Selling Books on Amazon: The ALL IN guide to making money

How to start making $1,000/mo in extra income by selling books on Amazon

Travis R.
Amazon seller & Software Founder
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Selling books on Amazon is where most new Amazon sellers start. You can go straight to private label or wholesale selling but those approaches are riddled with money pits if you’re not careful. The best way to get yourself familiar with the Amazon ecosystem is to start small and sell something you are familiar with. Selling books on Amazon is a great place to start.

Amazon is the world’s largest online marketplace, it offers vast opportunities for expanding your business. If you’re considering selling books on this platform, it’s essential to understand the process involved and the best practices to follow.

To get started in Amazon’s book-selling journey, create an Amazon seller account and decide whether you prefer the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) method. You’ll also need to determine whether to register as an individual or professional seller, as each option comes with varying fees and features.

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By selecting the right fulfillment method, seller plan, and understanding the inventory options, you can effectively leverage Amazon’s platform and logistics capabilities to reach a broader audience, generate more sales, and grow your business.

Creating an Amazon Seller Account

To start selling books on Amazon, the first step is to create an Amazon seller account. Setting up your account is simple, and you have two main selling plan options: Individual Seller and Professional Seller. Both plans offer distinct benefits depending on your business size and goals.

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sell.amazon.com

Individual Seller

The Individual Seller plan is perfect for you if you’re looking to sell fewer than 40 items per month. This plan has no monthly subscription fee, so you only pay a per-item fee when you make a sale. Here’s how to create an Individual Seller account:

  1. Visit the Amazon Seller Central page.
  2. Click on “Start selling.”
  3. Log in to your existing Amazon account or sign up for a new one.
  4. Choose the “Individual” selling plan during the registration process.
  5. Complete the required account information and start listing your books.

Keep in mind that while the Individual plan is more affordable for smaller sellers, it lacks some features available in the Professional plan, such as bulk listing uploads and custom shipping rates.

Professional Seller

If you plan on selling more than 40 items per month, or if you want access to advanced selling tools, the Professional Seller plan is the better option for you. This plan comes with a monthly subscription fee ($39.99), but it offers several features that can help you scale your business. Amazon sellers don’t ever “feel” this fee because it comes right off the top of your profit and it is the cost of doing business with Amazon in order to access their powerful platform to sell online with them.

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To create a Professional Seller account, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Amazon Seller Central page.
  2. Click on “Start selling.”
  3. Log in to your existing Amazon account or sign up for a new one.
  4. Choose the “Professional” selling plan during the registration process.
  5. Complete the required account information and start listing your books.

The Professional plan’s benefits include bulk listing uploads, custom shipping rates, and advanced reporting tools. With this plan, you’ll pay a monthly subscription fee in addition to per-item selling fees.

In summary, choosing between the Individual and Professional selling plans depends on your business goals and sales volume. While the Individual plan may be more cost-effective for smaller sellers, the Professional plan offers additional tools and features that can help you grow your business on Amazon.

Need some Amazon inspiration?

Sourcing Books to Sell

New Books

When looking for new books to sell on Amazon, consider searching for textbooks and recently published bestsellers. These books often have a high demand and can yield significant profits. Publishers, distributors, and wholesalers can be great sources for acquiring new books in bulk at discounted prices. Some liquidation sales or clearance events might also offer opportunities to find new books at lower prices.

Used Books

Used books can be a lucrative category on Amazon, especially since many buyers are looking for cheaper alternatives. You can find used books at thrift stores, garage sales, book sales, and libraries. Also, check out websites like Book Sale Finder to locate book sales and events in your area. Remember to focus on books in good condition and avoid those with excessive wear or damage.

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Collectible Books

Collectible books, including first editions, signed copies, and rare volumes, can attract buyers willing to pay higher prices. These can be found at antique stores, auctions, or estate sales, where you might come across valuable items. Keep in mind that you need to verify the authenticity of these books and learn about grading and pricing to determine their market value.

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Online Arbitrage

Online arbitrage involves finding books listed at low prices on websites other than Amazon and reselling them on Amazon for a profit. You can search for discounts, promotions, or clearance sales on websites like eBay, Craigslist, or even Facebook Marketplace. Monitor prices and use tools like Keepa or CamelCamelCamel to track pricing trends for better decision-making.

