how to sell books on Amazon
Outlines how to sell books to Amazon, with easy steps from setting up your account to analysing which books will be profitable for you to sell.
- How to sell books to Amazon: 4 reasons to sell books on Amazon
- How to sell books to Amazon: How to find books to sell on Amazon
- Frequently Asked Questions
In 1994 Jeff Bezos founded Amazon and started selling books. According to Statista, the books category is the fifth most sought-after category in the United States.
As you can see in the figure below, Amazon had total sales of $258.22 billion in 2018. The sales share of the books / music / video category was 11.9%. In total, that’s $30.72 billion.
But why am I telling you this? There’s a simple reason for this: you can also make money on Amazon selling books. Selling books on Amazon can be a good idea, especially if you are considering becoming an Amazon retailer. A key reason for this is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to first buy goods that you want to then resell. There is no risk of losing a lot of money because books are not particularly expensive.
By selling books on Amazon, you can save up start-up capital that you can then use for the first order of your private label product. You will also gain initial experience selling books on Amazon. If you want to bring your own product to market later, these experiences are worth their weight in gold.
Whether you’re just getting rid of a few old books or want to start a real business, selling books on Amazon is always a good idea. If you want to know how to sell books on Amazon then this article is for you. How to file sales tax if you’re selling on multiple platforms
How to sell books to Amazon: 4 reasons to sell books on Amazon
Some want to get rid of a few old books. The others want to sell professionally on Amazon. No matter what your goal is. This section is about four really good reasons why you should sell books on Amazon.
Reason 1: You can make money by selling (old) books on Amazon
This is the simplest reason: You can make money selling books on Amazon. Jungle Scout’s Dave Hamrick claims he built a business on Amazon selling used books that makes thousands of dollars a month. It’s also a great way to save some budget for future investments. For example, if you want to start with Amazon FBA later .
Reason 2: people want to buy books
There are now ebooks, digital magazines and almost everyone searches for information on Wikipedia instead of in an encyclopedia. One would think that the demand for books has fallen dramatically in recent years. According to Google Trends, this is not the case. People all over the world have been searching for books on Amazon for five years, and the number is not changing.
The demand for books is really huge. The net sales of the US book sector amounted to $25.93 billion in 2018. USD. $10.28 billion of this was sold in bookstores . And, as we all know, bookstores sell printed books, not ebooks. Additionally, Americans read 12 books a year, and the typical American has read four books in the past 12 months .
Reason 3: Amazon is a good marketplace for selling books
Amazon is the largest online marketplace in the world. 59% of 16 to 36 year olds go to Amazon before any other ecommerce website. Here are a few facts about Amazon:
- 2019 net sales: $280.5 billion
- Amazon monthly traffic: 209.7 million
- Active customer accounts: 300 million
If you want to sell online, there is actually no way around Amazon. Some people think eBay is better, but we don’t support that statement.
Reason 4: Amazon makes your life easier
You have three options to sell your products on Amazon:
- Processing by you (FBM): You list your product on Amazon, pack it and send it to your customers.
- Amazon Vendors (AMZ): You sell your inventory directly to Amazon.
- Processing by Amazon (FBA): You list your product on Amazon, but Amazon stores, packs and ships your product to your customers.
Amazon FBA is a great option, especially for new sellers. That’s because FBA dealers only have to worry about selling products. In the beginning, you can weigh up which option is better for you. As soon as your business starts rolling on Amazon, we recommend switching to FBA.
How to sell books to Amazon: How to find books to sell on Amazon
Since buying books from Alibaba or Aliexpress is not a good idea, let’s talk about where and how to buy books. Two things are important when looking for books. This is the best seller rank (BSR) and the net profit after deducting all costs and fees.
The BSR tells you how quickly a product sells on Amazon. The higher a product’s BSR, the slower it sells. This number shouldn’t exceed 100,000. The net profit after deducting all costs and fees should be at least $2 for books, and $3 is better. How to use cross-selling to boost sales
Method # 1: Search for books offline
Searching for books offline is a very popular method. It works like retail arbitrage. You should look for places that have heavily discounted books. Prices should be between $1 and $2 per book. Such places are for example:
- Bookstores (often also offer heavily discounted books)
- Book flea markets (Here you have to pay attention to the quality)
A good option is to ask bookstores whether there are certain promotions, fairs, etc. as these people are very knowledgeable about the subject. Once you’ve found a few good places, you’ll need to find books that match the criteria above:
- BSR lower than 100,000
- Net profit more than $2
- Searching for books offline can even be fun. You will see that there are tons of books out there on tons of interesting subjects.
