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How to Sell Books on Amazon — The Ultimate Amazon Selling Guide

John, my best buddy, has lots of manuscripts on his bookshelf. He’s been nursing the dream of becoming a published author since high school.

Well, he is pretty good at creating fascinating stories. But the thing is, no publisher wants to have him on board.

Why?

Because publishing is a multibillion-dollar industry, and to make enough money from your creative works, you’ve got to be a brand name in the industry.

Here’s the thing…

John is no Stephen King, neither is he J.K Rowling nor the legendary George R. R. Martin. He’s just an avid reader who has a dream — a valid dream!

Out of sheer luck or just a twist of fate, John discovered the Amazon self-publishing platform, and now, by merely selling books online, he is tanking in thousands of dollars every month.

Selling books on Amazon is one of the coolest ways of making money. If you’ve got creative ideas like John, you can self-publish books. 

Whether you’re an unknown (or new) author or a book collector, you can earn big by doing the things you love.

If you’ve not been living under a rock for the past decade, you probably know that following the traditional publishing route is not a viable option — especially if you’re new in the publishing industry.

Amazons eliminate the need for traditional publishers, and you get to generate enough profit without shelling out massive cash in the form of fancy fees.

Before delving into the various ways of selling on Amazon, here are a couple of reasons why you should consider selling on the platform.

First off, it’s risk-free!

Entrepreneurship is a hard game! It’s tough, and if you’re not willing to take the risk, you’ve pretty much failed already.

Therefore, if you’re looking for how to take the leap, or you merely want to start generating enough income passively, then you should consider selling books on Amazon.

Here’s how to start…

If you do a quick search at home, you’d pretty much find an abandoned bookshelf somewhere — maybe your collection or old shelves by your grandma.

Clean up the books and try to sell it. After all, the books are of no use to you, and selling it off for some quick buck seems like a cool idea.

Isn’t it?

See, it’s risk-free! And it’s an ideal way to try to get your head around the Amazon platform.

Aside from the risk-free benefits of the Amazon platform, other benefits of using the platform include:

  1. It’s easy to start

If you think that Amazon sells all books/products on the platform, then you’re wrong.

Here’s the thing; third-party agents sell a significant portion of all books sold on the Amazon platform.

It’s a safe bet to say that third-party agencies sell more than half of the products on the platform — and a considerable number of these products are books!

This implies that lots of folks like you are selling books on the platform.

In the 2018 letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos noted that third-party agents handled over 50% of Amazon’s sales. 

That’s not all…

Over 140,000 business owners generated over $100,000 on the Amazon platform. And more business owners are joining the platform every day.

The exciting thing is — a large chunk of products sold on the platform are books, and if you’ve got some marketing skills, you can pretty much make lots of sales on the platform.

At the beginning of 2019, Amazon listed 53.38 million books for sale.

Yes, you read that right!

What does the figure mean to regular folk like you?

Well, it merely implies that Amazon is a vast marketplace where a significant number of the public turn to when in need of a book. And since the average American reads twelve books per year, you’re pretty much confident of making high sales.

Pro tip: Amazon prime has 90 million active subscribers — that’s a tangible population who are ready to shell out some cash on books.

It’s probably challenging to digest all these tips all at once. Therefore, if you want to start selling your books right away, you should know the three ways of selling on Amazon.

Amazon Vendors (AMZ)

If you’re an enterprise seller who would love to unload your products quickly, then the Amazon Vendors would be the right fit for you.

Here, you sell your products (books) directly through the central vendor services.

Fulfilled-by-merchant (FBM)

The model is much simpler than the AMZ model. You get to create a product listing and also handle all the shipping procedures.

That is, you get to handle the shipping and packaging. It’s an ideal fit for pro sellers who have developed a robust delivery network.

Fulfilled-by-Amazon (FBA)

It’s quite similar to the FBM, but Amazon handles the product delivery and several other logistics.

Here’s how it works…

You create a product listing on Amazon, but Amazon handles the storage, packaging, and shipping of the product.

The FBA model is not entirely rosy as you get to pay a fee. It’s the ideal-selling model for newbies on the platform.

If you’ve got a low priced listing, and the products are good enough, you get to have the highly coveted BUY BOX button. The BUY BOX button is the secret ingredient that increases your chances of generating a sale by tenfold. 

Pro tip: List low priced products so you can boost your chances of making some sales by 10x.

2. Amazon is one of the best places to sell books

Unlike the traditional sales system where you’d have to pump in thousands of dollars to market your book, Amazon makes it pretty easy to do that.

With the Best-Seller Rankings (BSR) system, you get the chance to sell more books.

