Here on MakeUseOf, we’ve made you aware of the various ways you can buy books cheaply online How To Find The Cheapest Books Online How To Find The Cheapest Books Online I’ve written before about my love for reading, but I also have a side of me that loves bargains and hates spending unnecessary coin. What’s a man to do when he wants to buy and... Read More , but just how do you go about selling them? How do you get a quick sale, and is it possible to get a rare or unusual book to sell for the right price?
This is also a great field if you are a book lover because there are many companies out there selling books that have affiliate programs. In fact, Amazon even has an affiliate program called Amazon Associates, and you can make money promoting the various physical and digital books. The great thing about doing this is that you don’t actually have to go out and find the books, or deal with shipping and returns.

I no longer wait for items to sell then pick pack and ship them myself, instead I send them to Amazon and they do the rest. This way I spend all my time finding inventory. the program is called FBA or fulfilled by amazon and although it costs a little more, if you price your items right, you can sell more, faster, make more money, and do less work. I also can keep my engagement in tact since my fiance was nearly about to leave me when I had 1,000 books over flowing from my office into the halls and kitchen!

Christian Cawley is a Deputy Editor at MakeUseOf, covering security, Linux, DIY and programming, with extensive experience in desktop and software support. Christian is a regular contributor to Linux User & Developer magazine, as well as specials including Raspberry Pi for Beginners, and Raspberry Pi for Kids. He's a Raspberry Pi tinkerer, Android user, podcaster and foodie.
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Selling used books online also means that you have to maintain a physical stock of the books, while also shipping those out as sales are made. There is a fair amount of logistics involved in doing this, along with the physical space to store the books. Sure, if you score a few rarities you can put them in your closet. If you start buying in bulk, you may need a storage unit.
Be honest about the condition of the book. If there are damaged corners or missing pages, say so. If someone has written in or highlighted huge portions of the book, make that known. If the book has remainder marks (an indication they've been returned to the publisher), mention that, too. Fudging on the condition won't get you more money. When the buyer receives your book and finds it lacking, they'll adjust their offer down, and may even reject your book completely.
Note that postage can be pricey, meaning that it's possible to make very little income using sites like Amazon and eBay to sell your books. That's where newer sites like and Fatbrain are a bit more transparent – they cover the postage costs, so the valuation they give you should be exactly the amount you'll see in your bank account (unless they decide your books aren't in good enough nick when they arrive)
Great post: I started comparing the book market via ISBN codes using comparison engines like compare book and Google product search. Selling books CDs, and Video Games, they are all easy to post they are good sellers and you can pick job lots up from eBay and re sell on amazon: or just browse charity websites paste the ISBN code from the charity website to amazon and if they are selling it for a lot more you can list it, when the order comes through you can then order is from where you was going to buy it from and then ship it on. There are ways to make money selling books and they still sell really well in the UK despite digital releases of eBooks
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Interesting read! I’ve been looking at FBA but for private label, hadn’t considered physical books. I’ve been on the other side of Amazon selling for years, digital books, being one of the longest online independent e-publishers around, but in recent years there has been a big change in how Amazon handles that side. My question for physical books is, you say you just put them in a box and ship to a fulfillment center. Does a listing need to be included in the box with title and ISBN or something for identifier for the fulfillment center? Wondering the prep involved. Books are heavy also, does shipping costs of boxes of books become high?
Selling used books is certainly a fun venture. I started selling books a few months ago. My goal was to profit $30 a day right now I am at $23.90 😛 I have been blogging about my adventure from the start at The money is certainly not a huge amount but it helps! I really look up to Adam Bertram at sellyourbooksonline. He started where I was and I hope to surpass him! To anyone that wants to get started buying books look for the obscure titles. If you look at a title and think why would anyone buy that, chances are good that someone on Amazon is looking for it.
1. Purchase books that are in good condition, without marks in the text and without a remainder mark (a marked line) on the bottom edge of the pages. Hardback books that originally came with a cover need to have the cover. Paperback books are fine provided they are trade paper (the larger books) and not mass market (the books that are roughly the length and width of a checkbook). Also, it is important that any book you attempt to trade in at Hastings have a barcode on the back. While older books may sell on Amazon, they typically are not eligible for sales at Hastings.
The final issue to consider is customers. Unfortunately, customers on Amazon and eBay are frequently picky and will complain at many things, including the quality of a book, even if the quality was specified on the sales page. In some cases, customers will also demand a refund leave bad feedback, even if you did nothing wrong. Many customers fail to realize these are independent people selling used items, and expect the overly-cautious customer support that Amazon usually provides.
Hello-Great article and tips. I want to buy and sell books on Amazon full time. However, I am quite discouraged about a lot of places not wanting us to use our scanners in their stores. Also, I have heard the Amazon seller fees have become so much that it’s hard to make a profit. Is this true? Can you please expound on this? I would greatly appreciate it!
Be warned that Powell’s “buyers are very particular about condition,” according to its website. Don’t try to send them former library books; advance reader copies; books with tears, broken bindings, or highlighting; or hardcovers without a dust jacket. (Powell’s website has a visual guide to problems that will cause it to reject a title.) Rejected titles are donated or recycled.
Powell’s: They buy mostly mainstream books, not the technical or educational types. As mentioned above, they do have a very strict acceptance policy. The only writing they will accept is a name written in the front of the book – not even “to my favorite daughter, hope you enjoy this book as much as I did, love mom.” Absolutely no highlighting or underlining.

