The key to success in buying and selling used books online is to know how much money you can sell the book for before you buy it.  Even though you could buy books all day long at $1 a pop at most thrift stores; doesn’t mean you should.  You should only purchase a book if you know you can make some money on it.  I usually only bought a book for a $1 if I knew I could sell it for $5 or more.
The first question I naturally had was "How the hell can they make any money selling books at £0.01? I can't even source books at that price!" The answer came soon enough, if you add one of these books to your cart, you'll quickly see that there's a £1-2 shipping charge, and you can't use Super Saver Delivery. The interesting thing about selling on Amazon is that Amazon themselves set the delivery charge pricing. So even if I wanted to charge 0.01p for shipping, I can't, I have to use Amazon's tiers. The way the process works is that Amazon will provide all the cost of a product, minus their commission, to the Seller, including all the shipping fees. Which means, as is usually the case, if a seller can ship the product to you cheaper than the quoted shipping fee, they get to pocket the balance.
Dave, this is an odd one. I’ve just self published a new printed book — high quality: hardback, dust jacket, good paper, 20 pages of glossy photo’s, etc. It’s non-fiction and history/religious utopian commune/19th century/pretty crazy. Was thinking of selling it for $35, mostly through bookstores, but also on Amazon. Would FBM be the place to start? Excellent blog, by the way — and remarkable for your responses!

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I found your blog through Pat Flynn’s link! I currently live in Mesa, AZ and started in online business with selling used and collectible used books as well during college. I worked in a local used bookstore so I learned pretty quick which books were excellent to purchase to resell at a markup. I then saved the money I made to pursue a vintage clothing business, then a wool felt business. I quit my horrid job with the government this year in March (the 4th) to work on my online business full time. What a joy! Although my current business isn’t passive, I’m looking to create more passive streams of income. Thanks for all of the information you provide in your blog!
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.
2.) Scan Scan Scan. I went through my house (literally every nook and cranny) and found items to scan. If the app told me it was worth more than $0.25, I put it in a box I had set aside. Why only $0.25 you may ask? I was going to donate most of these items anyways, so anything over a quarter I thought was worth my time. They give you the amount that they will pay you right on the app as you can, that way you know what the grand total of your shipment will make you in cash.

2. Look around. When taking your books to Hastings or other stores, the associate will usually ask for a valid I.D. and then proceed to scan what you have brought in. Should a book not be in their system or should they already have an adequate supply, then they may reject it. But take heart, just because one Hastings does not need a particular book that does not mean another won’t. If you have found a supplier for newer books, most will probably sell.

2) If you sell via FBA, you’ll have the FBA fee, which is more or less shipping/handling on Amazon’s part. This usually starts at about $3.02 for the first pound and goes up about $0.75 for each pound after (you can use Amazon’s FBA calculator to predict this cost in advance). If you do FBM, then they’ll tack on an additional $3.99 for shipping, which USUALLY covers most media mail shipping costs for books unless it’s a particular heavy book.
If you find you enjoy selling books online and make a profit you will need to replenish stock in order to sell more. This is where experience and research will determine future success. Just because a book is old, does not mean it is valuable. The opposite may also be true. Some new books are sought after because their publishers miscalculated their popularity and so produced print runs that did not meet demand.
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?
Half.com. An eBay-affiliated site specializing in books and CDs, Half.com doesn't require you to pay a listing fee, but you do pay a commission out of your proceeds when you sell an item. Commissions range from 5 to 15 percent, depending on the sale amount: The higher the sale price is, the lower the commission rate is. Half.com will make payments via direct deposit into your checking account.
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!
Auction sites online and auction houses are also worth checking out for second-hand books. House clearances can be a good source of book collections. Often relatives of the deceased just want to clear the house with as little hassle as possible. If you have transport you may be able to be paid by executors to take hundreds of books away for dumping, and retrieve a couple of gems from the dross.
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.
Books are heavy items. Most buyers will expect to have their books delivered to them and you need to consider shipping and postage costs when you price your wares. Some websites have standard postal charge (e.g. Amazon). This may not cover the actual shipping costs. So make sure the book sale price is sufficient to cover your outgoings and make a profit for you. Some websites (e.g. eBay) allow you to determine what (if anything) you want to charge for shipping on top of the sale price. You may also be able to specify different costs for tracked delivery compared to standard delivery.
The description of your book should include the date of publication, title and author, as well as the illustrator (if relevant). If it is a modern book it will also have an ISBN number which is a unique identifier relating to the publishing format and date of publication. If there is anything unique about the book, for example it is signed by the author then this should also be included in the description.
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.

They are a lower paying site. But some of the others have minimum $ before they will buy, and Declutrr is only like 10. Also the legos do not have to even be in a box. The price is per pound. They dont care if they match or anything. They do pay quickly, I dont have paypal, they will send a check. No problems so far. Used several times. They do what they say they will do.
For older books, a quick trip to eBay, Amazon or any of the sites listed below will give you an idea of how much the book will sell for. Sometimes it can be quite discouraging to find a title that once cost $5 is now just 50 cents, but if you’re determined to sell (remember, 10 such titles will generate $5) you should spend time determining which marketplace is most appropriate for that book.
eBay.com. This is a good place for selling rare or collectible books — and even vinyl records. The eBay site fees are pretty complicated, but the basic structure is that your first 50 listings per month are free, and then you pay 30 cents per listing for any additional listings that month. The company offers a handy fee calculator. Another nice feature for people who don't want to go through much hassle is that eBay offers a selling "valet service." If you mail your stuff to the company, then it will sell the items for you. You can't sell books or CDs through this service, but this is an option if you have collectible vinyl. Based on the sale price of the item, the commission for this valet service is 20 to 40 percent.

