The Definitive Guide for Selling Books on Amazon in 2023

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So, you want to sell books on Amazon. How do you get started? We're here to show you how to sell books on Amazon and build yourself a successful business.

Making money online has never been easier, especially when armed with proper information and motivation. So the first step is to learn how to make money on Amazon FBA. We have a detailed article on this that you can check out to learn all you need to know.

In this how-to sell books on Amazon guide, we'll show you how to sell on Amazon,  how to find books to sell on Amazon, the types of books you should sell, and the ones you shouldn't.

Let's get started.

What Type of Books Can You Sell on Amazon?

1. New Books

Some of the places you can source for new books include publishers, wholesalers, or distributors. One thing to note when it comes to selling new books on Amazon is that you'll need to purchase them in bulk.

Therefore, consider Amazon FBA in this case. We'll look at the fulfillment methods later in the article.

2. Used Books

Used books are often easier to find because they are cheaper, easier to find, and sometimes more profitable. Check your thrift stores, estate sales, library sales, and books stores for used books for some great options.

Ensure that you check for the quality when choosing used books. We'll look at this later in this article.

3. Textbooks

Selling textbooks on Amazon is a great idea, especially when you have textbooks of your own that are taking up space. If you have old textbooks that are in great condition and you're not using them, you can sell them on Amazon and make some extra cash.

You can target peak seasons for textbooks. For example, you can sell your textbooks during the spring or fall seasons.

4. Books Without An ISBN

ISBN stands for a book's International Standard Book Number. This is a registration code found on books printed after 1970.

You can check for this code inside the dust jacket of your book or on the barcode. Nonetheless, if you find a book without an ISBN number, you can still sell it on Amazon if you request an exemption.

What Is the Best Amazon Seller Account to Use?

When deciding you want to sell on Amazon, you should first decide whether you want to be an individual seller or a professional seller.

a). Individual Seller Account

If you plan to sell under 40 units of your books per month, the individual seller account is the best for you.

This seller account is more of a 'pay-as-you-go' plan. This means that you get access to a basic listing and other order management tools.

You won't have to pay any Amazon fees unless your book sells. Therefore, if you're new to the amazing world of Amazon selling and want to sell a few comic books, to begin with, this is a good account to start with.

Other sellers who are new to the platform have started with this account and then proceeded to the professional account in time.

b). Professional Seller Account

On the other hand, you should consider getting a professional seller account if you want to sell more than 40 units of books monthly. The professional seller account requires you to pay a monthly subscription fee of $39.99 plus some selling fees.

The professional seller account is also a good idea if you're looking for a regular monthly income for yourself. This account gives you access to advanced Amazon selling tools for the subscription fee. Note that you'll have to pay this monthly fee whether your books sell or not.

With both plans, you'll still have to pay the referral fee once you sell some books. However, if you plan to run a medium to large business on Amazon, the professional account will be the best for you. You'll have more advanced selling tools to manage your online book store with ease.

You can sell collectible books, edition books, graphic novels, and any other books you think will bring you a profit.

So, now that you've created your account and are permitted to sell your books on Amazon, the next step is to create your product listing.

How Do You List Your Book on Amazon?

Once you've set up your Amazon Seller Central Account and are registered to sell on Amazon, you can list your books. So, how do you list your books on Amazon?

You can either do this from your Seller Central Account or from the book's product page you want to sell. That's right. You don't have to create a whole brand new listing when you are selling books on Amazon.

So, how do you go about listing your book from the actual product detail page?

The first step is to go to the specific product page of the book you want to sell. You can do this by inputting the book's ISBN into the search bar. You can get the ISBN on the inside of your book's dust jacket or on the barcode of the book.

If you're selling a book printed before 1970, it probably won't have an ISBN code. In this case, you'll have to input the book's title into the Amazon search bar.

Once you land on the book's product listing large, find a gray button written: "Sell on Amazon." You can find this button below the Buy Box.

Ensure that you have created your seller account before you click on this button. This is because you need to be permitted to sell books on the Amazon platform before moving to the next step.

So, once you click the "Sell on Amazon" button, you will be directed to a page that will require you to input some details. Here are the details you'll come across.

Details You Need to List Your Book on Amazon

a). SKU

SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit and is your personal code for the book you're listing. You can choose whatever you want it to be. Choose something that you can easily remember.

Amazon will randomly generate one for you if you don't input this code.

b). Price

Selling books on Amazon requires you to choose the right book price that incorporates the Amazon fees, buying price. and other factors. Some other conditions that determine the price of your book include the quality of the book.

