How to Sell Books on Amazon

27 Feb, 2020

Amazon is the biggest online retailer with more than 600 million items. From table lamps to microwave ovens, everything is available on the platform which is why so many shoppers purchase their favorite goods from this marketplace. Another reason of it being trusted by millions of shoppers is that Amazon ensures a great buyers’ experience through strict policies and rules.

It is not only a reliable platform for buyers but for merchants as well. How? Amazon allows third party merchants like you and me to offer our stuff on their platform. This means not every item that is offered on Amazon is sold by them. Many merchants are earning a handsome amount through it and a lot of merchants from different parts of the world are joining this marketplace because it gives them access to a great number of audiences.

Not only that, Amazon knows how to sell so you don’t need to do too much marketing. Moreover, due to the programs like the brand registry to provide protection to brands and FBA that makes the fulfillment process easy, merchants are eager to join this platform. But because of this, the competition here has also skyrocketed. This means now you have to take every step very carefully and pay attention to every aspect that can enhance your performance.

The first thing you must know is that you can’t just pick any random item and expect to earn a good income from it rather you have to do proper research to understand if the item is even capable of performing well. This means you have to evaluate if it can generate good no. of sales and in turn a good income which is only possible if it is something that the shoppers like and need and isn’t sold by too many merchants already. This can be done by analyzing the market segment.

Moreover, you have to calculate all the expenses that are linked to it such as its packaging, etc. and determine your expected profits. Use IO Scout FBA Calculator and IO Scout Sales Estimator to calculate profit and fees. When you have picked the item and have launched it, you then have to focus on its listing because these play a key role in the performance of items. If you insert the appropriate keywords in your content you will have better chances to land on the first page of the relevant search queries of buyers. All of this can be done quite comfortably through the tools available for this purpose.

how to sell used books on amazon

However, when it comes to selling books on this platform the process is a bit different. Here, we must tell you that some aspects of this process are also the same as the process of launching any other item.

An interesting fact about Amazon is that when it was founded in 1995, it was originally a platform for online books and it still provides you the opportunity to offer these on the platform. It is a great way to start your online business as this category has good potential in terms of sales.

If you are thinking of offering books on Amazon then this guide on how to sell books on amazon is the perfect place for you. 

Different Ways to Sell Books on Amazon

Amazon provides you different options to sell books whether new, old or it is written by you.

Below we have mentioned the best ways to make money through books.

  • Offer Books Written by You
  • New Books
  • Old Books
  • Trade-In

  • Offer Books Written by You

selling books to amazon

This is one of the best ways to earn money through the books that you have written. This also means that now you don’t have to find a publisher for your books. Through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) you can now make and publish your ebooks or audiobooks and sell them to earn money.

The best part about this feature is that you have all the rights of your book and you can edit it any time the way you want. Not to mention, this way you get to introduce your book to a large audience and that too without much effort, meaning you don’t have to spend a lot on its marketing. Remember to copyright the book before you launch it.

  • New Books

Now, you can also sell books on amazon that are not written by you. You can either purchase books online from some other platform and offer them at a more price on Amazon or you can purchase books when there is a sale and offer them at a higher price to earn profits. Not to mention, you can also purchase books in bulk which will cost you less and then offer them at the original price to get a profit on it.

  • Old Books

This is the perfect way to get rid of those old books on your shelf that you don’t like to read anymore and that too in turn of some cash. However, you can’t sell every old book on this platform so you need to check if the book is accepted by Amazon before offering it. This means the books have to have an acceptable condition.

  • Trade-In

Sell Books on Amazon

This is another excellent way of selling used books on amazon. Well, to be more specific you don’t really sell books through this method rather you get gift cards from Amazon in exchange.

However, not every book is accepted in the program all the time so you have to check if your books are eligible for the program or not. You then have to fill the submission form given your books are accepted. At this stage, you can also add more books if you wish to.

Now, you can proceed to provide your address and get your shipping form. Next, you send your books to them. Here, you must know that you have to ship your books no later than 7 days and it will not cost you a penny.

These books will then be stored in the storehouse of Amazon and you will be told when your books are received. You can also keep track of all of the processing in your account made specifically for this program. The balance of gift cards can also be monitored. Now, if Amazon doesn’t accept your goods, it will ship it back to you for free.

You must keep in mind that you won’t get the original value of your books through this program but it is still better to get anything in exchange for the books you never really read.