Method # 2: wholesale
This is another way to find books for sale on Amazon. Instead of looking for individual books, you buy many books in one fell swoop. Of course you don’t have complete control with this variant, but you can buy the books for a much lower price. Here are places where you can buy lots of books at once:
- Flea markets
- Bookstore closures
- Real estate sales
At such events you can always get hold of very good goods for little money. Jungle Scout’s Dave Hemrick says he was able to buy books for $0.25 this way. However, Dave got stuck on a couple of books using this method, so he ended up paying $1 for each book.
Method # 3: Online Arbitrage
Online arbitrage is based on the same principle as retail arbitrage, but with one important difference. You don’t buy books offline, but on other online marketplaces such as eBay. Here are examples of such marketplaces:
Step 1: Choose a procurement method
The first thing you need to do is decide on a procurement method. Are you creative and do you like the thrill? Then the offline method is the right choice. Are you a tough businessman? Then wholesale is the right choice. You don’t like going out to do business? Then try online arbitrage.
Step 2: get the books
If you choose the offline method, check out libraries or bookstores. You can also speak to the staff to see if there are other places to buy books. If you choose to do wholesale, I would also speak to the staff at a library or bookstore. Of course, you can also search Facebook or Google for places where you can buy books in bulk.
If you want to buy books online, check out these marketplaces:
Step 3: Create an Amazon Seller Account
In order to sell on Amazon, you need to create a seller account. Above all else, it is important that you choose the right type. There are two different types:
- Individual seller account
- Professional Seller Account
The Individual Seller Account has a fee per sale, while the Professional Seller Account has a fee per month and does not have a fee of per sale. If you sell more than 40 products per month, the Professional Seller Account pays off. This is how you do it:
- Go to Amazon.
- At the top right, next to the search field, you can log in. If you don’t have a normal Amazon account yet, create one.
- As soon as you have logged in, your name will appear in the field next to the search entry (see image above) . Now click on this field again, this will take you to your dashboard.
- Scroll down and click the “Your Seller Account” option.
- You will be redirected to the following page. Click on “Sell Now”.
- Then you can create your Amazon seller account. Now you also have to decide whether you want to have an individual or a professional seller account.
If you can afford it, I recommend setting up a professional account right away. If not, switch to one as soon as you can afford it.
Step 4: analyze costs and profits
If you don’t just want to sell a few of your old books, but have the goal to make a real profit, then there is a high probability that you will lose track of the books you have bought. How to sell junk and make money
You probably won’t be able to remember how much money you spent on each book, so you won’t know which books are profitable and which books are in the red. There are tons of tools to analyze the costs and profits of your business on Amazon. Here are the best:
Jungle Scout Sales Analytics
Jungle Scout Sales Analytics tracks all sales data so you can focus on profitable and cost-saving strategies. Price: Not available individually, $49 per month in Jungle Scout bundle .
Helium 10 Profits
Helium 10 Profits analyzes all data, both positive and negative. Ultimately, you need to minimize any negative factors that cost you money. With Helium 10 Profits you can get the maximum profit out of your Amazon business. Price: $37 per month with the A la Carte Plan , otherwise $97 per month with the Platinum Plan .
Step 5: Put your books on Amazon
Enter the ISBN of the book in the Amazon search bar and click on “Offer a book for sale”.
You will be taken through a simple process of providing some information about your book.
You will also need to provide information about the condition of your book. There are different possible condition states, which are explained below:
Means exactly that. New, unused, unopened items in their original packaging, including all of the materials that came with the original packaging. The protective packaging, if present, must be intact. The original manufacturer’s guarantee, if any, must still apply and the conditions of the guarantee must be explicitly listed in the item description.
Certified and refurbished:
Only use this status information if this is permitted in accordance with the category-specific guidelines for status information. A product that has been checked for general overhaul by a qualified manufacturer or a specialist third-party provider and has been confirmed to be in perfect condition with no visible blemishes (from a distance of 12 inches).