When you sell a product, Amazon assigns it to the Best Seller Rank. Products with lower BSR tend to make more sales.

For instance, if your book has a BSR of #1, then it’s the best selling book on Amazon. And a book with a BSR of 500,000 is probably not doing quite well on Amazon.

Here’s the breakdown of what to expect from the two products.

The first book with a BSR of #1 is more likely to sell pretty fast — maybe multiple copies would be sold within a couple of days. 

However, the book with a BSR of 500,000 would generate one single sale within 60 to 90 days. Sometimes, it may not make any sales.

Pretty bad, huh?

The lower the BSR, the more likely you’d make a sale and vice versa. Therefore, as an Amazon seller, your primary goal should be to lower the product’s BSR.

Pro tip: Books with a BSR of 200,000 and higher are less likely to generate any sales on the Amazon platform.

As a general rule of thumb, you should check the BSR of your products regularly. This way, you get to know which book is performing well and which is not.

3. Fulfilled-by-Amazon (FBA)

If you’re like most newbies, you’re probably looking for ways of generating enough income without dealing with the endless customer issues and other technical stuff like the packaging.

Well, the FBA would help you do that and more…

Selling is not always rosy. If you’re the one to pack and ship the products to your customers, then you’re in for a challenging task.

Here’s the thing; you can skip the packaging and shipping process by allowing Amazon to handle the heavy lifting for you. To do that, you’ve got opt for the FBA model.

Here are a couple of benefits for using the FBA program:

  • You get access to the fulfillment centers. Amazon’s fulfillment centers allow sellers to store and ship their products. It’s not free! You’ve got to pay for it.
  • Once a sale is confirmed, your product gets picked, packed, and shipped to the customer. You’re not actively involved in the entire process.
  • Amazon gets to handle tricky customer issues like complaints and returns on your behalf.
  • You get access to Amazon’s Prime shipping program. This way, your customers get to initiate faster purchases.

If you’re not into the FBA program, then you’d have to handle everything alone!

Imagine the endless hassle that goes into late night packing, and waiting for long hours at the post office before shipping your books. 

That’s pretty much insane, and you’d love to avoid it! Won’t you?

However, the FBA program would help you breeze through the entire process without breaking a sweat.

One more thing…

You get to reap PRIME benefits!

If you’re a newbie, you’ve probably have not heard of Amazon PRIME. The PRIME program is designed to help you skyrocket your conversions.

An article by Business Insider reveals that Prime customers average $1,400 on spending per year. On the other hand, non-Prime customers merely average about $600 on spending per year.

Therefore, the FBA program is one of the best ways of gaining significant benefits from the Amazon PRIME program.

Pro tip: Folks who are new in the industry or who don’t have a robust distribution channel should use the Amazon PRIME.

Why?

Because everything is handled for you — Amazon handles the heavy lifting. All you’ve got to do is generate lots of sales, settle down, and let the cash roll in.

Now you know the benefits of selling on the Amazon platform, you’ve got to understand how to find books and market them. 

Here are a couple of things to know.

How to find books

Most folks think that finding books to sell is a tedious process. Also, online gurus tend to complicate the process by providing an endless list of what to do and what not to do

Well, finding books is easy. All you’ve got to do is understand the three methods — scanning, wholesaling, and online arbitrage.

  1. Scanning

Scanning is arguably the best way of finding books.

You’d have to go to library sales, book sales, and book shops to dig through piles of books. A scanner comes in handy as you’d scan through every bar code with a portable scanner or your mobile device.

To get the most out of the scanning method, you’d have to look out for places where you can find books at a low rate, then use your mobile app to cross-reference each book’s BSR.

When you’ve identified the BSR and the lowest sales price, you’d quickly figure out if the book is worth buying.

To get the most out of your book search adventure, you should head out for the book hunt with a scanner, a shopping cart, and lots of reusable shopping bags.

2. Wholesaling

Most newbies opt for wholesaling since it’s cost-effective and pretty efficient. 

The concept is quite simple — you buy the entire book lot at an affordable price.

 

To get lots of books, you’ve got to look out for yard sales, book store closings, and estate sales. If you’ve got top-notch negotiating skills, you can get the prices for $0.25 per book or something lower.

Pro tip: If you want to get the best deal, wait for the end of the sale! Most sellers can’t deal with books, and they are willing to give it up at an incredibly low rate. If you’re in luck, you may get the books for free.

3. Online Arbitrage (OA)

Online Arbitrage involves buying a book on one marketplace (like Craiglist or eBay) to resell it on a different online market.

To get the most out of it, you’ve got to target books above the 25 dollar mark. Books like first edition books and textbooks are an excellent fit for online arbitrage.

