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.
Without a decent description you’re unlikely to sell a book. As far as eBay goes, you should include an image of the book, its synopsis (the blurb on the back cover) and statements concerning the condition of the book. Highlight rips or tears, dog ears (those top-corner bends to mark a page in the absence of a bookmark), and scrawlings or other markings, loose or broken bindings, any creases in the bindings, and creases on the front or back of a paperback book.

which scanner app do you use or recommend? how did you come up with that list of text books? that sounds like an interesting idea. i am selling books on Amazon now and have almost 2000 in my garage. with the fee increase plus 15% plus packing materials I will not get rich. However, the thought of labeling and mailing that many books to Amazon is daunting. do you make that many more sales going prime to justify the cost?


I just moved to a small college town, and am looking for books to sell. The local thrift store sells used books at $3 apiece, which I think is too high when you are not sure the book will sell online (sometimes for years). Garage sale season is just about over. Where do the college students trash their textbooks? I want to get to them before they do!
I felt like saying: Hey, do you mind if someone else sees those books too. But of course he was in a frenzy and didn’t even notice me standing there. Discouraged from this new idea I just learned about, I went ahead on to the one on the other side of town. When I stepped in the door I went over to the books shelves and there was another guy with a cart and a scanner connected to his phone just scanning the books one by one in a speed method, occasionally throwing one here and there into the cart. It was enough for me, I’ll stick to other methods and products.

When I first started my business, I thought that the best strategy would be to capitalise on what is popular at that particular time. So, for example, when The Hunger Games movie was released, I could quite happily piggy-back on the huge advertising budgets of the film industry and sell The Hunger Game books, without doing any advertising myself, through searches on Amazon. This strategy didn't work. But it wasn't because I had wrongly predicted demand, The Hunger Games book series was flying of Amazon's virtual shelves, the strategy didn't work because I encountered "Mega Sellers". If you've ever dug a little into book sellers on Amazon, you'll find that there are a handful of sellers who each seem to have all but the most obscure used books stocked in their warehouses. They are the ones who have sold over 20,000 books on Amazon. But there's an easier way to identify a Mega Seller than their sales numbers, it's their pricing. Every single book that I wanted to sell is stocked by them, and they are all priced at £0.01. That's right, a penny!
Congrats on publishing! Either way, honestly. If you’ve already got cases of them, it’s probably just easier to send one or two cases to Amazon and see how you do. Amazon also offers Kindle Direct Publishing and Create Space services for self-published authors, which are both totally cool. Sure, they take a big ol’ bite out of your profits, but there’s no cost of goods on your end except for marketing. KDP is all digital. And Create Space is print-on-demand.
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
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!
You could also figure this out by paying attention to what other people are selling and the types of books that people look for. Over time, your perceptions are likely to get more refined, as you figure out what books actually end up selling and what ones simply go nowhere. For example, did you consider that old school textbooks could be a great specialty? Or what about rare bible versions? First editions are also in high demand.

The previous problem had been that I found Royal Mail postage prices very complicated and confusing. They consider a combination of size, weight, insurance, destination and the boundaries from price level to price level are pretty well hidden. If the post clerk hadn't informed me that one of my packages was classed as a Medium Parcel, and if I simply cut down one side by 5mm, it would be a Small Parcel and I would save £2.50, then I would have been forever losing out and diminishing my margins for no reason.
If you're okay with receiving gift cards instead of cash for your books, Amazon has an excellent book buyback program. They advertise that they pay up to 80% of the value of a book, and that could prove to be significantly more than what book re-sellers are currently paying. With all the things that Amazon sells, a gift card is almost as good as cash. It won't put gas in your car or pay your bills, but it'll buy just about anything else you need.
For truly valuable and rare books, online booksellers are not the best place to find reliable information on achievable prices. These websites show the price a seller would like to achieve, not what a buyer is actually willing to pay. The seller has nothing to lose by asking a totally unachievable price in the hope of catching someone with more money than sense.
Great tips! I love trading in books. Every time I take a trip to visit my parents I bring a big bag of books to trade in at their local used bookstore. That store is probably one of my top ten favorite places. Sometimes I will take the cash, but usually, I just want store credit. We like to use the trade in money to buy new books for our kids since we homeschool. Sometimes I will treat myself and use the money to add a new book to my collection of antique books.
Giving it away. If all else fails, you can always give away books, CDs and records with a free listing on Craigslist.org or Freecycle.org. And here's a really interesting way to set your unwanted books free: BookCrossing.com is a website where you label a book, leave it somewhere for a stranger and then track to see where your book goes and who reads it. It's kind of like sending a message in a bottle, which is also the title of great book by Nicholas Sparks. Although it's one I'm looking to get rid of, if anyone's interested.

Good read. I’ll give it a try just for fun. One question though. How can Amazon accept a box where “I just throw in the books” without labeling each since one box would contain 40-50 different books. How do they stock them without a label on each book? They sent me an email today asking to put a label on each product, which seems like a lot of work.
The problem with selling books this way, is that the margins are so low for the amount of time that it takes to find the books, creating the listing, respond to buyers, pack the books, and take them to the post office.  I was probably making way less than minimum wage on my little venture.  However, I think there really is some potential for someone who gets serious about it.
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