth selling those.

  40. Hi Dave , my name is Frank and I’m from NY. I’m A senior citizen and in desperate need to make some extra money to supplement our social security and to avoid foreclosure on our home. Im very interested in this opportunity but just not as sharp as I used to be. I’m inquiring to see if There is a simpler way to try and understand this process and realistically make about $500 a week. I’m a go getter and have been all my life but I need a good coach at this point in life. Like I said I’m very motivated to try this but could use some assistance, is that possible to do. Look forward to your response .

    1. Hey Frank,

      Books are a good place to start as an Amazon seller, but if you’re concerned about expenses, I recommend finding a method that won’t have a lot of upfront costs. We’ve got a few articles coming up over the next couple weeks with different methods to earn an income on Amazon. I personally write my own books these days and use Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform which doesn’t cost me anything more than the cost to purchase a copy of my own book.

  41. How do you start an Amazon Seller Account ?

    Also, can you start as a personal account at Amazon, then switch over to the Pro accunt, fairly easy?

    1. Hey John! Glad you reached out about this as you can start an an individual seller and upgrade to a professional account. In case you need it, here’s a link to an Amazon seller forum thread that explains how to do just that:

      https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/t/how-can-i-change-my-selling-account-from-individual-to-professional/19298

      And here’s a link to our post explaining how to set up an account:

      https://www.junglescout.com/blog/individual-vs-professional-seller-plans/

      Hope this helps!

  42. Hello Dave,

    I read your post about a few weeks ago and tried to follow the tips outlined in it.

    Using it as a guide I was able to secure 16 different titles with BSR’s below 250,000 (10 copies of each with the exception of one that I was only able to get 7 copies of) for an average price under $1. However, some of those BSR’s have changed since I got my inventory and listed them.

    I signed up for an Amazon Seller’s account and shipped my stuff in for FBA.

    I started on Dec. 5 and have made 2 sales.

    I was hoping by following the tips in your post I would sell through my inventory in one month and then re-invest my profits in more inventory using the same model.

    Right now I’ve spent about $200.

    I’m disappointed in my results and was hoping to get some more in depth advice. I wanted to see if you’re available for a quick consult on exactly what I’ve done but, couldn’t find a better way of contacting you to find out if you offer consulting services.

    Could you please let me know via the email address I left when making this comment?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Heya Andrew,

      I won’t be available for a consult, but maybe you can give a little more information on the books! We’re also currently in the middle of updating this post as Amazon has made a few changes in the last year.

  43. The area that I am confused about is how and when to ship and placing labels on the book and the shipping container. Should I list the book on Amazon before I add it for sell or ship it first then list it? I heard that I need to add an Amazon label covering the existing bar code on the book, also what is the process for printing the shipping labels to place on the shipping box that will be sent to Amazon? What is the estimated time frame for all of this to take place in the process? Please advise and thank you so much.

    1. Hi Edward,

      Often, the listings will already be on Amazon. So when you go to sell a book on Amazon, you’ll enter the ISBN and see the preexisting listing. This is different than a site like ebay, for example, where you would have to create a separate listing.

      Once you’ve put your own offer on the listing and you are ready to send inventory to Amazon’s warehouses, you can place the stickers directly onto the book. Then you put the shipping label on the box.

  44. Thanks for this! I’ve been in and out of Amazon Advantage a few times selling my own book. I recently pulled it out because they wanted to charge me a 15$ penalty for the post office covering up a label…but now I’m wanting to put my hardcover books back up there to sell the rest of the books I have on hand and they won’t let me back into my Advantage account, so I may try FBM…I don’t have too many left though…the paperbacks are already printed, sold and marketed by Amazon and move pretty quickly, so now I’m hoping to perhaps sell signed ones via marketplace for cheaper than the list price? Can I do that? Do you think this would work?

    1. Hey Danielle,

      If they’re your own books, you can definitely do that. For signed books, you might also see if you can qualify for collectible books, since that tends to be where signed books go.

      If you’re an author, I also recommend making your own books through KDP. It’s super easy and lucrative.

  45. I need to unload a large collection of all types of books probably one time. What do you need first and where do I take them? Thank you very much. Franz

    1. Hey Franz,

      If you’re not interested in selling them piecemeal and only selling them one by one, I recommend doing so with Ebay and selling them as a collection. Otherwise, you can list the books individually and ship them all to Amazon fulfillment center where they’ll be out of your hair for the time being. 🙂

  46. Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so
    I came to take a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting
    this to my followers! Terrific blog and terrific design and style.

  47. Dave, an excellent explanation of the Amazon book selling business. But this is for sellers selling books generally. I am an author who runs a publishing company and will be selling my own books, therefore no serious competition. What do you suggest I should do differently?

    1. Hey Peter,

      It depends on the volume you’re selling. Personally, I use Kindle Direct Publishing for the books I write since they do both Kindle-friendly books as well as printed paperbacks. It usually ends up being cheaper than sourcing them overseas, too.

  48. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for all the info. This is actually a great article! Very informative. I’m starting my journey this weekend. I’ll be following a lot of your tips!

  49. I volunteer at a thrift store and am trying to help them turn over their used book inventory. How do help the thrift store become an Amazon Vendor that can sell directly to Amazon?

    1. Hi Madelin,

      Good question. Unfortunately, Amazon selects their vendors on a case-by-case basis and typically the vendors must be doing millions in sales in order for them to be considered. However, your store should qualify to sell their used books as a third party seller.

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      As long as you’re in the US, you can ship your books directly to the nearest fulfillment center, even if it’s out of state. For example, I live in Oklahoma, and up until recently we didn’t have our own FC. I had to send everything to Dallas. But I’ve sent goods as far as Wisconsin before.

      Amazon’s shipping rates for inventory are pretty inexpensive.

  50. I’d love to start selling books on line using Amazon. How do i get started and where can I buy books cheap and get them sent to Amazon?

  51. thanks for the information I’m very interested but have this question. How can I know best selling books if I want to do FBA method in order to make sales.

    1. Hi Ndifor,

      Generally speaking, you want to find books that have a best-seller ranking (BSR) below 100,000. That means roughly 1 book sells every day for that product listing.

  52. You really skipped over the part about the fees. Good thing I read the other comments! Can you explain all about the fees associated with each FBA transaction and exactly how shipping is paid for?

  53. I have a large number of books to sell; all are from my own library and ALL in “like new” condition. Because I have always paid full price for my books I hesitate to donate them to a public library who will just turn around and sell them for 25 cents each. Having kept them in “pristine” condition, I feel I should be able to recoup some of the money I spent on them. I’m just not sure how to go about this.

    I have read the above article and feel it’s more than I need to know. I just want to get rid of the books I have, not start any kind of business. I am 81 years old, retired and downsizing. Although I love all of my books, I know I can’t take them with me when I go. I would appreciate some help and/or advice. Thanks so much.

  54. HI DAVE . THANK YOU X ALL THE GREAT INFORMATION AND SINCE YOU DEFINITIVELY HAVE THE EXPERIENCE YOU MAY BE ABLE TO HELP ME TO MAKE A DECISION
    I WAS LOOKING TO GET IN THE SELLING BOOKS BUSINESS BECAUSE I HEARD ABOUT THIS “THE BOOK PROFIT” . I SAW A VIDEO THAT THEY SHOW YOU HOW TO FIND THE BEST BOOKS TO SELL OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT? SUPPOSEDLY THEY HAVE A SYSTEM AND A TRAINING .
    PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT IT .THANK YOU.

  55. Hi Dave,
    I am Stephen Kazungu from kenya.
    thanks for your good advise about selling books on Amazon. I personal am still trying to sell out my books. I wanted to sell them on Amazon.
    But it’s been a hustle as am in Kenya. Now, through your well explained in details, i will stry some tips and see if I can as well get onto Amazon.
    Thank you.

  56. Very informative info. Does this apply to Canada? I have only fiction books (soft and hard cover to sell. Many are in like new condition. If this does apply to Canada, how do I get started? Thank you

    1. Hey Sue!

      Not sure about Canada. I do know that you guys’ shipping costs tend to be a bit higher than they are in the US. We have media mail here, which means we can ship for as low as $2.77. I’ll dig around and try to find some resources for you.

  57. I would like to sell my own book and have Amazon fulfill the orders. Amazon, unfortunately, doesn’t have coated heavy paper, the kind I want for the inside of the book. So I will need to go to an outside printer. So I need to know if I can have the printer ship to Amazon to fulfill, since the book can’t be printed and sold though the regular Amazon KDP method. Can I do that?

  58. Very informative makes me a little more comfortable just starting out with inventory from my home to see how effective and profitable it could be. Encourages me to think that it may be worth a shot! Thank you very much

  59. What app do you recommend for scanning books? I am a retired early childhood teacher and I have tons of books that I need to let go.