Pro tip: College kids are lazy planners. They tend to wait until the eleventh hour before buying their book. And when they hit the buy button, they’d opt for PRIME (with 2-3 days delivery period) instead of the regular media mail (with 10+ days delivery period).

Here’s the deal — buy lots of books with the FBA model, and resell with PRIME. You’d pretty much double your profit than most forex traders!

After finding the right books to sell, the next step is to start selling!

Ways to sell on Amazon

As a newbie, you can start selling on Amazon using any of these options:

  1. Kindle Direct Publishing

If you’re new in the publishing industry, Amazon offers a cool way to publish your books without relying on traditional publishing methods.

With the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, you can start publishing your books and making massive returns in no time.

Simply put, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing offers you the opportunity to create and publish your books. You can also push out eBooks and audiobooks using the model.

The best part…

You get to earn extra income from home!

Pretty juicy, right?

That’s not all…

You get to keep 100% of the book’s right! That is, you can make changes any time you want.

One benefit of using Kindle Direct Publishing is that you get to push out your books quickly without the cumbersome process that’s associated with the traditional publishing houses.

2. Amazon Trade-In

Here’s the thing; you don’t sell with the Trade-In model — you’re merely exchanging old books for Amazon gift cards.

The first step is to ascertain the books which are allowed into the trade-in program. After that, you’d have to complete a submission form and trade as many books as you can.

What you’d get with the Trade-In model is significantly lower than the actual value of the book. But anything is better than having nothing in return for some books you’d never touch again.

3. Regular book sales

We’ve pretty much dealt with this — it involves the various models like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), Fulfillment by merchant (FBM), and Amazon vendors (AMZ).

Start an Amazon Book Selling Business Today

By now, you’ve probably discovered that selling books on Amazon is easy and straightforward. However, if you’re not careful, you’d hit rock bottom and start all over again.

To start selling on Amazon, you’ve got to follow simple steps like…

  1. Pick a sourcing method

There are three basic sourcing methods, and the sourcing method you pick would be dependent on your personality type and biological wiring.

If you’re a thrill-seeker or someone who enjoys the hunt, then scanning would be the best fit.

Negotiators, deal-breakers, and folks who enjoy the ride should opt for wholesaling.

Folks who enjoy playing around with the same kinds of books (or textbooks) would most likely enjoy online arbitrage.

One more thing…

If you’d be selling with a scanner, endeavor to use a top-notch scanning app so you can eliminate the endless hassle that’s associated with poor scanning.

2. Build your inventory

If you’re into wholesaling, look around for book sales. Also, keep an eye on bookstores, local libraries, and watch out for the next sale.

Furthermore, Facebook and Craigslist marketplaces are great platforms to look out for estate or yard sales. You may get a great deal from anywhere!

Pro tip: If you’re on a tight budget, or you don’t have some cash to shell out, you can walk around and look for some old titles in your bookshelf. List your old book collections on Amazon and wait for the cash to roll in.

Alternatively, you can kick start your book sale by listing older books — textbooks that are one or two editions behind the current edition are particularly relevant to students (since it’s cheaper and relevant to the syllabus).

One more thing…

Buying older edition textbooks are quite cheaper, and you get to resell them at a much higher rate.

3. Create a seller account

You can’t do much until you’ve created an Amazon seller account. As a beginner, you can either opt for the individual seller account or the professional seller account.

The individual seller account is free, but there are hidden charges — you’d pay $1.00 for each unit you sell.

The professional seller account comes with a monthly payment of $39.99. There are no extra charges — you do your thing as a pro seller.

Here’s the catch…

If you’re pretty sure of selling over 40 units per month, then you should opt for the pro seller account. 

Pro tip: It’s pretty easy to sell books on Amazon. And the best seller account is probably the professional seller account. This way, you get to avoid the extra $1.00 that comes with a sale.

$39.99 is a good deal for someone who would sell over 40 units per month.

4. Track your costs and profits

One of the objectives of selling books on Amazon is to make profit. To make profit, you’ve got to track it and identify where the sales are coming from.

When you’re buying books in bulk — let’s say $500 for 1000 books or $100 for 2000 books; you may make sales without knowing which bulk you’re selling from. And at the end of the day, you’d not pinpoint if you’re generating enough profit.

To curb this issue, you’d need an organized system — and the Fetcher app would do just fine. 

Here’s how it works…

The Fetcher app integrate with your seller account to help you track your profit, develop a fundamental understanding of the seller central data, input the cost of each book, and perform other relevant actions like:

  • Sales analysis
  • Pay Per Click cost analysis
  • Profit email and daily sales
  • Generation of professional profit and loss statement
  • Navigation of inventory dashboard
  • Product breakdown
  • Sales tracking
  • Tracking product promotions
  • Tracking Amazon fees.

