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How to Successfully Sell Books on Amazon

20 Feb 17 Mon 22:35
Home Learning Hub How to Successfully Sell Books on Amazon
Reasons to Sell Books on Amazon
Ways to Sell Books on Amazon
Sourcing Books to Sell on Amazon
How to Start Selling Books on Amazon

If you’re searching for a way to start your own bookselling business without opening a bookstore, maybe you’ve thought about selling on Amazon. Or, maybe you have lots of books lying around the house that you would love to sell and make some extra cash from. Whatever the case, it can seem daunting if you don’t have any experience doing this. However, it truly is the best way to make money selling books. Here's why.

Reasons to Sell Books on Amazon

1: Some programs and benefits will make your job easier

Amazon makes selling items simple. Options like Fulfilled-by-Amazon and Amazon Vendors, both of which will be discussed more in detail later, offer many benefits that will assist you through the process. Amazon Prime has made the process of shipping books to buyers much quicker, allowing you to keep good relationships with your buyers. 

2: Many sellers are successful

It may seem intimidating at first but selling books on Amazon can be a successful business venture. More than 50 percent of all Amazon sales come from third-party sellers like you. More third-party sellers are taking advantage of the easy process and becoming successful.

Many of these sellers are offering books. At the beginning of 2019, there were 53.38 million books for sale on Amazon.

But it isn’t just sellers that are taking advantage of all Amazon has to offer. More people are taking advantage of Amazon to make online purchases. According to one report, Amazon’s share of the US e-commerce market hit 49 percent in 2018. This equals five percent of all retail spending in all the United States.

With Amazon as the online sales leader, you can rest assured that a large number of people will be using it to shop for their book needs.

selling books to amazon

Ways to Sell Books on Amazon

There are three basic ways to sell books on Amazon , all three will be explained below.

1: Amazon Vendors (AMZ)

With this option, your books are sold to Amazon by way of Amazon vendor central services . There are some pros to using this option.

More Consumer Confidence

If you choose to use Amazon vendors, your books will appear to be sold directly by Amazon. Amazon has built quite a reputation and is considered a trusted online option for making purchases. This can give potential buyers the confidence that may not be there if you are trying to sell your books as a third-party.

A Business Model that is Simplified

Doing business through AMZ is easier than operating as a third-party seller. If you are a vendor, filling orders and billing are the main goal. But, if you are a seller, the responsibility of taxation liabilities and lost inventory falls to you. So, with vendor services, those burdens are lifted.

Fulfilled-by-Merchant (FBM)

You make an Amazon listing, and all the books are packed and shipped directly by you. One of the advantages of using FBM is that it gives you flexibility. You will not be 100 percent dependent on Amazon. You get to construct your own business the way you want to. Amazon has less control over how you operate.

Fulfilled-by-Amazon (FBA)

Even though you are the one who makes the Amazon listings, Amazon will keep your products in storage and pack your books to ship off to the new owner. Of course, there is a fee, but it is often worth it to simplify the process.

The program offers several advantages, including:

  • Use of the Amazon Prime shipping program. This helps your customers to receive their books quicker.
  • Free storage and shipping through the use of Amazon’s fulfillment centers.
  • Taking care of any problems that arise, such as complaints and returns.
  • Packing and shipping the books on your behalf.

If you’re worried you would have to spend too much time packing books, this service is made just for you.

In addition to these things, the FBA program also gives sellers a 30 to 50 percent increase in sales. There is no reason not to take advantage of that.

One of the reasons for this increase in sales is Amazon Prime. Amazon users who purchase Amazon Prime are more likely to shop on Amazon. Because they pay annually for the services, they are serious buyers who shop Amazon more often than others.

An average of $1,400 is spent each year by Prime member, whereas those who don’t use Prime only spend an average of $600. So, if you’re able to use the Amazon Prime shipping program through FBA, it stands to reason that your sales would increase.

Sourcing Books to Sell on Amazon

Before you can sell books on Amazon, you must decide which books you would like to sell. Maybe there is a certain genre you like best. Or maybe you have a few books in mind that you have enjoyed or that have helped you in some way. Maybe you just have a lot of books in your basement or attic that you need to sell.

