Selling Books Online – How to Avoid These Common Mistakes That Many Booksellers Make

Selling books online can be a rewarding business. There are a few major pitfalls in starting a business selling books online. I wanted to share some that I have made in order to help out others and I would love to hear from others about some of the mistakes you have made. Outlined below are some mistakes I have made in the course of starting my online bookselling business:

o Too vague in my book descriptions – call a tear on the dust jacket a “tear” and not something else such as “light wear”.

o Not being careful enough in examining books for underlining/highlighting then listing and selling them as having “clean text”.

o Attach the mailing label to the wrong package – make sure what you print comes out in the right order.

o Losing inventory – I have sold a few books then torn up my office looking for it because god knows where it is. I end up with a refund and a lost book

o Entering an ISBN and for some reason it is recognized as a title different than the book I have. ISBNs are sometimes misprinted on the back of a book or on the copyright page. The mistake here is I don’t catch the mix-up until after I have listed the wrong title and sold it.

o Listing a really heavy book and accidentally allowing expedited shipping or international shipping. You can lose a lot of money shipping really heavy books or have your refund rate increase.

o Not updating the price info on my scanner. I try to do this every week but sometimes I forget and I scan books that seem like winners only to list them and find out their prices have dropped. Prices can drop quickly on books that have great sales ranks.

o Taking feedback to personally. If a customer is not happy with the book it is their privilege to comment. Do not respond to negative feedback when you first read it and are upset. Contact the buyer and try to work it out but be professional. Do not post a response until you contact the buyer directly. Empathize, apologize and offer a refund if you feel their complaint is legitimate. I try to recognize that they are upset and then gently prod them that it is more productive for them to contact you directly rather than post negative feedback. These situations can be uncomfortable so be calm and do not make it personal.

o Not re-pricing my books. Many of my books are high value and high sales rank which means they do not sell frequently but there is a lot of profit. I do not ever get wed to the idea of how much my inventory should sell for. This is a market and prices fluctuate.

o Using cheap, unpadded mailers – I had a stack of cheap unpadded mailers that my wife had left-over from something she did. I thought I could use them for my smaller paperbacks and save money (and make some more profit on the shipping). I had to refund two buyers because the books got damaged in the mail. Don’t get so driven to make a profit that you skimp where you should not.

o Procrastinating – working from home takes discipline. I will find myself sidetracked checking sports scores or the news instead of listing books. There is no money in having books that people want to buy and not selling them. You need to map out your day and stick to it.

Sell Books Online – How to Get Started in One of the Most Profitable Online Businesses

Selling books online can be one of the most profitable home based businesses. If you love books and want to start a home based business then selling books online may be for you. It is not uncommon to have 300% to 500% margins on the books you sell. Starting an online book selling business can be easy if you do it right.

First of all START SLOW. Do not run out and buy books to sell and sign up for all sorts of subscriptions that you may eventually need (though not at the beginning). Start with your own books and sell them on only one marketplace – I recommend Amazon. Learn the ropes of listing your books and fulfilling your orders. While you are doing this do your research on where to source books, mailing supplies and try out the different services available to online booksellers.

Once you get the hang of it then you can slowly ramp up your business and start adding inventory and even use some software to manage it. Once you have inventory and a way to manage it I would then recommend branching out to other markets where you can sell your books such a eBay and Alibris.

Now that you have some book selling basics down it will be time to search out book sources to grow your business. You will also need to learn how to effectively manage the prices of our books and polish your customer service in order to get positive feedback.

There are many helpful guides and forums out there that can help you start and grow your online bookselling business.

Effective Strategies For Selling Books Online

There are a number of individuals who specialize in selling products online. There are many different products that sell rather well. One that is growing in popularity among internet consumers is books. Many people have found that they reap quite a success for themselves by simply taking books and selling them for profit in an online in the virtual market. If you have an avid interest in reading, and various types of literature, you too, can be successful in this type of online business. Here, I will share with you some essential and effective strategies for selling books online.


