How to Sell Books on Amazon

It’s never too late to get in on the action and start selling books, the product category Amazon itself started with in the 1990s.

Selling Books on Amazon Guide Featured Image

Starting a side hustle to sell books on Amazon has become a popular and profitable venture for many entrepreneurs and weekend business warriors alike. As the online market expands, so do possibilities for those seeking to benefit from this money-making sector. This blog post will dive into everything you need to know to sell books on Amazon and build a successful side hustle or business.

We’ll begin by discussing choosing the right books to sell, including identifying high-demand genres and niches and leveraging online tools for accurate book valuation. Next, we’ll explore strategies for sourcing books at low prices through garage sales, thrift stores, and online sources.

Furthermore, you’ll learn effective listing techniques, such as writing detailed product descriptions and optimizing titles with targeted keywords. We will also discuss pricing strategies that maximize profit by analyzing current market prices and using historical data from tracking websites.

Finally, we will compare Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) with self-fulfillment options while providing tips on managing both methods effectively. And lastly, we’ll cover handling unsold inventory through donations or alternative online marketplaces.

Choosing the Right Books to Sell

Selecting good books is crucial for success in selling on Amazon. There are two main categories of books to hone in on: “specialties” and “popular enough.” 

In the former category, focus on finding textbooks, first editions, signed copies, non-fiction titles, hardcovers, children’s books, and cookbooks that will likely sell well. 

In the latter category, we’re all looking at books that fall within the top 1% or 2% of sales rankings, regardless of their type. When sourcing books, look for copies that rank in the top 200,000 or better.

Identifying High-Demand Genres and Niches

Focus on popular genres such as self-help or business-related topics to maximize your chances of making a sale. Non-fiction books with perpetually relevant content do well, even if they’re not new. (I once sold an old reference manual that was incredibly specific and was way over my head for $80. I bought it for $5 at a local thrift store) Additionally, explore niche categories with dedicated fan bases like science fiction or historical romance novels.

Leveraging Online Tools for Book Valuation

Tactical Arbitrage homepage screenshot. Tactical Arbitrage is a great tool for those looking to sell books on Amazon.
One of the greats in the Amazon arbitrage space, Tactical Arbitrage has a feature set for every type of seller.

We recommend a couple of powerful tools for book flipping: 

  • Tactical Arbitrage – A powerful arbitrage tool suite with a book-flipping component. Great if you’re already running a retail arbitrage or online arbitrage business. We also featured Tactical Arbitrage in our round-up of the best online arbitrage tools.
  • Zen Arbitrage – Built exclusively for book flipping, Zen Arbitrage was one of the earlier tools to create an end-to-end sourcing solution.
  • Bookzpro – a tool suite featuring a dedicated book scouting application, repricer, and listing manager. The entire stack is explicitly built for selling books on Amazon.
  • Amazon Seller app on your mobile device, as you’ll be using it to look up books in the field. With this app at your fingertips, you can scan barcodes while sourcing inventory to determine if a book is worth purchasing for resale.

Picking the right books to can be challenging, but with proper research and materials, you can spot sought-after genres and specialties that will amplify your earnings. Now let’s look at how to source these books at low prices to increase our profit margins further.

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Sourcing Books at Low Prices

Maximizing your profit margin when selling books on Amazon starts with acquiring inventory at rock-bottom prices. Luckily, there are plenty of treasure troves to explore online and offline.

Garage Sales and Thrift Store Hunting Tips

Garage sales and thrift stores can be gold mines for finding underpriced gems. Keep an eye out for local sales in your area, or use apps like Yard Sale Treasure Map to track them down. Check out the clearance aisles in thrift stores – you may just stumble upon books for practically nothing.

Library Sales

Book Sale Finder homepage screenshot. Book Sale Finder is one of the largest databases of book sales in all 50 states and an excellent tool for selling books on Amazon.
Book Sale Finder looks the same as it probably did in 1994, but it is still just as valuable. (The Seller Journal)

Every so often, library networks will put up excess books for sale. Their buildings only have room for many titles; some don’t always make the cut. While it looks outdated, Book Sale Finder is one of the best sources for book sales across the United States.

Online Sources for Affordable Book Purchases

In addition to physical hunting grounds, numerous websites offer discounted books waiting to be resold. Check out sites like BookFinderBookScouter, or even other sellers’ rank-challenged listings on Amazon. Remember: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure (or best-seller ranking).

You can maximize your profits and build a successful Amazon book-selling business by sourcing books at low prices. To increase your sales, listing the books effectively by writing detailed product descriptions and optimizing titles with targeted keywords is crucial.

Listing Your Books Effectively

Correctly listing your books on Amazon is like dressing up for a first date – you want to make a great impression. To do that, provide accurate descriptions of each item’s condition and use clear images showcasing any wear or damage present. Additionally, sprinkle relevant keywords within your title listings to improve searchability.

Writing Detailed Product Descriptions

Your product description should be as engaging as the book itself. Be honest about the condition of the book and highlight its key features. Mention if it’s a first edition or signed copy, and don’t forget to include details such as publication year and publisher name. For inspiration, check out Amazon’s guidelines on creating compelling product descriptions.

Optimizing Titles with Targeted Keywords

To help potential buyers find your book in the vast Amazon library, think like them when crafting titles. Use specific keywords related to genre, author name, or unique attributes (e.g., “limited edition”). Tools like Keyword Tool for Amazon can assist you in discovering popular search terms.