There is always the option to sell books directly in your current possession, or you can always visit thrift stores, estate sales, and book sales to search for used books to place on your Amazon listings. Here are a few ways to do that.

#1 - Use a scanning app

selling books on amazon

Find used bookstores, garage sales, and thrift stores that have books for sale at a cheap price. Download a book scanning app and scan the bar code on the books you find at these places. The app will automatically cross-reference the best sellers rank (BSR) and lowest sales price. This will inform you if the book is worth your time and money.

Some of the most common scanning apps include:

One useful tip is to be sure that you charge your phone before shopping so that you have your scanning app available.

#2 - Utilize your bargaining skills to wholesale

If you don’t feel you have the time to dedicate to searching through piles of books for valuable finds, you could always just buy them in large lots. Try to make a deal with the used bookstores or owners at the garage sales to purchase all the books for a discounted price.

The downside of this option is that you could end up with a lot of useless books. However, if you can make a good deal, it may be worth it for a few valuable books to resell. 

sell books on amazon

#3 - Find books through online arbitrage

If neither of these options suits you, you can use the online arbitrage method. This is when you purchase books from another online source, such as craigslist or eBay, and resell it somewhere else. In this case, that would be Amazon.

You should consider that this option requires a little more time, so you should probably search for books that are a little bit more expensive. Some of the better options for this are:

Once, you have all this information, it should be a little easier to choose which option is best for you. Whichever of these options you choose, be sure to consider every aspect of it before deciding.

If you enjoy searching, scanning will be perfect for you. You can try wholesaling if you like the task of negotiating. Or, if you think you would be satisfied with selling many of the same collectibles and textbooks repeatedly, give online arbitrage a try. And, if you prefer to keep your inventory out of your home, you can always search for the titles you would like to sell online.

How to Start Selling Books on Amazon

Now that you have all this information, it’s time to cover how to sell books on Amazon and help you start making some money. 

Of course, you will need to have books to sell first, so be sure you have decided regarding which type of books you would like to sell, and how you will source them. Then, you can make your purchases and begin the process of getting them onto Amazon to make some money.

Once you have all of this ironed out, you will want to follow these steps to set up your account and begin selling.

1: Set up your accounts

Amazon will not allow you to sell on their site if you are not first a member. But, it’s a very simple process. All you must do is put in your information and make a password.

Once that is done, you will need to make a seller account. You can do this by going to your account and search for the tab named Your Other Accounts. When you get to that area, you should be able to set up your “seller account”.

2: Choose a plan for selling

There are two plans that can be purchased for selling.

Individual Plan

While this plan doesn’t require a monthly subscription, there is a closing fee charged every sale. But it is only 99 cents. There is also a limit of 40 items that you can sell every month.

Professional Plan

This plan does have a monthly subscription fee of $39.99. It also still has a fee for every product you sell. However, you will be able to use spreadsheets and other helpful things to assist you with your inventory.

3: Provide your payment information

amazon sell back books

You will want to make sure that you enter your payment information correctly if you would like to get paid for the books you are selling. You can do all of this by going to “Account Info” and clicking on the “Settings” tab. Again, to avoid any unwanted problems, be sure to enter all the information requested and do it accurately.

After this is done, Amazon will need to verify that all the information is correct. They will check with your bank, and if everything is done properly, you should receive a confirmation e-mail.

Before getting started with this process, you will want to have the following information on hand.

  • Bank account information
  • Debit or credit card to pay fees
  • Credit card or bank statement
  • One form of identification (passport or driver’s license)

Don’t be scared off by needing to provide identification and a credit card or bank statement. This is to confirm your identity and is done very carefully. You will provide the statement with all the monetary values and the account number blacked out. They will compare it to your ID to verify your identity.

4: Decide the price of the book you want to sell

You will need to decide about how much you wish to sell each book for. To do that, you must evaluate what you have. Is the book a collectible? If so, it could be worth more than you think. Is it a novel that was published more recently? Or is it one of your old college textbooks that have been laying around the house?

On average, the price for a used book at a yard sale or used book sale is about 50 cents. Where you live can affect the price. The area of town in which the sale is located can also affect the price. For example, if you go to a sale on a preppy side of town, you may see higher prices.

The idea is to make a profit, but you also don’t want to overcharge. Keep in mind that buyers will likely shop around, even if just on Amazon. So, don’t overprice or you won’t sell.

