Thinking About Selling Books on Amazon? Start Here…
From tips on selecting books to how to source, list and package them, here’s the info you need to get started selling books on Amazon.
If you’re thinking about selling books on Amazon, you aren’t alone. Back in 2014, The Atlantic reported that Amazon controls a whopping 64% of all sales of printed books online. This means that Amazon has virtually no competition when it comes to online book sales.
It makes sense that eCommerce sellers would look to profit from this corner on the market. However, there are several considerations to factor in if you want to develop a strategy that will truly be successful. Here are some expert insights, steps to follow and best practices for anyone who wants to start selling books on Amazon.
Understand the Costs
Before you get started selling books on Amazon, you need to fully understand the expenses of being in business.
For starters, you will either pay $39.99 per month or $0.99 per item sold depending on whether you’re on a Professional Seller or Individual Seller plan. Amazon also charges:
- A 15% referral fee on books.
- A $1.80 closing fee on “all media items” (this includes books).
For these reasons, a lot of Amazon book sellers decide on a minimum acceptable selling price for any book (for instance, $10 to $15). If a book won’t likely sell for that much or is already being offered by other sellers at a lower price, then they won’t bother with that particular item.
Pick the Right Books to Sell
Selling books on Amazon starts with choosing the right ones. The key here is balance.
Use Amazon’s “Best Sellers in Books” list to learn more about which books shoppers are buying the most. While the list only displays the top 100, every book available on Amazon ranks somewhere on it. If you go to the book’s page, you can see its rank in the product details.
When choosing books based on rank, it’s important to remember that you don’t just want to source and sell the top sellers right off the bat. In fact, it’s the mid-range sellers that are generally the way to go.
Think about it this way: If you pick books that are the top Amazon sellers, then you will be competing in an absolutely flooded market. Not only that, but these books are widely available (there are usually hundreds of copies of the top-ranked book on Amazon available from different sellers at any given time). For that reason, the top book will likely be selling for just a few dollars, potentially even less than it would cost you in fees.
However, if you select books that are very low sellers, then you will obviously struggle to find interested buyers. Why spend money and time sourcing and listing items that shoppers aren’t that interested in?
Go with a mid-range seller to find the perfect balance of buyer demand and competitiveness in the marketplace.
Ways to Source Books (Used & New)
Once you know which books you want to sell on Amazon, it’s time to find and obtain them. Luckily, there are several ways to source books, both used and new.
Places to Source Used Books
- Your bookshelf.
- Yard sales & flea markets.
- Used bookstores.
- Thrift shops.
- Estate sales.
- Book fairs.
- The internet.
- Schools that are selling old books.
- Churches or other non-profits that often accept books as donations.
Places to Source New Books
- Publishers & authors.
- New bookstores.
- The internet.
How to Create Listings when Selling Books on Amazon
Once you have the book(s) you want to sell on Amazon, you’re ready to start selling.
Start by setting up your Amazon seller’s account (if you don’t already have one). Then, it’s time to list your item.
Use the book’s ISBN or title to see if there are any other sellers already offering this exact book (hardcover / paperback, etc). If there are, then the product listing has already been created! Simply make sure all the details match what you’re selling and click the “Sell on Amazon” button located below “Add to Cart.”
Fill out the form that pops up, noting the item’s condition and all other details with complete honesty. Then submit. That’s it! Your book is listed on Amazon.
If no one else on Amazon is selling the book you have yet (or if you’re an author listing a new book you wrote yourself), you’ll need to create the listing for it. Start here with Amazon’s instructions on how to create a new product listing. Once you’ve got the technical steps down, there are a few things you need to know in order to put together a product listing that will inspire shoppers to buy your book.
- Optimize your listing with keywords.
- Be clear and concise about your product’s features and benefits.
- Use a title that accurately conveys what you’re selling and entices shoppers to click.
- Include clear, attractive product images.
- Be honest in your listing.
Best Practices for Packaging Books for Shipping
Once your book sells, you’ll need to prepare it for shipping. Knowing how to do this correctly is a very important key to your success. After all, the last thing you want is for buyers to receive an item in less-than-ideal condition because of the shipping and handling process.
When it comes to books, it’s a good idea to protect the corners, edges, pages, cover and dust jacket (especially for antique, fragile or expensive books). The easiest way to do this is to first wrap the entire book in bubble wrap. Then wrap your book in a protective cardboard encasement (in the shape of a sandwich, burrito or tight box that is just large enough for the bubble-wrapped book to fit inside).
Finally, place the book in a shipping container that is the right size for it. Ideally, your shipping container should be a box with sturdy walls rather than an envelope. And it should be large enough to fit the item, but not so large that the book slides around inside it. If your shipping container is significantly larger than the wrapped book inside it, consider placing paper or more bubble wrap all around the item to prevent or minimize movement.
Selling Books on Amazon? Keep Your Customer Service Top Notch.
If you’re making the effort to follow all of these steps when selling books on Amazon, you are setting yourself up for success. Make sure you don’t drop the ball when it comes to your customer service.
When you use Replyco to stay on top of your Amazon customer messages, you can ensure that no inquiries ever fall through the cracks. Plus, we enable sellers to reduce response times, get organized and even improve their Amazon seller metrics.