How to sell books on Amazon? Selling books online can be a nice income stream—or the start of a profitable online business. Whether you want to list and sell books from your brick-and-mortar store, get rid of children’s books or comic books, list rare hardcover collectibles, or even self-publish a book you wrote yourself, you can get started to reach readers around the globe.
You can sell hardcovers, paperbacks, or ebooks through websites like Amazon. We’ll cover ecommerce tools available to help you increase sales and sell new books, sell back your books, or specialize in specific titles and genres. You’ll also find details on how to sell books in the Amazon store.
How to sell books on Amazon?
A great place to start selling books on Amazon is by selling old books that are already in your possession — but that will only get you so far as eventually you’ll sell out, or, the books you have are not good for resale.
And if you’re wondering, yes, reselling used books (and other products on Amazon) is perfectly legal and okay to do so on Amazon. Though keep in mind that your account may be restricted in selling certain publications or authors — we’ll go over this more in the “How to sell books on Amazon” section below.
The best part about selling used books on Amazon is that you can typically source them for pennies on the dollar. Especially when you find something like a textbook for $1 at a library sale that sells for $50+ used on Amazon.
Here are six of the most popular methods for finding used books to resell on Amazon.
1. Sell your own books
This one is probably the simplest way to find books to sell and it’s how many sellers get started. Look around your house and see if you have some old books collecting dust.
Consider textbooks, rare topics, niche topics such as old comic books, or other non-fiction books. Mass-produced fiction books tend to lose their value faster than non-fiction books so they’re typically not worth selling on Amazon.
2. Book/library sales
Book sales can be kind of like hunting for treasure. Plus, there’s always a book sale going on somewhere, especially at libraries.
Head to these sales with a book scanner and look for some picks that would be good to list on Amazon. By using a bluetooth scanner along with a book scanning app, you’ll be able to find profitable books much faster than the competition at these sales.
Scanning apps help you figure out your potential profit on Amazon after product costs and Amazon fees.
Need help finding local book sales? Check out booksalefinder.com.
3. Online arbitrage
Don’t feel like going out? Some sellers look on websites other than Amazon for books with prices lower than what you could sell the same book for on Amazon. This is called ‘online arbitrage.’
All you do is purchase the book from the one website for a low price, wait for it to arrive, and then list it on Amazon for a higher price. You can find used books for sale on sites such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Barnes & Noble, and many others.
Note: We don’t suggest reselling new books on Amazon without having a legitimate source such as a publisher or distributor. We’ll go over more of that later in the article.
4. Bulk purchase/wholesale
You can often buy entire lots of books online for super low prices. You can buy full lots or even truckloads of used books on eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook listed at low rates. If you go this route, make sure you’re buying books that have not been sorted or scanned. If so, you could be buying another Amazon sellers ‘duds’ that are not profitable for Amazon.
5. Estate/closing sales
Estate sales, closing sales, and moving sales are awesome ways to find books since large collections of books will be sold all at once. Typically, you can make offers on entire collections for pennies on the dollar.
To find local estate sales, visit www.estatesales.net
6. Free books
Check out Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace; there is always someone who is looking to offload books at no charge. All you have to do is go get them.
Just be careful, as sometimes these free books could be listed by other sellers who are getting rid of the books that don’t sell.
What kind of books sell best on Amazon?
Finding books to list on Amazon is usually pretty easy. However, you don’t want to spend your time listing books that no one will buy. That’s why it’s important to know how to find the right books to sell on Amazon.
Books that sell well on Amazon:
- Textbooks. If there was a “gold standard” of used books that you can sell on Amazon, it’d definitely have to be textbooks. Textbooks are always in high demand, especially during the fall and spring, and tend to have high prices — even old editions! The only drawback with textbooks is that sometimes publishers “brand gate” their books to prevent non-certified sellers from selling new or used copies so always be sure to check if you’re able to sell a particular book in your seller account before buying.
- Niche books. Books that had low print runs and are a part of a larger collection do well on Amazon thanks to a lack of competition. For example, there is money to be made purchasing Dungeons & Dragons books on eBay and reselling them on Amazon.
- Comic books. You can sell comic books on Amazon, too. Both single issues and graphic novels perform well on Amazon, and if you have collectible issues they can fetch a decent profit.
- Collectibles. First edition books, signed books, and any other book that could be considered “collectible” are also popular on Amazon. Again, be sure to check if you’re allowed to sell any “collectible” you come across on Amazon.
- Non-fiction. Overall, non-fiction performs a lot better than fiction on Amazon — in the resale market. That’s not to say that fiction does poorly, but in my experience, fiction books tend to lose their value faster than non-fiction books.
- Hardcovers. Naturally, hardcovers have higher prices than paperback books and tend to hold their value better.
Is selling books on Amazon worth it?
Yes, selling books on Amazon is definitely worth it if you can find a good source of profitable books.
How is it worth it? Let’s look at some of the data from Jungle Scout’s State of the Seller Report.
- 8% of book sellers on Amazon have reached lifetime profits between $100,000-$500,000
- 18.9% of book sellers have profit margins of 26%-50%
- It took 21% of book sellers to be profitable in under 3 months
As mentioned above, one of the biggest benefits to selling used books on Amazon is that you can typically buy used books or very cheap — or even get them for free in some cases.
When going to library or estate sales looking for books, they want to get rid of as much as they can, so don’t be surprised if you see books selling for as low as $0.25.
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