If your book is of "Very Good" value, it'll likely sell at a higher price compared to the same book with "Acceptable" quality.

c). Quantity

Here is where you list the number of books you want to sell on Amazon. If you don't input a figure here, Amazon will default it to one unit.

d). Condition

The condition options available here are:

  • New
  • Like New
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Acceptable

Although your book may be in perfect condition, avoid selecting the "New" option. This is because the book's publisher can report you, or Amazon can request an invoice. Both of these scenarios can cause you unnecessary stress.

e). Fulfillment Channel

For this option, you can either go with Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) or Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Again, you can check our "What Fulfillment Method Should You Use?" section for more information on this.

The fulfillment channel you choose will affect how fast you'll be able to sell your books no matter what selling account you have.

For example, if you choose the Fulfillment by Merchant option, your book listing will appear in 15-30 minutes. This means that you can start selling immediately and have money land in your bank account very soon.

This is why you can make good money selling books online. Because you don't have to have many processes hindering your progress.

On the other hand, if you choose the Fulfillment by Amazon method, your listing won't pop up just as fast. This is because you have to ship your books to the Amazon fulfillment center, which can take about 1-2 weeks.

After that, it takes another 3-7 days for your inventory to be distributed to Amazon's network. This timeline can be longer if you're sending your inventory over during the holiday season.

Therefore, if you are dealing with just a few books, it would be better to do the fulfillment yourself. Whether you'll need to pay a set monthly fee for storage and other fulfillment services or not, it may be easier to sell the books faster with FBM if that's your goal.

What Fulfillment Method Should You Use?

Knowing how you will fulfill your orders will allow you to make decisions about storage, expenses, how you'll get the books to your customers, and so much more.

Let's look at the two fulfillment methods in a bit more detail so that you can make the best decision for yourself.

1. Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM)

Fulfillment by Amazon means that you'll do the fulfillment yourself. You'll be responsible for storing your inventory, packing, and shipping the books out to your customer. Therefore, you'll need to know where you'll store your inventory and how you'll ship the books to your customers.

As you are calculating your selling price, ensure that you factor in the storage costs, cost of shipment, and packaging. This will allow you to choose the right price per unit, including all your costs.

We advise you to use this fulfillment method if you plan on handling a few orders per month. This is because the fulfillment process requires you to invest lots of energy and time into your business. It can get exhausting if you are handling hundreds of fulfillment per month, especially if you're doing it yourself.

If you feel like this fulfillment method may be a bit too much for you, consider the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program.

2. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

Fulfillment by Amazon is a fulfillment method that allows you to relax as Amazon takes care of the fulfillment of your orders. This means that your books will be taken and stored in an Amazon Fulfillment Center, where they will be packed and shipped to your customer once a sale is made.

Amazon will also handle customer service to your customer should something happen. Therefore, if you plan to sell books in high volumes, Amazon FBA is a better way to go. Why? Because instead of paying storage fees, packaging fees, and shipment separately, you can just pay the Amazon FBA fees at once.

These Amazon FBA fees will handle everything, including customer service. Amazon FBA is also a good way to go if you don't have the storage space to store your books. Also, if you want this Amazon business to be a side hustle or give you passive income, Amazon FBA is the way to go.

What are the advantages of using  Amazon FBA when selling books on Amazon? Well, for one, you won't have to worry about shipping costs or storage space. You also won't have to deal with customer complaints or returns.

You can read all about how to sell on Amazon FBA in our in-depth article to get more insight.

Where Can You Source for Books to Sell On Amazon?

how to sell books on Amazon

This is a very good question, especially when you want to run this business for a while. For example, you don't want to run out of books to sell on Amazon after your business has picked up momentum.

Therefore, let's look at some sources of books to get you started.

A) Your Personal Books

Selling your own books is a good way to start selling books on Amazon. Instead of having your books collect dust on the bookshelf years after you've read them, you can list them on Amazon and earn some extra income.

You can even use this added income to buy more books to replace the space left by your old books. Old comic books, textbooks, fiction books, and self-help books are good examples of books you can start with.

B) Free Books

If there's somewhere you can get some free books to sell on Amazon, go for it. This can be from your family and friends or other places like Craigslist or even the Facebook Marketplace.

You can also ask your old classmates for their old textbooks if you want to focus on selling textbooks.

C) Closing Sales

Moving sales, estate sales, yard sales, and closing sales are great places to get books to sell on Amazon. This is because you can get your hands on large collections of books that are being sold at once.

