New to selling books


Hi, Im new to selling books on FBA and was wondering what are the pitfalls i need to be aware of?
Already had one sold a book in France and it’s cost me a huge amount to sell the item.
Also how can I sell books none FBA and be competitive as loss of traders seem to be selling products for example £2.10 with free delivery when the delivery alone would cost £3.10?


You can’t so don’t sell those books, unless you can increase your volumes to a level where you get much better postal rates, and can buy your stock for pennies or fractions of pennies. Simples.


I would say that it is essential to have some knowledge of books! This may sound daft but you will find that a huge number of sellers of books on Amazon clearly have no idea what a a book is


As the good Inspector & Splendid say, you have to know what you are doing. Buy a book for 50p or £1.00 & sell it for £10 / £20 or more, enough to cover expenses, Amazon’s fees, post & packing before even thinking about profit. You must be able to spot a book that has potential without relying on phone look-up or Amazon ratings. You cannot compete with outfits like WoB, who pay very little for their stock, have highly automated listing & despatch systems, & great postal contracts. Ignore the £2.10 books - you are on a hiding to nothing.


hello, if i sell a book for £2.10 after fees amazon give me £1.27

if its a light thin book i pay 77p postage in a 2p envelope making me 48p

i buy the books for a charity outlet by the kilo and it works out about a penny a book so 47p profit.

sell a 100 a day for £48.00

luckily I go to the charity warehouse and pick just what i want to buy so most thicker than large letter sized books get left behind for the other larger book buying company they have.

after 11 years of selling books i have a good eye now for rarer titles and regularly pick up £10-20 books in with my purchase.

i hope this helps


That’s a lot of work for coppers.


I agree but the higher value ones only sell a couple a day so if i am going to the storage/packing unit i may as well spend a couple of hours earning £40 quid extra, its £1,200 per month which saves me having a ‘proper’ job lol!


is this on FBA or posting yourself?


Personally I wouldnt use FBA, sell them yourself, start with a perosnal account where you only pay commission when you sell. Once sale levels have regularly reached a position that you can cover the monthly fee you can then switch to a “professional” (I use the term loosey} account.

Dont sell overseas as Amazon shipping rates are totally inadequate unless you are using the professional plan and can set your own postage.

Take time to learn about what you are doing. Read professional book sellers decriptions on places like Abeooks (and I dont mean the mega sellers who describe books as “may have”
Be accurate in your descriptions and point out the flaws to avoid disappointed buyers.

Take time to learn book selling terminology

Remember, it is very difficult to make sufficient money to live on, selling books unless you either know what you are doing or you follow the megasellers strategy of having hundreds of thousands of books and sell em cheap

Unless you are prepared to take your time learning the trade you may as well pack up now unless you are just doing it for pocket money,

Use strong robust packaging a jiffy bag is an absolute minimum, books should ideally be wrapped in either bubble wrap or cardboard or both before being placed in a jiffy of brwon paper. Dont skim of packaging costs, dont buy cheap tape or padded envelopes.

I could go on for hours but I had to learn everything myself, so these are a few pointers only


What you describe is proper book selling not what one poster posted on here


In my opinion there is no difference. If you are going to do something make sure you know what you are doing. Bookselling is a profession and as such there are standards to maintain, just because the internet has made access to bookselling easier, that is no excuse for not bothering to understand what you are selling, and how to do it.

If you just want to sell widgets then go sell widgets


Widgets should also be described with care and packed with love. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


My advice is to only sell items in the uk and be aware of Amazon’s fees. Overseas postage makes pricing items impossible. You would need to charge so much that even if overseas buyers are willing to pay, U.K. buyers will look for cheaper options.


FBMs, provided they are pro-merchants, (I guess the overwhelming majority of visitors to these boards) can set their own overseas postage rates and the template systems give a lot of flexibility to the rates that can be set for various weights and sizes and geographical areas. I list almost everything up to 1.2kg for virtually everywhere, my rates are designed to more or less equalise the profit with domestic sales. Not listing for overseas just means a seller will have less sales.


is this on FBA or posting yourself?

posting myself.


As well as the transaction fees, with FBA you really need to watch out for storage fees when selling books. The crippling long term storage fees were the reason I stopped using FBA. Even after carefully selecting every title I sent to FBA for a quick sale, I was left with too many in storage to make it feasible.
Remember that once Amazon has your stuff in their warehouse you have to pay more for it to leave. You either pay for them to dispatch it, pay for them to store it, pay for them to send it back to you or pay them to dispose of it. FBA turned into an absolute money pit for me. My advice would be to get out while you still have your shirt.


A £9.99 book that sells via FBA will net you £4.99 profit before purchase price.


Yesterday we sold 30 books, for £272.75. 70 less books to retrieve, pack & post. I’m all for an easy life.
But it just shows that there is no one way to sell books successfully on the net. Bargain is happy to get 47p profit per book; I prefer the sort of return of buying a book for £1.00, & selling it for £150.00 (one of today’s sales).
Horses for courses


I am with you Cibba, I do not list any hardback books for less than £10.00, I do use bookwraps when I dispatch them as I think the book will arrive in the same condition it was sent in. Taking the price of this and purchase price and Amazon fees. It is not worth selling for any less than £10.00 and a lot of my books are more. I did have one that sold for £250.00 but only the one.


I think the hardest part of the £10+ book selling is getting the stock.

When I first started i was doing the same as you, but spending 3 or 4 mornings a week searching boot sales, charity shops etc and then finding that what i thought was good turned out to be either non-sales ranked, too cheap to sell or one of the megas have several copies (all listed as very good) and constantly undercutting with software.

Now I spend 2 hours a week at the charity warehouse, spend around £20 which gives me at least 1000 items to sell making me a nice 3 to 4 hundred pounds a week profit.

I have decided an extra 3 hours a day packing is better than 3 hours a day searching.

just my choice but it shows you can make a decent living at the cheap end!

oh and i also pick up better value books as well sold 3 today at £20+ each Yippee!