Choosing Which Books to Sell

Just with launching any other item, you have to do research to select the right book. For this purpose, you can look into the amazon best selling books. You specifically need to pay attention to their sales rank so that you can determine whether it is desired by the shoppers or not as well as determine if there are too many merchants offering it.

 The books with high sales rank will likely have a lot of competition, so it is better if you avoid them but you should also not go for the ones with a very poor sales rank because that means they don’t generate much sales which in turn shows that readers are not looking for such books.

So the best option is to choose the one that doesn’t have a too high or too low sales rank. This way you will be able to give readers what they want and you won’t even face much competition. There are also a few tools available that can estimate how much sales can a book generate. Furthermore, you can also examine the trends of sales of books through some tools to make a more informed decision.

How to Sell Textbooks on Amazon?

Selling textbooks on Amazon is one of the most lucrative types of book sales. Textbooks are in high demand from students everywhere at the start of every semester, so they are easy to sell and go for a good price, even if you’re selling an old edition. 

The key to selling textbooks is your timing. If you list a textbook in the middle of the spring, summer, or fall, you won’t be likely to make a sale. That’s because students aren’t looking for textbooks until they start new classes at the beginning of the semester in August and January. 

Students get more desperate for required textbooks in the week before classes start and into the first week of the semester, when they realize the book they didn’t buy could be the difference between passing and failing their course. 

Therefore, if you’re looking to turn a nice profit off the textbooks you sell, wait to make them available until late August or late January. Students who slacked on buying their books ahead of time will pay more for a textbook at that time than they will 3 weeks before the semester begins.

How to Sell Used Books on Amazon?

If you have used books of any kind that are still readable and just have normal wear and tear, you can sell these on Amazon just like you would any other book. If the book is in great or like-new condition, you could sell it for a good price. 

However, you should pay attention to what a new copy of that same book costs. If you charge the same price as a new book, you’ll be less likely to sell it. Shoppers are inclined to buy used books for the discount, so keep that in mind when setting your price.

The Process of selling books on Amazon

There are a few steps involved in offering books on this platform. However, keep in mind this method is for when you want to sell hard copies of old or new books. KDP and Trade-In have their own process.

Make Account

To start the process, you first need a seller account but for that, you first need a regular account . This can be set up by simply providing your email and creating a password. All the process of payments and listings etc. are managed through the seller account.

Here, you must also choose a plan to proceed. These are the charges that have to be paid by every merchant no matter what he/she is offering. You have the option to choose from two plans named individual and professional. It is better to choose a plan on the basis of your number of sales.

If you opt for the individual plan, you don’t have to pay any subscription charges, however, you will be charged $0.99 on every item that you sell. This plan is suitable for those merchants that sell less than 40 units per month.

The professional plan is ideal for those merchants that are looking to earn a proper income through the platform. You won’t be required to pay any cost on the units you sell but you have to pay a fixed amount of $39.99 every month. This plan is perfect for those merchants whose sales are more than 40 every month. An extra fees is charged on items like DVDs but since you are going to offer books, you will be charged the regular amount.

The next step to complete your account is to provide payment info so that you can get the money for the books sold by you. A credit card that works for international payments and a bank account which supports international transaction is required if you are operating from outside the U.S. You also need to provide your home address and phone number.

Here, you must know that you also have to pay a referral fee. This is a fixed amount that you have to pay on every unit you sell regardless of the plan you choose. It is based on the category of goods and it is 15% for books. There is an extra $1.80 on media which also includes books as well.

List your Books

Once you are done with your account you then have to list the books. If you are listing a book that is already on Amazon, you can search for its ISBN or title and select the category or you can do it easily by visiting its page and making your listing.

If you don’t find your book title this way, you would have to make an entirely new listing. You will be required to provide full info of the book such as its full title, info of publisher and author, etc. You will also have to make a code for your book known as SKU. Don’t skip this step otherwise, Amazon itself will assign a code that might be hard for you to remember.

Now, this step is a very crucial one; setting the book’s price. Usually, the best practice is to set a low price initially to make more sales, however, it is also recommended to check the costs of other similar books and set yours accordingly. This way you will have a competitive and profitable price.

Next, you need to specify the condition of your book. If it is a new book, it is quite simple, you just have to select from hardcover and paperback. However, when it comes to the old books, you are required to mention its condition by telling if it is similar to a new one, quite good or acceptable, etc. Here, you must know that any book which doesn’t have a proper cover or doesn’t have all the pages is not accepted which means you won’t be able to sell them.