Here’s the thing; Fetcher is much better than Seller Central since you’d be able to keep a close tab on all your sales and quickly identify if you’re generating much profit.

One fascinating benefit is that you get to have 31 days of free trials!

5. List your inventory

Automatic listing is quite okay, but if you’re like most people, you may prefer listing your books manually.

Benefits of manual listing are pretty much cool since you’d have to categorize your books as any of the following:

  • New

Are the books new? Is the packaging still intact?

New items should be suitable for gifts, and there should be no sign of damages.

However, most sellers list used books as new, which is mainly due to the high price they get to charge for listing these items.

Overall, if the item is pretty good, and there are zero signs of wear, then it’s fair to list it as new and charge good money for it.

  • Like New (Used)

Just like the new, the item is untouched, packaging intact, and pretty much in good condition. But the original packaging may be off.

The difference between the Like New and New are not much.

  • Very Good (Used)

An item that’s in excellent condition. It has been used but not damaged or marked. Also, there is no sign of wear or tear.

Generally, the item pretty much functions well.

For books, you’ve got to look out for ones with no writing in it. If you list out books with writing in it as very good, you will risk having terrible feedback and a couple of bad reviews.

  • Good (Used)

Good items have been used for a couple of times, but it’s in good condition — the wear and tear aren’t quite much!

Also, the item may show some signs of previous use. Overall, it works pretty fine, and you get to have value from the item.

Pro tip: If you want to get the most price, you should opt for books within the New, Like New, Very Good, and Good category. The Used (Acceptable) category is quite okay, but it’s not the best category for books.

  • Acceptable (Used)

Acceptable items have been used for some time. There are signs of wear and tear, but they’re generally in good condition. 

Typically, you’d find dents, scratches, and a couple of worn areas. 

Before opting to sell acceptable books, you should understand that most book buyers are super concerned about the condition of the books.

Therefore, communicate clearly through the product description of how the books are.

6. Ship to the fulfillment center closest to you

If you’re using the FBA model (which you should), you’ve got to ship your books to the nearest fulfillment center. To do this, you’d have to pack the books in boxes and send them using an Amazon carrier.

For proper recording, you’ve got to mark them in your Fetcher account.

7. Track your sales and profit using Fetcher

If your selections and pricing are on point, you should start seeing some tasty results. Sales would begin rolling in, and you’d have to track your stats with the Fetcher app.

Pro tip: As a newbie, you should save some funds and push it back into the business. Purchase new inventory and grow your business as quickly as you can. This way, you can quickly scale up to other Amazon marketing models like a private label and wholesaling.

8. Deliver great customer service

Focus on providing excellent customer service.

Aside from the regular customer service Amazon would be providing (for a seller who uses the FBA model), you should also offer excellent customer service to your buyers.

One way of doing that is through email marketing. With a reliable email service, you could reach out to your customers, answer their questions, and boost their overall service satisfaction.

Here’s the thing; booksellers rarely get bad reviews. If you record any bad reviews, it’d be primarily due to your inability to communicate about the dents and tears on the book effectively.

As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid listing books that are in bad condition.

9. Spread the word

Social media is superbly powerful! And if you’re not using it, then you’re probably leaving money on the table.

First thing first, create an Instagram or Facebook account, promote your books, and watch your sales grow.

If you do it the right way, you will skyrocket your sales in no time.

10. Use VPN Services

There is nothing wrong with having an extra layer of security. 

As an Amazon seller, you’d probably be a soft target for fraudsters and online scammers. After all, hacking into your account would be worth it.

Therefore, to avoid the security issues that come with selling online, you’ve got to use a reliable VPN service.

Aside from the top-notch security you get from using a VPN service; you also get the opportunity of accessing your account even if you’re not in the United States.

Folks who are outside the United States could use a VPN to open a US Amazon seller account.

If you’ve been around for sometime, you’d agree that having multiple accounts provides an easy way of making multiple six or seven-figures.

Due to some strange reasons, Amazon prohibits the creation of multiple accounts — but you can get around it with a VPN.

All in all, VPN services are ideal for folk who want to take their Amazon business to a whole new level.

Conclusion — Make more money by selling books on Amazon

Selling books on Amazon is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is find best-selling books, open your account, and with the right marketing skills, you can quickly generate lots of income in no time. 

What’s more, you should use VPN services like IPBurger to secure your online presence.

What genres of books would be selling on Amazon?

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