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how can you make a profit selling books on amazon?

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Showing 51-75 of 103 posts in this discussion
Posted on 16 Nov 2011 12:41:35 GMT
Jayne says:
I have just received a large batch of Richard Laymon books, and I only need a few for my collection. The rest I (stupidly) thought I could sell for a small price. I have been looking up some of the current selling prices for a few of the books I have, and if I sold a large, hardback book (and of course if it's not 1p it won't sell) I would get £2.81 less Amazon fees. If I then add the cost of the postage it would probably cost me to sell it! I don't get it to be honest. If you send orders 2nd class no doubt you risk customers complaining about slow delivery! Ebay is no better either. I have decided to list them on Freecycle. I would rather give them away then go through all this palaver for nothing and if I don't get rid somehow I will be stuck with a huge bag of books I don't want! (I never asked for them!) Well, if I can't even give them away they can go in the recycle bin. Seems a shame, but I am not lugging them a mile down the road to the charity shop, and I can't drive. This selling system seems pretty bad. I have just listed a few games and I have a feeling that because I am not prepared to sell them for 5p or whatever, I may as well bin them! I once tried to part-ex a PS3 game at Game and they offered me 50p, and it cost me £15 just a few months earlier! I guess it's a buyers market when it comes to second hand books and games. I do have something else I wanted to sell but unfortunately it's illegal to sell it in this country even though you can buy it in this county providing it's shipped from outside the UK..........crazy mad rules!

Posted on 16 Nov 2011 15:53:42 GMT
Maria says:
I take my books to a charity I support if family & friends don't want them. Others take theirs to the charity shop & some charities will collect if you ring the local shop. I think that depends on the shop having the volunteer driver available but it does mean that you don't have to carry them yourself. Most second hand bookshops are closed since so many charity shops sell them cheaply now. There are some that are too fussy & our library became the same. (These were new books I may add). If all else fails I got a book about making craft items from disused books! Then there is the recycling bin. But selling- I can't see that it is amoney maker.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Nov 2011 16:14:13 GMT
Jayne says:
If you like trading on Amazon and Ebay for fun, not profit then I guess it's fine, and if an individual thinks its fun to spend what seems like an eternity queuing in post offices only to find out the postage is even more than they thought it would be and their 12p profit is now 4p, then the the system is fine. For the rest of us who always seem to lose out (i.e.we pay a lot for something then when we try and sell it on in still new condition it's suddenly worth 1p) we might as well just chuck our unwanted stuff in the bin - especially if you are (like me) cynical and are fed up giving things away to fussy charities who look at your stuff like it's contagious, it's almost satisfying to throw things out.

I recently gave a pile of stuff away to a children's ward which was one of the better ways I have gotten rid of unwanted stuff. Mind you, there were things that I gave away that were still new and sealed, but I knew I would be lucky to get even rotten old peanuts for them. I have also noticed that when I placed my item for sale (here) and priced matched the cheapest, they suddenly dropped their price by 1p! Petty or what? I guess they have some kind of tracking system. I have a tracking system too though. It's called the 'check your account, get mad and flip the computer the cyber-bird' system.

Posted on 16 Nov 2011 16:42:34 GMT
There was an article on BBC news this morning about charity shops. Apparently new taxes are going to be put in place to stop them selling books so cheaply as it is having a huge impact on highstreet bookshops.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Nov 2011 20:15:07 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 17 Dec 2011 22:21:33 GMT]

Posted on 13 Dec 2011 10:27:41 GMT
D. Reed says:
I'm in my mid-twenties and have recently made my my first tentative steps into the World of selling books online. It is very early doors, but I've bought a few books from Charity shops and Second Hand book shops specifically because I think I could make a profit on them. I'm ignoring fiction entirely, as unless they are a limited or first edition there doesn't appear to be a hope of making a profit. I'm sticking to areas I have some knowledge in, such as volumes of academic journals, literary criticism, local history and other scarce, specialist or niche titles. It's been sobering at times to see well-presented , good quality hardbacks going for a few pounds second-hand, only to check online and see that you can pick them up for 10p. I've listed three on Ebay and whilst two didn't sell, I made around £5 profit on the one that did go. From now on I will be using Amazon to check the availablity of titles before I think about buying. If there's more than 10 copies available used at meagre prices, then there simply isn't much point. I'll experiment a little more with Ebay and consider listing titles on Amazon too. That one of my purchases did sell for profit first time round is greatly encouraging.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Dec 2011 10:49:45 GMT
Jayne says:
Good luck with the buying and selling. If you have a talent for spotting rare books, I think there is a profit to be made if you are patient. As soon as something becomes rare or difficult to get, the online prices go up. I recently sold some unwanted games and I sold the first three for peanuts, as there were cheaper ones on at the time but the last game I sold I put on a better price (still cheap of course) and a good, detailed description. It wasn't the cheapest copy available and it took a few weeks to sell, but it did in the end. I found that a good ad that covers all the points a buyer might want to know is more likely to sell that an add with not enough information. I made a tiny bit of money but I was shocked at the huge chunk Amazon took and it nowhere near covered the original costs of course but I never expected to make much - I just wanted to get rid of some unwanted, unplayed games.

