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Selling Books on Ebay and Amazon

Updated on August 9, 2014

For the Love of Books

I've always had a love for books, for reading them and handling them. About ten years ago I met a guy who was selling them on-line I believe through Ebay. This was around 2005. I thought that this was a great idea and wished I could do the same.

I tried to sell books on Ebay a few years later, but because my life was unstable I stopped when I moved. Finally a couple months ago, I got the idea again and began this time to really put the idea to work.

The year is 2014, can I still be successful selling books on-line through Ebay, and what about Amazon? I've taken a crash course in learning about selling books on-line, and I wanted to share what it's brought and what I've learned so far.


Amazon and Ebay

There are many different places to sell books, but the main two are Amazon and Ebay. The Alexa ratings of these sites are as follows:

Amazon: World ranking 10th

US ranking 5th

Ebay: World ranking 26th

US ranking 9th

This means they both get very good traffic. Amazon is the place where people mostly go when they are looking to buy a book on-line.

At first it was very hard for me to decide which place to put my efforts. Personally, I like Ebay better and if I were a buyer I would buy from there. Also, from what I've learned Amazon is very cold and has ruined people's lives by shutting down their account for no reason without a chance for a fair appeal. Also, Amazon has all these penny books, how could I compete with that?

I sort of gave up on Amazon and thought maybe this book selling thing wasn't such a good idea after all, also seeing that Ebay had dollar books and I seemingly wasn't likely going to sell much there anyway. Then I learned about FBA, Fulfillment by Amazon.

FBA got me thinking this idea was possible again.

Zerofatzreturns Helps us Understand What FBA Is.

Where is best place to sell books overall: Ebay, Amazon, both, or ?

See results

The Results After a Month

After a month of listing books and after sending off four shipments to FBA, I have officially sold 4 books on Amazon and 1 on Ebay. I have a total of around 110 books listed on Amazon, 100 of them through FBA, and the rest with self-fulfillment. The four I sold were through FBA.

Ebay, I have listed now 25 items, of which are 21 books. I've sold one book so far for a profit of about $2.75. The profit I made on Amazon after the fees from the four books is about $52. With Amazon though, I have expenses like postage from sending my shipments to their warehouses. Also, I pay them .20 cents to label the books when they get there.

All in all, I have spent around $250 on my books selling business so far. This includes the buying of books, postage, and materials for shipping. All in all the profit I have made after the fees of Amazon and Ebay, is about $55. Therefor, all in all I'm still in the whole $195 total.


What I've Learned

The hardest part of this venture for me was figuring out the shipping part of the business. Also, figuring out the fees took some effort as well. With FBA, I had to painstakingly study every video I could find to make sure I was doing it right and my shipments would make it there without problem.

I've learned so far that you don't really want to send books to FBA which aren't under a million in sales rank. Also, that if you want to read the books you are selling, then don't send them off to FBA. I've learned that I enjoy selling on Ebay more than Amazon if I'm not sending them off to FBA.

I've been doing this for a little over a month, but in reality practically it's only been a couple weeks that I've had a significant amount of books for sale. In this time, I've been selling a couple books per week.

So far, I'm not sure how well this business will do. Maybe it will be slower at first because I'm a new seller and don't have much, if any, feedback? Maybe after awhile things will start to pick up.

With Ebay, I like the way the books are presented and the way customers can follow your store. It seems like repeat customers could be gathered from Ebay, and that is encouraging. I want to specialize in certain type of books, so if I can attract those kinds of buyers, then I should have some success on Ebay with repeat customers.

With Amazon, it's more about the price and not about relationship with the seller. Because there are so many people selling the same book usually, it's hard to make a profit selling yourself. Through FBA, you can raise the price and have a better opportunity to get a buyer because of the free shipping and prime buyer attractions.

So, what I'm doing is making my decision on where and how to sell my books depending on my personal preference and the market for the book. Older books I sell on Ebay, high sellers that are newer that I don't want to read I send to FBA. It just depends on the book at this point.

Goals for Business

As of now, it's hard to tell how well this business is going to do. Is there enough people buying books on Ebay, and is Amazon a place where the small guy can compete with the dying books stores selling there with discounted shipping?

I'm not sure, but I have found it to be a fun enterprise and have gained many books that I want to read myself. In the end, I'm glad I'm giving it a try. My goals are to make around $500 profit a month from selling books on-line. As of now, I still am in the red, but every business is in the beginning.

Because of the nature of the Internet, Amazon and Ebay, I would never want to depend on them for all of my income. So, I will continue with my hands on labor day job, but my goal is to keep plugging away with selling books and hopefully in a few months I'll start seeing a significant profit.

My First Shipment To FBA


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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great tips for making extra coin.

    • Lowdown0 profile image

      Robbie Newport 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Thanks for that insight about how Ebay used to be Jaye, I've been wondering how well it's going to go with Ebay. I've sold three books there now, two of them were hardcovers. I've been encouraged by this, but I still am not convinced Ebay is a great place to sell books.

      Nevertheless there are many books I don't want to send to Amazon FBA because of their age or sales rank, but I want to try to sell them anyway, so Ebay is the best option. I only sell certain books self-fulfilled with Amazon, as it seems you have so much competition, and without the benefit of FBA prime and shipping, most books don't seem to be worth listing there. I did sell my first self-fulfilled a couple days ago.

      You know what I've been doing is paying Amazon to label my books, so I just list them and send them off. They charge .20 cents per book, but it's worth it to me cause I don't have a laser printer. I could save some though if I did have the printer, it's an option though.

      I would suggest trying FBA, by sending off a 12 by 12 by 10.5 inch box with about 20 books or so. See how it goes. My experience is it's been worth sending them off as when they sell I don't have to do anything.

      I will write an update later on, maybe a new hub to tell the results. Check out Picking Profits on Youtube for some instruction with FBA. Blessings in your efforts.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      The heyday for book selling on eBay was just before the economy tanked. I bought and sold books there and they moved quickly at reasonable prices, especially paperbacks.

      Now it is difficult to make a profit selling hardcover books on eBay because postage has increased. I've had customers tell me they won't buy hardcovers because paperbacks take up less shelf space and are easier to hold while reading. I still sell some paperbacks in lots, but listed most of my the hardcovers I wanted to sell on Amazon. I sell one or two a month, and the profit is very slight.

      Recently, I've been thinking about changing my method of Amazon selling to the FBA approach, but from what I've read there is still a lot of time invested making labels to replace existing bar codes (I already have a Dymo labeler, so there would be no outlay there), writing the product description listings and--the biggie--packaging 'just so' to meet Amazon's strict parameters for shipping books to their warehouse (or more than one warehouse). Then, the seller is lucky to make 1/3 of the sale price of the book, plus all expenses must be factored in. I'm still mulling over the potential.

      I hope you will update this hub at monthly intervals to let readers know how your book-selling business is doing. Good luck!

      Voted Up and Interesting


    • Lowdown0 profile image

      Robbie Newport 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Thanks for your input, it's amazing how cheap most books are. When I see a heavy book for a penny, it just doesn't make sense.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      doesn't work for me, i had earned 80 cents uptodate