    1. Jane,

      I know a lot of folks have used profit panda. When I used to sell books, I just bought in bulk for super cheap, then hand-typed them into Amazon using the ISBN’s (it’s the # right above the UPC on the books).

    1. A newbie to Amazon – I would like to know do Amazon take all their fees when they sell each book that you list (do they take it out of the actual book sale profit) or do you pay for the fees separately eg: are you billed the fees afterwards? Thank you

      1. Hi Simon,

        Great question. When you make a sale on Amazon, you aren’t paid directly like you would be with Ebay. Instead, Amazon puts everything into your available seller balance which you can view in Seller Central. Then, once every two weeks, you’re paid by Amazon minus your fees.

  60. First of all, thank you so much for sharing your experience.

    I have a question. When shipping the books to the nearest fulfillment center, I only need to put all books (in bare condition) into a moving box without any extra packaging for each book? Do I need to have any protection for each book to make sure the books won’t be worn out by transportation when they get to the fulfillment center?

    Thank you!

    1. Hai,

      You can book extra packaging in, sure. Personally, I don’t unless the books are ultra-rare. For example, I sent a first edition first print of Stephen King’s It to a fulfillment center and I made sure to wrap it up. Also, for super rare books you might consider fulfilling them yourself.

      For books of G – VG condition, it’s probably not a big deal if they’re extra protected.

      Hope that’s helpful!

  61. Hello Dave or whomever. I hope you can advise me as I am scared to death to do this. I have never done anything like this before. We are trying to downsize and need to move some books out. I am not talking about starting a book selling business I am talking about 30 how to books (mostly) to sell. I have no idea what would be the best option for me as I find it all very confusing just because I don’t understand the process. Most of the books are in excellent condition. I am a doll artist, painter and miniaturist so many of the books have to do with these subjects. What would be the best option for selling them on amazon. Or is it even worth it?
    I have an account with amazon as I buy many books, hahahha! I only buy on amazon as of the past few years. I would appreciate any advice as I have no idea which would be the best option for a temporary situation.

    1. Hi Katherine,

      If it’s a temporary situation and you’re just looking to unload your book for a bit of extra cash, there are other options besides Amazon. I’ve personally used Sell Back Your Book and Bookscouter. I compared the quotes on both and ended up shipping some books to one and some to the other. Shipping is free and they provide the label. You just need to enter the ISBN (the 13-digit number on the barcode that begins with 978) of the book to get a quote.

      If you don’t get very far with those, then you can consider setting up an Amazon account for your niche subject books.

      Hope that helps you get started!
      Melissa

  62. How much in shipping your books FBA do you spend and how does that count against your profits? IE: Purchased a book for $1 dollar, cost you $1.00 to ship it, but made $3.00 on the book. You only received $1 on that book.

    1. Hi Just Wondering,

      Shipping the books in bulk to Amazon costs me roughly $10 per every 50 lbs of books.

      When Amazon ships the book, it’s usually $3-$5 as they use media mail. That includes the cost for them handle it and pack it, too.

  63. In order to have the professional seller account on Amazon and start selling used books, do you have to already have a business name and logo? Also, since you have done both selling used books and now do private label, did you have to have separate accounts? What if you wanted to have a different name for your private label from what you had for selling used books. Thanks!

    1. Hi Melinda,

      Great questions!

      I’m not sure about a logo, and as far as I’ve seen you only need to have a DBA, which is pretty cheap.

      I’ve done it all through the same account. 🙂

    1. Hi Edward,

      Truthfully, there is no standard set of rules to determine this. It really depends on the book and author. Is it a first edition? Is it a scarce signature? Those contribute to a higher value.

      Otherwise, you’ll see signed books in bookstores that go for the same retail price as unsigned books. Thus, they are not worth any more with a signature. I’d search around ebay and Amazon for the book you’re trying to sell to see if there are other signed copies out there and how much they are going for.

    1. Hello Ms. Hilton I am Robert Briley and you can find me on facebook. Robert Briley in sarasota, Fl. I have been looking into finding, buying and selling books on AMAZON. I would like to talk with someone about the possibilities of doing this before I jump into the process.. Please take a look at my FB page and if you feel comfortable drop me a message or FRIEND ME and I will accept your friend request and I sure would like to get some advise from you on the matter.Respectfully Robert Briley

  64. Hi!
    I have a ton of college books that I am looking to sell on Amazon using the FBA method. Could you tell me if Amazon would provide cash for the transactions or just place the money in my Amazon account? Thanks!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Amazon pays you on a bi-weekly basis, usually every two weeks after the day you started selling on Amazon. For me, it’s every other Wednesday.

      Usually, the money sits in holding until then to ensure that all the transactions go through.

  65. How do go about selling a book on Amazon The book is worth $400 dollars There are 4 other listings and they all list the same book for $400 dollars
    I am willing to pay all fees Thank You

    1. Great question, George.

      You list the book. The fees don’t come out until after the book sells and you’ve made the income.

      So if you sell a book for $400, Amazon will take $60 in listing fees, then $1.80 for media fee, then $3-$5 to ship it. You’re left with the remainder.

      Hope that’s helpful.

  66. You didn’t mention price, and I am wondering: isn’t there a price point below which it isn’t worth selling the book? Additionally, what are the fees (I assume there are some) for FBA? I’ve been selling the occasional book on amazon, but I have gotten a lot of new info from this article–thanks!

    1. Hey Amy,

      Great question.

      In my opinion, I’d say you probably shouldn’t sell any book under $10. Amazon takes 15% for their listing fee plus a $1.80 media fee. And then there is the cost to ship the actual item. So with a $10 book you’ll end up spending about $6.50 in fees. You’ll be left with only $3.50 or so in net profit.

      Your best move is to look for niche books that bring higher prices, like textbooks and rare books.

  67. What about books that are 100+ years old, or signed (and hand-coloured) by the author? Would amazon be a good place to sell, or would you suggest a different approach?

    1. Hi Cherry,

      I would suggest getting older, rare, and/or signed books appraised by an antique dealer. There are ways to first check this out online (I’ve used Biblio.com before) before finding a local appraiser, but if your books have a lot of value, there are more specialized channels to sell them in for what they are worth, rather than through Amazon, in my honest opinion.

      Hope that helps give you a start!
      Melissa

  68. You are very good at ‘selling’ the idea of selling books on Amazon! Congratulations! I will have to read the stuff a half dozen times..but I will get the feeling for it! Thanks for the ‘touching’ account. Namaste! May all readers adore the texts so obtained!

  69. Thanks for all your great info ! You mention…

    “An app on their phone cross reference’s the book’s BSR as well as the book’s lowest sales price and lets the seller know whether or not the book is worth purchasing.”

    What are the apps you recommend or can refer us to use?

    1. Hi Siobhan,

      It’s been a few years since I’ve done Retail Arbitrage (I do most of my purchases online these days), so I’m not sure I’d be a good source for which apps to use and which not to. I think the name of the one I used to use was Profit Panda or something like that. I’m not sure it’s still around, although, I think I did see it in Seller Central’s app store not too long ago.

  70. How do I add taxes and shipping cost to my books or will Amazon do all of this? I want to have Amazon do everything and I just mail in the books. I own a thrift store and I have thousands of books.

    1. Hi Darrell,

      Amazon will collect taxes and shipping costs on your behalf depending on how you sell it. If you sell it by Merchant, Amazon will tack on $3.99 shipping charges to every buyer which you’ll earn. If you sell it as an FBA seller, you’ll have to build the fees into your price. For example, if the FBA fulfillment cost is $3.00, then you need to raise your price enough to account for that.

      Tax is always collected on the back end.

      Hope that’s helpful!

    1. Hi Darrell,

      Usually, once you’ve listed it, it appears in your inventory. Then, you just wait for the product to sell. If you’re fulfilling your own, you’ll get a notification. For stuff fulfilled by FBA, Amazon quietly does all the work for you.

  71. Question–I have a new book being published October 8th. I am professional DTC marketer and plan on selling the book via social media ads and affiliate sales. I will be a FBA for sure. My question is do the sales from MY store count for NY Times bestseller list? Sales from Amazon direct do–any idea? I know sales from my list count toward Amazon rating…IF you don’t know, who should I ask at Amazon?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Tobin,

      That’s a great question. I’m not sure how the NYT lists are calculated, but I do know that it usually takes a few thousand to get up there. I’ll doublecheck with Melissa who used to work in the publishing industry and see what she has to say.