Before you save the listing, you have to select one of the two fulfillment methods which we have discussed below.

Choose Fulfillment Method

There are two main types of fulfillment method. The most common and easy method is FBA where Amazon takes care of storage, packaging, and shipping of your books. Moreover, they will also handle your customer care as well as returns if any. If you are thinking about what will I do then, the answer is quite simple you will send your item to their storehouse as well as keep an eye on your inventory level and send more when it is low.

There are many reasons to opt for this method. First of all, you don’t have to deal with renting a safe place where you can store them and their packaging which also requires great care. Let us say, you are packing it all by yourself and for some reason, its cover gets ripped, it won’t be acceptable so you will have to bear the loss but when you leave it on Amazon and this incident happens, you will get a full refund from them. Furthermore, the shipping charges through this method are more economical compared to the other method.

Another great benefit of this method is that shoppers trust those items more that are listed with FBA. Not to mention, it is also delivered under free prime shipping that too within 2 days. Any merchant can apply for this program as there are no requirements, however, you must mention the kind of items you are going to offer so that you can be informed which storehouse you have to send your items.

When you opt for the merchant method you will be responsible for storage, packaging, and shipping of your books as well as the customer care including refunds. You must consider all the fees associated with it such as you might have to rent a place to store your books. Moreover, there will also be packaging and shipping costs. This method is more suitable if you have less sales.

Before you choose any method, you must calculate the expenses of both and compare them to evaluate which one is the most economical. Below we have discussed the FBA fees.

This fee is the total of all the expenses for the services that you are provided with such as picking, packaging, and shipping. You will also be charged for the customer care that is managed on your behalf. This method is the perfect option is you want to save yourself from the trouble of handling all of this.

This fee is calculated based on the weight and dimension of the item, in this case, books. Different books have different weights and sizes etc. so this fee will vary book to book. As a beginner, it is wise to choose lightweight and small books that will not only be easy to pack and deliver but will also have less fees. Furthermore, these will have less shipping charges when you send them to the storehouse.

This is not a fixed fee and is charged per unit and also depends on the category your item belongs to. The fee structure is regularly updated by Amazon. It is a reliable fulfillment method that both merchants and shoppers trust. There are many tools available for this purpose that calculate these charges within a few minutes. They will ask you to provide details such as the weight of your item to determine the accurate charges.

Save Listing and Start Earning

When you are done choosing the method of fulfillment all you have to do is save the listing. How much time will it take your listing to appear on the page depends on the method you chose for fulfillment. If you have chosen the merchant method it won’t take more than 30 minutes and then you can start earning.

However, if you have opted to FBA, you first have to send it to Amazon which will take some time to reach them. It can even be around 2 weeks. Next, Amazon will also take some time to store it in their warehouse. So you have to wait for this duration before you can start receiving the order and earn money.

Final Thoughts

Amazon started as an online bookstore in 1995 and offering books on a platform is still a very profitable opportunity. However, you must first have to choose what type of book you want to offer. You have many options for this. You can either publish the books written by you through KDP which will also save you from the trouble of finding a publisher and lets you have all the rights so that you can edit them the way you want or you call purchase books in bulk at a discounted price or when they are on sale and offer them at a higher price on the platform.

Not to mention, you can also offer the old books that you have in your house but they must have an acceptable condition which means a proper cover and no missing pages. What’s more, there is also a trade-in program where you give your old books to amazon and get gift cards in return. You can use these to get you items from the marketplace.

If you are not going for KDP or Trade-In, you must conduct thorough research to discover the right book to introduce. This can be done by analyzing the ranks of different books and looking into the details of best sellers. Generally, it is better to opt for the book with not too high or not tool sales rank.

To launch a book you first have to create a regular as well as seller account. Then you must choose a fulfillment method, the most used is FBA. With this method, you don’t have to deal with storage, packaging, shipping and customer care of the books as Amazon takes care of all of it on your behalf but it also comes with a few costs. It goes without saying, you should go for the method which is the most economical.

Finally, you can save your listing and start earning but if you opt for FBA it will take some time for your listings to appear on the page because you first have to send books to the storehouse, then they will be processed then you can start getting orders.


What is the cost of selling books?

It depends on which type of books you want to sell. When you sell new or old books you have to choose a subscription plan for which you have to pay, then is referral fee and also fulfillment charges.