Selling books on Amazon


Hi sellers,
I see selling fees for each book will go up to £1. So this is the end for small sellers who like to pass on second hand books?


Depressing, what with the weather as well!


Even worse for medium and large sellers who will be passing on thousands of extra pounds to Amazon each year.


Which fee are we talking about? Is it the one that is currently 75p per item


No, it’s the closing fee, up from 50p to a £1, except for less than £5 books where the increase is offset by a reduction in the percentage fee from 15% to 5%

So in short a measure designed to force retail prices down while simultaneously increasing seller costs.


The change won’t happen till January though at the bottom end of the price spectrum it will be offset by the referral fee for books with “a total sale price of less than £5.00” being reduced to 5% from 15%. The issue for small sellers will be whether or not they can still compete at this lower price end. The doubling of the VCF will push prices up at the very bottom end but the change in the referral fee will create a price containment threshold at £4.99. (If you sell at £4.99 the referral fee will be 25p, if you sell at £5.00 it will be 75p).

But what does “total sales price” mean? Does it mean including the postage charge?

This morning’s full email is below.

Dear Seller,

Starting in January 2021 (exact date will be communicated closer to launch), we will make several changes to features and fees relating to the sale of Book items on the Amazon Marketplace on These changes will further improve customer experience and provide you with increased flexibility and the potential for higher visibility of your products.

Feature in the Buy Box for books in new condition

In January 2021 (exact date will be communicated closer to launch), Selling Partners will be able to feature in the Buy Box for books in new condition. Please click on the below link for information on how you can increase your chances of featuring in the Buy Box:

Changes to Selling on Amazon fees for Book items

We will be making two changes to how Selling on Amazon fees are charged for Book products. These fee changes will not take effect until January 2021 (exact date will be communicated closer to launch) to give you time to plan accordingly.

(a) Variable Closing Fees (VCF): The VCF charge in Books will change from £0.50 to £1.00 on

(b) Referral fees: Starting in January 2021 (exact date will be communicated closer to launch), the Referral Fee for UK Books will change from 15% to 5% for products with a total sales price below £5.00. The referral fee will remain unchanged at 15% for products with a total sales price greater than or equal to £5.00.

For additional information on Selling on Amazon fees, please see the Selling on Amazon Fee Schedule:

Amazon Services Europe


The world is rapidly turning to poo. Reading a book, gardening, making stuff - not enough profit, no instant gratification. Something broken? Chuck it and buy a new one, don’t bother reading a book so you can fix it. Put plastic grass down cos it looks nice all year round, if it gets dirty throw it away and buy some more. Trees? Chop them all down, no more pesky leaves to sweep up, you can keep the grass for longer. Want to secure your patch? Put a fence up with those nice concrete panels at the bottom, plenty of sand in the desert to make them with, plenty of wood to make the panels with - oh no, someone chopped all the trees down, can’t have a wooden fence. Need food? Don’t bother growing your own, it takes too long and anyway there’s no worms/insects/birds/frogs left to help because you got rid of the trees and put plastic grass down.


Have just read the email.
Struggling a bit to work out the implications, except we will be a lot worse off !

I have been culling my stock that is under £5.00 anyway, unless can go as LL, but wondering if any of it is worth it anymore !

Is anyone clever enough to work out the actual sums of it all for different prices of books ?


Isn’t it 50p a book worse off unless it is under £5, which will balance out to the same profit as usual?


Actually, if you sold a book for £4, the overall fees would be £1.20 whereas it would normally be £1.10 (if my sums are correct). I try to avoid books like that :slight_smile:


Well, I hadn’t looked at the current selling fees page ( for a while but “total sales price” is defined as “the total amount paid by the buyer, including the item price and any delivery or gift wrapping charges”.