    1. Hi Shawn,

      It depends on where it’s going and how you send it. Don’t send it flat rate, though. Under your seller central, Amazon will give you the option to use one of their partners, usually UPS. In my experience, sending ~50 lbs of books to Dallas (2 hours from me) cost about $7 – $10.

  72. You wrote that you wouldn’t list books higher than 200K BSR, but if I have a niche book for a not so popular hobby such that it’s higher than 200K BSR, but #75 in that hobby’s category, should I list it?

    1. Doug,

      Good question!

      Yeah, a lot of it depends on the competition and how patient I feel like. We recently got data that shows Amazon dominates the first 500,000 or so BSRs.

      Really, you’re likely to sell books if you’re just willing to wait. Once you start getting past BSRs 1,000,000 or so, it could take a month or longer to make a sale.

  73. How are shipping fees handled? Should my price be set to include or not? Space here in France, it is a flat €2.99 shipping fee- who pays that? Thanks!

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Great question. Unlike Ebay, Amazon actually sets a standard rate of shipping for all of its customers. So once the item is sold, Amazon collects the shipping and sends it to you.

      I hope that helps answer your question.

  74. Your explanation isn’t clear. When you began selling books where they your own books that you bought and read or maybe books you bought but never got round to reading?

    1. Hi Pauline,

      Great question! And sorry for any confusion. The books I started selling were a combination of my own books (a lot of graphic novels and Dungeons & Dragons books). Then, I’d buy large lots of books from estate sales, specifically looking for those in scholarly fields since they tended to carry more non-fiction which tends to sell better on Amazon.

  75. so if you look up the majority of used books on amazon they are selling around 5 bucks…So how do you making money selling a 5 dollar book that cost you 5 dollars in shipping and amazon fees. The math doesn’t add up…and sure you can say well just sell higher priced books. But are not those higher priced books like finding a needle in a haystack?

    1. Hey Joe,

      Great question! You hit the nail on the head. You can’t and won’t make money selling $5 books. The companies that do that use those books as a loss leader–or they’re sellers who have a poor business strategy.

      The best method to look for books to sell is to target specific niches. For me, it was Dungeons & Dragons books, estate sales (especially from scholars), and underpriced FBM textbooks I’d buy on Amazon to resell on Amazon.

      Also, the profit is always in the buy. The books you’re buying to sell on Amazon should cost very little. I was paying $0.50 or less on average for my inventory (which included “throwbacks”). Shipping the books to Amazon cost roughly $0.10 each. So my total out-the-door cost was $0.60 per book.

      You have three fees to contend with on Amazon. Media fee, which is $1.80, $3.00 or so for FBA fees, and then a 15% variable fee (minimum $1.00 last I checked).

  76. Hello
    Your information is very informative and I thank you for sharing.
    I have done all this. Even though I’m yet to list any books i’m told by Amazon my account have been deactivated. I do not understand why this is the case. Amazon is not giving me any reasons what so ever why this is the case tried as I have. I’m told to wait and it’s been weeks and so far no resolution for me so I can start listing. I find it frustrating that they won’t tell you what the problem is so you can rectify and move forward.
    Do you have any advice for me please.
    Nanama

  77. Thank you Dave.

    I was thinking to begin selling used books on amazon, after reading your article i can’t wait to get started.

    I have two questions.
    To begin like FBA, how many books do you think is a good number for a first send? Do you have an ideal number for a single box to send?

    Do have you any experience with books in other languagues, I was thinking in spanish and french books?

    Thanks a lot and I wish you a lot of success in your business.

    1. Ricardo,

      Amazon lets you send boxes weighing up to 50lbs, so any time I used to send books, I filled a box with that number. The fee for sending products is going to be more or less flat, so might as well reduce your cost of goods as much as possible. 50 lbs of books usually adds up to 30-40 in my experience.

      And no, I don’t have much experience with other language books! So long as there’s a market–the BSRs will tell you that–you should be good to go.

      Hope that’s helpful!

  78. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for taking the time to write this article (and share it the info!).
    I have a few questions:

    Do you have to take photos of every book you ship to Amazon for FBA? Or, do they provide stock photos of the books? If they do provide stock photos, what about those times when you’re selling a book and there is no stock photo?

    You made the comment “After all, Amazon would be storing them. And so long as they didn’t hang out in the FCs too long, I’d avoid most late fees.”

    Do they charge you after a book has sat there so many days without selling?

    When you sell using FBA, wouldn’t you have to make a note on any duplicate books of what condition you consider them to be in? The Amazon warehouse workers would need to know which one to grab if you were selling multiple copies of a book (and one was in “like new” condition while another was in “very good” condition). How does that work?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Andy!

      Thanks for writing in!

      1) No, there’s stock photos. So it’s not like eBay. If there’s no photo, it’s okay. You won’t have to provide it unless you want to.

      2) Yes. There are storage fees, short and long term. So be conscious of those. For books, though, they tend to be very inexpensive until you get to long term storage fees (12+ months of sitting at an FC).

      3) Yes, you do. You make a note with each book you add in, though. And then the data is kept in your seller screen under your inventory. Amazon knows which ones to pull and which ones not to. Also, as long as your condition is correct, they may just use another available copy and pay you the same either way. Only collectible copies are they specific on which one goes out.

      Hope that’s helpful!

      3)

  79. Thank you for sharing, that is very helpful, I have a question, I am in talk with a book trade Co that wants to sell me a software that will help facilitate my searches and my sells on Amazon, it is quite expensive, a big one time lump sum payment and then a monthly payment, should I go for it? Isn’t it what Jungle Scout does for only the monthly fee? Do I need the software?
    Thank you,
    Yves

    1. Hi Yves,

      It all depends on you and what works for your business. Book selling is a very different mode of making money on Amazon, so that particular program might work for you. Starting out, however, I suggest you get a feel for the process first, then make a decision based on your experiences before jumping on a program.

      When I started selling, I just sold 1-2 books my first couple days. Then I made the decision to pick up software (which, IIRC, I didn’t do until six months after I’d been selling).

      When I did get a program, it was, in fact, Jungle Scout. But I switched to Private Label selling at that point.

      Hope that’s helpful!

  80. Great info! Got any ideas for selling unique clothing items, my brand is Chesapeake Baybes, and a books I copyrighted for parents & boomers about reading and writing with their kids?

    1. Hi Dee,

      Great question!

      Selling unique clothing items probably lends itself better to platforms like Ebay and Etsy, whereas Amazon is a bit better for Private Label selling and Wholesaling (which is what books kinda falls under).

      I hope that’s helpful!

  81. I need a step-by-step tutorial of how to list books on Amazon that don’t have an ISBN. I have tried twice and get to the place to put an ISBN by this product doesn’t have one, and there is no relevant help offered by Amazon.

    1. Hi MC,

      Great question!

      If you’re selling books that don’t have an ISBN, the best way to go about it is to simply do a search on Amazon for the book in question. Then, when examples come up, pick the listing that matches yours the best. You may have to use the book’s copyright data to find the exact book, too.

      Interestingly, non-ISBN books do very well on Amazon because so many sellers skip them.

      Good luck with book selling!

  82. Thank you for your article and sharing your experience, I will try to sell all the books I have now and don’t need 😉

  83. Thank you so much Dave!!! Selling books it’s always been my dream job as a stay home mom. This article was really helpful i really préciate that you take your time writing this, i will definitely give a try. God bless you

  84. Hi

    I left a comment recently asking about the most appropriate FBA BSR goal for Canadian used book sellers in Canada. I would like to know your opinion on this please, however, you can just delete the 2nd part of my question which was with regards to why it took so long for my inventory to get off “backordered at FBA” since I found out why this happened that one time, it was due to the fact I had Amazon do the labelling. I did my own labeling and now it’s way faster, almost instant.
    Thanks!
    Kris

    1. Hi Kris,

      Great question! Canada is definitely a different market and does only about 1/10th the volume that US does. Which also means it has much less competition. Were I to sell in a place like Canada, I’d probably look for books with much lower BSRs. Maybe as low as 5,000.

      I hope that’s helpful!

  85. Thank you for all this succinct and informative information, it was very helpful to me! Great insider tips and goals to follow!

  86. Do you have any advice for sales rankings to aim for in Canada? I’m selling books in Canada, and I am a Canadian, and the used book selling market in Canada is slower / smaller than in the USA. Would it be advisable to aim for a sales ranking of 250K or less for books, and 1 million or less for textbooks? Or should I go lower?

    Also, it took quite a few weeks for my FBA used books inventory to finally become available on Amazon.ca – it showed as “back-ordered” for a number of weeks and so was not available for two-day shipping until quite recently. Is this normal?

    Thanks!

