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January 15, 2022

Selling Used Books On Amazon: A Step-by-Step Guide

Selling used books on Amazon is a great way to earn extra cash. However, it can be challenging for new sellers because of lack of knowledge.

If you're looking for an easy and profitable way to sell used books online, then this article is perfect for you. I'll show you how selling used books on Amazon works and walk you through the process of setting up your account and listing items. You'll also learn about some of the tools that will help make your bookselling experience more enjoyable.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to set yourself up as a seller with minimal stress. Even if you've never sold online before, we'll cover everything from A to Z. It's time to get started.

Why Sell Used Books On Amazon?

Selling used books on Amazon is a great way to make money online with minimal effort. There are many reasons to sell used books, but here's a list of the top six:

  • Low investment cost: It doesn't take much to start selling books on Amazon. You can start with what you have, then add to your inventory as you earn more money.
  • High demand: Amazon carries thousands of different book genres, which means there are always buyers looking for their next read.
  • Free marketing: Amazon products rank well in search results. By selling your used items through Amazon, you can take advantage of this and easily attract interested buyers.
  • Amazon offers excellent customer service: If you ever run into problems or need help with anything, Amazon's customer support is available 24/7.
  • An established marketplace: There is an existing, built-in customer base on Amazon, making it easier to make sales. People trust the platform and are familiar with how it works.
  • It's easy to source for used books: There are a lot of sources for cheap, used books out there. It's easy to find books for sale, from offline stores to garage sales and even book donation centers.

Now that we have looked at why you should sell used books on Amazon let's look at how you can get started.

How To Sell Used Books On Amazon

To sell books on Amazon, you need to figure out how to source for inventory, the fulfillment method, selling plan, book pricing, listing books on Amazon, and marketing. Let's look at each in more detail.

How To Source For Inventory

If you have books at home that you're hoping to sell, you already have your inventory. If you can't find enough books at home, don't worry – there are plenty of ways to source for more. 

Here are some of the most common places where you can buy used books:

  • Yard sales: You can get used books on yard sales at low prices. If you can take time to visit several yard sales every week, you can easily stock up on good books for cheap.
  • Online marketplaces: These include eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. You can get great deals on books on online marketplaces; just be mindful of the expenses that come with shipping. You can also apply filters to look for books within your budget.

For example, below is an image showing the results on eBay when you apply these filters under books: hardcover, textbook, like-new condition, and priced under $35.

Pictured above: eBay.com

  • Book donation centers: These are places where people drop off their used books to be given away for free or sold at low prices. Look for these around your area, and you might end up finding a lot of good deals.
  • Charity organizations: Most charity organizations either sell used books themselves or help donors find buyers. Consider checking some of these places to find low-priced books to buy.
  • Estate sales: Estate sales are more formal than yard sales, and you can get an entire collection of books from a single person. Estate sales are frequented by those with lots of old possessions they want to get rid of, so you can find a treasure trove of used books here.
  • Book fairs: Book fairs take place worldwide, and quite a number of them also sell second-hand books. You might even run into some big-time booksellers at these fairs, so it's worth checking them out.
  • Local bookstore sales: Bookstores sell their overstock for a lot cheaper than the retail price, making them great places to find good deals on used books.
  • Thrift stores: Thrift stores are like yard sales on steroids, selling all kinds of used goods. You might even run into some rare collectibles here because thrift stores often get donated items from collectors.

Tip: If you're in the USA or Canada, use Book Sale Finder to find out about upcoming book sales around your area.

Once you've found good sources for used books, you need to decide how you're going to fulfill your orders.

Decide On Fulfillment Method

There are two fulfillment methods that you can choose from when selling used books on Amazon.

  • Fulfilling by Merchant (FBM): FBM means you pick, store, pack and ship the orders yourself. FBM is ideal if you're selling a few books, or if you can get better shipping rates than what Amazon offers.
  • Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): FBA takes most of the work off your hands. When you use FBA, you store all your inventory in Amazon's warehouses, and when an order comes through, Amazon ships that particular book to the customer’s address . This way, you cut down on overhead, but you will have to pay FBA fees. FBA is the best option if you can't get lower shipping rates and have many orders.