Estate Sales

Estate sales can be an excellent opportunity to source used and collectible books at low prices. Look for local estate sales, which can be advertised in newspapers, online, or through social media. Visit these sales with a prepared list of books you’re interested in and be ready to negotiate prices with the sellers.

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Example of Estate Sale listings

Wholesale

Wholesalers offer books at discounted prices, usually for bulk purchases. These can be an excellent way to source new books in a cost-effective manner. Research various wholesalers, compare their pricing, and establish relationships with them to get the best deals.

Some great places to start relationships for great sources of book gaylords are:

  • Libraries
  • Schools
  • Recycling Centers
  • Discarded Business Inventory
  • Middlemen

Be mindful of any restrictions or criteria set by the wholesalers, such as minimum order quantities or a need for a reseller license.

By exploring these options and strategies, you can effectively find and source profitable books to sell on Amazon.

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Software for Selling Books on Amazon

As a bookseller on Amazon, utilizing the right software can greatly improve your efficiency and profits. One such tool worth considering is AccelerList. This software is designed specifically for Amazon sellers, particularly those who sell books, movies, or CDs.

AccelerList offers a comprehensive listing, pricing, and order management system, helping to streamline your operations. By importing your existing listings and unshipped orders directly from Amazon, the software simplifies your inventory management.

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To list single items, you can either scan or manually enter barcodes or ISBNs, making it easy to create new listings. Moreover, AccelerList offers a product repricing feature, allowing you to keep your prices competitive.

By investing in specialized software like AccelerList, you can fully leverage your sales potential on the Amazon platform. Remember to thoroughly research all available software options and find the one that best meets your unique business requirements.

Listing Your Books

When it comes to selling books on Amazon, one of the crucial steps is listing your books accurately and effectively. In this section, we will discuss the use of ISBN and UPC codes to achieve this goal. AccelerList makes this super easy within our sleek listing screens

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AccelerList product listing screen

ISBN

An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique identifier for your book. It is a 13-digit number that plays a crucial role in marketing and distribution. To list your books on Amazon, ensure that you have the ISBN handy.

If your book doesn’t have an ISBN, you can apply for one through authorized ISBN agencies. For self-published books, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) can automatically assign an ISBN for you when you publish your book, free of charge.

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Having an ISBN is essential because it:

  • Provides a unique identification for your book
  • Helps with inventory management and tracking
  • Increases the visibility of your book for potential buyers
  • Makes your book more discoverable for libraries, bookstores, online retailers, and wholesalers

UPC Codes

A Universal Product Code (UPC) is a 12-digit code used to identify and track products. While UPC codes are not strictly required for listing books on Amazon, they can be helpful in some cases, especially if you are selling non-book items alongside your books.

To use a UPC code, you will need to purchase a prefix from the GS1 organization, then assign a unique 12-digit number to each of your products.

Here are the steps to list your books on Amazon using ISBN or UPC codes:

  1. Sign up for an Amazon seller account.
  2. Add a new product listing by navigating to the inventory menu and selecting “Add a Product.”
  3. Enter the ISBN or UPC code in the designated field.
  4. Confirm that the details (title, author, format, etc.) match your book.

Remember to write a compelling description and choose the right keywords to increase the discoverability of your book. Follow Amazon’s guidelines at all times to ensure successful listings and happy customers.

Fulfillment Methods

When selling books on Amazon, you have two primary fulfillment methods to choose from: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s crucial to understand how each works to make an informed decision.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

With Fulfillment by Amazon, YOU send your books to an Amazon fulfillment center, and THEY take care of the rest. Amazon will store your inventory, pick, pack, and ship your books on your behalf when an order is placed. FBA also covers customer service and handles returns for your orders. This fulfillment method allows you to leverage Amazon’s vast shipping network and can help you gain the Prime badge on your listings, making it more attractive to potential buyers.