  87. Hi,

    I enjoyed your article on selling books on Amazon. Very informative. I have 2 questions that hopefully you can help us with:

    1. Would Amazon be a good place to sell textbooks? My kids have approx. 30 textbooks all from within the past 2 college semesters. The books cost a ton of money and we’d like to recoup some of that. They are in like-new condition, since none of them writes in the textbooks.

    2. Where would I buy books to re-sell on Amazon? I love books and would like to actually have a side business selling them online, in addition to the ones from my kids’ college courses.

    3. Do you recommend setting up a business web site? I notice that Amazon sellers don’t seem to have them and that they “hide” behind Amazon. Very few of them can be found without a lot of search engine digging.

    Thanks.

  88. Hi,
    I found your article very helpful. However, I have been looking into FBA to sell books online. It seems that each item has to have a barcode identifier. How do you do that with old books?? Did you create your own barcodes? If so, how did you do it?

    Also, what shipping arrangements did you use to ship books to Amazon? UPS, FedEx, post office?? Was it costly?

    I would appreciate any advice you could give me. Thanks a million
    Helen

  89. I am preparing to start this–just got a website going early this morning (still need to do some things to it)….I thought we had to have the books “ecommerce ready” meaning already packaged. Heck, if I could just put them all in a box and send them to Amazon so they would neatly package and label them that would be FANTASTIC

  90. Very many thanks for this comprehensive account – useful to me as we downsized a year ago and have masses of books we’re not realistically going to read again.

    The only thing I couldn’t find was how to find the BSR no. I’d be v grateful if you’d let me know as it seems such a useful bit of info.

  91. Great tips. I own a lot of books in pristine condition that I know I’ll never read. Was trying to figure out best way to sell them.
    Can I take the same approach with CDs and DVDs?

  92. Hi,
    Thanks for the great advice. I have my books. I have my boxes but I am getting tripped up on getting Amazon seller’s account approval. I do not know what I am doing wrong. I suspect it is because my last name is 2 words and people read that differently (but this is just a guess). I have tried resubmitting the required documents multiple times, but I never get approved. I have contacted customer service, but they just refer me back to the cryptic messages that do not tell me where the problem is in my documents. So, do I have any options? How long should I wait to try again Also, is the approval rating different if I am trying to sign up for an individual or business sellers account?

  93. Thank you for this article. I have been selling FBA for about 9 months but, I still find pricing is very confusing! I know it isn’t black and white but there must be a simpler way? I keep the BSR under a million, keeping most under 500,000 and 4 or 5 star rating but when I check others for sale, I see prices all over the place. Very good condition selling for less than acceptable, etc. Any other tips?
    sue

  94. Thank you SO SO MUCH!!! I came across this by searching on Google (How to sell books on Amazon). I’m just starting and I had a ton of questions which you helped answered. Thank you again for sharing.

  95. Very instructive read, thank you, Dave! I am trying to help old book-lovers in my country make some profit on their antique stashes which, in most cases, go to the recycling plant instead to places like Amazon. May I translate your main article points into two Slavic languages and post them on our site as a stimulating example how the things should be done and what the people can expect?

  96. cool thank you I only wanted to get one book out there. Hmmm good food for thought.
    UK based and curious of volumes on a good and bad seller. Any sense of scale and how likely that is. The book to buy new in a bookshop is £8 so I don’t think it works in the uk.
    Would you give me Any help in guiding me on that?

  97. Process is not too complex, thanks to your very well organized and well written guide. Thank. I am convinced. I have an inventory of 4000 books that I have accumulated in the last 50 years. Time to let ’em. go.

  98. Hi Dave. Thanks for this extremely informative article. I have few questions. Would really appreciate if you can answer them.
    1. Do I need to print the FNSKU labels on the books or is that something that Amazon will do ?
    2. What do I need to put in the ship from address. Does it have to be my home address or can it be anything?
    3. What will be the packing type? Will it be individual products since there will be different books in a single carton or case packed?
    Thanks.

  99. Nice post. Thanks. What type of items do you sell private label? Are you selling items globally using the FBA export program.. if so how is that working out?

    Regards
    Louie

  100. I deal only in children’s books because I know the authors and Illustrators work. This means that I have a small inventory(1-2 thousand). I try to sell now forgotten books that spark a grandfather or grandmother’s imagination because that is what they read when they were a child. Their amazon seller number may be well be over 200,000 or even 2,000,000. They sell less often but for more money. I would say that your strategy works much better than mine with regard to making money. Old paperbacks in perfect condition are a treasure but that is not what the amazon book purchaser is looking for. I assume I am not meant for Amazon but can you think of other venues. The only place that I can think to look for a concentration of people who collect well illustrated children’s books is a few isolated book fairs. I really don’t think that you come out far ahead in these either. My other thought was to establish a reputation by taking wonderful books that I have put in my give away pile and accepting .75 to a dollar profits to balance the expense of keeping rarer books on line.
    Your article has been very imformative and I am glad that someone know how to run a business.

  101. What app would you recommend. I am thinking of using this whilst my private label product takes off.

    Thanks 🙂

  102. Great info. Thanks! Now the BSN # 200,000 OR 1,000,000? Seems you used both numbers. Which do I use to make a wise purchase to sell?

    Thanks.
    Brenda 🙂

  103. I’m interested in selling books on Amazon using your FBA method; however, I have a couple of questions:
    1.) In shipping my books to nearest Fulfillment Center you state “Just throw your books in a box (I like Home Depot’s Small Moving Boxes because they’re pretty cheap), and ship them via one of Amazon’s preferred carriers (or centers). How much is my approximate shipping cost for a standard full box of books using one of Home Depot’s Small Moving Boxes?
    2.) You suggest using “an automated email service like Jump Send” How do I hook up with “Jump Send”? Is there a charge for “Jump Send” service?

  104. Hi Dave, Thanks for the really good information. I was at a promotional meeting last week where they were trying to sell me stuff that I’ve been finding for free online. Anyway, the question I haven’t been able to find an answer for is this: I only have access to Canada post for shipping my inventory to amazon. My experience is that it is very expensive. Is there a special rate to ship to Amazon through Canada Post, do you know?

    Thanks,

    1. Hey Ron,

      I’m not sure there is. What you MIGHT be able to do is ship it via one of Amazon’s preferred carriers like UPS which Amazon does get a low rate for. But that’d have to be selling it FBA style.

  105. Great article. I am planning to start selling used book on Amazon as well. Will we need a label writer for each book we sent to Amazon? If we do, do we just stick it on the book or should I wrap the book then stick the label on it?

    1. Hey Johnny,

      It depends on the book. I use stickers from Avery which tend to be low acid so they don’t stick or damage the books as much as cheaper brands. They peel off pretty easy.

  106. thanks I enjoyed this, but I do have a question about marketing. How do you market books on Amazon, to drive traffic or do you need to?

    1. Joe,

      As in you wrote the book or you’re selling a used book?

      If you wrote the book, there’s Amazon PPC that you can do it through.

      Otherwise, cheapest price wins the Buy Box (most of the time).

  107. Great article. I am dying to get into selling books online. I have had some success selling a small number of books via textbook services online and eBay. I too hate that site, but have found it to at least allow me to catch the occasional rare buyer who just wants a deal. I am intimidated by the prospect of selling on Amazon because the process is still quite fuzzy in my mind. I’m fortunate to live near several libraries and thrift stores packed full of good quality books to flip. I also have access to medical books, guides and study manuals. Is it really as easy as scanning books with my Amazon app, looking at the price, then shipping out the books? Would love a bit more information, if you’re willing to provide it. Again, awesome article.

    1. Nicole,

      Yeah, it is that simple. So long as you can see that you can make a profit after fees, all you have to do is pack them and send them to a fulfillment center. From there, Amazon handles the rest.

  108. Thank you for the very helpful article. I am teacher selling some books that I no longer use. Many of them are in “like new” condition, but have a piece of duct tape around the binding (which I used to easily identify my books). It makes more sense to me to leave the tape on, then take it off and damage the book further.

    With the tape on the binding would you list it as “Good” or “Very Good”?

    1. Tape on the binding would probably drop it down to acceptable, actually. I try to avoid selling with acceptable unless it’s a rare book that not a lot of other people have or the G+ conditions are waaay more expensive than the acceptable ones.

  109. Very informative – thank you! My husband and I are doing our research before jumping in to the book selling online arena. We have been approached by someone selling pricey software that will show us how to make thousands buying/selling books on Amazon without touching a book. It appears to be too good to be true. Have you heard of scams like this? Thank you!

    1. Hey Beth,

      I don’t think you need pricey software to scan books. We offer software for estimating sales, but that’s if you use the private label strategy (which is, honestly, way more lucrative) than selling books.

