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Selling Books on Amazon: Ultimate Guide

by Yigit Ozdamar
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Selling books on Amazon is a very profitable business. In 2014, Amazon made more than 5 Billion USD from the book’s industry alone. Imagine how much the company must be making today! Amazon makes this much money by a system of affiliation and subscriptions, upon many other services related to the publishing industry and online shopping.

For instance, a major Amazon service and source of income is storing, packing, and shipping. Amazon has 110 warehouses in the United States. And the company offers to store, pack, and ship your own products (be it books or something else) to your Amazon clients. This, of course, comes at certain fees, and these fees and many more compose the aforementioned annual profit Amazon Makes from books.

There are tens of thousands of books out there on Amazon. We are aware of that. Joining this jogging arena may not seem like a good plan if you are a new startupper. But Amazon algorithms do not really care if you are a startup or a Six Figures entrepreneur! Your newly listed books will be treated just the same as any other ones when you list them. What makes the difference is how many people will click on your books when they see them, and how many of them will actually take action and purchase a copy.

Following that procedure, Amazon can rank the newly listed books in a matter of days. This means that the first few days are essential for you to assess how your books are doing! But if you follow the instructions and tips we will discuss about selling books on Amazon, you can make your first sale in a short period! And you can start making a good side profit in a couple of months. And who knows, selling books on Amazon might become your full- time job, and your door towards greater success. 

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How to Make Money Selling Books on Amazon

At least half the revenue Amazon made in 2019 was possible thanks to third-party sellers. This means that at least $140 Billion went straight to the pocket of Amazon sellers. Yes; we are talking billions! And selling books might be your door to this huge market! So here are some ways how you get your inventory and start making money by selling books on Amazon.

Sell Books You Already Own on Amazon

There are some unwanted books in almost any house! If you happen to have none, check with your friends or close family members and get a few free copies.

We encourage you to start with this type of business because you would not have to invest a lot of money (basically none). When you sell books you already have on Amazon, you simply have to upload pictures of these books, wait for a customer, get the money, and ship the book!

If you don’t have any books, or simply you love your bookshelf as it is, don’t worry! There is more than one way.

Book Sales Strategy

Buying books for fairly low prices is a must when you join the Amazon Books industry. And book Sales is a big opportunity to close a good deal. Keep an eye on book sales and maybe get yourself some spies in the local libraries! Try to make connections with people who work in these libraries, and let them notify you when they are organizing a Book Sales in their libraries or anywhere they happen to know about.

Don’t rush and buy tens of copies at first. Stick to a limited quantity and a medium budget. If you sell more than the quantity you have, you can always go and purchase more copies and send them. But if you made fewer sales than what you have, it may not be a fun lesson to learn.

Arbitrage

If you are not social enough to get yourself a bunch of spies, or you simply don’t like going out, we got you again! There are tens of websites that sell books online. You need to look in them for books you can buy, then sell at a bigger price on Amazon.

You can even contact the sellers and ask for lower costs on bigger quantities! But don’t forget to stick to a reasonable quantity.

How To Sell Books On Amazon

Now that you learned how to get your inventory, it’s high time we see how you can make money selling books on Amazon.

1. Sign Up for a Seller’s Account:

Amazon gives booksellers the choice between two types of accounts:

  1. Individual Seller Account: if you are a beginner, or you don’t have a lot of books to sell, we advise you to choose this type. That is because you would have to pay a small fee on every sale you make instead of a monthly subscription. But if you happen to start selling more than 35 books per month, you should definitely go for the second type of accounts.

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  1. Professional Seller Account: If you are taking this business seriously and you already started making more than 40 sales a month, Congratulations! You are now a professional Seller. You should upgrade your “Individual Seller Account” into a “Professional Seller Account”. This will cost you $39.99 monthly + other fees on each sale. But don’t worry, this is way less expensive than selling tens of books as an Individual Seller.
Amazon books Sign Up for Seller Account

2. Choose between FBA or FBM:

After you finish signing up, you will have to choose between an FBA or FBM system of shipping. If you believe you can take care of all the online book-selling steps by yourself, then go for an FBM system. 

