Beginner’s Guide to Purchasing and Selling Books on Amazon

Amazon’s bookselling site is one of the most successful e-commerce businesses in the world, accounting for more than 5% of all online sales. And the staggering truth is that Amazon will gladly let you share in their success story. Are they insane? No. It exemplifies founder Jeff Bezos’ mission to be “the most customer-focused business ever.” Are there any strings attached? Not at all. Of course, nothing is ever that simple, but if you know how and are determined, it is a chance worth considering.

Why should one sell books at all?

You are not required to sell books. Electronics and photographic equipment, music, DVDs, videos, software, PC and video games, home and garden items, and toys and games are all available for sale on Amazon today.

However, books meet almost every requirement for the ideal mail-order product. They’re small, light, and easy to ship; they have a high-profit margin and a high selling price relative to their size; they have a global market, and almost everyone buys them at some point.

Books remain Amazon’s core business, their largest seller, and, to top it all off, there is no more well-known global market for books than Amazon.

How Amazon allows you to share in their success

There are several ways you can contribute to Amazon’s success. Amazon Auctions is similar to eBay. Amazon Advantage is only available to authors and publishers. Amazon Alliances are unique collaborations with large corporations. Therefore, one should Go Now and indulge in working with amazon.

Marketplace: Marketplace allows you to sell books on the same page of Amazon’s website where Amazon sells the book itself. So you get to compete with them and even undercut them on price (in fact, you’re expected to!).

Marketplace accepts new and used books, but not rare or collectable ones. The selling prices are predetermined – Marketplace is not an auction. You are free to list an unlimited number of items. On each sale, a closing fee of 86p (on per item plus 17.25% of your sale price is charged, but you pay nothing if your books do not sell.

The marketplace is appropriate whether you want to make some extra money or start a ‘proper’ small business.

Good Tip: Try to use sources that are both consistent and repeatable, so that if you find a book that sells well, you can restock. You can make money by selling one-time-only books, but it’s far better to find a book that will sell and sell again and again. Here are some resources to consider:

Commercial Sources In the book trade, you can get all the new books you need from the publishers themselves, their distributors, or their wholesalers. If you only need a few books, it’s best to go to a wholesaler because you can mix books from different publishers.

Public auctions. Keep an eye out for auctions where books comprise all or a portion of the stock. Bankrupt stocks, salvage books (not all of which must be damaged), remainder books, shop-soiled, and ex-library stocks are all examples of auction stocks. (Before attending an auction, find out what kind of books are being sold.) If you want to sell valuable and collectable books, auctions are a good place to start.

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