So (someone please correct me if I am wrong) but when the new fees come into force in January the deductions will look like this:

TOTAL SALES PRICE £4.99 - .£1 VCM plus 25p (anything at this price or under will be £1 VCM plus 5%) = total received £3.74
TOTAL SALES PRICE £5 - .£1 VCM plus 75p.(anything at this price or over will be £1 VCM plus 15%) = total received £3.25
TOTAL SALES PRICE £6 - .£1 VCM plus 90p = total received £4.10
TOTAL SALES PRICE £7 - .£1 VCM plus £1.05 = total received £4.95
TOTAL SALES PRICE £8 - .£1 VCM plus £1.20 = total received £5.80
TOTAL SALES PRICE £9 - .£1 VCM plus £1.35 = total received £6.65
TOTAL SALES PRICE £10 - .£1 VCM plus £1.50 = total received £7.50

Obviously this will create a vacuum at the very bottom end (because the minimum VCM will be £1) and between prices at £5 and £5.60 as a book at the latter price would attract fees of £1 VCM plus £0.84 = total received £3.76, which is virtually the same as if you sold it at £4.99.

From these totals received you would then have to deduct whatever your postal cost is to work out your income from an individual sale.

I did this quickly so apologies if I got anything wrong.


Does anyone know if this change is for sellers who pay a £30 monthly subscription or just individuals who don’t pay the £30 ?


Selling anything at less than £4.99 (including postage charges) will lead to larger deductions than at present - the cheaper the book, the greater will be the proportionate deduction of fees compared to now. At £4.99 it will be exactly the same as it is now. Above £4.99 every sale will cost you exactly 50p more than it now does.



I have not been selling on Amazon for a year so may be a bit rusty, but my understanding is that it applies to all sellers. Professional sellers do not pay the per-item fee of £0.75 that non-pro-sellers do, but this is not the same as the VCF or variable closing fee which all sellers pay. Closing fees are a different matter and apply to all sellers.

"Closing Fees
Sellers also pay a closing fee of £0.50 per media item that is sold. Media categories are Books, Music, DVD, Video, Video Games (Games, Accessories and Consoles) and Software.

Starting in January 2021 (the exact date will be communicated closer to launch), the closing fee £0.50 per item will change from £0.50 to £1.00 for Books."


This is how the new fees would work out for me (non VAT registered, pro seller)



Yes, I wasn’t thinking about VAT on the fees!



Thanks for the info. Once postage has been paid there’s hardly a bean left!

Only last week I decided to not purchase anymore stock and to let my stocks run down. I’m fed up with Amazon, Jumping through their hoops, having to fret about replying to emails if I take a holiday or worse still have an accident and end up in A&E with no access to my account. I’m a sole trader and do everything myself. There is no one else to reply to emails if I can’t.

Enough is enough!

Thankfully I’m in a position where all my stock is paid for and I don’t need the money although it would be nice. I now realise I made the right decision. If I get banned from Amazon c’est la vie. I no longer care and feeling this way has certainly increased my health and lifestyle.


This was pretty much the conclusion we came to nearly a year ago when we stopped selling books on the platform. It was getting bad enough then. These fee-price hikes will make it much worse because the only way to offset them is to raise prices (and that will be bad in a time when people have less money around to buy “luxuries” like books). I imagine a lot of smaller sellers especially will now choose to run down their stocks in advance of these fee hikes. I presume Amazon just isn’t making as much money as it wants to make from books and is happy to lose a number of smaller sellers. Like you, it wasn’t our main livelihood. But if selling books on here is a major plank of your income it’s very bad news.


Carol - Where do you get the £3.20 for shipping from ? - it’s £2.80, or have I missed something ?

BEB - I too have stopped buying stock and trying to just sell stuff and reduce my inventory, and like you, I do it all myself (my dear husband hasn’t got a clue !).

Although I don’t make a lot, it helps to top up state pension and I wouldn’t want to lose it, as I do actually quite enjoy it when it is all running well, and I think our category suffers much less with the fraudulent buyers than in other categories.



I’m not at pensionable age yet though my wife is, she hasn’t a clue about Amazon and would be of no use at all if I broke a leg or worse. I’m happy to get my life and health back and be as stress free as possible.

Amazon should realise that sellers are also customers. I have prime for what it’s worth but perhaps that will be going in the near future. Nothing is forever… Not even Amazon.