Benefits of FBA:

  • Utilizes Amazon’s shipping and customer service capabilities
  • Offers the potential for Prime shipping eligibility
  • Streamlines operations by handling inventory, packaging, and returns

Drawbacks of FBA:

  • Involves additional fees for storage and fulfillment
  • Requires you to send your inventory to Amazon’s warehouses
  • Inventory management challenges may arise if stock levels are not monitored properly

Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM)

Choosing Fulfillment by Merchant means that you’ll be responsible for storing your own inventory and fulfilling orders yourself. When a sale is made on Amazon, you pick, pack, and ship the book using the carrier of your choice (e.g., FedEx, UPS). FBM sellers must also handle customer service and returns on their own. Typically this is done out of a small office, a garage (pictured below for context) or a storage facility with power running to it.

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Benefits of FBM:

  • More control over inventory management and storage
  • The potential for lower fulfillment costs if shipping is managed efficiently
  • Flexibility to fulfill orders using your preferred carrier

Drawbacks of FBM:

  • Requires additional time and effort for order fulfillment
  • Excludes eligibility for Prime shipping, which may deter some buyers
  • Responsibility for customer service and returns

Now that you have a clear understanding of FBA and FBM, consider your business goals, budget, and desired level of involvement when selecting the appropriate fulfillment method for your bookselling venture on Amazon.

Shipping and Returns

Amazon Fulfillment Center

When selling books on Amazon, you have the option of shipping them yourself or using Amazon Fulfillment. By choosing the latter, your books will be stored at an Amazon Fulfillment Center. From there, Amazon takes care of the logistics, including packing, shipping, and customer service. This process not only saves you time but also allows you to provide a better shopping experience to your customers.

To get started with Amazon Fulfillment, send your books to the Amazon Fulfillment Center. They will handle the storage, removing the need for you to manage your own inventory space. When a customer orders one of your books, Amazon will pick, pack, and ship the book on your behalf. This means you don’t have to worry about shipping costs or handling returns, as Amazon’s customer service will take care of these issues for you.

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It’s important to note that there may be some fees associated with using Amazon Fulfillment, such as storage costs and fulfillment fees. These can vary based on factors like the size, weight, and type of product you are selling. However, the benefits of using Amazon Fulfillment often outweigh these costs. By leveraging the expertise of the Amazon Fulfillment Center, you can streamline your e-commerce operations and focus more on sourcing and listing books to grow your business.

In case you need to handle returns, Amazon’s Returns and Refunds policy makes the process straightforward for both you and the customer. With Amazon Fulfillment, you are backed by their seamless customer service, ensuring that any return or refund issues are addressed promptly and professionally to maintain your reputation as a seller.

In summary, using Amazon Fulfillment enables you to focus on expanding your book-selling business while outsourcing essential logistics tasks to the Amazon Fulfillment Center. This option helps improve customer service, minimize shipping costs, and simplify returns, enhancing the overall shopping experience for your buyers.

Pricing and Payments

When selling books on Amazon, it is essential to understand the different fees and payment structures involved. This section will cover the main aspects including Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) fees, credit card payments, and royalties.

FBA and FBM Fees

Amazon offers two main methods for selling books: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). Each method comes with its own set of fees:

  • FBA fees include storage and fulfillment costs. Storage fees depend on the size and weight of your items, while fulfillment fees are based on the item’s dimensions, weight, and shipping destination. For more details on FBA fees, visit Amazon’s FBA Pricing page.
  • FBM fees primarily consist of the referral fee. The referral fee is a percentage of the item’s sale price, usually ranging from 6% to 45% depending on the category. Books typically have a 15% referral fee.

Credit Card Payments

Amazon utilizes its secure payment system called Amazon Pay to process credit card transactions for its sellers. When customers purchase your book, they can use major credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. Amazon takes care of payment processing, ensuring customer payment information is secure. Fees for credit card processing are included in your FBA or FBM fees.

Amazon Policies and Best Practices

Brand Registry

To enhance your book sales on Amazon, consider enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry. This program helps protect your intellectual property and allows you to manage your branded sales more effectively. By joining the Brand Registry, you can ensure a consistent and accurate customer experience, making it easier for customers to find your products. Furthermore, it helps you combat counterfeit and infringing listings that can harm your reputation in the marketplace.