It’s possible to get a higher selling price by selling the book yourself than that offered on by a textbook buyback site. Just keep in mind that Amazon will keep a small commission of approximately 15% and you are responsible for paying shipping costs. You do get a small shipping credit, but, it still might not be enough to offset the cost postage & packaging materials.

Used-book stores. Larger used-book stores and book exchanges sometimes buy entire collections, although at best you'll probably receive only about 15 percent of the cover price, and then only on the volumes they really want. If you have any textbooks to sell, try college bookstores first: They usually pay more than other used-book stores, at least for recent editions.
Rare and antique books are a specialist market within the general antiques and collectables trade. Their price is determined not just by a book’s condition but also by how other investment markets are doing. There are always investors with cash to splash even in times of recession. When interest rates are low, cash moves into other investment classes. The value of antiques and other “collectables” including books may rise as a result.

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase a product through them I receive a small commission which helps me provide this information to you for free, plus support my family. My integrity and your satisfaction are very important to me so I only recommend products I would purchase myself, and that I believe would benefit you. To learn more please see my disclosure statement.

If you're planning on selling no more that 35 items a month (which is likely to be the case, unless you've been hoarding your books for years), you'll just need to sign up for a basic account  – or a 'Sell a Little' account, as Amazon calls it. Then, it's just a case of uploading the details of your books and their condition, and waiting for someone to buy them.

There's a handy little tool I use to make this work at Their site will let you plug in a book's ISBN number (right next to the UPC) and then it will tell you how much the book is worth and which buyback company will give you the most money. I use this tool before buying a book to make sure that there is a company willing to pay more for the book than what the Ebay seller is charging.
For rare and collectable books, use a traceable delivery method in case the package gets lost in transit. Remember to include the cost of your bubble mailer and Scotch tape in your shipping costs. Depending on the size of the book, these can be as much as the postal charge itself. It is worth using good quality packing materials. These will ensure that your buyer receives their book(s) undamaged by any rough handling in transit. Happy customers mean repeat purchases and recommendations to their friends.
Well it looks like plenty of people are responding to this, not sure if these guys have been doing this all along or not but, I found tons of treasures in Goodwill stores over the years, but not books. Now that Goodwill stopped putting treasures on the shelves and instead they list the stuff, I decided to slow down visiting them. Just looks like junkwill in there now. But after reading this page I went into Goodwill today to scan some books and there was this guy all over the books with a scanner and a cart just scanning– bam bam one after the other as fast as he could.
I am thrilled with your information and the help of your commenters. They all provided lots of help to sell my book collection. I have alot of research books, mainly Native American/Cherokee books and Vampire books and have decided to stop carting them around even though I love them. I am excited with the information provided here and will check them out.
There is a lot of opportunity in the FBA program and I have had great results selling new toys through it. You can find toys all over that are on sale or clearance that sell for 300% more or greater on amazon. It is still hard to beat the margins in books but toys and other retail items can be ‘easier’ to acquire with good margins. (they do require more capital)