How to sell books on Amazon and make money!

How to actually sell your books on amazon and make some money!...I just recently did some spring cleaning and decided to unload a bunch of old books. Whenever I am getting rid of books I take a couple steps... See how much the book is selling for I look the book up on using the ISBN number to see how much used copies are going for...I just recently did some spring cleaning and decided to unload a bunch of old books to make a few bucks.

Whenever I am getting rid of books, I take a couple steps…

See how much the book is selling for

I look the book up on using the ISBN number to see how much used copies are going for…

how to sell books on amazon.png

As you can tell, the cheapest used copies are selling for $4.07. As I will explain below, you probably shouldn’t sell anything for less than a few bucks. You will find that some people sell books for as cheap as a penny. I am not sure why, but it definitely happens.

If the lowest used price is worth my time, I then go to my Amazon seller account homepage (you can open an account here). Once logged in, you will get to your dashboard – see the image below…

How to list books on

Listing your first book on Amazon

Looking at the Dashboard above, if you just click the “List single items” link, it will take you to this screen…

Selling books on amazon.png

Here, you can select the item type, but I mostly use the ISBN number – it is quicker and more accurate. Once you pull up your specific item, Amazon will take you through a few more steps asking questions about your item. They will want to know…

  • What condition the product is in. Is it new, like new, used, torn to shreds, etc…
  • Comments about the condition of your product. This is where you will want to write specifics about the product. Is the dust cover missing? Is the entire book underlined in hot pink?
  • The price and quantity of your product. I always recommend setting your product at the lowest price. If you don’t, you will have a very slim chance of selling it. Most buyers just look for the cheapest item and buy that.
  • Select your shipping method. Here you can choose to expedite shipments or ship internationally if you choose.

That is about it! I just repeat that process until I have all of my books (items) listed.

A few things worth mentioning

Amazon gives you a $3.99 shipping credit for each book. I always use Media Mail from the USPS and it normally costs about $2.50 or so to ship each one. Even including packing materials and other incurred expenses, it should be fairly easy to ship books for under $3.99.

Amazon charges lots of fees (only on items that sell). This is why you probably don’t want to sell an item for less than $2-$3. Unless you sign up for a pro account, you will be paying Amazon a fee of $2.35 + 15% of the item sale price. So, selling anything for less than $3.00 will not yield much profit.

To speed up the book-selling process

This step is optional, but will definitely increase the chances that your books will sell and will help you sell them quicker. Normally every day or so I log into my account and adjust the prices of my items to make sure they are the lowest priced.

On the Seller Account Dashboard, click the link called “View your current inventory” and it will take you to a page like this…

How to sell a book on Amazon.png

Here you will see all of your listed books. It will show you your current selling price and whether or not you have the lowest listed price. If you see a green ball under the low price column, you are in good shape. If you see a lower price, then you will want to click the edit link and lower your price a penny lower than the current lowest price.

If you want, you can waste your life away doing this all day long, but I prefer to do it in early evening – when many of the businesses selling these books are closed. That way I can normally have the low price until morning when they come back in.

Do you have any other tips for selling stuff on Amazon?

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  1. Paul @ FiscalGeek

    Unless you have some big ticket books the return on investment is abysmal with Amazon, ebay/ you can do slightly better. Amazon takes a large chunk but I finally got to the point that it just wasn’t worth my time, so instead have been bringing them in to my local Half Price books and then just use the money to get some more books to read.

  2. bob

    @Mary B
    Agreed, I know as a buyer I do occasionally pay attention to condition – but from my selling experience, it seems like I sell a lot more, a lot faster, when I try to maintain the lowest price. I have probably only sold 25 books or so on Amazon, so it could be a coincidence.

    I had poor results with books on Ebay in the past, but I haven’t tried – I will keep that in mind for next time and give it a go!

  3. Kevin

    Friends…Instead of hassling with selling books online myself, I would go to This is a site that will make an instant offer on your used books. They will even pay to have the books shipped. If you only have a few books, this would be the way to go (no checking emails, prices, or keeping shipping supplies).