After knowing where you're going to get your inventory and how you'll fulfill orders, the next step is creating an Amazon seller account.

Create An Amazon Seller Account

There are two types of seller accounts on Amazon.

  • Individual Seller Account: This type of account is ideal if you're selling fewer than 40 items per month. The individual seller account is free to set up, but there is a $0.99 fee for every book you sell.
  • Professional Seller Account: This type of account is the more professional version, and it gives you access to several tools that will help manage your business. A professional seller account costs $39.99 per month.

Here is an image showing the features of the individual and professional selling plans.

Picture above: Amazon selling plans

To create a seller account, go to Amazon.com, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “sell products on Amazon” to create an account, as shown below.

Pictured above: Amazon.com

When creating your seller account, have these ready: a chargeable credit card, tax information, phone number, bank account, and government ID.

Set Your Book Pricing

Now that you have an Amazon seller account, you need to set your pricing. When pricing your used books, you want to be competitive and not undercut yourself too much. You also don't want to overprice them because you might not make any sales.

An excellent way to determine your best price is by checking other merchants' prices and taking an average of the prices for a particular book. Your pricing should factor in Amazon fees and shipping costs.

Listing Books On Amazon

Here are the steps to listing books on Amazon:

  • Find the book you want to sell by searching on Amazon. If the book was printed after 1970, type the books' ISBN (International Standard Book Number) in the search bar. An ISBN is found on the back of every book, and it uniquely identifies that particular book.

Pictured above: Sample ISBN

If we search for the above ISBN, this is the result.

Pictured above: Amazon.com

For a book printed before 1970, type the title manually as shown below.

Pictured above: Amazon.com

  • Click on the book's title to get to the product page.
  • Scroll down and click on the "Sell on Amazon" button.
  • If you're permitted to sell the book, you will fill in the following information:
  • SKU: A product's SKU is an acronym for Stock Keeping Unit, and it uniquely identifies that particular item in your inventory. You can fill anything or leave it blank, in which caseAmazon will generate one for you.
  • Price: Select the price or match the lowest price on Amazon. Since you're selling used books, I recommend pricing them at a slight discount.
  • Quantity: Enter the number of books you currently have. If you leave it blank, it will show one unit.
  • Condition: Select a book condition from these options: New, Used - Like New, Used - Very Good, Used - Good, and Used - Acceptable.

Pictured above: Amazon condition guidelines

  • Fulfillment: Select your fulfillment option, either FBA or FBM. If you choose FBM, your book listing will appear in 15 to 30 minutes. If you choose FBA, you must ship your inventory to an Amazon fulfillment center.

Marketing Your Books

Marketing and promoting your books will help you get more views, which will give you a higher chance of selling that product. You can market your used books in various ways: through social media, Amazon advertising, or word of mouth.

When marketing your books, make sure you have great photos of the front and back cover of the book and an image of the spine. Follow Amazon picture requirements to improve your chances of getting more views.
  • Social Media: Promote your books on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. You can even create a unique hashtag for your used book sale.
  • Amazon advertising: Amazon offers excellent ways to promote your product through sponsored ads. Check Amazon Seller University to learn the basics of promotions and advertising.
  • Word of mouth: Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to promote your product. Tell your friends, family, and co-workers about your sale and have them spread the word.

You've now completed all the steps to start selling used books on Amazon. Let's now look at the type of books you can sell.

How To Find Profitable Used Books

Knowing the right books to sell can increase your chances of success. Here are tips to help you gauge if a book is worth selling:

Best Sellers Rank

The book's Best Sellers Rank (BSR) should be lower than 100,000. A low BSR means that the book is selling well on Amazon. The lower the rank, the better. To check a books' BSR, go to the product page and scroll down to "product details," as shown in the image below.