1. The first thing that you will need to do prior to selling books online is decide which genre you would like to specialize in. Many online entrepreneurs have found that by selling books that are informative, and nonfiction in basis, they are much more successful. You may have a particular interest, such as hypnosis or scrapbooking. It may be appropriate to sell books in this area. If you are aiming for a particular audience, internet marketers are always looking for books to help them maximize their potential in the industry.

2. Once you decide on a particular type of book, it is best to do a little research to conclude what titles are best sellers, as well as what prices the books are going for. There are many popular websites that you can use to determine the information that you need in order to sell your books. These include both Amazon and eBay.

3. Now, it is time to start searching for the books that you want to sell. There are many places that you can find the books that you are searching for. Flea markets are often a great choice. In addition to this, stores that sell used items like thrift stores are also a good choice. Yard sales and similar types of roadside specials are also pretty decent choices.

4. You may want to look into books and software that specialize in revealing the overall worth of a book. This can prove to be a huge advantage when it comes to the competition that is online with others that specialize in selling books in the online community of internet users.

5. Now, you will want to designate an area in the home that can be used to store the products that you will sell. You will want to ensure that the books are organized so that it is easy to find a particular product easily if it is requested.

6. Now, you will want to create an email address and PayPal address that will be used specifically for your new business. This is a very important step when it comes to becoming successful in an online business.

7. Now, find websites where you can market your products. Amazon, Half, and eBay are really good choices. These are among the highest rated websites when it comes to successful book sales.

8. Many individuals start article marketing campaigns where they write on the topic of the book and then provide a resource box that details the link to the item. You may find this to be a very beneficial marketing procedure when it comes to your new business.


As you can see, starting your own internet business can be really easy. This is especially true if you are interested in selling books for a living. The steps mentioned above can help you to be successful all the way around when it comes to your business endeavors.

Why Sell Books on Amazon?

Is there one reason why you’d want to sell books on Amazon? Is it because you want to make some extra, risk-free money, simply to get rid of books laying around your house or you’re just feeling generous and want to give some money to Amazon? Why did you choose Amazon anyway? Did you know there are a few other sites that you can list your books on that are, in fact, cheaper to sell on than Amazon?

Let’s concentrate on the first reason you may want to sell books on Amazon; that being to make money. If this is the case, you’ve made a great decision! Making money selling books on Amazon couldn’t be easier. Books are everywhere and the books that can be profitably be sold on Amazon are prevalent. Go into any thrift store, auction house, library sale, etc and I guarantee that you will find at least one book to make some money off of on Amazon.

The second reason to sell books on Amazon would be to get rid of books around your house that you already own. This is also a great reason! You may not be making a profit because you probably paid full price for these books at one time but you now don’t read them anymore and just want to get a few bucks. Amazon is a great place to sell these books and depending on the popularity of the books, they may sell very fast! You can’t find a book selling site on the Internet that gets more traffic than Amazon and with this traffic comes tons of people of all walks of life looking for a book.

There may be another reason you sell books on Amazon because you simply are not aware of other book selling sites out there. Did you know there are times where you can sell books on other book selling market places for more money than what you could get for on Amazon? Due to the sheer number of books listed on Amazon, this can drive down the price sometimes and you’re better off listing on other book selling sites.

Finally, if you have more money than you know what to do with you just want to give Amazon some more money. I’m obviously being facetious when I say this because Amazon has been increasing in market share of the book selling market and the general merchandise market for an online retailer for awhile now. I think they are doing just fine without you giving them money unless you are a billionaire.

I hope that I gave you some ideas and made you think a little bit as to why you decided to sell books on Amazon.

Adam Bertram is an avid online bookseller that has generated thousands of dollars in selling books online by spending less than 20 hours/week and while still maintaining a full time job. He is dedicated to teaching others this great business opportunity and how to realize the cash potential of your typical used book.

