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Selling Books

Projected Income $300-$1500/month
Costs to Start $50-$300
Time to Start 1-2 weeks
Category Selling Things Online

Our Side Hustles Breakdown

Dive into the world of Selling Books and turn your literary passion into a substantial income. With a low starting cost and the freedom to choose your niche, selling books allows you to connect with fellow book lovers while making a profit. Be prepared for the competition and the need for savvy marketing skills to truly stand out.

cons-icon Cons

  • Competition: The market is crowded, standing out is a challenge.
  • Marketing Skills Needed: Effective promotion is crucial for success.
  • Inventory Management: Adequate storage and organization for books are necessary.

pros-icon Pros

  • Low Investment: Minimal startup costs make it accessible.
  • Passion into Profit: Monetize your love for books.
  • Flexibility: Work from home and set your own schedule.

Are you an avid bookworm looking for an easy yet rewarding side gig? Do you have dozens if not hundreds of books collecting dust on your bookshelf, and you want to transform them into a source of income?

If so, selling books could be the ideal side hustle for you.

With enough dedication, strategic planning, and research, you can double or even triple your profit potential with minimal investment.

An Overview of Selling Books: A Primer

If you’re a student, a book enthusiast, or simply looking to earn money, selling books and flipping textbooks can be your ticket to a profitable side hustle.

With the costs of new books reaching unprecedented heights, the second-hand book industry is experiencing a rapid increase in popularity.

According to market research, the industry is projected to reach a valuation of nearly $50 billion by the end of 2033, with an annual growth rate of 6.6% from 2023. Selling books offers a golden opportunity to tap into this ever-growing industry.    

How Much Can Selling Books Earn You?

Some people claim to have made over $100,000 a year selling used books on Amazon. But such cases are often the exception rather than the rule. Realistically, you can expect to earn roughly $40 to $50 for every $10 you spend on a book.

So if you sell, say, 20 books a month and spend around $200 acquiring them, you might earn approximately $800 to $1,000 in monthly revenue.

Note that this figure represents gross income and doesn’t account for expenses such as platform fees, shipping, and taxes.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Side Hustle Selling Books?

The cost of starting a book-selling side hustle varies widely depending on your sourcing strategy, initial investment, and scale of operation.

For a small-scale operation, starting fees could range anywhere between $50 to $200. This estimate covers a small inventory of books, basic storage and packaging materials, and shipping fees.

If you choose to sell books on marketplaces like Amazon or eBay, you’ll likely encounter platform fees and payment processing fees, which may cut into your total revenue.

Here’s a breakdown of the potential costs of starting a side hustle selling books:

  • Inventory of books: $50 to $100+
  • Shipping materials like packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and packing tape: $10 to $50
  • Shipping Costs: $20 to $50
  • Platform fees: Flat rate of $5 to $20+, or 2% to 15% of the item’s sale price

If you decide to invest in advertising to promote your book listings, you may have to spend an additional $20 to $50 per month for social media or pay-per-click ads.

Where Can You Sell Books?

Books are popular for flippers due to their steady demand and potential for profitable resale. Here are some of the most popular platforms for selling books:

Where to Independently Sell Books

Amazon and eBay are two of the biggest online marketplaces for books. You can sell both new and used books on these websites.

When selling books on Amazon, you can either list and fulfill the books yourself or let Amazon do the hard work for you.

If you choose the latter option, you’ll be able to send a box of books to Amazon and the company will take care of shipment and orders for you.

This feature is called Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA).

The downside to selling your books through FBA is that it can eat up 70% to 80% of the selling price in fees.

On the other hand, the Individual Seller Plan charges $0.99 per item sold plus referral fees, while the Professional Seller Plan costs $39.99 per month but doesn’t charge a per-item fee.

eBay offers more flexibility in terms of listing and selling books. As with most items, you can choose between fixed-price listings or auction-style listings, where buyers bid on your books.

eBay charges fees based on the total sales amount, ranging from 5% to 12% depending on your subscription level.

Gig Economy Platforms to Sell Books

There are dozens of marketplaces that specifically cater to buying and selling books. Here’s where to sell books:

  • Powell’s Books
  • BookScouter
  • Half Price Books
  • AbeBooks
  • Textbooks.com
  • Chegg.com
  • CampusBookRentals.com

Powell’s Books is by far the easiest platform to sell used books. Upon entering the ISBNs of the books you wish to sell, the website will give you an instant quote on the titles.

You’d get around 30% to 40% of the book’s original value. This may not seem a lot, but if you purchased a book for $5 or less, and it sells $30 brand new, you’d get around $9 to $12 of profit.

Why You Should Consider Selling Books As a Side Hustle

Unsure of whether selling books is the right side hustle for you? Here are some advantages of this gig:

  • Low start-up cost: You can start selling books with an initial investment of less than $50. If you already have lots of old books in your possession, you’ll only have to pay for platform fees, shipping costs, and shipping materials.
  • Accessibility: You can buy books from dozens of places, from used bookstores and garage stores to library sales and online marketplaces. You won’t have any trouble sourcing books.
  • Rediscover forgotten treasures: On your quest to buy books, you might stumble upon hidden gems, rare editions, and collectible titles that you might not have encountered otherwise. You can sell these books for a high profit or keep them in your collection.

Problems With Selling Books

Selling books as a side hustle doesn’t come without its disadvantages. These include:

  • Competition: The book-selling market is highly competitive. Many sellers offer similar books, making it challenging to stand out and secure sales.
  • Pricing difficulties: To attract potential buyers, you may be forced to sell your books lower than you’d prefer. This is often the case for common titles.
  • Platform fees: Online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Powell’s Books charge various platform fees, including subscription fees, referral fees, and listing fees. These fees can eat into your profits.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Sell My Books for the Highest Price?

Popular marketplaces like Amazon and eBay can net you the highest profit. Both websites have a vast customer base, allowing you to reach audiences across the world willing to pay a premium for the book you’re selling.

What Books Are Easy to Sell?

Due to the high demand for textbooks, business books,

Ask a Question About Selling Books?

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