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How to Sell Books on Amazon in 6 Simple Steps

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Are you wondering how to sell books on Amazon? Many people have jumped on the online bookselling bandwagon, especially on Amazon.

After all, books remain one of the top-selling items on the platform.

In this article, we’ll guide you through six steps to help you sell books on Amazon.

We’ll also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of choosing this online marketplace.

Why You Should Consider Selling Books on Amazon

Finding new sales channels to sell your books is useful because it can help you generate higher sales and potentially grow your business.

Lucrative marketplaces, like Amazon, are a great place to start doing that. Here’s why selling on Amazon is worth your attention:

1. Large customer base

With over 300 million active accounts, Amazon is the largest e-commerce website. Not to mention, over 200 million customers are using Amazon Prime, which offers free shipping, among other benefits.

2. Easy to get started

Selling on Amazon is beginner-friendly, with tools to help you list, sell, and ship your books. Those include the Amazon fulfillment (FBA) program, inventory, and best seller ranking (BSR).

3. High demand for books

Despite having more than 40 selling categories, the book division is still one of the tops. The former generates around 10% of Amazon’s total worldwide revenue.

With such a high demand for the book category, the chances of selling more of this product on Amazon increase.

4. Low starting costs

Aside from making a profit, Amazon offers different plans that can be as low as a dollar to around $40. Plus, books are some of the best things to flip.

Whether you’re selling new books or books you got from a yard sale, you can put them on Amazon and sell them for a higher price.

Problems With Selling Books on Amazon

Although selling on Amazon comes with several benefits, the former platform also has disadvantages.

Here are some of the problems you may face when selling books on Amazon:

1. Competitive Marketplace

Accessing a large customer base can be a double-edged sword. Sure, you get the benefits of offering your products on a website with millions of traffic—a perk that takes years to achieve.

Still, that’s also tempting for other people, making it challenging to stand out from the millions of sellers on the platform. You’ll need to invest time and effort into optimizing your product listing to increase your book sales.

2. Amazon Fees

Aside from paying for a seller’s plan, Amazon charges various fees once you start selling on the platform. Those include referral fees that deduct 15% for each book sold.

Other expenses include fulfillment (for Amazon FBA), aged inventory surcharge, Amazon advertising, and other optional services. These fees can eat into your profit. That’s especially true if you’re selling cheap books.

3. Payout Schedule

Amazon doesn’t pay its sellers immediately. Unlike other e-commerce sites that usually pay you once the buyer receives the order, Amazon has a 14-day payout schedule.

Not to mention, your bank can take 3-5 business days to process the transfer. That means you can’t access your seller account funds for at least two weeks!

4. Return Policy

Regardless of the reason, Amazon customers have the right to return the books they’ve purchased. Once Amazon evaluates the product’s condition and determines that it’s sellable, it’ll return the book to your inventory.

The problem is that the former results in additional expenses since you keep the item longer in inventory. That’s especially true if you’re selling used books.

Since the original book condition isn’t new, a customer might return the product with unnoticeable damage. Unfortunately, you’ll have to take the loss of that since you’ll sell the item in a lower condition than you initially displayed it.

What You Will Need to Sell Books on Amazon

Here’s what you’ll need to sell books on Amazon:

  • Amazon seller account: You’ll have to create an Amazon seller account to list and sell books on the platform.
  • Books: You can source books from various places at low prices, such as e-commerce sites, local thrift stores, book sales in libraries, and yard sales.
  • ISBN scanner app: To list your books, you’ll need an ISBN scanner to scan the international standard book number on the book. You can use the Amazon Seller app to do this task.
  • High-quality photos: Since photos are the first thing a customer views, make sure to use high-quality images with at least 1600 pixels on the longest side for good resolution.
  • Bank account: You’ll need a valid bank account with a deposit to pay the Amazon fees and receive your funds. Make sure the account has the same business name you’ve provided to Amazon.

Where to Sell Books on Amazon

You have a few different options for where to sell your books on Amazon. Here are the primary websites this platform offers:

Amazon Marketplace

A screenshot of the amazon marketplace homepage

Probably the simplest way to sell books on Amazon is through their marketplace.

Several perks come with using this platform.

Aside from the millions of avid book readers, you can access other cool features.

Those include the book’s average sale rank, monthly sales, expected revenue, and Amazon’s fees.

You can also see the number of competitors selling the same book and track its best-selling rank (BSR) history throughout the years. The former information comes in handy since you generally want to sell books with a BSR of less than 100,000.

What’s more, you can list your books in several categories to increase visibility and, thus, your sales!

  • Fees/Commission: Book referral fees are 15% of the price, plus an additional $1.80 closing fee. Other expenses include subscriptions and shipping costs.
  • Payment Methods: Amazon pays its vendors every two weeks through bank account transfers. The company doesn’t accept PayPal.

Amazon Trade-In

A screenshot of the amazon trade in homepage

Although books are some of the best-performing products to sell on Amazon, you might get stuck with a couple of unsellable ones. Luckily, you can use Amazon Trade-In to still make a profit off of those books.

The former service offers an Amazon.com gift card in exchange for eligible items. Those include new and old books as well as ebooks.

To submit the item, search for your product on the Amazon Trade-In page, select the product, and fill in the required information.

Once your book meets Amazon’s standards, you’ll receive the Trade-In credit within around 10 days.

  • Fees/Commission: No fees are required. If Amazon doesn’t accept your item, it’ll return it without shipping charges.
  • Payment Methods: An Amazon.com gift card is deposited directly into your Amazon account.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

A screenshot of the amazon kindle direct publishing homepage

As the name implies, Amazon Direct Publishing is a service that allows writers to self-publish their book directly on the Amazon Kindle store.