How To Buy And Sell Books For Profit

If you are new to the business of buying and selling books online, or are even just toying with the idea, then here are a few tips to help you get started. In this article I’m going to discuss a number of issues, such as what to look for, what sort of start up costs are involved, some of the places you can potentially find books to resell for profit, and more. I don’t mean small profits of 10%, 25% or 50%, either. I’m talking about 1000% profits, sometimes even more. I’m not kidding. It’s big profits we want, isn’t it? Not chickenfeed.

I don’t really subscribe to the idea of putting books up on Amazon for a penny and earning off the postage. I’ve never been comfortable with the concept of bumping up postage and packaging costs as a way to boost profits, either. I’d rather let the books make the profit, then offer free postage, or send the item first class when the buyer has paid for second. Stuff like that.

I’d rather look for books that have the potential to give me a healthy return, and that can sometimes mean stepping out of my comfort zone and buying books I have never come across before. Sure, I do research. I try to keep abreast of what sells and what doesn’t. But you can’t keep track of everything and it’s virtually impossible to keep all that data in your head. It’s like most skills you spend time on, you develop a nose for what sells and what doesn’t. My partner’s almost made it into an art form!

In the early days, I used to jot things down on bits of paper and that helped to some extent. Initially, you may struggle to make a profit on the stock you have. In which case, I’d work on the 1 pound rule, if at all possible. That is to say, unless you know that a book is definitely going to return a profit, don’t buy it for more than a pound, or a dollar, or whatever currency you deal in. That way you won’t make any huge mistakes. You may miss some real gems, but so be it. Another opportunity will always come along – and it may be next time. Ideally, what you’d like to do is buy for 1 pound or less and sell for 10 pounds or more. That equates to 1000% profits. Once you’ve been in the business a while, and you’ve done some sound market research, you’ll be doing that on a regular basis, believe me.

You can start with minimal costs. Whatever you want to put in. Even £10 or $10 could be enough to buy you 10-20 books, if you know where to look. Target first edition hardbacks, preferably, and be prepared to dig deep to find those hidden treasures. You’d be surprised where the next signed book is lurking, just waiting for you to grab it. Look for non-fiction titles on fishing, Americana, book collecting and autobiographies. In fiction, look for titles by authors such as Stephen King, Agatha Christie, David Gemmell, Conn Iggulden etc. If you don’t think you have a chance of finding any of the stuff I’ve just mentioned – think again! You can. And if you keep on looking, you will.

So where do you look for cheap books you can resell for profit? Perhaps I should start by discussing where NOT to buy books.

don’t buy books from any kind of recognised book shop

Here’s why. They know what a book is worth and because they are in the business they sell at retail prices at least, so your chances of finding a bargain are almost non-existent.

on the whole don’t buy ex-library stock or book club editions

There are exceptions, but they are not within the scope of this article.

So where do you go to buy your stock?

jumble sales
yard sales
car boot sales
auctions that do not specialise in books
house clearances

In fact, any place where the books are likely to be cheap. Why are they likely to be cheap? Because the seller has no idea how much their books are really worth. In many cases they are selling them purely to raise some quick cash. I have found books in boxes on the floor. I have found them piled on top of each other in dusty corners. I’ve even found them propping up tables! I’ve found some of my biggest selling books in places like that.

It’s a win-win-win situation because your supplier earns cash from selling the books to you. You win because you make a profit, and your buyer wins because they get the book they’ve been looking for.

That’s what makes this business such a great one to get involved in. You get to travel around your immediate area and perhaps beyond. You learn which places are worth revisiting and which are not so good and you get to make a nice second income that could even develop into a full time occupation. And as you go along you learn more and more about what specific books sell, what authors to look out for, and those profit streams will become more regular and much stronger than you ever thought possible.

Selling Books From Home For Financial Independence

Selling books from home is a great opportunity because just about everyone loves to read. Every year more and more books are available. No matter what kind of books interest you, the industry is going strong.

