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how can you make a profit selling books on amazon?

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Initial post: 9 Jul 2009 00:07:07 BDT
Grindon says:
ive decided to have a clearout of all my books/dvds/cds. so im trying to sell them either on this site or ebay. but this is what i cannot understand, or even fathom. if a book goes for 1p how can you make any money. considering amazon take a huge cut and the price of postage. it seems i'll be way out of pocket. is it a waste of time and just stop?

Posted on 9 Jul 2009 00:20:28 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jul 2009 16:39:36 BDT
LEP says:
Well I've been selling books on Amazon Marketplace for several years now. The vast majority of my books, those which I order new that is, I've read once and sell and they are near perfect in condition. I certainly haven't made a profit from any of them. For a start other sellers bid you down in price and if you don't comply, then your books don't sell. The only way you may make a small profit is if the postage doesn't cost as much as you make on it from Amazon. However, the postage rates have increased twice now and Amazon haven't altered the rates.

So why do I sell them via Amazon, you might ask? To be honest, I don't think that there is any profit to be made in second hand books any way. If they are second hand then people expect them to be 20p or something similar and are unwilling to pay much for them. This applies to car boot sales or anywhere else. At least I get a bit of money for them this way. Otherwise, it means donating them for nothing to a local library or charity shop.

I've stopped bothering with those that register as only 1p - I'd rather give them to the library.

Posted on 13 Jul 2009 17:39:51 BDT
J.Yasimoto says:
Ebay is your best bet. Although if you're looking to make big money - forget it. If a seller (on Ebay or Amazon) has priced a book at 1p, then the profit comes from the postage markup.

If you go with Ebay, start the bidding at the minimum you would accept. And be prepared to have a lot unsold. The only auctions that make more than a few pence profit are recently released items. This applies equally to books, dvds and cds.

And don't forget how much time you will spend listing everything. Your best option might be to take everything down the charity shop!...

Posted on 13 Jul 2009 18:21:55 BDT
henzerani says:
You can't really make a profit unless you are a Power Seller (they pay a fixed monthly fee instead of the commission rate) but they have to sell a lot of books to make it work.

I don't bother with 1p books. I sell reasonably new books that I've bought on Marketplace, read and resold fairly rapidly. or books that have a bit of value - like my text books when I was at Uni.

I read a lot and see it as a way of reducing my costs. If you buy books new in real shops they're expensive. If you buy them on Marketplace and resell a few of them it keeps the price down and lets you try new authors and buy your favorites new.

If you're having a clear out check what it'll cost to post (those big coffee table books can cost as much as £4.50 but mostly they're between £1.40 and £1.80) and compare that to what you can get and only sell the ones you'll make money on. Give the rest to charity. If you've got CDs or DVDs they can be a better bet cost they're cheep to post.

Then weigh everything up against the hassle of multiple journeys to the post office and the time/cost spent wrapping them and putting addresses on them and what happens if they don't arrive (you'll be using Royal Mail after all).

Posted on 13 Jul 2009 18:45:01 BDT
Elaine says:
Have you looked at ?
It is worth listing your unwanted paperbacks as you get another (of your choice) in return - that's as good as a profit!

Posted on 13 Jul 2009 20:54:53 BDT
Paul Tapner says:
I notice some rare and out of print books [and dvds] that have very high prices being asked for them. frankly I wonder how any of them ever sell. last week I put one old tv tie in book on the marketplace, and when it came to setting a price I noticed the other three copies on offer were priced at £75.00 £95.00 and £119.00 respectively. So I put mine at £5.00. with the cost of a jiffy bag for posting it and three first class stamps that would still be a slight profit.

It sold within 45 minutes.

I'm sure there's a moral in that story somewhere

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jul 2009 21:13:22 BDT
LEP says:
The moral probably is that yours was priced way too low and the other 3 too high. Somewhere in the middle would have made you a nice profit I expect.