By utilizing effective listing strategies such as writing detailed product descriptions and optimizing titles with targeted keywords, sellers can ensure their books are seen by potential buyers. Furthermore, pricing strategy is key in maximizing profits; tracking websites provide historical data to help inform decisions.

Pricing Strategy for Maximum Profit

Let’s talk money, honey. A competitive pricing strategy is essential in maximizing profits while maintaining customer interest. But how do you find that sweet spot? Don’t fret; we’ve got you covered.

Analyzing current market prices

First things first: research similar listings currently available on Amazon. This will give you an idea of what other sellers charge for similar books. You can also use the Amazon Pricing Calculator to estimate potential fees and profit margins.

Using historical data from tracking websites

Become a book-selling detective by investigating historical price trends using platforms such as Keepa or CamelCamelCamel. These tools provide valuable insights into past pricing patterns, helping you determine an optimal price point based on supply and demand fluctuations.

In short, be smart about your pricing strategy – it’s all about balancing profitability and attracting buyers. Happy selling.

Pricing your books strategically is key to achieving maximum profit. Now, look at the pros and cons of using FBA or self-fulfillment for booksellers.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) vs Self-Fulfillment

Efficiently managing orders is vital in providing excellent customer service, leading to positive reviews and repeat business. You have two main options regarding order fulfillment: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or self-fulfillment. Exploring the advantages and drawbacks of each approach is worth considering.

Benefits of using FBA for Book Sellers

  • Time-saving: With FBA handling storage, packing, shipping, and returns, you can focus on sourcing books and growing your business.
  • Prime eligibility: Your products become eligible for Prime shipping benefits, attracting more customers.
  • Credibility boost: Buyers trust FBA items as Amazon’s reliable customer service backs them.

Tips for managing self-fulfillment effectively

  1. Create a system: Organize your inventory with proper labeling and shelving to streamline order processing.
  2. Packaging matters: Invest in quality packaging materials that protect books during transit.

FBA offers many advantages to booksellers, such as increased visibility and cost savings. However, with self-fulfillment comes the responsibility of managing inventory more carefully to avoid unsold books. Next, we will discuss how best to handle any remaining stock that has not been sold.

Handling Unsold Inventory

Let’s face it, not every book you list on Amazon will fly off the virtual shelves. But don’t fret. There are alternative options for dealing with unsold inventory.

Depending on your book’s potential profit, you may find the cost of having that book sit in Amazon warehouses for an extended period of time a palatable option. However, you’ll want to keep track of how long your books are sitting because you’ll start losing money at a certain point. Sometimes we have to admit defeat for a title and either switch to seller-fulfilled options (Fulfilled by Merchant, or FBM) or offload the books entirely.

Consider scheduling a donation pick-up with organizations like the Salvation Army or dropping the books off at Goodwill if getting rid of the title is your route. Think about freeing up some storage room and helping a worthy cause at the same time by arranging for an organization like Goodwill or the Salvation Army to come to pick up your unused items.

Many charities gladly accept gently used books as donations and put them to excellent use within their programs or resell them at discounted prices.

If donating isn’t your tea, why not sell your books on other platforms? For instance, eBay has a large audience may provide additional selling opportunities. Check out this guide on how to create an effective listing on eBay.

In any case, remember that persistence is critical when selling books online. Keep experimenting with different strategies until you find what works best for your unique collection of books. If you’re struggling to sell books, consider revising your book description or seeking out book reviews to help boost your sales.

Additionally, if you’re a bookseller looking to expand your Amazon business, consider branching out into self-published or comic books, which are often in high demand. Just be sure to price your books competitively – while listing your books at the lowest price possible may be tempting, this can hurt your search results. Instead, aim for a fair but profitable price point.

Frequently Asked Questions About Selling Books on Amazon

Is it a good idea to sell books on Amazon?

Yes, selling books on Amazon is a profitable venture for many small business owners and individuals. With its vast customer base and user-friendly platform, sellers can reach millions of potential buyers worldwide. Tools like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) also make managing inventory and shipping more efficient.

How much does Amazon take from booksellers?

Amazon charges booksellers two main fees: referral and closing fees. Referral fees are typically 15% of the item’s price or $1 minimum per sale. Closing fees are $1.80 per item sold in the Books category for individual accounts or variable based on weight if using FBA services. Learn more about fee structures here.

Is Amazon stopping book sales?

No, there is no indication that Amazon plans to stop selling books anytime soon. As one of the largest online marketplaces globally, they continue to support authors, publishers, and independent sellers through various programs such as Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), CreateSpace (now KDP Print), and third-party seller platforms.

How many books need to be sold to be a bestseller on Amazon?

The number of books required to become an Amazon bestseller varies depending on factors like competition within specific categories or subcategories. However, some experts estimate quickly selling around 300-500 copies could land you in the top rankings. Learn more about Amazon’s best-seller ranking here.


In conclusion, if done correctly, Amazon bookselling can be profitable. By identifying high-demand genres and niches, sourcing books at low prices, listing effectively with targeted keywords and detailed descriptions, pricing strategically using market analysis data, and utilizing fulfillment options like FBA or self-fulfillment while managing unsold inventory through charitable donations or alternative online marketplaces.

With these tips in mind, small business owners looking to grow their business or individuals interested in starting a side hustle as online sellers can take advantage of the opportunities available through Amazon bookselling.

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