The advantage of these sales is that you will get the books at a low price and sell them for a great profit.

D) Book Sales

You can check out book sales to get profitable books you can list on your Amazon page. Libraries are a great and reliable place to start if you want to go this route.

E) Online Arbitrage

If you don't feel like physically walking around to get books to sell on Amazon, you can check out websites that are selling books at lower prices than what you intend to list your books for.

This is what online arbitrage is all about. Once you order the books and they arrive, you can then list them at a mark-up.

F) Wholesale

Bulk purchase is always a good idea when you want to profit from reselling. One thing to note with this method is that you should be careful not to get books that have been sorted or scanned. These books will not be profitable for Amazon.

How Do You Choose the Best Books to Sell On Amazon?

how to sell books on Amazon

Knowing what books you should sell on Amazon is crucial in this journey because it allows you to focus on profitable books only. You don't want to list several books on Amazon only to hear crickets.

So, how can you know which books to buy and which ones to ignore? Go through our tips and trick below to get a good idea.

Here are some things to look out for when choosing books to sell on Amazon.

1. Use A Book Scanner

When looking for inventory, consider using a book scanner to make the process easier. Another advantage of selling on Amazon is that you can use the Amazon Seller App to have a seamless process.

The Amazon Seller App comes with a scanner you can use to check details about the book you're considering. Once you scan the book, some of the details you'll get include product price, Amazon FBA fees, official Amazon category, Best Seller Rank, approximate profits, and the total number of sellers.

2. Check the Best Seller Rank

The Amazon Best Seller Rank (BSR) is a number that every product on Amazon gets after its first sale. The BSR is a clear indicator of how well a certain product is selling on Amazon. When selling books on Amazon, you want to list books that will go.

Therefore, checking the Best Seller Rank of books you're thinking of selling will give you an idea of how well your books will sell. The lower the BSR of a product, the better the sales. For example, a product ranked #1 on the BSR will sell better than one ranked #50,000.

Another thing to note with BSR is that it's category-based. This means that a product doesn't have an overall BSR. Instead, it has a BSR based on a particular category.

For example, if you decide to sell Harry Porter books, you can check how well they rank in the books category.

Nonetheless, your books can sell on multiple Amazon categories. This means that your books can have more than one BSR. Also, note that almost every category and sub-category on Amazon has its own best-selling ranking system.

Nevertheless, focus on the Books category because you'll be selling books more than anything else. You can ignore the other sub-categories when you're starting out.

3. Check for Quality

You want to sell high-quality books to get the best prices and create a trustworthy brand. Once people trust the quality of books you offer, they are likely to come back and attract even more customers.

Here are some of the ways you can check for quality.

a). Look through all the pages

As you are looking through the available books you want to buy to resell, page through the books you like before you settle on them. This will allow you to check for writings, highlight markings, and any other markings or writings.

You want to avoid books with lots of writings as this can decrease the value of the book. So, does this mean that you should give up on every book with markings in it? No. You can give yourself a maximum number of pages to allow for markings.

For example, you can say that if a book has more than 5 pages with markings, you won't take it. This will set a standard of what kind of books you'll accept.

b). Check the binding

A book's binding says a lot about it. For example, if the book's binding is slightly loose or cracked, you'd better not get the book unless you plan to fix it yourself.

Another thing to check concerning the binding is if the book feels brittle. The binding may be intact, but the whole book may not feel stable. In this case, consider getting another book.

c). Sniff the book

Before you scoff at this point, look at it from your buyer's perspective. They likely don't want a book that smells funny or will make them sneeze every five minutes.

Therefore, as you select the books to sell, take a big whiff of the book before adding it to your list. Although there are certain ways to get rid of bad smells, such as putting the books in the sun for a while, these methods rarely work.

Therefore, if you find a book with a weird or unpleasant smell, it is better to leave it.

Let's Recap

Selling books on Amazon can be a great way to earn a few dollars or even have a successful business. So instead of letting your old books collect dust on the shelves, set up an Amazon Seller Central Account and sell your books on Amazon.

The good thing with Amazon is that you don't need to sell self-published books to earn money. Instead, you can sell collectible books, old textbooks, new books, and even your favorite comic books.

If you don't plan on selling many books per month, you can go with the Fulfillment by Merchant method of fulfillment. On the other hand, consider Amazon FBA if you plan on selling hundreds of books per month to save yourself the hustle of handling inventory and shipping yourself.

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