Selling Books On Amazon in 2021: Things Amazon Sellers Should Know

Selling Books On Amazon in 2021: Important Things Amazon Sellers Should Know

Despite the growing popularity of ebooks and audiobooks, printed books are still in high demand. For both newbies and established Amazon sellers, knowing how to sell books on Amazon is essential in order to profit in such a category.

If you are considering venturing into Amazon bookselling this 2021, here are some important notes on how to sell books on Amazon.

Selling Books On Amazon: Quick Run Through 

 

photo-of-books-for-amazon

 

Amazon Bookstore: Brief History

Many shoppers and online sellers are not aware that bookselling is not something new for Amazon. In fact, printed books were the very first items sold on Amazon. “Amazon.com: Earth’s Biggest Bookstore” was even displayed on the Amazon logo.

In retrospect, the first book sold on Amazon.com was Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought, by Douglas Hofstadter.     

At the onset of their business as an online bookstore, Amazon sold to all 50 U.S states and more than 40 countries. It was in 1998 that Amazon decided to go beyond selling books and started selling CDs and DVDs. And the rest is history. 

Why Sell Books on Amazon in 2021

The risk involved in selling books on Amazon is relatively low, especially since it does not require an initial huge investment, which is why more and more sellers are looking into how to sell books on Amazon

Despite the availability of softcopy or ebooks, there are still a lot of people who prefer physical books, be it fiction, non-fiction, or textbooks. 

In fact, in 2019, printed books were outselling ebooks by a huge margin. And the disparity between ebook and printed book purchases was further highlighted in the 2020 Statista Advertising & Media Outlook report on the global dominance of printed books over ebooks.  

One of the reasons why physical or printed books remain popular among book readers is the emotional connection they offer. Unlike ebooks, readers can relate to printed books on an emotional level. 

Key Books and Reading Data        

In order to understand why there are still online sellers that sell books on Amazon, let’s look at some of the key statistical data relating to books and reading. 

  • Despite the prevalence of ebooks and audiobooks, in 2019 the United States book publishing industry still managed to record an increase in net revenue in comparison to its preceding year. .
  • Book sales revenue in 2019 totaled $26 billion, with almost 75% of sales attributed to physical books.
  • 2019 American Time Use Survey Summary revealed that Americans still spend time reading despite the existence of modern forms of entertainment, like internet browsing and watching television. 
  • Statista also detailed that in 2019 the average reading time spent by individuals in the United States amounts to 16.2 minutes. By age bracket, those aged 75 and above consume around 44 minutes of reading time per day, and adults over 65 were observed as the most avid readers. 
  • Worth noting that in 2018, it was reported that “Amazon controls almost “50% of all book sales across the US.” 

The information displayed above constitutes the reasons why selling books on Amazon is still a profitable avenue for Amazon sellers and would-be Amazon sellers. 

How to Sell Books on Amazon

Amazon is the top destination when it comes to retail eCommerce. Among the items being sold on Amazon.com are books, printed books in particular. 

To give you an idea on how to sell books on Amazon, here is an overview of the process.

STEP 1: Choose What Type of Books To Sell on Amazon 

In order to start selling books on Amazon, you should first decide what type of books you want to sell. Amazon suggests that sellers begin selling books that they already possess. 

There are many book genres to choose from on Amazon. Some of these genres are highlighted in the succeeding discussion. 

STEP 2: Secure Your Inventory

Before you start selling on Amazon, you should secure how to source your inventory. Similar to other Amazon niches and categories, Amazon bookselling requires sellers to have a reliable and consistent source of inventory items to avoid frustrating would-be customers and maintain good standing with Amazon.

For reference, succeeding discussions are some of the highly suggested avenues through which you can secure consistent and reliable inventory items for your Amazon bookselling business.

STEP 3: Create an Amazon Seller Account

After you have decided on what type of books to sell on Amazon, you should then proceed to Seller Account creation. When you create an Amazon seller account, you will be offered two selling plans, the individual selling plan and the professional selling plan.

Each has its own pros and cons, and the most noticeable difference is pricing and fees involved for each plan. 

As an overview, the individual plan comes with no monthly fee, fees will only be incurred for each item sold. Thus, making it an ideal starting point for entrepreneurs new to online selling.

On the other hand, the Professional Selling Plan offers numerous benefits to sellers. However, sellers will have to pay a monthly fee of $39.99/ month plus additional selling fees. 

STEP 4: Choose an Order Fulfilment Method

In relation to your selling plan, you will also have to choose your fulfillment method. 

When it comes to selling books, the majority of online sellers prefer the Amazon FBA program. It is preferred by top Amazon sellers because after creating a listing, they simply send their books or inventory items to the Amazon fulfillment center and it is Amazon’s responsibility to pick, pack and ship the items to customers. 

As an alternative to Amazon FBA, you have Fulfilment by Merchant or Amazon FBM. The FBM program gives sellers full control of the whole fulfillment process from packing to shipping.