Pictured above: Amazon.com

Use Online Tools

There are several online tools you can use to help you determine how soon a book can sell. Here are some that I recommend: 

  • TCK publishing Amazon book sales calculator: This tool estimates a product's sales volume on Amazon. All you need to do is input the BSR and book type. If a book has a BSR of 90,545, the estimated number of sales is 53 copies per month.

Pictured above: TCK publishing Amazon book sales calculator

  • Keepa: Keepa is a free Amazon price tracker that offers excellent insights into a book's sales history. You can see how a particular book has performed over time.

Pictured above: Keepa.com

  • Helium 10 Chrome extension: After installing the extension, click on Browse Amazon marketplace, type product name on Amazon search bar, and click on Xray. When you click on Xray you will get information on search volume, total and average revenue, average price, BSR, and reviews as shown on the image below. The free version is for 50 product launches.

Pictured above: Helium 10

  • The Amazon Seller App: This app is a great way to get an up-to-date view of what's selling on Amazon. The app includes data such as the number of sellers, FBA fees, BSR, and Amazon category.

These are free options, but paid options offer more detailed information such as keyword analytics and listing quality scores. They include Jungle Scout, Helium 10 pro, and AMZscout.

Tips For Selling Used Books Online

Let's now discuss tips to help you sell used books online.

Research Genres And Categories

Some genres and categories sell better than others on Amazon. Do your research to see what type of books are selling. You can use Amazon's annual bestsellers list to see which categories and genres perform well.

Be Honest About A Book's Condition

Transparency is essential when it comes to selling used books online. If you're not honest about the condition of your book, your customers will likely leave negative reviews and may ask for their money back.

Follow Amazon Packing And Shipping Guidelines

Pack your books securely to reach the customer in the same condition as when they were sold. Here are a few main pointers:

  • When packing books, combine multiple materials such as kraft paper, bubble wrap, or bags.
  • When shipping several books, use flat cardboard or single boxes between the books or wrap them individually.
  • Protect book edges, dust jackets, and corners.
  • Make sure the book(s) fit well in the box or envelope so they can't move around during transit.

Monitor Performance and Feedback

Keep a close eye on how your books are performing. Amazon offers tools that can help you monitor performance and feedback. The tools include feedback manager, brand analytics, and voice of the customer dashboard.

Selling Used Books On Amazon FAQ

Is Selling Used Books Online profitable?

Yes, it can be a profitable venture. However, it's essential to do your initial research to see what books are selling.

How Much Should I Price My Used Book?

Price your book based on its condition, popularity in the market, and shipping costs. Compare prices with similar books to help you determine an accurate price for your product.

Can I Use FBA To Sell Used books?

Yes, you can use FBA to sell used books. Using FBA can be a great way to increase your chances of selling the book.

What Types Of Books Can I Sell On Amazon?

You can sell almost any book, but I recommend selling non-fiction, hardcover, textbooks, collectibles, niche, and comic books. You can check out bestseller categories to see what books are performing well in the market.

How Much Does It Cost To Sell Books On Amazon?

The cost is determined by the selling plan and fulfillment method you choose. With an individual selling plan and FBM as a fulfillment method, the cost will be $0.99 for every sale plus shipping costs.

If you choose the professional selling plan and use FBA, the monthly subscription is $39.99 plus FBA fees and shipping costs.

Conclusion

Selling used books on Amazon can be a profitable way to make money online. Follow the steps outlined above, from sourcing for inventory to marketing your books, to increase your chances of making a sale.

The tips on researching, honesty, packing and shipping, and monitoring feedback and performance should help you have a successful Amazon selling journey.

Here are some good reads to help you even further:

With the steps and tips mentioned above, you should be well-equipped to start selling used books on Amazon.

Ready To Start Your Journey?
Now it is your turn to get started building your very own highly profitable online business. To help you get started, this week we are having a free training on the fastest and easiest way we've scaled from $10/day, then systematically grew to $100/day, then $1,000/day & more…Click the button below to join the training now.

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Mike Vestil

About the Author

Mike Vestil is an author, investor, and speaker known for building a business from zero to $1.5 million in 12 months while traveling the world.

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