 If you look at other listings of the same book, you will get an idea of how much the book normally sells for. You should keep in mind that, if you list slightly lower than other sellers, you have a better chance of people buying yours instead of buying it from another seller.

However, as you get positive feedback and begin to build a good reputation, you can begin to list a price closer to other sellers to make more money. This is by no means a requirement, but it could help you build a customer base.

5: Begin listing your books on Amazon

Next comes the part you’ve probably been waiting for. You will need to list the books you would like to sell. You can do this by typing the international standard book number (ISBN). So be sure you know the number of each book you would like to sell.

When you’ve done this, it should give you the option to choose the book’s condition. You can pick one of five options.

  • New

This is self-explanatory. Choose this option for any books you are selling that have never been used.

  • Used – Like New

This description is used for items that appear new. The book may not be in its original packaging, but it has been very well taken care of.

  • Used – Very Good

You can pick this option if the book has been used but is still in good condition. In other words, it has been gently used. This would be a good choice for books that have no writing or marking of any kind in them.

  • Used – Good

There is a fine line between the previous option and this one. But you can use your discernment to decide. Usually, items that are assigned this tag have evidence of being used, but they are still considered in good condition. If a book is marked, this could be a better classification for that.

  • Used – Acceptable

This option is almost not worth describing since you probably would not want to use it for a book. An “acceptable” book would be worn, even though it could still be used. This could include torn pages.

The bottom line is that you will want to carefully consider which option you choose to classify the book as. If the buyer isn’t satisfied with the purchase, you are better off refunding them to not get a bad review. So, it’s always best to avoid this drama by choosing the most accurate description from the beginning.

Remember to also have good quality pictures of the book and to write a good description, as well. The picture doesn’t have to be professional, but it should be clear so that the buyer can see the quality of the book.

6: Pack and ship your books

If you have chosen to allow Amazon to handle your products with the FBA option, you will need to send your books to them so they can handle packing and shipping to the buyers. Amazon should provide the proper directions about how to send your books to an Amazon fulfillment center.

They should also provide you with shipping labels. Your job will be to print them out and place them on the boxes. There are a few different options to get them to the fulfillment center nearest you.

  • Deliver manually
  • Use a mail courier of your choice
  • Use the shipping provided by Amazon at a discount price

But, if you choose to package and send your books to the buyers yourself with the FBM option, you will want to be sure to stay on top of orders and get the books to your buyers promptly. You don’t want to get any bad reviews if possible. Many people check the reputations of the sellers on Amazon before they make their purchases. Try your best not to give them any doubts about buying from you.

7: Make Money

The whole reason for selling books on Amazon is to make money, so be ready to achieve that goal and enjoy the benefits.

When you access your Seller Account, you will be able to see all your earnings. Log into your Amazon Payments account to withdraw your available funds. It will explain the step-by-step process as you move along. 

selling used books on amazon


It may seem like a lot of information to process, but as you work through the different selling options on Amazon and begin to sell books, you can always refer back to this article to help guide you through the process.

Once you get started, it won’t be as hard as you think to learn the ropes and get your business going or sell off those extra books you have laying around the house.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take advantage of some of the programs and benefits that Amazon can offer to those who want to sell their books. 


Can I sell books on Amazon for free?

If you choose the Individual Plan option, you will be allowed to sell your books without a monthly subscription. Amazon will make a little bit of money from each sale you make in the amount of 99 cents.

Can I sell books back to Amazon?

The answer is both yes and no. Amazon will buy back just about every book with its Textbooks Trade-in program. However, they only pay with in-store credit. You would be paid with an Amazon gift card, so you would have to use the money on Amazon. If you choose to sell books to Amazon, you would be quoted a trade-in value and be provided with free shipping for your trade-in. 

How much can a person make by selling books on Amazon?

There is no specific answer to this question. Because there are different options for selling on Amazon, it varies. It is also largely dependent on what kind of books you decide to sell. But it is safe to say that the most money to be made is going to be found in the reselling of used books.

With the right amount of time and hard work, you could make it into a full-time job. It would be simple to purchase books from thrift stores and garage sales that will sell for two to five times more than your buying price. In some lucky cases, you may find a book that will sell for 20 times more. 

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