Amazon also count the postage as part of your 'earnings' which is a bit unfair as they also take a cut out of it even though you make nothing. It cost me £1.09 to send the games, plus the packaging and ink and paper and jiffy bags are not free, so no profit was made on the postage. I came to the conclusion that the peanuts I got for my second hand games (some of which were fairly recent PS3 games) was not worth the trip to the post office. I gave the rest I had away on Freecycle and it felt good to just give something to somebody without wanting anything for it.

from now on I will probably give the majority of my unwanted books and games away. I had a massive bag of Richard Laymon books which somebody dumped on me (and I had them already anyway) and if I were to attempt to sell them on here, I would have to list them at 1p each and it's just not worth the effort (I don't know how or why sellers bother listing things for one penny). Instead I put them on Freecycle and within minutes I had dozens of email requests for them. It's amazing how people want stuff when it's totally free! In the end I gave them to a polite friendly man who wanted to surprise his mother with a bag full of books he knew she would enjoy, and I also said how it would be nice to relist them on on freecycle when she has read them for others to enjoy and he said he certainly would.

When second hand copies of books sell for almost nothing it must cut into new book sales. I wonder sometimes how the majority of authors get by unless they are super famous like Stephanie Meyer, Stephen King or JK Rowling. They only get paid on new sales so they must hate the second hand book market! I guess the world is flooded with too many books. It amazes me how authors seem to churn out novels and I have tried writing and it's really hard to write a good, believable story. I often wonder where they get their ideas from.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Dec 2011 14:44:26 GMT
Maria says:
It does seem that trying to make any money from selling books/toys games etc. is a waste of time. I find giving easier & quicker, although there are a couple of charities that have such a snooty attitude that I won't even consider them.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jan 2012 09:36:18 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Jan 2012 11:11:09 GMT
this is the best post in the forum. I haven't read the Sharon Fussell report, but can deduce that she does her homework first, that when she buys a book, she knows it can be listed at a profit.

One book I own is listed on Amazon for over £200, recently found a train book for 50p, on Amazon listed for £15. The thought that this one sale (providing the book sold) would result in about £10 profit, against the number of 1p books to achieve this doesn't bear thinking about

I am replying to LP Barrets post page 2 of this thread Forget the 1p brigade with over 100 trying to sell the same title

Posted on 2 Jan 2012 14:23:42 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Jan 2012 09:45:22 GMT
Is He Busy says:
I stopped selling my books on Amazon when I (finally!) realised that Amazon were making MORE money out of my books that I was!

I've gone back to ebay: I have seen a massive jump in income these past six to eight months compared to the income I had when Amazon were ripping me off.

If you want to EARN from selling, eBay is your best bet. If you want to boost Amazon's profits by all means sell here. They'll take every damn penny they can off you!!

Posted on 9 Feb 2012 21:18:14 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 9 Feb 2012 21:19:37 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Mar 2012 10:56:25 BDT
.O. says:
they are not overtstaing postage costs, amazon is.

Posted on 18 Apr 2012 23:54:42 BDT
I have a large number of technical books that I have recently put on Amazon. The first one I sold gave me a profit of 15 pence and so to my mind was a waste of time. But, then I sat down and thought about it - about the person who bought it didnt have to pay the new price (so they were happy) and it did save yet another tree from being cut down to make it. So I guess everyone was a winner.
However it didnt stop me going back and putting a minimum price on all the books of 10 pounds to cover all my costs and give me a small profit.

Posted on 24 Apr 2012 10:19:13 BDT
I have lots of relatively new Chemistry text books to sell, mostly hardbacks, there is no way I can post them for £2.80. The cheapest postage from RM website is £4.50. I cannot understand how people can sell them for 1p. I think I will go back to ebay. I started thinking about selling here, because it is much faster to set up than entering all the details and photo's onto ebay but if I sell here I will making a huge loss - around £3.00 a book unless I stick the cost of postage onto the book price, but why would anyone want to pay £4.50 + £2.80 postage when they can buy it for £2.81? Amazon really need to allow the seller to dictate the postage costs.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Apr 2012 11:16:31 BDT
L.P.Barrett says:
If you can't sell your books elsewhere, its woth putting your book on Amazon at a sensible price that will make you a reasonable return after paying extra for the postage. The best thing to do with the people selling books for a penny is to ignore them. They are people with a lot of books who are using software that continually drops the price untill they are the lowest. I think that in the long run that business model will turn out to be rubbish and they will hopefully go bust, even allowing for the fact that they have special bulk mailing deals and actually make money on most postage. A lot of people refuse to buy from them on principle, also there may be a lot of demand for a particular book, and , although theirs will probably sell first, they may well only have one or two copies, once theirs is sold you come into the frame.
Having said that, I am a book dealer and simply do not bother with the more common books, the only way I have found to make sensible money selling on line is to stick to hard to get items that sell for decent money. The only problem with that is-they are hard to get items.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Apr 2012 11:36:54 BDT
L.P.Barrett says:
If you are only a casual seller, like me, you get no inventory tools at all. When you get an order there is nothing to help remind you where you put it. I have to search through a dozen boxes every time I get an order, I dare not really increase the size of my Amazon stock, unless I can find the time and space to work out a proper filling system.
What I am saying is, unless the seller recieved 2 orders at once, they might have simply been unable to find it. I have been pretty frantic myself a couple of time, once somthing was in a wrong box and it took hours to find.