If you are insistent on choosing Amazon FBM, make sure that you package your items well and partner with a reliable carrier capable of delivering goods to customers without any delay or damages to avoid negative reviews. 

STEP 5: Manage Product Pricing

Once you have created an account, you should manage your product pricing. When it comes to selling books on Amazon, pricing depends on various factors, including the type and condition of the books.

When it comes to setting the price of your books, you should also take into account the packing and shipping costs. 

Be sure to research and outline the price range of books while also considering other expenses such as Amazon fees, especially for the used books category that normally lacks the suggested retail price. 

When selling books on Amazon, you should also take into account that the use of Amazon’s free repricer can be quite tedious, especially for voluminous inventory, not to mention the possibility of racing towards the bottom price. 

To avoid pricing mistakes, the use of automatic Amazon repricers is recommended.

STEP 6: List Books on Amazon

When listing your books, Amazon suggests going straight to the product page and searching the title of the book you want to list – Amazon suggests following these steps:

  • In the Amazon search bar, key in the ISBN code of the book, and if it was printed before 1970, you will have to enter the title manually.
  • When on the product listing page, simply click on the “Sell on Amazon button.”
  • The next step will require you to enter the SKU of your choice, you may also leave it blank and let Amazon generate one for you.
  • Once done with the previous step, enter your desired product price.
  • After pricing, choose the condition of your item. You should be honest when choosing the quality of your books for sale.
  • Lastly, choose your fulfilment method, either Amazon FBA or FBM. 

STEP 7: Market Your Amazon Books

Now that you have completed your product listing, you can start promoting your books on Amazon. The tech-giant offers various advertising tools and services. To understand more about Amazon Ads, check their Advertising Learning Console.

STEP 8: Prepare to Pack and Ship Amazon Books

If you choose the FBM program, you will have to prepare your books for shipping. See to it that you have the right item described on your listing before packing and shipping it to your customer. 

If you have chosen the FBA program, all you have to do is monitor your inventory and communicate specific instructions to your suppliers regarding orders.  The rest of the process will be handled by Amazon from the fulfilment center.

How to Sell Books on Amazon – Selling Old Books 

The requirements set by Amazon for selling old books is pretty much the same with that of new books. 

However, since you will be selling used items on Amazon, you should familiarize how Amazon categorizes old books. Here is an overview of condition guidelines for books by Amazon:

Used – Like New: This category applies to books having only minor cosmetic defects, which means pages are clean and not marred by notes.

Used – Very Good: This refers to books with minor cosmetic defects that may contain marks on its outside edges.

Used – Good: This means that the book’s pages and cover are intact, despite having wear on its spine and showing marks such as “From the Library of.”

Used – Acceptable: This category applies to books with markings and highlights, but pages and covers are intact. 

Unacceptable: When books have missing and unreadable texts, Amazon categorizes it under “unacceptable,” which means not suitable for listing. 

Apart from the specific condition guidelines for books, sellers should also familiarize themselves with the general condition guidelines for items to be listed on Amazon. 

How Much Does it Cost to Sell Books on Amazon? 

Apart from knowing how to sell books on Amazon, sellers should also take note of the costs involved in selling books on Amazon. 

Aside from the aforementioned elements such as plan price, fulfilment fees and Amazon selling fees such as referral fees, closing, delivery charges, sellers should also take into account the initial price of the book when purchased from suppliers, which may vary depending on the quality and type of the book. 

To get a better understanding of the expenses involved in selling on Amazon, you should be acquainted with the Amazon calculator and the so-called hidden fees for an Amazon business

Books You Can Sell on Amazon

When it comes to selling books on Amazon, knowing the types of books that sell well is essential. Similar to other listed products on Amazon, product research should be carried out.            

Simply checking Amazon Best Sellers Rank may not be enough, you should also consider niche, type, quality, and the value it brings. In general, there are two main options Amazon sellers choose from: new and used books. 

The selling of new and used books on Amazon has its own advantages and disadvantages. For new books, the main advantage is demand – a considerable population of readers and online shoppers prefer new books over used ones.

However, acquiring brand new books to sell on Amazon can be quite challenging since you need to find a reliable source that can supply you with a voluminous inventory.

On the other hand, selling used books on Amazon is somewhat easier as they can be easily acquired, but the downside is that compared to new books, the demand for used books is not as high, nor are the profit margins. 

How to Sell Books on Amazon – Selling Old Books 

The requirements set by Amazon for selling old books is pretty much the same with that of new books. 

However, since you will be selling used items on Amazon, you should familiarize how Amazon categorizes old books. Here is an overview of condition guidelines for books by Amazon:

Used – Like New: This category applies to books having only minor cosmetic defects, which means pages are clean and not marred by notes.

Used – Very Good: This refers to books with minor cosmetic defects that may contain marks on its outside edges.

Used – Good: This means that the book’s pages and cover are intact, despite having wear on its spine and showing marks such as “From the Library of.”

Used – Acceptable: This category applies to books with markings and highlights, but pages and covers are intact. 