      The software they’re talking about is probably one that does what’s known as Zen Arbitrage where it finds products on Amazon to resell on Amazon.

    2. Hi Beth,
      I was wondering about the “pricey software” you mentioned because I think I just watched a webinar from the same company. Did you decide to go with it or did you decide to “find your own way”? I’m supposed to have an interview tomorrow but I already know from the approach that it’s going to be a whole lot more money than I am able to and willing to pay to learn the process. I’ve actually already found software that does some of what I saw in the webinar available for a one time fee of $59.00!

  110. Hi Dave! I inherited a garage full of old and rare books. I must liquidate to get my garage back. Virtually none of my books have ISBN identifiers. Many of the publishers are out of business. Is there a way to determine what is worthwhile to list and what to donate? I use Addall sometimes for value but I find that Addall valuations are always much higher than Amazon. Can you help?

    1. Hey Shari,

      Haha I used to have a few like that, too. Honestly, when you have books that lack ISBNs, you have to go through each one individual.

      Be careful, though. If they truly are rare books, especially if they’re first printings, then you might want to have a antiquarian appraise some of them.

  111. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for really good and helpful article. As an Amazon seller I have one concern which I think will interest all. For being able to sell on Amazon you need provide invoices or receipts for your products.
    For this business models of book selling we have following sources
    1. Goodwill outlets, estate sales, bookstore sales, library sales and etc.
    2 is buying books from other online markets such as ebay.
    So does Amazon accept invoices or receipts from this sources?
    Thanks in advance.

  112. Hello! Do you have any information about what type of scanner to use and how to go about using it to search up the information using the Amazon seller app (or any other app that will show Amazon’s information)? My husband wants to try using a scanner rather than just using the Amazon seller app because he heard you can scan the book so much quicker to see if they are worth selling or not.

  113. A couple more questions: How do you evaluate condition if the book is good to excellent but the cover is fair, e.g. some light soiling or minor tears? How important is the dust cover?
    Also, if there are two or more volumes, do you list seperately or together? (May even be different dates).
    Thank you!

  114. Thank you for sharing! I just want to clean out my bookshelves.
    When you talk about books with absolutely no markings or writing in them, does that include a book signed by the author? Is that a benefit or a detriment for selling a book? Is there any place in the listing to include a comment that it is signed by the author?

  115. Hi, I’ve really enjoyed and learned a lot from this article. Recently I’d attended a webinar regarding this subject and was highly disappointed to learn Amazon does NOT pay cash for book sales but some sort of credit instead? What is this about? It is not mentioned anywhere I’ve been able to find, and I have no replay for the webinar I watched to ask questions there. I’ve heard you have to deal with outside book retailers in order to get cash for sales, NOT Amazon. I didn’t see any mention in your article and wanted to know if I’d been duped on this webinar and it’s not true, or is there some truth to it? Thanks

  116. IS THERE SUCH A PERSON OR COACH THAT CAN SIT WITH ME AS I SIGN UP AND SET UP. ?
    I DRIVE 48 STATES FOR MY JOB AND ALREADY HAVE A GOOD GOOD BIT OF BOOK WITH I BELIEVE BSR UNDER 400000.

  117. Hi and thank you for the informative article. Can you give me an answer, in what format should be the e-books for the sale of Amazon?

  118. Thank you for the well written article, very helpful.
    I am based in the UK does all this information still apply?
    Also how would i go about registering for tax, would i have to do self employed im assuming (sorry im extremely novice)
    Thank you

    1. Hey Laura,

      If you sell Amazon UK, I think you have to add in the VAT, which can make margins slimmer.

      As far as UK rules for legal stuff goes, I’m not certain. You might want to consult a tax professional for that.

  119. Hi!
    Thanks for the informative article. Far more detailed than others I’ve read.

    I would like to sell my books, but I wonder, since i would not be doing it long term, can this be done without owning a printer? I suppose i could print at the library…but realistically would that be a pain? can the fbm order be written out by hand on the package?

    1. Kristiina,

      Yes, absolutely! However, you’ll find printers are surprisingly cheap. When I started my book business, I bought an HP printer at Wal-mart for only $25. Of course, the printer cartridges cost more than the printer, but I digress haha

      But yes, you can write it all by hand if you please.

  120. Hi Dave,

    Looking at book listings on the Amazon website, I noticed that there is an overall BSR as well as BSRs for different sub-categories. Do you go with an overall BSR of 200,000 or less, or do you go with the sub-category BSRs of 200,000 or less? Thanks for clarifying! And thanks for all of this useful information, I am going to give this a shot!

  121. Hello. I have not put books on since late last year and the method has changed. I can get no help as the seller help department do not seem to understand my problem. If a book is already entered with other sellers’ listed and I have the same copy to sell, I cannot see how to enter mine where there is a box allowing me to describe its condition. Yes there is a box to tick with ‘used like new’ or ‘used acceptable’ but there is now no box where I can add sentences like ‘slight crease to dustjacket’ or ‘signed by the author’ etc.
    If I click ‘sell yours’ that box does not appear. Same if I go to my inventory and click ‘Add a product.’ Can you help please?

  122. Hi Dave,
    I have a question I’m hoping you can answer. I am currently an Amazon affiliate and I have a personal Prime account. Both are on the same account. However, I would like to sell books FBA as an individual seller but I want to keep the account separate from my existing account. Can I do this by setting up a seller account using a different email? Can I still use the same bank account? To clarify, I don’t currently have a seller account–I want to get the right information before I set one up. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to find an answer regarding this on Amazon’s forums and through their customer service. Thanks in advance for your advice!

  123. Hello Dave,

    Today I happend to walk into a thrift store and give it a little browse to kill some time as I came across a section of books. Recently I’ve been looking for ways to make a little extra money on the side, I saw these books on the shelf at a pretty decent price and asked myself “how could I profit off of these”, ironically I searched “how to sell books on Amazon”. I mean how hard could be? I asked myself. Well your blog was the first on the list. I read and read. Then the funny part was that today is Thursday and it was 4pm when I was reading away. As I read the section where yoy sold your first book. It has motivated me to keep researching ways to give this a shot. I don’t have any inventory but am looking to invest time and money. Now I did have a question, is this more of just creating a profile without having to do any other additional steps outside of Amazon? For example do I have to create an entity? It might be silly question.

  124. Hi there,

    I’m confuse with private labeling. Will you clarify that, please. What exactly is the process to start with private labeling. Thanks!

  125. Hi!
    I wonder if this is the easiest way to sell self published books online as well? Or books in another language then English? Where do the profit go and how is it taxed? I am not American, can I still do this?

    1. Hi Helena,

      Amazon does offer a self-publishing service called CreateSpace that you could look into if you wanted to use their platform for sales and Kindle download options. We don’t have experience with it, but it’s available to non-Americans.

      Hope that helps and good luck!
      Melissa

  126. Hey Dave,
    Just found 100+ boxes of student math books for $200 ,(approx) 2,000 books.
    Can’t sell them all on Amazon what do you think I might get if I sell most of them TO Amazon?

    1. Depends.

      Amazon has a trade-in program for Amazon credit, although they’re pretty picky about the books that they’ll give credit for.

      Another solution is to sell them all in bulk on Ebay, although people might asks for lists of the titles.

  127. HI Dave I received an email saying that I can post some of my books with fulfillment. I am a little worried to do it so I stepped back and did not do it. So far since I started selling books I had being selling them in a 1 or 2 books per day but I noticed that in the Amazon page I am in the third or fifth page. So my question is should I jump to the pool and send all my books to fulfillment and all in all what will be my cost vs benefits.

    1. Valeria,

      Amazon’s cost to ship goods is usually less than your own. Also, you get a Prime badge which increases the chance that people will purchase yours over another. Sometimes, there’s even a difference in price between Prime and non-Prime books.

  128. This is a very direct and helpful article! I plan on getting my reseller’s certificate and begin book selling within the next 45 days and will definitely use these tips. I hope to leave my job one day, similar to your story, I hate my 9-5!

    1. Hey Brianna, that’s awesome! So happy we can help give you the confidence to start selling, and taking the first step is where it all starts 🙂

      Let us know how it goes!
      Melissa

  129. Dave,
    1) How are sales taxes handled?
    2) With FBM, how quickly must one ship?
    3) They will keep an amount aside to protect themselves for fraud. How much? For how long?
    4) How do I notify Amazon that I shipped to customer?
    Thx very much.

    1. Hey Paul,

      1) Amazon collects sales tax on your behalf.
      2) Within 1 business day.
      3) Payments are done every two weeks. So long as the pending order goes through before the pay date, you’ll get the funds.
      4) When you go into Seller Central and print the label and buy shipping from Amazon, it’ll automatically notify Amazon.