In addition to the legal rights of the buyer, the item is covered by an additional 1-year guarantee from the supplier. The products may be packaged in a simple cardboard box and come with matching accessories, as would be expected for a new product. Exceptions are described on the product detail page. Articles with the status “certified and refurbished” are sometimes marked with the note “used” or “box opened”.
Used – Like New:
An apparently unused item in great condition. No longer has to be shrink-wrapped in foil, but the original packaging is otherwise intact and flawless. No signs of use are visible on the item or its packaging. Instructions are included. The article is suitable as a gift.
Used – very good:
A well cared for, rarely used item in very good condition. The article is complete and undamaged and has no scratches, but it may show slight signs of wear. The article is fully functional.
Only use this status information if this is permitted in accordance with the category-specific guidelines for status information. The item shows traces of regular use, but is in good condition and fully functional. It can have markings, owner’s markings and other signs of use.
Used – Acceptable:
Only use this status information if this is permitted in accordance with the category-specific guidelines for status information. The item is badly worn, but still works fine. Signs of use can include external blemishes such as scratches, dents and worn corners. The article may have markings from the previous owner and other signs of use.
Step 6: Use Amazon FBA to sell your books
If you don’t want to send your books yourself, you have to use Amazon FBA . In this case you have to send your inventory to the nearest Amazon department store.
Step 7: analyze your costs and profits
As soon as your books have reached the Amazon department store and as long as you have rated your books correctly and have selected books with a low Best Seller Rank, your books should sell. From your first sale, you should track your profits with Jungle Scout Sales Analytics or Helium 10 Profits .
Step 8: Mind Reviews
Customer service is a little easier with books than with normal products. Since you didn’t write the books yourself, you don’t have to worry about the reviews. However, you should take care of Amazon reviews regarding the quality of your books. You have to correctly state the condition of a book. If you report a better condition than it actually is, you will likely get bad reviews. How to spot fake Amazon reviews
Frequently Asked Questions
How else can I get rid of books?
One of the easiest ways to get rid of old books is to donate. There are organizations such as Oxfam for this purpose . Oxfam has over 50 stores across Germany and accepts old books in good condition. In return, you will receive an invoice that you can deduct from your tax.
Another option is to sell your books to bookstores that sell used books. It’s next to no hassle and you get a little bit of money for it. The downside is that most bookstores pay very little money even for great books.
Sell books on eBay
Of course, you can also sell your books on eBay. However, I prefer selling books on Amazon. This is mainly because the demand on Amazon is greater and you can use the best seller rank to determine how quickly a book sells.
How much does it cost to sell books on Amazon?
Like most online marketplaces, Amazon also charges fees for selling on the platform. Here is an overview of all the fees you have to pay if you want to sell books on Amazon:
Amazon Seller Account Fees
You have to pay fees for your Amazon seller account. There are two different accounts:
- Individual seller account
- Professional Seller Account
There is no monthly flat fee for the Individual Seller Account. However, you have to pay a fee per sale. The Professional Seller Account comes with a flat monthly fee but there is no fee per sale. Which plan you should choose depends on the number of books you plan to sell on Amazon each month. If you have more than 40 books, the Professional Seller Account is worthwhile.
Referral fees: Referral fees apply when you sell a product on Amazon. This fee is 15% for books.
Closing fee: There is an acquisition fee for media products such as books, DVDs, CDs and Blue Ray.
Shipping charges: There are two ways to sell on Amazon: Fulfillment by Merchant and Fulfillment by Amazon. If you choose Fulfillment by Merchant, you have to pack and ship your products yourself. You will then have to pay your carrier’s shipping costs, resources, and labor costs.
On the other hand, if you choose Fulfillment by Amazon, Amazon will take care of all of these tasks. For this you have to pay a fulfillment fee to Amazon.
In most cases, this fulfillment fee is less than the normal cost of shipping. However, you need to check whether or not Amazon FBA is worthwhile for your business .
Can I sell books on Amazon for free?
Yes. Amazon has a program called Amazon Trade-In . It allows you to exchange your old books for Amazon credit. The downside, however, is that Amazon is very picky and you won’t get a lot of credit for your old books.
Here are the most important lessons learned from this article:
- Books should have a Best Seller Rank below 100,000
- After deducting all costs, the profit should be at least $2
- You can search for books offline and online
- You have to buy books at a low price
- State the correct status to avoid negative reviews
Genevieve Dumas is a design, fashion, food and style writer who has worked on major magazines and mastheads in the United States and Europe.