Posted on 13 Jul 2009 21:15:56 BDT
I sell some books (not on amazon) but hardly ever make an outstanding profit (maybe 50p). However, I then use this to buy books with so it makes me feel less guilty, as I've sold a book to buy one.
And, by the way, in my experience an average sized paperback costs £1.85 to post. If you do decide to sell, get a pricing guide from your local post office-invaluable x

Posted on 13 Jul 2009 21:50:04 BDT
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Posted on 13 Jul 2009 22:08:07 BDT
Fiction Fan says:
Most of the comments made echo my own experience of selling on amazon and ebay; it's only worth selling something where the "market price" (ie what other people are selling it at) makes it worth your while to sell. For me this is at least £5 - because otherwise it's not worth the time and effort. However, if you've got a book/CD/DVD that's out of print or discontinued you should aim to sell it for as much as you can get - as LEP said, there's no point in massively undercutting the market price any more than there is asking for silly money if you want to sell.
I wouldn't bother listing a book where there are loads of copies for 1p each. Also, although it may take longer to sell on amazon than ebay, you don't incur any charges unless the item sells on amazon.

Posted on 14 Jul 2009 09:33:01 BDT
Ano says:
I don't think you can make a profit on selling second hand books. Hopefully it's still possible with new books...
Leigh Russell
(Author - Cut Short)

Posted on 14 Jul 2009 09:46:02 BDT
Treefingers says:
bookmooch dot com is another good way to get new books relatively cheaply. you get points for sending your book to someone, and these points can then be used to 'mooch' a book from someone else. there is no money involved - just costs you the postage in sending your books to other people...

Posted on 14 Jul 2009 11:39:29 BDT
I had a second hand book shop in north wales uk, for 8 years- when the rates went up i was forced to close- i sold the majority of bread and butter stock as a job lot and kept the cream to sell on the internet.

I had been dabbling on ebay for years- and made a good proffit in the early days, then I noticed every man and his dog were selling on ebay- and my books weren't selling as often or for as much as i used to get for them- plus listing them every week and paying a fee for the privilege left a bad taste in my mouth.

Ive been listing on amazon for a few months now and I have a stock of about 300 with over a 1000 still to list- as all my books are bought and paid for - they stand me nothing- so if I sell £30 worth one week or £100 its all profit.

However some weeks are good and others you can go for about a month with no sales- its hit or miss

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jul 2009 14:40:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jul 2009 14:57:07 BDT
LEP says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jul 2009 15:42:32 BDT
LEP says:
Just looked on Bookmooch - very good site, thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jul 2009 18:09:28 BDT
LEP says:
As FictionFan says, one trick is to look to see how many new and second-hand copies of the one you want to sell are available. If the answer is a lot then don't bother to sell. Don't try and undercut people, you'll just drive the price down as the other sellers will lower their price and on it will go.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jul 2009 20:24:02 BDT
M. Woolley says:
Yes I agree. I work in a charity book shop and they do a lot of good to the comunity so keep them coming...

Posted on 15 Jul 2009 22:39:08 BDT
I read books for a book review site (so I get them free) and sell the ones I don't want to keep. As they are newly published, I usually make a reasonable profit on them. However, we are only talking about £5-10 a week on average! If the books are listed very cheaply, and I don't want to keep them, I give them to a charity shop.

How the power sellers make a profit on selling books for 1p I have NO idea.

Posted on 16 Jul 2009 20:58:06 BDT
Jen Errik says:
There's also - you buy any book they have listed for £3.75 and sell any book for £3. (You can add more for postage if it's hardback, or unusually heavy.) I registered, but never did anything more about it - don't think I'm organised enough to get back and forth to the post office all the time.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2009 01:21:24 BDT
R. Marshall says:
I'm absolutely not connected to the enterprise, or trying to promote it, but a certain Sharon Fussell has designed an interesting ebook showing people how to make money from selling books on Amazon. I sent off for it a while ago, although I haven't got around to putting it into action. Some people have made a modest income from it.

One thing she said in one of her newsletters was that if you are selling books for only 1p then basically you have to make a profit on the p+p. So you have to source your 2nd hand blockbuster novels from somewhere really cheap. But mostly she gets hold of rarer books, where the profit margin is greater.

Posted on 18 Jul 2009 12:26:59 BDT
Saara 12 says:
I use greenmetropolis quite a bit. You probably make about £1.20 profit on the book but unfortunately you have to be patient - which means storing books for some thing. As i do this as a hobby it makes some money and once its on the site you dont have to do anymore until your book sells

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Sep 2009 12:45:31 BDT
F. Daniels says:
Have a look at I've had success with it even on shockingly old books plus a donation is given by them to the woodland trust.

Posted on 19 Sep 2009 20:39:22 BDT
M. Hannan says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 15 Oct 2009 12:06:05 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 15 Oct 2009 13:50:09 BDT
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  68
Total posts:  103
Initial post:  9 Jul 2009
Latest post:  4 Jan 2015

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