When you join Amazon as a new seller, one of the first things you think about is what exactly you should sell to get started. Sellers with no prior knowledge or experience may start selling random items to get started and that can work to a certain extent. One of the most important things when selling on Amazon and life in general is your ability to focus.
When you focus on a specific niche within Amazon, you will learn the ins and outs of that niche and you can become wildly successful. There are so many categories and subcategories within Amazon, that you can make seven figures selling just one type of product.
For example, there are many sellers within Amazon that focus on one niche (books, toys, video games, etc.) and they become experts in that niche and succeed greatly. As a seller, if you focus on one business model on Amazon, you can keep improving and refining until it’s almost automatic.
One of the categories many sellers get started with is selling books on Amazon. In this blog post, we will explore just how many opportunities are in selling books on Amazon and mention some tips on how you can get started today.
Why is books a good category to start selling with?
Ungated: As soon as your seller application is approved and you can sell on Amazon, books is one of the categories that Amazon has ungated for. Amazon requires all sellers to seek approval to sell in specific categories like baby products, branded items and more; these categories are known for being gated by Amazon.
In contrast, books are ungated for you by Amazon and you can sell literally any book you can find. This free reign given to you by Amazon allows you to focus on sourcing books instead of spending your time trying to get ungated for the category.
Low cost: Books are one of the cheapest products on Amazon to find. There are many people around your local city and community that give unwanted books for free or for a very cheap price. Since they are low cost inventory, it’s easy to buy hundreds of low-cost books and make a profit in a relatively short amount of time.
The low barrier to entry allows basically anyone with a little money to get started selling books on Amazon. You can even get started with the free books hanging around your household and use that money for more products.
Easy to ship: Since you can fit many books in a box, they’re one of the most cost-effective items to ship on Amazon. Amazon already has discounted rates for shipping for sellers, but shipping is even more optimized with books. Once the books are sent in to Amazon, they’re FBA eligible and they will get two customers within two days. Also since FBA products are a little more expensive than non-FBA items, you can profit from the added margins.
Selling used books: On Amazon, most customers are often looking for new products. Books is one of the few categories that Amazon encourages sellers to sell used items. Also, customers are highly incentivized to buy used books because the newer ones are often much more expensive. If you only had to sell new books, it’d be much harder to find profitable books.
Since you can sell used books, you can literally find the first 20 books sitting in your house. This allows sellers to find a lot of deals on great and gently used books. Amazon also requires you to note the condition of a book, so customers know what to expect about the condition of a book they purchase.
Books are easy to find: Books are one of the most underappreciated categories in Amazon because they are in abundance in real life. A brand new seller today can find literally hundreds of books in their first week of selling on Amazon. This can translate to thousands of dollars in sales, which the seller can leverage to buy more books.
Sellers can find books at their houses, garage sales, library sales, estate sales, craigslist, Facebook marketplace and the list goes on. There are virtually limitless options when it comes to finding books to sell. This allows new sellers to get the experience of selling many products and seeing how the Amazon seller ecosystem works.
How can you find profitable books to sell?
If you’ve decided on selling books, how do you find which ones actually sell on Amazon? A good rule of thumb if you want your books to sell relatively quickly is buy books with an Amazon best sellers rank of 1 million or less. The Amazon best sellers rank indicates how fast an item is selling on Amazon.
If a book is less than a million in best sellers rank, it means it’s one of the top million selling books on Amazon. Although this number may seem very high, it’s good for the books category. If you want to be more conservative, you can buy only books with less than 500,000 best sellers rank.
Scanning: Once you are at some place where you would like to purchase books to sell, it’s time to scan potential books for profit. You can either use the Amazon seller app or other apps on the app store. The Amazon seller app scans the bar code on a book and tells you the best sellers rank, how many sellers are selling that book and your estimated profit.
If it matches your criteria, you buy it and if it doesn’t you can scan the next book. Veteran book sellers often use other apps like Bluetooth scanners that automatically tell them when a book is profitable or not. They enter the parameters they want for books (seller rank, price, etc) and the scanner tells them if it meets their criteria or not. This allows them to scan hundreds, maybe even a thousand books in a short period of time.
Online arbitrage tools: Online software programs that sellers use for other products can also be used for books. Sellers can use these programs to set parameters for their potential books and the program will scan sites like eBay or Barnes and Noble for potential matches. Once this is done, the seller can purchase the book and send it in to Amazon FBA afterwards. Sellers who source books online can also explore Facebook marketplace and Craigslist for free or very cheap books.
Wholesalers/distributors: One of the more advanced techniques to find profitable items to sell is to look for wholesalers and distributors that sell books to you in bulk. Many veteran book sellers search online for book wholesalers that will ship them a pallet of books. Since the order size of the books are so large (thousands of books), the price per book is very inexpensive. They can be as low as 15-20 cents per book. Once you order a pallet, it is shipped to your house or office and you can scan all the books and list the profitable ones.
The key differentiatior in this process is to know how many books in the order are in demand. The last thing you want is thousands of books at your house that no one wants. There are a few marketplaces like eBay, wholesale liquidators and more that can ship large quantities of books to you. This tip is more advanced and you shouldn’t try this out until you have made hundreds of book sales.
This is a brief overview of the opportunities that lie within selling books on Amazon. It’s a great way to get started selling on Amazon and it can be used as a stepping stone to other opportunities If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post, you might also enjoy this blog on what you need to get started on Amazon.