There are several ways to sell books from home:

Selling books online
Selling books on Amazon
Selling books to Libraries
Selling books on eBay
Selling used books from your garage, basement or spare room.
Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-Level Marketing
There are several ways to start your book selling business. However, the majority of MLM’s focus on children’s books, so make sure you are comfortable with that before signing up. The first step is to join a book distribution company and sell the books through home parties, to schools and libraries, and book fairs. Another option is to invest in a personalized book company.

Joining a distribution company or Multi Level Marketing company to start your book selling business has start up costs ranging from $200 to over $1000, depending on the company and what you are required to purchase to start. However, this cost does include everything you need to get started including several products to show, all paperwork and may even include a website.

These companies offer your book selling business training and support. Many of these companies truly want the business owners to succeed, because it moves their products. When they offer web sites, you may have to follow their template and they may help you or have already created content that is search engine optimized.

The commission structure can go up to 50% depending on the item you sell. Some offer bonuses and specials to their affiliates, and you are not required to keep a large inventory. You should only have an inventory that is large enough to show the variety of titles and age groups, but not overwhelm your customers. You place the order for the books as the orders come to you. The parent company then ships you the ordered titles and you take them to the hostess or client.

Another way to earn income is to sponsor other people who want to start a book selling business. Every sale they make and every person they sponsor adds to your income. You will help them to become successful as your sponsor helped you.

So with this option you can make money several ways. You can hold home parties and book fairs, or sell to libraries, schools and daycare centers in your area, and you can sponsor others. Plus you can usually get a web site through the parent company or make one of your own if they don’t offer it. This type of book selling business will go as far as you want to take it.

Other Multi-Level Marketing companies specialize in personalized children’s books. Even though publishing has come a long way, some of these companies can have extremely high start up costs.

Many require you to purchase inventory and software. They train you to use the software, but you have to choose how many of each title you will need and hope you are right. Some even require that you purchase a minimum number of each title, which can cause start up costs to run into the thousands and leave you with unused inventory.

But kids and parents love these books. Parents are always ready to buy a personalized book for their child to make them feel special. So, although you may incur steep start up costs for your book selling business, you should see a profit within the year of business if you work hard.

Some of these MLM’s are getting away from required inventory and cutting the start up costs by allowing you to purchase a set of CDs so you can print the books digitally. The books stay on your computer and you print them off as needed. The parent company may require your home book business to purchase the paper and binding material from them to ensure the quality of the books remain constant, but this is still cheaper and less bulky then ordering inventory.

You can print a bunch out as samples and have home parties. Many of these companies offer web sites in their packages. Even if they don’t, web sites are essential and minimal in cost and many providers have generic templates to help you set up your web site. Personalized book companies give a suggested retail price, you are always able to change it as you feel is appropriate.

A book selling business is a great way to meet people of all ages and share your love for books with them. It can be worked as a full or part time career, depending on how much and how fast you want your business to grow.

Focusing on the Fundamentals of Selling Books on Amazon

I learned the hard way that the fundamentals of selling books on Amazon is the most important lesson that you can learn. When I first started, I winged it. I would haphazardly list books that I had around the house, textbooks that friends would give me and just about any other kind of book you can think of. I even listed some for a penny and lost my shirt on some books!

This is simply the way that I personally like to learn. I will gladly lose a little money up front and chalk it up to training if it will teach me something but you don’t have to. I’m going to explain 5 principle fundamentals that I eventually came to see after a few months of flailing around not knowing which direction to go when selling books on Amazon.

Learn what sells

Research the Amazon Sales Rank to determine what’s popular.
Research Amazon trending sites to see what the history of a book’s sales look like.

Learn what NOT to sell

Research what kind of books are going for a penny.
Notice books that have no image thus usually not too popular.
Notice the kind of books that have a very high (1,000,000+) sales rank.

Price Competitively

Notice other sellers’ prices, price your book in the same ballpark.
Look at feedback ratings of other sellers and think how a customer would perceive that in regards to price.
Determine a fair market price taking into consideration price, feedback and condition.