      Hope that’s helpful!

  130. Dave this is good information. Thanks so much for putting it together! I have a tiny little bit of criticism for you. You may not care for it at all but I appreciate this kind of input. You misuse “there’s” 5 out of 7 times. It detracts for an otherwise great presentation.

    For whatever it might be worth (probably not much),

    Mark

  131. Hi Dave,
    Great article.

    I’m new to the Amazon selling game. After some research I found buying and reselling textbooks an idea people agree on. However I also read (mostly on Amazon own seller central blog) that several books and textbooks in particular are increasingly becoming restricted items for small (and not so small) sellers, a policy that started about a year ago. Looks like it’s still possible to sell some, but restriction is increasing on the most demanded ones.

    What are your thoughts about how these restrictions affect the business of selling books, and more specifically textbooks, for small time sellers?

    And if textbooks are no longer an option, what book category you think is still worth doing and which gives a big ROI?

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Pablo,

      Great questions! I still have a lot of success with niche books and collectible books which I buy on Ebay and flip on Amazon. Graphic novels and trade paperbacks do pretty well, too. There’s an application for collectible books on Amazon, but if I remember correctly it’s pretty easy to get through.

  132. Dave, this is an odd one. I’ve just self published a new printed book — high quality: hardback, dust jacket, good paper, 20 pages of glossy photo’s, etc. It’s non-fiction and history/religious utopian commune/19th century/pretty crazy. Was thinking of selling it for $35, mostly through bookstores, but also on Amazon. Would FBM be the place to start? Excellent blog, by the way — and remarkable for your responses!

    1. Hey Horace,

      Congrats on publishing! Either way, honestly. If you’ve already got cases of them, it’s probably just easier to send one or two cases to Amazon and see how you do. Amazon also offers Kindle Direct Publishing and Create Space services for self-published authors, which are both totally cool. Sure, they take a big ol’ bite out of your profits, but there’s no cost of goods on your end except for marketing. KDP is all digital. And Create Space is print-on-demand.

  133. I have a few hundred books, mostly cookbooks, and mysteries. They are all in excellent condition. How do I know what price to put, or does Amazon price the books when I send to them? I have not signed up yet with Amazon but will do so shortly.

    Thanks,
    Sue

    1. Hey Sue,

      You set your own prices. How you price them depends on the popularity of the book plus current prices.

      If you look at the prices for a particular book, you’ll see that a lot of the cheapest entries are usually those in Acceptable or Good condition. If your books are VG or better, then you can price those accordingly. However, I would only do this with books that have a BSR 1,000,000 or lower. Otherwise, they could take forever to sell.

      Very Good condition, for a lot of book buyers, is sort of the “starting point” for purchases. I usually never buy Acceptable or Good condition myself.

  134. Hey, Dave!
    Quick question.
    When I click the link to make an “Individual Seller” account and it gets to my Bank info, It says that I am making a “Professional Account” and only gives me that option, and says that once I put in my card info, that they will bill me for the $39.99. I never even wanted any of that. I wanted the Individual and free option. So I called customer service 3 times and all times, they said that they are in the middle of some stuff and that my only option is to select the “Professional Seller” account and to pay the $39.99 and that they would immediately refund me the money and downgrade my account to Individual from there. I don’t know, that seems fishy to me. They said that a lot of people have been having this same question to them lately and that is what they have been telling them to do. Have you encountered this? I saw someone in your comments just 20 days ago say that he was able to make an individual account. Not fair! Please shed some light on this if you will.

    1. Kristen,

      Interesting!

      Hate to admit it, but Amazon can be somewhat buggy sometimes on their back end. I’d keep trying to get the individual account if you can and keep us posted on what’s up!

  135. Great article. I’ve scanned all of my books at home and found that the vast majority of them have a high BSR. What should I do with those books? Should I sell them to a used book store or hold on to them and ship them FBM to avoid FBA storage fees? Also, how sustainable is it to sell used books? Can you find enough book deals to make a decent income?

    Thanks.

  136. Hello Dave,
    Great article by the way. Thank You!!

    I signed up to sell on Amazon on the individual plan. When I went to go sell my first college textbook under the heading “List A New Product”. It pulls up my book with all the current listings already on Amazon. I do not get a box that says “Sell Yours”. Instead it comes up and says Listing Limitations Apply. It also says this :

    “You are not approved to list this brand and we are currently not accepting applications.
    New; Used: Like new conditions You are not approved to list this brand and we are currently not accepting applications.
    Refurbished condition You are not approved to list this product and we are not accepting applications at this time.”

    I don’t understand why. We should not need approval to sell textbooks should we?? I don’t books listed in their approval sections..

    Cannot new sellers sell books or these college textbooks anymore??
    Thank You…..

    1. Hey Larry,

      It depends on the brand. Amazon’s had a lot of fraudulent sellers in the last few years try to sell their books online (usually foreign “teacher’s edition” copies).

      What’s the ASIN for the book? I’ll look it up for you.

  137. Thank you, Dave! If I use FBA, do you know whether I have to individually pack each book prior to shipping my inventory to Amazon’s storage facility, or can I just send the books the way I would receive them from the book printer? Meaning, on a pallet, where books are grouped into packages of 5 and shrinkwrapped?

  138. Hi Dave,

    I am in the process of self-publishing an illustrated children’s book, which I intend to sell through my web shop and also via Amazon. What would be the best Amazon program to start with, since I want to focus on the US market, and also on the English speaking market in Europe? Would you recommend starting with the Pro account and use Linked Accounts for the North America & EU market places? If I sent my inventory to a fulfilment centre in Europe, under what conditions could the books be sold/sent to the USA? I am unable to find these answers, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time to respond!

    1. Hey Andrea,

      Congrats on self-publishing! The method you’re doing sounds a little closer to private label than book selling. Private label is something Jungle Scout specializes in.

      Do the pro account if you plan on selling at least 40 copies per month. From what I understand of the EU market, it’s separate from the US. So US people can order it, but it’s probably better off if you send inventory to US and EU.

      Since what you’re doing is similar to private label, I suggest reading up a bit more on it: https://www.junglescout.com/how-to-sell-on-amazon-fba

      Basically, you’ve already done part 1 and 2, research and sourcing. Now it’s just a matter of launching and promoting.

      Good luck and let me know if you have any further questions!

  139. Hi Dave,

    Great blog, excellentinformation! Thanks for sharing.

    I have at least 300 children books, at least 100 of those are in Spanish, plus at least 200 more books of varies different genres. Most of them are about personal development, religious and spiritual growth, teaching techniques and financial advise.

    I’ve never sold anything online before but I’m considering selling some of these books to make room for more. Should I start with the children books? Most of my books are in great condition.

    Before hand, thanks so much for taking the time to respond!

    1. Hi Reina,

      Sure! Just be sure to check their value before listing them. You generally want to try to sell books that have a value of at least $10 before shipping to cover the Amazon fees.

  140. Thanks Dave. I am now less anxious of selling on Amazon. I have a cool collection of old and rare books I need to liquidate. I have been listing on Ebay without much luck. It is worth giving Amazon a shot. I needed to know about the fee structure and the condition guidelines and you did it for me. Many thanks!

    1. Hey Shari,

      Yeah. The fees for media are like so:

      15% referral fee based on the sales price
      $1.80 media fee

      If you sell via FBA, you’ll pay the FBA fee, too, which is basically shipping. This is usually about $2.99 for books under 1 lb and increases with each pound.

      If you sell via FBM, then you’ll get shipping on top of your sales price, usually $3.99. I find that shipping books via media mail usually only costs $2.72 for the first pound, plus a dollar for every pound after that.

      Finally, if you’re selling on the individual plan, there’s a $1.00 flat fee. If you’re selling on the pro plan, then it’s $39.95/month and no flat fee.

      Hope that’s helpful.

  141. Sorry. I sent a previous comment yesterday. If you didn’t receive it , I’ll be happy to rewrite it. I just want to consent to your saving my name, email, etc.

  142. In 2000, I inherited about 200 books from my mother, who was a city librarian for 37 years and who salvaged these books when the library culled its collection to make room for new books. These books are up to 150 years old and were selected by her for their literary value. Many of them have signatures on the inner cover. Many are in excellent condition. Others are in poor shape. We want to get rid of the books and want to use Amazon FBA. Some of these books may be valuable because of their content and the historical era in which they were published.
    Your article has been a great help, but I don’t understand how to initiate the process. We are recording titles, authors, and copyright dates and will type these into my computer. How do I initiate the process of Amazon FBA?

    1. Hi Dr Bob,

      It depends. Older books tend not too do so well on Amazon, in my experience. But if they’re of super high value (ie, a first print of Dickens, etc), you might consider bringing on a book antiquarian to get your maximum value.

