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Selling Books on Amazon vs. (Ebay)

Updated on March 2, 2011

Amazon Versus

I graduated with my B.A. in History just 6 months ago, and hadn't ever gotten around to selling my textbooks until now. (I have accumulated about $2500 worth of books!) Knowing that it could be a somewhat profitable way to make some money this month, I immediately started sorting out titles and listing on Amazon. After reviewing the fees, I wondered if there was anything better out there. I had heard of (by Ebay) before, and so I got to researching!

Fees: Amazon vs.


Referral/Commission Fees 15%

Variable Closing Fee $1.35

Fixed Closing Fee $0.99*

Shipping Credit $3.99


Referral/Commission Fees 5%-15%**

Variable Closing Fee $0

Fixed Closing Fee $0

Shipping Credit $3.07 (Hardcover), $2.64 (Paperback)

** No fixed fee applied for Pro Merchants

** (Ebay) does a correlative price scale. The more expensive the book you sell, the less commission they take. Here is their official chart: Commission

< $50.01


$50.01 - $100.00


$100.01 - $250.00


$250.01 - $500.00


> $500.00



Getting Paid!

Payment Schedule:

This is where things are uber-similar. Amazon pays you 14 days after you sell a book and pays out twice every month. I guess sometimes it does work out that you get it faster than 14 days on Ebay's schedule, but plus or minus a few days is really negligible. Especially, if you are just getting it directly deposited!

Other Very Important Factors

When looking straight at the selling fees, it's clear that comes out the winner. Why pay those pesky closing fees? But we can't simply forget other vital factors such as audience or buying members: where are your buyers most likely to be shopping? Another major factor is that books, especially textbooks sell for much higher at Amazon. This is something to think about along with the fees.

So Who Wins Overall?

In terms of selling books, I believe Amazon comes out the winner. It is simply more popular and hosts a bigger variety of obscure and expensive books. When I place something on Amazon, it generally sells 4-20 days faster than it does on In addition, it even goes for up to 30% more. That heavily outweighs the $.99 closing fee.

Wanna see my math in action?

If I sold a $200 textbook on Amazon, I would pay $30 (commission), $0.99 (closing fee) and $1.35 (variable fee): to endure a whopping loss of $32.34 and a gain of $167.66

On lets say I sell the textbook for $175, I would pay $17.50 (10% commission) in fees, giving me a net profit of $157.50.

So, despite the heavy fees, I still win at Amazon! This could completely change depending on your price of book, so beware!

What I've resorted to doing is listing each book in both marketplaces! Wherever it sells first (I'm in a hurry), is where I just let it go. And I subsequently remove the sold book off the other marketplace.

Where Do You Sell Your Books?

See results

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