Describe your books well

Offer full descriptions of every flaw that your book has.
Point out unique characteristics of the book that a customer would like to see.
Do you offer other services such as same day shipping? Put that in your description. Point out everything about this book that you’re doing that your competition is not.

Ship Books Securely

Offer great care when shipping books.
Keep in mind that this book will be going through sorting machines and will be tossed around.
Don’t skimp on mailers or boxes. Rigidity is good!

Ship promptly

This is a very important fundamental. Your customers will love to get a book sooner than expected.
Develop a schedule for picking, packing and shipping your books.
Setup USPS pickups at your house so you don’t have to wait in line at the post office.
If you’re mailing out a dozen or more books, upgrade 1 package to Priority Mail to let you schedule a pick up at your house and to also surprise a customer. Try to choose the higher priced books.

This concludes the basic fundamentals of selling books on Amazon’s marketplace. There are literally hundreds of other tips and tricks that you can abide by when being a successful online bookseller selling books on Amazon, but I hope that these tips provided a base for future successful sales.

Adam Bertram is an avid online bookseller that has generated thousands of dollars in selling books online by spending less than 20 hours/week and while still maintaining a full time job. He is dedicated to teaching others this great business opportunity and how to realize the cash potential of your typical used book.

How to Sell Books on a Tight Budget

As a small publisher you don’t have the funds that major publishing companies have for advertising and promotions. So you have to learn how to sell books on a tight budget. Here are a few ideas that could help you sell more books with just a small investment.

Pay Per Click Advertising
Banner ads are costly and don’t usually work well for small book advertisers. If you are going to advertise online, try reputable pay per click advertising services like Google AdWords or Yahoo! Search Marketing. You can target your ads specifically for people who are searching for your type of book. You decide how much you want to spend on a daily basis. So when you are considering various online ideas for how to sell books, put this on your list. This is a cost-effective strategy for bringing targeted leads to your website or Amazon page.

Book Ads on Reviewer Websites to Sell More Books
Here’s a simple idea for how to sell books on a tight budget. Find a top ranking book review site or a website that is frequented by readers of your genre and pay to post your front cover on the site. These sites are where book fanatics hang out. For instance, if you write vampire novels, do a search for “vampire novel reviewers” on Google to find sites related to your book. Then contact the company to ask how much it would cost to post your cover on the site for a few weeks. These sites are usually very popular and sell affordable advertising space to small publishers.

Bookmarks are a useful, inexpensive way to sell more books. Have 5,000 or more high quality bookmarks designed and printed that advertise your book (book cover, headline, synopsis, review snippets, website address). Give these bookmarks away anytime you go to a book fair, signing, or other related event.

Leave a short stack of bookmarks in your local bookstores, libraries, college student activity centers, and on designated tables in coffee shops (where people sometimes like to read). Go wherever you know book lovers are likely to be. This will help you sell more books because readers love and hold onto bookmarks. A reader just might give your book a try after seeing your cover and title time and time again while reading his current book.

I will be back with more ideas for how to sell books when you’re on a tight budget soon-so stay tuned.

Penelope Thompson is the author of a helpful, handy new little eBook entitled “How to Sell Thousands of Your Self-Published Book: A Solid Marketing Plan for Selling Thousands of Books This Year.”

How to Begin to Sell Books Online

Operating a business from home to sell books online is extremely lucrative. Better yet you may actually really enjoy it especially if you are a book lover and like working from home. Wow – you can make money, work from home and and enjoy it – all that you need to do is to learn how to begin to sell books online. You can make 3 to 5 times (on the low side) what you buy the books for when you sell them. With the proper starting point, selling books online doesn’t have to be hard.

Take your time when you get started. Don’t just go out and buy and list the first books you see, or subscribing to services that you might not need right away – this will set you up for a discouraging start to selling books online. When you start, just use Amazon or another online marketplace to sell your own books. This way, you can figure out how the whole process works. You can also learn more about places to get books from, efficient ways to ship them out, and locating the best services you can use.