      Books written before the 1970s don’t have ISBNs, so it can be difficult to enter them into a catalog like Amazon, since you’ll have to physically search for each book one by one by title. And even then, there can be 2-3 variations of the book.

      So, long story short: I recommend taking a look at your collection and finding the books that probably have the greatest value first. If there’s a lot of first edition/first prints, those might do better on eBay or Abe. But if it’s a lot of mass produced titles, then Amazon’s probably your go-to.

  143. So what phone ap do you use to scan the books? Do you have to sign up with Amazon first to access their scanner?

    1. Hey Julia,

      I never used a phone app (I bought in bulk and typed in the ISBNs manually), but I know some folks use Profit Panda which I THINK costs roughly $7.99 or something like that. You can also use the Amazon retail app or seller app. Both have camera scanners built in.

  144. Hi.

    Greetings from India !! Great Article. Something which I searched a lot on internet. I made a listing on Amazon Local Finds here in India for selling my used books. In a week’s time, 9 books were sold. I made a loss though as my purchase price was higher (all were new). I wanted to know following –

    1. Here in India we get customers which are near to our location. Like if I am seller from west India I get customers from west India only as it is a local finds account. I wanted to know your customer region. Have you made an amazon seller account? If yes then how do you take care of local taxes on the transaction? In India we have GST.

    2. In India we are charged almost INR 40 (Roughly half dollar) after book is sold . And we cannot sell beyond a certain price recommended by Amazon local finds .

    3. Here if there are issues like violation then seller account is taken down . Like if Pearson or Jacob Publishing is selling books and they dont want others to sell at lower prices they can tell amazon to take our seller account down. Can you guide me if you have faced such issues?

    Thank you

  145. I would like to know if I can just only Scan all my old books and post it in AMazon to sell.. is it possible? thanks

    1. Hi Zhinoos,

      Yeah! Just make sure they have some value to them. Amazon takes 15% of the price for the referral fee and then a $1.80 media fee. So you want to try to sell books that are at least $15-$20 in value.

  146. Dave,

    Thanks for this great article! I do have a question for you. Like Kathy and Rev. Kathleen above, I am planning to sell my personal library of ~ 400 books of various genres and once they are gone, I will be done (at least that is the plan).

    Two questions:

    1) In this case, would it be best to sign up with a professional or personal account since I don’t know how long it will take to sell all of them.

    2) Can I still use the FBA option for this project?

    Many thanks!

    1. Hey Cathy!

      Great to hear you getting started! And wow! 400 books, that’s awesome!

      1) The extra $1 for individual accounts can cut into your margins pretty quick. So you might consider doing pro if you think you’re going to be selling at least 40 books per month. In my experience, non-fiction with BSRs below 1,000,000 usually sell within 30 days on Amazon. So make sure you’ve got plenty of inventory that falls under that.

      2) Yeah, for sure! Keep in mind, there’s always storage fees you’ll have to contend with, in addition to Amazon’s referral fee, the media fee (a new fee Amazon added last year), and FBA fees. I’ve toned down my book sales over the last couple years, and what few I do I do FBM.

  147. Amazing!! This is exactly what I was looking for today. I scored 108 books this morning and decided to try and sell them on line. So glad I found this, thanks for posting!!

    Brian

  148. Hi
    What a great blog/ read. I enjoyed it immensely. I have about 200-300 of my own books, mostly teenager books and study books , gcse/ A level. I am conscious of time tbh I dont have any and I would love to try and make some money from these.
    From what I have understood from looking through Amazon and looking at BSR for the first time ( thanks 2 U) i ca see most of these books are between 300,000 and 10,000 BSR. I suppose they are all worth a sell but on average they sell for about £3. What can you suggest , looking at time limitations/ and end sale? Please advice the best way forwards, UK based thanks mate.

    1. Hey Ahsan!

      Well, those BSRs sound pretty good, at least for the US market. However, at 3 GBP you may see fees eating up a lot of your profit margins. I recommend sorting through and finding those where you can at least make a little profit. You might even consider starting slow and doing them via fulfilled-by-merchant where you mail the books.

  149. Hi Dave, Thanks for the comprehensive review.

    1. How/where can I find the BSR for a title? I haven’t yet set up an Amazon seller account.

    2. Is there a list of Amazon warehouses cities where the books will be stored?

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hey Robyn,

      BSRs are on the page, just below the product description and above the reviews.

      Typically, Amazon will send the books to whichever warehouses have the highest demand. When I send books to Amazon, they typically go to the DFW FC. Then, Amazon will split them up and send them to different locations around the country.

  150. Hi Dave, Thanks for the article through Jungle Scout. Also for the replies you have provided to the comments. Could you please share your knowledge on selling new books? where and how can I source new books, is it profitable if I can source them?
    Thank you.

    1. Hey Shibu,

      I haven’t done new books before, but it’s not too hard. You’d have to contact book suppliers directly. In fact, some publishing houses even allow you to drop ship directly from them.

      Do note that when you sell new books, you have to compete directly with Amazon if you’re going to sell on Amazon. So often, it’s better to go after used books of value that Amazon can’t get ahold of easily.

  151. Dave,
    I am about to retire, and I have about 6 thousand books in my personal library. Many of these are professional books: religious topics, Bible commentaries, and so on. I had thought to sell a lot of these on Amazon, but I really can’t understand how people can make a profit for those book that are listed at one cent, or four or five dollars. As I have looked up some of my books, I find that some of them might go for 10=15 dollars, so that might be worth it. But I figured I would do the fulfillment myself. What I have are books likely to be found by people looking for that specific title or topic. I have bought many books through Amazon for a penny, with the $3.99 shipping added. Is that enough to turn a profit?

    1. Hi Reverend!

      Good questions! And WOW that’s even more books than I have! Well done!

      I actually had a lot of luck selling Christian non-fiction when I started. I purchased an estate of a pastor’s books. He had some pretty cool books, including a few first editions of MLK’s books.

      Basically, the fee structure for selling books on Amazon is like so:

      1) First, you have the referral fee, which is 15% of the sales price. So if you sell for $15, that’ll be $2.25.
      2) If you sell via FBA, you’ll have the FBA fee, which is more or less shipping/handling on Amazon’s part. This usually starts at about $3.02 for the first pound and goes up about $0.75 for each pound after (you can use Amazon’s FBA calculator to predict this cost in advance). If you do FBM, then they’ll tack on an additional $3.99 for shipping, which USUALLY covers most media mail shipping costs for books unless it’s a particular heavy book.
      3) Finally, Amazon has a media fee, which is a flat $1.80 per book. They’ve only added this fee within recent years to discourage low, low priced books on Amazon, and people using their fulfillment centers as “storage” centers for old, slow-selling books.

      So your total fees on a FBM $15 book + $3.99 shipping that can be shipped via media mail is going to be roughly $4.05 plus the cost to ship (media mail costs typically around $2.80 for the first pound another $1.00 for each pound after that, so we’ll just say that it more or less uses up the whole $3.99). That leaves you with $10.95 for the sale.

      With such a large collection, you might want to invest in a scanner to quickly run through the books, unless, of course, they’re all pre-ISBN, in which case you’ll need to enter them by hand.

  152. Hello-Great article and tips. I want to buy and sell books on Amazon full time. However, I am quite discouraged about a lot of places not wanting us to use our scanners in their stores. Also, I have heard the Amazon seller fees have become so much that it’s hard to make a profit. Is this true? Can you please expound on this? I would greatly appreciate it!

    1. Hey Elizabeth,

      Yeah, some places definitely aren’t crazy about scanners. Personally, I never did it with the scanner method. As far as the fees go, I recommend looking for stuff that can cover your fees which are 15% of the price, roughly $3-4 for FBA, and $1.80 for media. Textbooks and niche books like comic books and stuff like that are pretty good for getting past the fees.

  153. Hi Dave,
    What a great article. There’s more info here than I have found anywhere else.
    I have a small publishing company and I’m about to produce a few books. I don’t intend to sell a ton of them, but I also don’t want to spend my time at the post office and boxing books. Does your method work for self-publishers of hard copy books as well? And if so, does everything above apply?
    Thanks!
    JB

    1. Hey JB,

      My recommendation for self-publishing is using KDP for your digital and Amazon’s CreateSpace for physical. While the fees can be quite heavy, it’s a whole lot easier to get a start on things without spending a bunch on printed copies of books.

      If you DO go getting your own books printed, you could try it, but with the super competitive nature of self-publishing, you could end up spending more than necessary before you test the market.

      A number of successful authors start this way now.

