Amazon got its start selling books and has kept up a strong market in it. Depending on how you approach it, it can be either very tough or a handy niche to break into. But because we’re FeedbackExpress, we’re going to show you how to bypass the former and head straight to the latter so you can rock selling books on Amazon.
Setting Up to Sell Books on Amazon
If you’re going to make a go of it, there are a few things you need first:
- Register for an account on Seller Central (either individual or professional).
- Download the Amazon Seller App.
- Decide if you’re going to go the FBA or FBM route. FBA is just about hassle-free but you pay for the simplicity, while FBM can be more affordable but you have to handle everything yourself.
- Figure out the kind of books you want to sell (i.e. books listed by a publisher; books listed by an online store; secondhand books listed by Amazon members; or self-published books listed by the author). It might be worth it to start in one or two categories, build up momentum, and then expand.
- A barcode scanner if you’re planning on selling a large volume of books. But like choosing a book category in which to sell, a barcode scanner can wait a bit until you’ve built a foundation to grow on.
- Tools like camelcamelcamel, a keyword researcher, an Amazon repricer, and profit margin calculator.
How to Source Books
The next crucial step is figuring out which books to list and this is where you’ll need to learn a bit about how Best-Seller Rankings (BSR) work.
BSR is updated hourly to give you a report on a product’s selling health, with the smaller the number, the more popular it is. For example, if a book has a BSR of 30,000 or so, you could probably expect to sell it — at a competitive price — in about a day. But if its BSR is around 2,500,000, then it would probably take you about two months to move it. And since books can be a pretty competitive category, your best bet would be to stay in the low six figures. No matter where you look for books (e.g. online, your own collection, brick-and-mortar stores, yard sales, etc.), always look up their BSR.
Another factor to look at is print versus ebook.
Print books tend to have a higher initial price because of purchase and fulfilment costs, but they do have more selling options, especially if dealing with rare or unusual books.
Ebooks, on the other hand, can be incredibly cheap to purchase and sell but can be vulnerable to more competition and lower profits.
Lastly, you’ll want to take the book’s condition into consideration (print books only). Amazon has six classifications for condition:
- New: These are brand-new, unread books and typically have the dust cover and protective packaging on them.
- Used – Like New: Used books that have no signs of wear and tear.
- Used – Very Good: Minimal nicks or signs of usage, but no notes or highlighting inside.
- Used – Good: Pages and cover must be intact, but the spine can have signs of wear and notes/highlighted inside are allowed.
- Used – Acceptable: Text must be shown and readable and pages and cover must be intact, but the dust cover can be missing.
- Used – Unacceptable: Missing pages and text that’s obscured or unreadable
How to Fulfill Orders
Finally, you’ll have to make a decision as to whether you fulfil orders yourself or get Amazon to do it. Each has their own pros and cons.
Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM)
- No fulfilment fees paid to Amazon.
- You’re in charge of which shipping company to use (i.e. you can shop around for prices).
- You can personalise the packaging to set yourself apart.
- You don’t have to pay storage fees or worry about picking mistakes at the distribution centre.
- You may have to price your books lower to compete for a Buy Box.
- You have to be super disciplined about fulfilling orders on time.
- You’re in charge of delivery times and customer support.
Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA)
- Products can be Prime-eligible, opening you up to more buyers.
- It’s easier to compete for a Buy Box.
- No worries about customer support or guaranteed delivery times.
- More time for you to focus on growing your business.
- Extra fees, including fulfilment fees, storage fees, long-term storage fees, and more.
- Limited control over the quality and accuracy of your product.
- Can be costly at first when you don’t have a fast/high turnover.
Selling books can be a great way to break into the Amazon marketplace, or expand your current business if you’re already selling. To make sure you’re leveraging every single sale into future ones, it’s important to use FeedbackExpress to manage your reviews. To learn what you’ve been missing out on, sign up now and enjoy a 30-day free trial.