Take it slow, and once you feel more confident you can start gaining momentum and start organizing your business with effective software.Learn how to list and price your inventory accurately and reasonably. You can even start expanding your business to include multiple markets, such as eBay, so that you can get more inventory out there for people to buy from.

Once you have the hang of it then you’re ready is to source books that you can sell via your online business. Then as your inventory and business grows your biggest priorities should be to get good word of mouth through positive feedback,

You’ll have plenty of help in the form of beneficial books and online forums (check out Amazon’s) full of other people who sell books online. Though online booksellers are a competitive lot (don’t ask where they get their books from) they are also incredibly helpful and supportive.

Selling Books on Multiple Market Places

Does anyone list books on Amazon, Alibris or Abebooks? How are your sales? I’m sure with this economy we are in they are a little slower than usual. Would you like to have the potential to increase your sales, gain some additional exposure for your listings, gain visibility for your brand and get some much needed additional traffic to your own website? You need to try selling books on multiple marketplaces.

What is it and how can I do it?

There are essentially two ways to sell your books on multiple marketplaces at the same time. You can choose the route where you essentially list all of your items on each marketplace separately and manage your orders and inventory changes on a per marketplace basis. This might be OK if you have a few dozen books listed but this might get pretty hairy very quickly even if you had a few hundred books. Can you imagine selling just a few books a day, going to each marketplace separately, deleting all the books that sold on all the other marketplaces, logging into different websites fulfilling orders and keeping everything in sync? It would be a nightmare! This is where services that are designed to help you sell on multiple marketplaces come in.

A service that helps you sell on multiple marketplaces is typically a web application that is separated into two different pieces.

1. Inventory Management – Any multiple marketplace service will keep your inventory in sync with all of your other listings on other sites. If a book sells on marketplace A, the service will detect this, add to the order management module and then notify all the other marketplaces that your book has sold and to decrement the quantity by 1. This automatically happens in the background and requires no intervention.

2. Order Management – This piece of the service will bring all of your orders into one place for an integrated drop box of your orders. It will utilize the bulk upload/download functionality of whatever marketplace you are using to download the orders and will dump them all into one spot. Depending on the service, it may also offer postage integration, a SKU inventory system and search functionality to easily find the location of the book.

There are many other features that a service could provide but in it’s simplest form, this is what has to happen for this service to operate.

Benefits of using such a service

Exposure is probably the number one benefit of listing on more than one marketplace at once. Do you think that everyone on the Internet only shops at Amazon or only shops on Alibris for their books? If so, there would not be multiple marketplace services popping up. It’s all about market supply and demand. The more eyeballs that are on your listings, the more books you will sell. Just the simple fact that your listings will be getting more traffic will make you more sales.

The second benefit to listing on multiple marketplaces is market price. Simply listing a book for a buck on Amazon because that is what they are going for does not mean you are meeting market price. What if that same book is going for $10 on Abebooks? You’re leaving money on the table if you make the sale on Amazon for a dollar. Good multiple marketplace services will provide the service to you that will price according to the marketplace in which you are listing so that you can achieve the most profit possible.

The third and last benefit of listing on multiple marketplaces is brand exposure and traffic generation. Typically, you can add a link into a listing or put up a store such as an eBay store and provide a link back to your own website. Getting your name out on the Internet more is always a good thing and listing it along side of all of your products will only get you additional exposure for your brand and generate increased traffic to your website.


There are, of course, some downsides to listing on multiple marketplaces even if you subscribe to a service to automate this for you. There will always be the upkeep, maintenance and learning curve of a new product and process. It can also sometimes get cumbersome when setting up rules for various marketplaces, learning what inventory items are accepted on each marketplaces, minimum prices, etc.

Once you get the hang of selling on multiple marketplaces and signing up for a multiple marketplace service, you will begin to see the real potential that the Internet has to offer!

Adam Bertram is an avid online bookseller that has generated over $20,000 in less than a year in selling books online by spending less than 20 hours/week and while still maintaining a full time job. He is dedicated to teaching others this great business opportunity and how to realize the cash potential of your typical used book.