    • bob

      I just ran a bunch of ISBNs that I currently have on Amazon and the prices offered are no where close to what you can get selling them on amazon. But, if they don’t sell on Amazon, it might be worth it to get a few bucks from BookJingle rather than nothing…

  4. Curt

    I usually don’t sell old books on Amazon, but thanks for the interesting read. I may have to do that install of just tossing my old books.

  5. Jamie

    I use both amazon and They are both great sites, but if i use them both, i can post books on the site that has the highest lowest price (sounds confusing, but it does make sense). 🙂

  6. Richard

    I would have to agree with Kevin, I have never used bookjingle, I always use a site called but I checked out book jingle and it seems the same concept. Instant price quote and you can ship all the books together. I listed some stuff on half awhile ago and found that some sold, while other just sat and sat! With a book jingle or sell back your book kind of site you can get rid of all of your books in one stop and not worry about how much its going to cost to ship out since the company takes care of that.


  7. Terry

    Amazon shipping have kept me away from buying used books through their website.

    If I buy five books from the same seller, I pay $20 (okay, $19.95) for shipping, which seems really steep to me.

    So I prefer to look for my used books at garage sales and thrift shops. (Some Goodwill stores have a decent selection; their hardcovers are usually $4.99. I’ve gotten books like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace, and Dan Miller’s 48 Days to the Work You Love (which Dave Ramsey highly recommends) at Goodwill, and with the shipping, I would never find those books that cheap on Amazon.)

    • bob

      I agree – goodwill is the cheapest place to buy books – I have found some real jems! As far as the AMazon thing, I use Amazon Prime (you pay $79 to have free shipping for a year) – it surely wouldn’t benefit everyone but for as much stuff as I purchase from them, it is well worth it…

  8. shane

    don’t you have to pay to register at amazon though?

  9. Jennifer Galick

    I have a lot of books to sell and would like to sell them on Amazon. I am confused though about the shipping and handling. From what I’ve read Amazon keeps the S & H money. Does this mean you have to pay the post Office for S & H everytime you mail a book to a customer. Does Amazon reimburse you or what. It still seems like a lot of expense. Please could you clear this up for me.


  10. Cheryl

    I’ve seen a person at a library book sale that buys books there and sells them on Amazon. She had some sort of computer thing that she was scanning the barcodes. What is that called and does anyone here use that? Also, if you have the cost, that would be appreciated it.

  11. Sell Textbooks

    I always sell my textbooks online at the end of the semester. Amazon is a great site but you are not kidding when you say “Amazon Charges Alot of Fees”

  12. Bruce

    Now you can figure by profit margin or gross profit dollars what you need to charge a customer by usinf the following free tools, PayPal calculator, Google Checkout Calculator and an Excel sheet that you can download that will be an Amazon Marketplace fee Calculator.

  13. Sandra


    I used this article and the directions to start my own Amazon selling site called “Mitchell’s Georgia Dawg Books”. I have been able to sell used DVDs, used Playstation Games, used textbooks and some extra home office supplies that I have collected over the years for good money. I searched for this article using yahoo after feeling down and out after getting behind on some bills. THANK YOU for the sanity saving information!!!!

  14. Johnny E. Reynolds

    I buy the books from Amazon re-sellers all the time. I haven’t had any more (or less) problems with them than I’ve had with any other internet vendors.Recently I came to know that there is a website named AmazingWatcher.Com which is a free website that will “watch” items for you on Amazon and let you know when amazon has them in stock at regular retail price.It got so awesome!
    Good luck everybody!

  15. DPY

    When you guys say amazon gives 3.99 to you for shipping and handling what does that mean? sorry this is my very first time to be thinking about selling my books online… so does that mean they credit it to your credit card? will someone please explain this to me.. I would really appreciate it..


    • Bob

      if you sell your book for $5.00 amazon will add $3.99 to your payment giving you a total of $8.99. They do this because you (as the seller) need to pay to ship the item and they want to help offset that cost…

    • Marcus

      So if you set free shipping for your item, do you still get the $3.99 credit?

    • Marcus

      If you make your item have free shipping, do you still get the $3.99 credit? Or is that just the automatic shipping charge and you can;t change it? Please explain the pricing of the shipping.