Posted on 25 Apr 2012 15:42:23 BDT
Dogmatix says:
The thing that people need to consider here is that it is definitely a buyers market, whether we're talking about Amazon Market Place or Ebay, every prospective buyer is looking for a bargain, they will add the asking price for the item and the postage price together and compare that to the price that is being asked for a new one on the high street or even Amazon itself with free postage. the problem with selling on Ebay, especially something that is pretty heavy like a hard cover book is that unless everything is very reasonable in price, and postage especially, it will not sell during it's allotted time slot which means either withdrawing it or relisting, all of which costs in the end.
At least on Amazon M.P. you only have to list an item once, and during the listing process you are told the current lowest price being asked for that item, then you can decide to either match that price or ask the price you consider more realistic, so whether you continue, or not, is entirely up to you.
When I sell my books etc. I'm not out to make profit, I sell because I need the room in my bookshelves, obviously I don't want to make a loss, but this can be avoided with sensible selling, but anyone hoping to make a huge profit, forget it!

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jul 2012 17:44:00 BDT
poplarman says:
Do Amazon read these posts?

The cheapest delivery cost I can find locally is £3.30 - how come Amazon charge the customer only £2.80.

Obviously they're happy with their commission, but to gain seller approval they need to increase this charge to a reasonable rate!

Posted on 27 Jul 2012 19:28:59 BDT
Catherine says:
I work in a charity shop and a lot of our income comes from second hand books. for goodness sake, if you cannot make a profit, why not help a charity and donate them?

Posted on 27 Jul 2012 19:36:55 BDT
poplarman says:
I choose which charities I support very carefully thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jul 2012 11:40:41 BDT
Rhona says:
Better still why donate to a second hand bookstall..Keep Books on the high Street!!

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2012 15:04:48 BDT
Nigel says:
I purchased this book, followed exactly what she teaches, and I actually went to a Salvation Army rummage sale one thursday morning, bought a hardback book on Seaweed for 50p and when I listed it on Amazon, I sold it for £86.00, it sold within 3 days of me listing this book, so yes, Amazon book selling can be very profitable...

Posted on 28 Sep 2012 20:57:13 BDT
L.P.Barrett says:
It is pretty much a waste of time selling most modern books, especially fiction, on the internet. Usually the only exceptions are first editions of a first book by an author who then becomes successful. Print runs for unknown authors are generally pretty small, hence they are rare, once someone has a best seller, the print runs go up and the books become very common.
Thats the problem with selling rare books. They are rare, and they hardly ever come your way.
One of the big problems with giving to charity shops, at least in the uk,is their 'shiny books' policy. it has to look virtually new, or it gets pulped.They would rather display four copies of an unread and unreadable book than a slightly tatty copy of something that has obviously been read and enjoyed before.
Now I take my spares down to one of the local DIY shops that has a table for books and a bucket for donations. All the books are accepted and they all go.

Posted on 8 Oct 2012 17:10:31 BDT
I recycle books by donating them around my office, local church collections (I'm an atheist, but hey, I'm happy to help out anything that engenders a love of literature) and at our annual Village Fair. Charity shops are shooting themselves in the foot a bit. People don't like the idea of their donations being pulped, people don't like the idea of charity shops being picky about what they'll accept (rightly or wrongly, we tend to feel they should be grateful for what we choose to give them), and the way they've jacked up the prices in recent years deters people from shopping in them at all.

Posted on 7 Jan 2013 18:18:35 GMT
Having read all the comments on this post, it would seem that we are are all in agreement on the following:-

1. We seek to recycle / upcycle or freecycle the books we no longer have use for rather than throwing them away or storing them up in the attack

2. Amazon makes it virtually impossible to even break even and cover the postage on a book due to their charging system which eats into the postage.

I therefore wondered whether anyone had made an effort to express this concern with Amazon. Granted one or two people making a complaint or even offering the feedback won't change the state of play but what if all the book sellers like you and me were to email Amazon and express to them the kind of comments we made above - I believe it is possible to make a difference. Sometimes, all we need to make things happen is to take action. Even if it is something small, it can gather momentum.

So to take my own advice, I will personally send my email to Amazon with a link to this post asking them to reconsider their charging in the interests of the environment and their sellers who, let's face it, add a considerable input into meeting the demands of their buying public especially when it comes to the second hand books market. Here goes to making a change.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
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Initial post:  9 Jul 2009
Latest post:  4 Jan 2015

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