FBM stands for “Fulfilled By Merchant”. And it means that you will store your own inventory, pack it, and ship it to your clients when you make a sale. In this case, you wouldn’t have to pay Amazon to store and ship your books. But other delivery companies may cost you way more than the FBA system. So, as a beginner, we advise you to go for the FBA system.

FBA stands for “Fulfilled by Amazon”. When you choose this option, Amazon will take care of collecting the books from you and storing them in the closest Amazon warehouse. This will take approximately one to two weeks max. Then, you will be allowed to list the books and start selling!

3. List Your Books on Amazon:

Once you’re done with the former step, you should move to the listing part. It will barely take you a couple of minutes to list a book on Amazon. That is thanks to Amazon’s ISBN policy. Each book has its own ISBN. Simply check for the books you have by typing the ISBN code you find on the copyright page, and choose from the results.

ISBN amazon book

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a unique series of numbers that identifies each book alone. By searching this number on the Amazon listing page, you will find a list of pre-listed copies of your book. Simply choose one!

If you are new to the field of selling books on Amazon, avoid trying to win big. List the books with low prices and try to attract more customers to give you a 5 stars review. This may not be profitable at first, but it is extremely beneficial in the long term.

Amazon gives you five options when it comes to the condition of the books you sell. Choose one that describes your book best. These five novelty conditions are:

  • New: Use this for brand-new books you get from Book Sales for instance.
  • Used Like New: Make sure the book is in good condition and doesn’t have any spots of dirt or highlighted notes.
  •  Used Very Good: Clean but a little old is best described as used but very good.
  •  Used Good: a little dirt or a couple of notes here and there, but they shouldn’t affect the overall aesthetics of the book.
  • Used Acceptable: The book still looks like a book! Its pages are still sticking to the cover, little dirt, or an old version is considered acceptable.

4. Shipping with Amazon:

Again, Amazon offers you more than one choice when it comes to its services. There are indeed four domestic shipping methods offered by Amazon. These choices are: Standard Domestic, Domestic Expedited, Domestic two-day, and finally Domestic One-day. Check the attached screenshot from the official pricing page of Amazon to have more information about the prices.

domestic shipping amazon

It goes without saying that Amazon offers international shipping as well! It comes of course at more expensive rates, but you can always add extra-fees for international clients when listing your books. There are only two plans for international shipping: International Standard, and International Expedited. The latter being more expensive and faster than the former.

 Again, check the attached screenshot down below to know more about the international plan:

international shipping amazon

Selling Books on Amazon: Tips and Secrets

Any field has its tips and secrets! Be it as complicated as social engineering, or as simple as collecting garbage.

Selling books on Amazon isn’t any different! It also has plenty of little tricks that will work together and make some big difference. So, here is a short list of the most important things you should do (or avoid) when you sell books on Amazon:

  • Never list a book you are not sure you can send to your clients. This will only bring in bad reviews and reports to the Amazon customer service center. Worst case scenario, you will be banned!
  • Never use unreal book conditions or try to fake the description. People will receive the books and then they can rain wash you with reviews. So, they better be positive reviews! Don’t you agree?
  • Promote the books you list for free in social media groups. Join groups that are interested in books in general or specifically in the books you have. And write a couple of appealing posts and attach the link to your book on Amazon, and you may get a few sales!
  • You can get tens of free books monthly by simply checking the Marketplace on Facebook. All you need to do is to go collect the books from the people who are getting rid of them. Get them for free, sell at low cost, collect some good reviews!
  • If you start making good money; do not hesitate to go wholesale! Go and find a book that is ranking in the top 50 best- selling books on Amazon, and find a supplier to sell you a bunch of copies. Then sell these copies and get some real profit!

This was a brief attempt to walk you through the basics of selling books on Amazon. Millions of dollars are being made every day on Amazon. Join the arena and improve your skills to get better results over time. There are always new things to learn, new updates, new arenas, and new books to sell. Don’t rely on articles only. Instead, take the first step and start selling already! Learn by doing, wise men say. So, are you opening a seller account tonight?

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