Unacceptable: When books have missing and unreadable texts, Amazon categorizes it under “unacceptable,” which means not suitable for listing. 

Apart from the specific condition guidelines for books, sellers should also familiarize themselves with the general condition guidelines for items to be listed on Amazon. 

How Much Does it Cost to Sell Books on Amazon? 

Apart from knowing how to sell books on Amazon, sellers should also take note of the costs involved in selling books on Amazon. 

Aside from the aforementioned elements such as plan price, fulfilment fees and Amazon selling fees such as referral fees, closing, delivery charges, sellers should also take into account the initial price of the book when purchased from suppliers, which may vary depending on the quality and type of the book. 

To get a better understanding of the expenses involved in selling on Amazon, you should be acquainted with the Amazon calculator and the so-called hidden fees for an Amazon business

Top Book Genres for Amazon Bookselling

Selling books on Amazon does not only mean choosing between used and new books. You will also have to consider genres, categories, and sub-categories. To widen your selling options, here are some of the best selling genres and categories to choose from.    

Textbooks: This type of book is a highly in-demand book on Amazon. Whether it is used or brand new, a great number of shoppers purchase textbooks, either for leisure, learning, or references. 

Comic Books: Whether for timeless collection or entertainment, shoppers buy comic books, either single issues or graphic novels. 

Non-fiction Books: Selling books on Amazon would not be complete without non-fiction books in your inventory. As compared to fiction books, non-fiction books tend to maintain their value over time, mainly because shoppers use them for references even after reading them. 

Niche Books: Another popular book genre on Amazon is niche books. 

Collectibles: Collectibles are in demand online. Books that are signed or printed as first edition books are being sought by collectors who are willing to pay a reasonable amount just to obtain a copy of a collectible item.  

These are just some of the available options for Amazon sellers to start their Amazon bookselling business. As for book categories, some of the top-selling categories include but not limited to: Self Help; Memoirs and Biographies; Health, Fitness, and Dieting

In contrast to in-demand books, there are also book types that sellers should be cautious of. In particular, books that people tend to get rid of quickly such as children’s books, and even cookbooks should be ventured into with caution. 

However, if you are adventurous enough or have already experienced dealing with these types of books on other online selling platforms, you will most likely be able to navigate on Amazon.        

Where To Look for Books To Sell On Amazon?

Selling books on Amazon requires sellers to have well-prepared inventory. Therefore it is recommended that sellers set-up their operations and suppliers before beginning their Amazon selling journey.    

For new books, Amazon sellers have three sourcing options. Sellers may choose to source books either from wholesalers, distributors, and/or publishers who are willing to sell books directly to retailers or Amazon sellers. 

Alternatively, in order to maintain an inventory of used books, Amazon sellers have plenty of options to source books. Sellers can easily find used books in thrift stores, library sales, book store sales, yard sales, or even on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist.       

How To Sell Books on Amazon – Success Tips 

When selling books on Amazon, you should dedicate extra time to learn the processes and guidelines for the Amazon book category. To improve your sales performance when selling books on Amazon, here are some success tips to follow: 

Establish Trust

In any form of enterprise, building trust with customers is crucial. Always remember that honesty is the best policy when selling items on Amazon. 

When selling books on Amazon, be completely transparent about the quality or condition of the book. Categorize books accordingly.

As mentioned above, sellers may categorize their used book as New, Like New, Very Good, Good, and Acceptable. 

Research Thoroughly

Before you start spending money buying used books in book sales or yard sales, be sure to do your research first. Try to check what book types sell well on Amazon.

Although this process will take time, you will be able to learn the sweet spot between various types of books for reselling and the people interested in buying them.

Amazon BSR

When it comes to product research, the Amazon Best Seller Ranking is very useful even when selling books on Amazon. The Amazon BSR is a good place to start to give you a better idea of what type of books will likely yield the highest return on investment.

You may also use the Amazon BSR to serve as an indicator of which item is currently selling well in a specific category. 

Be On-Time

When fulfilling orders for customers, make sure that you are always on time, especially if you have chosen Amazon FBM. Remember that delayed packages will reflect your services and might even appear as a negative review on your business. 

Take Care of Your Products

Packing and shipping guidelines should always be followed. Make sure that the items you send to the Amazon warehouse or directly to customers are well-taken care of. 

See to it that book corners are well protected. If you are planning to ship multiple books, make sure  each book is wrapped individually using multiple wrapping materials to protect their integrity, especially if it is a new book.

Selling Books on Amazon – FAQs 

Is selling books online profitable?

Yes, sellers make a profit from bookselling. In fact, according to Amazon, selling books can be a “lucrative side gig or a profitable business venture.

Can I sell books on Amazon for free?

No, sellers will either pay-as-they-sell via an individual selling plan or pay a monthly fee via Professional selling plan. 

What types of books can I sell on Amazon?

Amazon allows sellers to sell various types of books and genres. Sellers can sell new books, used books, comic books, collectible books, and so much more. 


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