  16. DPY

    Ohh okay thank you so much Adam and Bob =)

  17. sean

    If the book in question has a poor/low Amazon ranking, even with the lowest price, the book could sit on amazon for weeks. Remember, there are tens of thousands of books on amazon for $.01. There are reasons beyond cost that can cause a book not to sell. Personally, I like to list books at a competitive price and always leave good, HONEST notes. leaving poor notes or listing a book as “like new” when it is really only “good” will sometimes(especially if the buyer paid a pretty penny for the book) result in a request for a refund or an A-Z claim, which is never good. Leaving prices at a competitive range makes it worth your while, too. After listing the book, wrapping the book, printing labels, taking it the post office, you are gonna want at least a $3-4 profit, if not more. people listing books for a $.01 are oftentimes actual book companies that do in-house shipping with HUGE inventories which actually give them pretty large profits after a while, OR people who take advantage of the $3.99 amazon Shipping credit and make, listen for it, a buck a book. A buck a book? all that work for a lousy dollar? I buy books in bulk form very cheap(about $.13-.$.18 on average), just off Craigslist normally,and will not list a book for under $3.00. i dont care if it sits for a while. The agony of having do all the work involved post-sale for a dollar is meaningless. Anyway, i started listing about 4 weeks ago with this process, have sold over 200 books with a current inventory now of 1500+ books, and have made, post-shipping/packing materials charges, about $800, so about $200/week and I hope to improve on that shortly. Hope this helps anybody looking to make a bit of money on Amazon. any questions, let me know, I will be on here frequently to answer any questions.

    • Tami

      So how many books do you have to sell to make $200 a month? Sounds like over 200. Is this correct? I am starting to sell used items on ebay and heard about selling books on Amazon to make additional money and am wondering if it is worth it. Sounds like the fees eat up any profit.

  18. sean

    Here is my basic format: note that some books ARE under 3 dollars, which i am in the works to correct. Enjoy! and let me know if you have any questions.

  19. james Anthony

    I have just completed a book with the Title : RECEIVE YOUR BABY NOW.
    I want to get the book sold on line. So what do I need to do. Please provide all the necessary information that will be of help to me as I want to be done with this very soon.
    James Anthony

  20. joe

    you say amazon gives you $3.99 for shipping, but by the time they take out their “handling” fee (not selling fee) it is more like $2.64.

  21. Sherrie

    Sean, I enjoyed reading your post very much. I do have a couple of questions about shipping. Who do you use to ship your product and what is the cheapest form of packaging?

  22. Wes

    I appreciate all the postings. I have a collection of books I have been meaning to sell for a a few months. My wife recorded them all in a spreadsheet with ISBN’s.

    Some are quite old and do not have ISBN’s but are in fair to good condition. If I can find the book on Amazon can I sell it under that listing? I would note that book is preISBN.

  23. Matt

    Joe made the appropriate point. Amazon made a change at one point so that the shipping amount credited the seller would look like the amount charged to the buyer. Amazon, then, in simplistic terms, took the excess amount back away from the seller in a new variable closing fee. Before the change, it appeared to the customer that Amazon was charging excess for shipping and keeping some it. They still are, but it is hidden in that fee. The change in the way this is done impacted books and cd’s differently, due to weight differences, causing sellers to get less than they used to cover shipping of heavier books (if I’m recalling correctly). My point is that Amazon overcomplicated the credit system to cover a PR problem and it hurt sellers a little bit in the process. Also, beware of things like 3.99 shipping credits for guitar hero bundles. Ouch.

  24. Katie

    How to you ship books for under 3.99. I sold a book on amazon for 2.50 and then with the 3.99 shipping minus the fees, I got 6.20.

    I went to ship it today, and the package costs 1.39, and the cheapest shipping was 4.20. After taxes, my total at the post office was 6.29. I lost 9 cents selling this book. I was so mad!

    How do you ship for less than 3.99?

  25. Katie

    Ok now I am even more mad. Today I saw exactly what I was given: 3.60.

    I was given 3.60!!!! It cost 4.20 just to ship the dang thing; that was without the 1.39 packaging I bought.