Amazon Business

Another option for increasing your ecommerce business on Amazon is to sign up for an Amazon Business account. This specialized marketplace targets business customers and offers additional features such as business pricing, quantity discounts, and tax-exemption options. By listing your books through Amazon Business, you can tap into a larger, more diverse audience and maximize your sales potential.

Fulfillment Method

When selling books on Amazon, you have the option to fulfill orders yourself or use Amazon’s fulfillment service, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). With FBA, Amazon will handle storage, packing, shipping, and customer service on your behalf. While FBA might come with additional costs, it can save you time and resources by streamlining your order management processes.

Individual Seller vs. Professional Seller

Before you start selling books on Amazon, you’ll need to decide whether to sign up as an individual or professional seller (FBA). Individual sellers pay a $0.99 fee for each item sold, making it a suitable option for those with a smaller inventory. On the other hand, professional sellers pay a monthly subscription fee of $39.99 but are not charged for individual sales. If you plan to sell more than 30 books or other products a month, the professional seller plan will better suit your needs and be more profitable.

When venturing into the world of online retail on Amazon, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with their policies and best practices. These steps will help you create a strong foundation for your Amazon book sales, allowing you to focus on growing your ecommerce business and reaching more customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is selling books on Amazon FBA worth it?

Selling books on Amazon FBA can be an incredibly worthwhile endeavor for aspiring entrepreneurs. With its vast customer base and efficient fulfillment services, Amazon provides a remarkable platform to distribute your book inventory. These sellers have sold this much in books alone during one month.

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Selling books through FBA streamlines the process, taking care of storage, packaging, and shipping, allowing you to focus on sourcing and expanding your collection. The potential for success is substantial, especially when considering the ever-increasing demand for diverse literary works and the convenience Amazon offers to book buyers worldwide.

Is selling books on amazon profitable?

Absolutely! AccelerList has thousands and thousands of book sellers selling on our platform and profit ranges from $500/mo all the way up to $35k/mo. Amazon started out as an online book store and books tend to be an unrestricted category that sellers can jump into right away and start making money. In addition to the sales opportunity, there are literally billions of books that can be found and sourced wherever you find yourself in order to keep your sales funnel full.

What are the fees for selling books on Amazon?

There are a few types of fees associated with selling books on Amazon, such as referral fees, closing fees, and subscription fees (for professional sellers). Referral fees are a percentage of the book’s price, typically around 15%, while closing fees depend on the book’s weight and category. For more details on fees, you can visit Amazon’s selling guide.

How to set up an account for selling books?

Setting up an account for selling books on Amazon is easy. Log into your Amazon account or sign up if you don’t already have one. Then visit Amazon’s selling guide, scroll to the “How to register” section, and select either “Sell as an individual” or “Sell as a professional” depending on your needs.

Which is better: individual or professional selling plan?

The choice between an individual or professional selling plan depends on your goals and the volume of books you plan to sell. The individual plan has no monthly subscription fee but charges a small per-item fee, while the professional plan is a monthly subscription with no per-item fees. If you plan to sell more than 40 items per month, the professional plan may be more cost-effective.

How can I increase my book sales on Amazon?

To increase your book sales on Amazon, consider optimizing your product listings with high-quality images and informative descriptions, and participating in promotions like the “Buy Box.” Additionally, offering competitive pricing with a repricer, maintaining good seller feedback, and using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) can help improve your visibility and trust among potential buyers.

What types of books sell best on Amazon?

The types of books that sell best on Amazon vary and can change over time. However the most profitable books genres tend to be non-fiction, self help, cook books, children books, and other categories. To determine which types of books sell well and are in-demand, you can use tools such as AccelerList to research and analyze market trends.

How can I effectively ship and manage inventory?

Effective shipping and inventory management are crucial for selling books on Amazon. You can either fulfill your orders independently (FBM) or use Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service. FBA handles inventory storage, packing, shipping, and customer service for you. This allows you to focus on your business while Amazon takes care of the logistics. If you prefer FBM, ensure you have a good system for inventory management, shipping materials, and tracking orders to maintain a smooth operation.

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