The price point is partly a result of the market’s downward pressure: at a certain level of supply and demand the race to the lowest price swiftly plummets to the bottom. What remains inflexible is the $3.99 fee Amazon charges the buyer for shipping. From that $4, Amazon takes what they call a “variable closing fee” of $1.35. They also charge the seller 15% of the item’s price – which in the case of a penny book is zero. That leaves $2.64 to cover postage, acquisition cost and overhead.
“The initial reason was that I owned a lot – and was continually acquiring more. They were all over the house, and I figured it made sense to start unloading some of those I had already read before I had to turn my kitchen into a library, too! I didn't start doing it seriously, however, until I made the leap to full-time author last year. I knew I wasn't going to be making money for a while, and I liked the idea of having a part-time gig I could do on my own schedule.”
For the best results, offer your book’s shipping via USPS Media Mail. The reason for doing this is simple: if you don’t, someone else will. This low-cost shipping option for US sellers is a great way to get a prospective buyer to click the Bid or Buy it Now button. In other territories, look for a local budget postage option to similarly entice buyers.
In general, mercifully, Ward says Thrift Books “errs on the side of keeping more books than we need to”, and his software’s algorithms single out rare titles for protection even if market demand doesn’t warrant it. What they can’t sell, they recycle. That proves to be quite a few books: last year alone they recycled 130m pounds. What remains after a bookseller’s vetting process stocks their virtual storefronts.

You might also consider selling your textbooks on Half.com. Their fees are usually lower than Amazon’s and you also receive a small shipping credit. Selling on Half is a good option for books that other sites currently are not buying back or offering low rates. As with Amazon, you only get paid once somebody buys and you might find yourself in a pricing war if other college students list their books as well.


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As a result, literature is better off. These used book sellers are providing an indispensable public service: they’re redirecting the world’s flow of used books from extinction to readers who can care for and appreciate them. “Before companies like ours,” Stephens tells me, “used books went to the landfill. The charities tossed them or sent them to pulping companies.”
To sell on Amazon, you’ll need an Amazon seller account. There are two types of accounts you can start: individual and professional. Individual is free, but you pay an extra $1.00 per sale. Meanwhile, professional costs $39.95 per month, but doesn’t have the $1.00 extra fee. So basically, if you think you’re going to sell more than 40 units per month (to put it in perspective, I sold 300 books per month when I started) get the professional selling plan.
Supposedly, selling prime gives you a pretty big bump in conversions since people will get the books sooner. The textbook method, also called Zen Arbitrage by some, is pretty good since a lot of students want textbooks fast and are willing to pay the difference. Lately, I’ve been doing OA with a niche market, buying wholesale lots on Ebay and flipping them on Amazon (although I’ve been doing those from home).

Selling Used Books Online?” The answer to that is you used to be able to make very good money doing that. Not any more. First, everybody and their 5 favorite Aunts all think they can make a good living doing it, so the competition is seriously overwhelming! Often, you can find pages and pages of the same book for sale online at multiple sites, all in the same very good condition , so it’s very competitive. There is a market for specialized current edition textbooks, but that market has become saturated. Both Ebay and Amazon have raised their rates at least twice this year, and if you sell used books on Amazon, you’ll be paying close to 40% of your proceeds to them. Ebay was a hair less, last time I compared, but they have more fees. That’s more than enough to wipe out your profits, so you end up with a net loss! The profit margins have become razor thin, and many complain about losing money. If you send books to Amazon for their FBA program, and the books don’t sell in a timely fashion, you’ll be paying rent to Amazon to store them or pay to have them destroyed. That’s not good!
I have sold a few hundred books on ebay. Books of all types, especially more obscure books that would have a very limited prospective group of interested parties. I nearly always charge for shipping, usually making some extra money for this to help cover bubble wrap, tape, padded mailers and even gas to the post office ! Usually start with an auction format, then if the book does not sell, I change to a good til cancelled format. It then stays listed on ebay until it sells or you decide to delist it. You do incur more fees that way, but books that I have found at yard sales. library sales, etc. often surprise me at how much they sell for. I have had books that I bought in a bag sale at the library sell for as much as $150.00 ! so patience is often worth it. I never know what will sell, nor for how much, but several times a week I open my ebay account and find something that has been listed for months has now sold. So, if you can wait to be paid for your books, ebay is a great site. If you need your money right now, the other sites seem to be better, but you will seldom get top dollar.
Garage Sales / Free Markets – Many times you see boxes of books for sale marked $.25 – $1.00.  Rather than try to figure out how much each book would net you, make a deal with the seller.  Offer to buy the whole box of books for a buck or two.  This works extremely well towards the end of the day when they are about done.  Most likely the seller just wants the books gone and is willing to take anything.  I bet some would even allow you to have them for free.

They even have a free mobile app that you can download. That's handy if you want to check thrift stores, yard sales and estate sales for books that you can resell at a profit. Just scan the ISBN number to see what a particular book is currently selling for, and if it's more than what you can buy it for, snap it up and resell it. Usually reselling is a bit of a gamble, but it doesn't have to be with books. If you use this app, you'll know exactly how much you're going to make before you put up any money.
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)
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