    I just lost 2.69 by selling this book on Amazon. I have now withdrawn all my paperback books from my amazon inventory. I am going to sell those at a used book store, but I still have my teaching resource books listed on Amazon since I am selling those for 12-15 dollars; however, I would still like to know how you can ship for less than 3.99. Where do you go to get that low of a shipping price plus packaging?

  26. Katie

    ok really guys. I must be just stupid when it comes to shipping books. How on earth do you s thhip it for under 6.00. I keep reading people’s amazon stories, and while they are complaining about not making much, at least they are not paying the prices for shipping that I am. Many claim they shipped for 2.00!!!! what???

    Last time I shipped with the post office, and bought packaging, so this time, I figured I would put the book in my own box, and try the ups store. BAD MISTAKE!!!! This time shipping cost me 9.27! Yes, that’s right 9.27, and I didn’t have to pay for package because I had my own. I should have gone to the post office, but I wonder how much it would have cost with my own box there.

    Seriously, someone please advise. How do you ship for under 6.00? So far, I have not been able to do it.

  27. Kyle


    The cheapest way to mail books is “Media” at the post office. It is a discounted rate for books, cds, dvds, posters, and basically any written content. This is usually how all booksellers mail their books.

  28. Katie

    Thanks so much, kyle. That worked.

  29. How people make money by selling new books

    I want to sell new books on Amazon, I checked with a couple of publish company. They only give 50% discount, some of them even charge for shipping. I did rought calculation. For example. One book regular sale price is $20. I bought at $10. Amazon is selling at $13.50. If I sell at the same price I have to lose money. Any one can share some light on this. Got really confused…

    Thank you in advance…

  30. Anna

    Do you guys spend $0.80 for the tracking number? I am worried that the book will not be safely arrive at the destination. then hassle begins. But it is really expensive.

    • Kim

      When purchasing online postage do you estimate the package weight or do you have a scale?

  31. Ellen

    I am wondering if it is necessary to buy delivery confirmation with every shipment. So far I have been getting DC in order to have a tracking number to record on the “confirm shipment” link when I sell a book. Is there a cheaper way to get a tracking number? Thanks.

  32. Sasha

    Books sell for a penny because sellers are looking for feedback, or they are loss leaders and you might buy something else from them.

  33. Yvonne

    i use check it out it is great if you do alot of selling of anything on line

  34. Thomas

    Books are great to sell on Amazon because they’re (usually) small and easy to ship. You don’t have to limit your business to books though (competition can drive the prices down in books real fast since they are easy to acquire and sell).

    You can sell regular everyday products on Amazon and do very well. If you use the FBA program, they’ll even ship them for you!

  35. Babs

    Since we are Seniors on a VERY limited income and I am a care giver, I’m wondering what kind of income I can expect if I really throw myself into this selling? It is impossible for me to work out of the house, but my husband could accompany me to garage sales, Thrift Stores, etc. and would get him out of the house more, too. Also, what would you recommend my first step be? I had joined PayPal years ago, but never used it. Do I have to renew or anything? Does it cost to join Amazon? Any help and additional sites anyone can suggest would be wonderful. I’ve tried other ways to make money (baking, dog sitting, selling baskets) and nothing provided a regular income, and I need at least $200 per week, more if possible. I do have a houseful of things I could sell, but need to figure out fair prices. Should I try Craig’s list for things that couldn’t be shipped or would be too costly to ship?
    Thanks everyone!

  36. Sana

    The best tool I’ve ever used for making money selling books is called Book Bandit. Unfortunately it’s only available for Android phones, but it lets you scan any book and then calculates all the Amazon selling fees for you. It just display how much net profit you’d make if you sold the book on Amazon. You don’t have to figure out if it’s worth selling. I don’t buy anything to resell unless I can make at least $20 on it. This app helps me weed out all the stuff that doesn’t make money selling on Amazon.

  37. RC

    what if the customer pays for overnight/1 day shipping? Does amazon give you more than $3.99??

  38. Sandra

    Do not sell your books on, as they change the quoted price and don’t send a check anyway! They gave me the used price once they were shipped (the books were NEVER used) and most even had the shipping plastic still on. Don’t do business with them!

