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

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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.


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.


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.

Im12 How To Sell Books On Amazon — The Ultimate Amazon Selling Guide