      Of course, self-publishing is a whooooole other Amazon selling method! 🙂

  154. Hi Dave.
    Thanks, great article. If sourcing in Australia to do FBA in the USA, It would cost a fortune in postage fees. Do you have a suggestion of how one might set up from outside the USA.

    Also just double checking on a couple of comments and answers: so sending a box of various books into amazon somehow works? how do they know what’s what in the box for sending on to buyers?

    1. Hey Vivienne,

      Good question. Obviously, you now have the Australian Amazon, so you’d be one of the first book sellers on there. As far as sending them to Amazon US, you’re right, the postage would be prohibitively high. So if you’re going to do books, I recommend jumping on the AU Amazon.

      When you create your fulfillment order, Amazon gives you a label sheet that you print out and stick to each of your items. They then split up the book orders and send them to the various fulfillment centers depending on supply/demand.

  155. Read this page the other day and got inspired!

    Well it looks like plenty of people are responding to this, not sure if these guys have been doing this all along or not but, I found tons of treasures in Goodwill stores over the years, but not books. Now that Goodwill stopped putting treasures on the shelves and instead they list the stuff, I decided to slow down visiting them. Just looks like junkwill in there now. But after reading this page I went into Goodwill today to scan some books and there was this guy all over the books with a scanner and a cart just scanning– bam bam one after the other as fast as he could.

    I felt like saying: Hey, do you mind if someone else sees those books too. But of course he was in a frenzy and didn’t even notice me standing there. Discouraged from this new idea I just learned about, I went ahead on to the one on the other side of town. When I stepped in the door I went over to the books shelves and there was another guy with a cart and a scanner connected to his phone just scanning the books one by one in a speed method, occasionally throwing one here and there into the cart. It was enough for me, I’ll stick to other methods and products.

    This just seems not right that the book area which is usually no traffic hardly at all now suddenly has these book attackers scanning away. It really makes the other store customers just stay away until they leave. Can’t help to wonder if it is even ethical in a first come first serve environment like that, I mean this just started lately. I mean I felt like I had better not even dare to grab and check out a book that was within this guys two arms reach on this public shelf… it is intimidating to other potential book shoppers…Just walked away!

  156. Thank you for the helpful tips. My husband passed away last year and he was an avid reader. I have a few hundred books to sell with a mixture of paperback and hardback. They are in great condition except he always threw away the dust covers as he hated them. He mostly read sci fi, alternate history, and military related titles. Do you think that selling them on Amazon and using the FBA method would be my best bet?

  157. which scanner app do you use or recommend? how did you come up with that list of text books? that sounds like an interesting idea. i am selling books on Amazon now and have almost 2000 in my garage. with the fee increase plus 15% plus packing materials I will not get rich. However, the thought of labeling and mailing that many books to Amazon is daunting. do you make that many more sales going prime to justify the cost?

    1. Hey Christine,
      Supposedly, selling prime gives you a pretty big bump in conversions since people will get the books sooner. The textbook method, also called Zen Arbitrage by some, is pretty good since a lot of students want textbooks fast and are willing to pay the difference. Lately, I’ve been doing OA with a niche market, buying wholesale lots on Ebay and flipping them on Amazon (although I’ve been doing those from home).

  158. Great information but I am still a little confused. Can I purchase 40 different used books using the criteria you listed and shop them to be FBA in one box? I am just getting started and had 15 of the same new item to send off. FBA prompted me to send in 3 different shipments.

    1. Amy,

      It depends on where Amazon needs those books to go. Sometimes, there’s demand for certain books in different parts of the country, so they’ll ask you send them to another spot. I do know that they try to do their best to keep it all as close to you as possible.

    2. You can select what Amazon calls ‘Inventory Placement Service’ which means all your books will go to one warehouse. They’ll charge you a fee of .30 or so per book, but the hassle you save, not to mention not having the extra cost of sending separate shipments, is worth it in my opinion.

  159. If i have one of each book and say 10 books total, shipping FBA, do I put them all loosely in one box? Or each book has to have its own box. If you have one-offs, do you recommend fba or fbm?

    1. Manuel,

      They automatically pop up when you’re preparing goods for FBA. I believe it’s on the screen that says “prep for FBA” there’s a button that says print labels. The label size is 1 in x 2 5/8 in address labels which you can buy at most office goods stores.

      1. Thanks, Dave for your replies. Do you wrap the books with cardboard cover before putting the label on them, or do you stick the labels right on the books and throw them into a box?

        1. Hey Manuel,

          I do a lot of my stuff FBM these days, so I don’t do labels as much. If I do textbook “zen arbitrage” where I’m flipping books bought FBM to FBA, I just stick it on directly. Only on collectibles do I get sensitive about the sticker placement.

          When I do FBM, if it’s something that can’t be folded, I’ll place two cardboard backers on either side (kinda like the type you’d use for comic books) and put into a padded envelope. I’ll then write “DO NO BEND” all over it.

          1. Thanks. I am finishing my first fba shipment today – thanks to your blog post. Let’s see if this works in Europe as well.

  160. Good read. I’ll give it a try just for fun. One question though. How can Amazon accept a box where “I just throw in the books” without labeling each since one box would contain 40-50 different books. How do they stock them without a label on each book? They sent me an email today asking to put a label on each product, which seems like a lot of work.

    1. Hey Manuel,

      It can be tedious, yes. However, you can get Amazon to label them for you (I believe it’s an option under “prep for Amazon”), but there’s a higher cost. And since books tend to have some of the highest fees around–all media items have a base $1.80 plus 15% of the sales price, now)–adding more to it can hurt your bottom line.

  161. Interesting read! I’ve been looking at FBA but for private label, hadn’t considered physical books. I’ve been on the other side of Amazon selling for years, digital books, being one of the longest online independent e-publishers around, but in recent years there has been a big change in how Amazon handles that side. My question for physical books is, you say you just put them in a box and ship to a fulfillment center. Does a listing need to be included in the box with title and ISBN or something for identifier for the fulfillment center? Wondering the prep involved. Books are heavy also, does shipping costs of boxes of books become high?
    Again, though, great read and good info!

    1. Hey Linda,

      When you’re going through the process, Amazon’s back end will give you a sheet of labels that you can print and stick on the books. If you’ve ordered a physical book from Amazon before, you’ve probably seen it.

      Amazon labels.

      And when you’re shipping to an Amazon FC, you get to use Amazon’s negotiated rates, which are roughly $7-$10 for 50lbs. A typical “small book box” (like you can buy at Home Depot) usually can hold 30-40 regular sized hardbacks, so your total cost to ship to an FC is roughly $0.25-$0.30 per book.

  162. Sometimes it seems like the Amazon FBA margins are very slim with books. Is it just quantity that drives sales for books on Amazon?

    1. Jay,

      It’s more about just finding the right books, because you’re right… the margins can be very slim! Quantity surely helps, but it’s quality more than anything, which is why I recommend OA over the other formats which rely more on volume.

  163. If you choose the right book, does that mean you might get a 5 star review on the book. I see you eg has 1000 + reviews
    And what is the app that gives the bsr of books on Amazon.com

    1. Hey Jim,

      The book reviews won’t affect your seller account as seller feedback and product reviews are two different things.

      You can check BSRs directly on Amazon. In fact, Amazon’s mobile app has a built in scanner, too. You can also use Jungle Scout’s Chrome Extension to automatically pull up the BSR information, too.

  164. How do you start a brand selling used books? Is it just similar to a store front name?
    And I suppose there is money to be saved by not doing ppc?

    James

    1. Hello James,

      It’s less of “starting a brand per se” as it is just wholesaling/arbitrage sharing every other listing, so the method is quite different from private label. And yes, unless you’ve got the buy box for a product, you can’t do PPC.

  165. Great piece! Thanks for sharing.

    Question. How many hours per week were you putting in when you were making (profit?) $2-3k month?

    Thank again!

    1. Hey Ben,

      When I was doing FBM, I was spending about 3-4 hours per night. Once I switch to FBA that went down to 3-4 hours per week, most of which was spending time finding deals on wholesale books and listing the books on Amazon. I was working full time for most of that time, so I could only do so much with the book selling, but still made about $1000/month profit doing it as a side hustle. When I switched to OA, it got a lot easier, as I just created a list of “hot finds” and would look around for deals on those. It’s surprising how bad people are at pricing things on Ebay–of course, that’s a double edged sword, as they’re also terrible at getting the conditions right, so I end up spending a lot of time arguing over books with writing inside, stains, smells-like-smoke, etc.

      The trouble I had with books was that it’s not scalable. Once you hit a certain point, inventory gets harder and harder to find. That’s why I switched to private label. But book selling, OA, and RA are awesome bridges to getting into bookselling.

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