  39. tiffany scott

    For all of you that are thinking about selling on better watch out.
    They are ripping the sellers off. If you have not been ripped off yet, believe me your turn will come, and when it does you will be one ticked off seller. If you do really well with selling books and make some profit they will put your account into review and hold your money for up to 90 days. They don’t support their sellers and let the customers get away with lying, stealing and causing all kinds of problems for the sellers. I was selling on Amazon for 6 months and I had one order that requested expedited shipping, which I only offered standard. As a newbie to selling I waited a day before I sent his shipping. at an overnight rate out my own pocket. As a seller you could be mister perfect and they will shut your account down, during the review process they block your funds you have made, when you get the notice that account is under review they keep your money . If you go to the Google search and type in amazon lawsuit -Amazon holding sellers money they have earned,
    Sometimes they don’t get there money back, I had 3,oo in my amazon account and they are still holding my money. They can take fees charged to them out but they cant pay the sellers their money owed to them. This had been going on for years. and in many cases they will be banned from selling,
    I have provided a link to show you how bad it is to be a seller on Amazon

    • Katy

      It’s true that Amazon does not support sellers at all, they claim to be “buyer’s obsessed”. I used to work for a company that sell electronics on Amazon and when a buyer would claim they never received an Ipad or Iphone (even with signature proof by FEDEX) Amazon gave him full refund. Buyers some times take advantage of it and open chargeback cases and keep products. Or return boxes empty to have proof of delivery and claim the money back alleging that item was returned and they deserve a refund. Best thing is not to sell hot items like electronics on Amazzon unless even with some loses you can still make money. A buyer open a chargeback by mistake (she purchased the bad item from another seller) And it has been over a month and I still do not see the money back, my record on performance was lowered, the buyer called Amazon to correct the mistake and they have not done anything about it.
      I still keep selling because even counting with that loss the profit is a greater.

  40. Steve Johnson

    Selling used books online on the Amazon Marketplace has been an easy way to sell old used books for me. During these summer months there are plenty of yard sales and estate sales to attend where anyone can buy lots of good, sellable non-fiction titles for very little money — sometimes as little as 10 cents each — and resell online for good profits. I no longer post any books for less than $6.99 on Amazon. I tried for awhile to match pricing below that point but found it was easier to sell fewer books at higher profit margins. Fewer but more profitable trips to the Post Office. I noticed that there were some people here with good questions on shipping and USPS delivery confirmation. Probably 99.5% of all my shipments have been by standard media mail. I’ve not had one negative feedback from buyers about slow delivery time. The cost is lowest and it is same to any U.S. address…. not like UPS or USPS parcel post shipping which fluctuates depending on how far the mailed item needs to travel. In fact, I’ve gotten some nice feedback from satisfied buyers in a matter of days after I mailed off their book. As for delivery confirmation, I use it on every shipment. It adds an extra 85 cents to each mailing. For every 100 shipments that amounts to $85. But I then never fret if the book will get to its intended destination or not; it gets there. And I don’t get any complaints that the buyer didn’t receive his or her book. Finally, I bubble wrap all books and pack in regular manilla envelope. This protects the used and new books I ship, and most buyers really appreciate the extra attention to detail. I post random notes about selling used books online at my blog: Sorry I don’t update it as often as I would like, but I have been busy with book selling and now publishing e-books for sale on Amazon Kindle. Best of luck to all. There is indeed good profits to be had buying and reselling the right kinds of books online!

  41. bev

    I want to sell my first book on Amazon.
    1) Will someone explain step by step the process I will have to follow.
    2Will someone breakdown the charges an author must pay to Amazon.
    3)When and how does an author retrieve their money earned from amazon?
    4) is their sales tax to be paid on Amazon sales?

  42. Marcus

    If you do not use all of the $3.99 credit, do you get to keep the unused money?

  43. Susan

    I sold used books on Amazon for four years about seven years ago. As you would on Ebay, so also on Amazon should you be careful to keep a good feedback/review score. Be honest about the condition of the book. Also, If it is in ‘almost new’ condition, do not list it as new, but instead, very good condition. Buyers appreciate getting a good value for their money.

    Also, if you are buying books in a thrift store, it would be a good idea to get a scanner that scans the ISBN number, giving you the price that it is going for on Amazon. I think that the new Smart phones have this capability. You just need to download the software.