Authors can upload their work in different formats and choose a price between $0.99 and $200 to list their book on the Amazon KDP website.

The best part is that this platform offers your work as an e-book and paperback.

  • Fees/Commission: Amazon allows you to choose between a 35% or 70% royalty option for ebooks and paperbacks. It’ll also charge you for the printing costs.
  • Payment Methods: Royalties are paid each month through wire transfer. This service doesn’t accept Amazon Payments or PayPal.

How to Sell Books on Amazon: Step-By-Step Instructions

Follow this beginner-friendly tutorial to help you sell books on Amazon in no time!

Step 1: Choose Your Plan

Before hopping on the book-selling journey, you need to have an Amazon seller account. You’ve got two options to choose from: register as an individual or as a professional seller.

Here’s a brief description of each plan type:

  • Individual seller account: This plan is suitable for individuals who want to sell a couple of used books—no more than 40. The perk of an individual seller account is that it’s free. Amazon only charges $0.99 for every item sold.
  • Professional seller account: The plan is fit for those wanting to grow their businesses. You gain access to advanced selling and management tools. However, that comes with a $39.99 monthly subscription.

Step 2: Create an Amazon Seller Account

After deciding which seller plan you like, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to Amazon’s selling website.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
  3. To subscribe to the professional plan, click “Sign up.” Alternatively, you can click “Sign up to become an individual seller” and upgrade to a professional later.
  4. Click on “Create your Amazon account.”
  5. Enter your name and a professional email address that isn’t registered on Amazon.
  6. Choose your password and click “Next.”
  7. Enter your phone number and OTP.
  8. Fill in the required information, and you’re done!

Step 3: Choose the Books You Will Sell

It’s easy to get lost in the vast products on the platform and think: what to sell on Amazon? After all, you’ll likely find several competitors selling your book collection.

For that reason, it’s best to do your search first. Scan the book’s barcode using the Amazon Seller App to check its BSR and other related information.

If a product has a rank under 100,000 and sells well, prioritize its listing. You can also use this information to search for other sequels if the book is part of a collection.

Step 4: Determine Order Fulfillment

Once you determine which books are sellable, you have to choose your order fulfillment method.

You can choose the Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN) program to handle the entire delivery process yourself. That includes inventory handling, packing, and shipping.

Of course, the former option doesn’t include additional costs other than what you pay for the process.

Alternatively, you can let Amazon handle all the hassle by opting for the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service. Amazon’s FBA is also the simplest way to get the Prime badge for your products, making your items eligible for free, fast shipping.

Step 5: List Your Books

Here’s how to list your books on Amazon:

  1. Open the Amazon Seller App and scan the book’s barcode. For books older than 1970, enter the ISBN manually in the search bar.
  2. Click the “Sell on Amazon” button once you see your product or “List” if you’re using the app.
  3. Enter your SKU number; it can be whichever code you want. You can leave it blank for Amazon to generate the code.
  4. Choose the book’s price. For FBA users, you can access Amazon’s profit calculator to determine the price.
  5. Select the book’s condition. Don’t select “new” for a used book, even if it’s in perfect condition. Amazon may request an invoice to verify the item’s actual state.
  6. Choose the quantity and your shipping plan (FBA or MFN), and you’re done!

Step 6: Promote Your Books

Now, you can use several marketing strategies, like Amazon ads, to drive book sales. If you own other businesses, you can email your subscribers about your bookselling business and any promotion you intend to do.

Social media platforms are also powerful tools for increasing your business’s exposure.

Things to Consider When Selling Books on Amazon

Here are some additional things to consider when selling books on Amazon:

Customer Service

Providing good customer service is crucial to building an excellent reputation on Amazon. To achieve that, try to respond promptly to inquiries. Make sure to address issues with honesty to gain the buyer’s trust.

Legal Requirements

In most cases, you won’t need a business license, sales permit, or other legal requirements when selling on Amazon.

However, you need to comply with their guidelines to ensure they don’t remove your book from the platform.

For self-published books on Amazon KDP, it’s best to register for copyright to protect your work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Selling Books Profitable on Amazon?

Yes, selling books on Amazon can be profitable; it requires a low initial investment, and there’s no limit on the number of books you sell.

However, several factors contribute to the total profit. Those include the types of books you sell, your pricing strategy, marketing, shipping costs, and Amazon fees.

What Kinds of Books Sell Best on Amazon?

Textbooks and educational books do well on Amazon, regardless of their edition. Books that are part of a collection are in high demand and can sell at a hefty price.

Niche books and comics, especially those with a low print run, also sell best on Amazon.

Similar Tutorials to Check Out

Still, looking for other profitable side hustles that involve books? Here are some similar tutorials to check out:

  • How to Get Paid to Read Books: If you love to read, several companies can pay you up to $200 for reading books and sharing your opinion.
  • How to Sell Textbooks Online: You can make a decent profit when selling used textbooks. Even if the edition dates back centuries, you’ll still find college students and professors purchasing them.
  • How to Become an Audiobook Narrator: If you’ve got the talent and the necessary recording equipment, you can use them to get paid for narrating audiobooks!

Wrapping Up

As you can see, learning how to sell books on Amazon is a lucrative opportunity. The best part is that, whether you’re a business-savvy or a beginner, selling books on Amazon doesn’t require many skills.

By following the steps discussed in the guide, you can grow your bookselling business in no time!

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends. And if you still have any questions, let us know in the comment section below.

1 thought on “How to Sell Books on Amazon in 6 Simple Steps”

  1. Wonderfully written. Can you share what legal requirements that I need to look into if I buy from any retail outlet and list the book on amazon in another market place?
    I am just getting to know that what will amazon expect from me to provide them if the book is the newly listed. A new book launched in one market place but going to be sold in another market place.


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