Interested in selling books on Amazon but don't know where to start?
You’ve come to the right place!
Amazon offers users two options to sell books online: i) through Amazon KDP, and ii) via a regular Amazon seller account.
Amazon KDP is for self-publishers who want to get their books out in the public but don’t want to work with a traditional publishing house. All books sold through Amazon KDP are listed on Kindle Store on the ecom giant’s main website.
Not an avid writer?
No worries. You can resell already published books on Amazon using a regular seller account. The process works just like selling any other product on the marketplace, where you must source the books and list them for sale. You can stock up the inventory at a local warehouse or use FBA to handle everything–from storage to order processing and delivery.
Books sold through a regular seller account are available in the “Books” section on the Amazon website.
Both methods are profitable and can serve as a great side hustle to earn decent passive income and can later be scaled into a full-blown business.
In this blog, we’ll give you a detailed overview of how to sell books on Amazon. We’ll be covering the following topics:
And much more.
So without any further ado, let’s get started.
Booksellers have plenty of options when it comes to selling their books online. The popular ones include Amazon, Blurb, Chegg, IngramSpark, Apple Books, and eBay.
Each platform comes with its unique offerings. Chegg, for example, specializes in textbooks. Apple Books is a good choice for indie authors looking to build loyal readership. Blurb offers a zero-fee distribution. And so on, and so forth.
However, most self-publishers and resellers prefer Amazon for listing their books.
Global size and reach make Amazon arguably the best platform to publish and sell books online. You get instant access to more than 300 million active customers. Of these, over a hundred million spend $1400 a year on average shopping books and products on the website.
Furthermore, getting started on Amazon is quite easy. There are no strict eligibility requirements or extensive paperwork involved, and you can set up an account in literally a few minutes.
You can list books both as a self-publisher and a regular Amazon seller. Not every ecommerce book platform offers this convenience. Users can pick from over 10,000 categories and subcategories when selling books.
Publishers on Amazon KDP can offer books in various formats too. Whether it’s an ebook, audiobook, paperback, or hardcover - the ecom giant accommodates them all. You also get higher royalties than most other self-publishing platforms and don’t have to pay any account maintenance fee.
Don’t have the resources to handle shipping and fulfillment of orders as a reseller? Sign up for Amazon FBA and let the team pick, pack, and deliver your books to your customers at their doorstep.
Anyone can sell books on Amazon, be it authors or resellers. However, your minimum age should be 18 years. Furthermore, you must be a resident of one of the countries accepted for registration.
Amazon will ask you for identity proof, contact information, bank details, and tax-related documents to sell books on its marketplace. All the details you provide will be verified before you’re allowed to sell.
Here’s an extensive list of documents you will be required to submit during the registration process:
You can sell any kind of book on Amazon including novels, comics, short reads, non-fiction, and low-content books (notebooks, sketch books, journals, planners, etc.). These books can be of any genre and in any format.
You can sell your textbooks on Amazon by setting up a Seller Central account. Note that it is no longer possible to trade-in your college textbooks on the website, and you must list your books for sale only.
Yes, you can sell used books on Amazon as long as they are in an acceptable condition. You can source these books from local libraries, old book stores, estate sales, thrift shops, yard sales, etc.
Keep in mind that in order to make a profit from used books, it’s best to resell books that aren’t easily available in the market. Selling the Lord of the Rings series may not be the best idea. Despite the trilogy books being quite popular, you’ll be competing with hundreds of sellers selling the same product as yours.
Collectables and rare books are a profitable niche when it comes to selling used books on Amazon. Because of the exclusivity factor, book lovers are willing to pay good money for them, and sellers can charge more to make higher profits.
You can publish and sell your own book by signing up for a Kindle account on Amazon KDP. In addition to ebooks and audiobooks, the self-publishing platform from Amazon offers a reliable print-on-demand service to sell print versions of your book without requiring you to hold anything in inventory. You also get several promotional features that help you to boost your book sales.
As a self-publisher selling ebooks on Amazon, you can opt in for 35% or 70% royalties depending on how you price your book. The maximum royalties on physical books are 60%.
Selling books on Amazon is definitely worth it. The company makes over $3 billion in book sales every year. It owns 68% of the ebooks market share and pays out millions of dollars in royalties to self publishers every month. In fact, just in the October of last year, Amazon disbursed $39.8 million in earnings to Kindle authors.
Of course, like anything else, you need to put in the hard work to be successful selling books on Amazon. You need to be thorough with your niche and keyword research and use the best marketing strategies to get your book in front of your audience.
Selling books on Amazon is an easy way to make decent income online provided you know how to go about it.
Amazon lets you sell all kinds of books. Are there used college textbooks taking up space in your room? Have your kids grown out of the children’s books they once loved? Put ‘em on Amazon!
Here are the steps to selling your books for money on Amazon:
Let’s dive into the details of each of these steps.
Whether you’re reselling books on Amazon or listing as a self-publisher, the process of finding profitable book niches is the same for both.
You can start by checking out the annual best seller’s list on Amazon.
The annual best seller’s list shows you all the books that were popular in the last year. You can go through the titles and try to find a common pattern. Shortlist the genres for which you think you can write well.
You can also analyze the Best Sellers Rank for different listings in the categories that interest you.
Each product on Amazon (book and non-book items) has a Best Sellers Rank (BSR). The lower this rank, the more popular the item.
For example, a book with a BSR of 1000 should sell around 3000 copies per month. Meanwhile, a book with a BSR of 100,000 is likely to sell around 35 copies. Your goal should be to find a niche where the top sellers have a good seller ranking.
You can check the BSR of books by simply looking at the listings.
Finally, you can use online tools to find profitable books to sell on Amazon.
Zonguru’s NicheFinder uses detailed sales data to show what book niches sell well on Amazon, allowing you to make an informed decision.
Here are some of the most profitable book niches on Amazon:
If you’re planning to resell already published books on Amazon, you need to find a way to source them. Without an inventory, Amazon won’t allow you to list them.
You can source new books from:
Wholesalers buy books from publishers with the intention of selling them to resellers. These resellers can be brick and mortar stores or online retailers. You can source books from wholesalers in bulk at a cheap price.
Distributors partner with publishers to help sell their books to as many people as possible. They’ll sell books to you in the hope that you can find ways to resell them. Buying a book from a distributor is usually more expensive compared to buying that same book from a wholesaler.
But what if you can’t afford to purchase new books or find ones with a good enough profit margin?
You sell used books.
In a more financially prudent society, where consumers enjoy a good bargain, used books can be big sellers on online marketplaces.
They are easy to source, and when marketed the right way, they sell well and help you rake in a decent passive income on Amazon.
You can find used books in the following places:
Book stores have to clear out their stocks regularly to make way for new books and in doing so they often sell their older stock for low prices.
Lookout for book sales in your local bookstores. Use Google to find book store sales near you.
Thrift stores sell everything, including books. People running them usually don’t pay attention to individual books and price them all within the same range. It’s very possible that you may find a valuable vintage book at a bargain price at your local thrift store.
Like book stores, libraries also sell their books at very low prices. Older libraries are great places to find books that aren’t available online.
Many households will have large collections of books they haven’t opened in a while and hold yard sales to try and sell them. Just like with thrift stores, the people running yard sales don’t pay much attention to the real value of a book when pricing them. If you’re lucky, you can get amazing finds at a local yard sale.
Estate sales or auctions are held to remove all the items in a house as soon as possible. This makes the offerings often underpriced. If you’re on the lookout for rare books and collectibles, estate sales are the place to be!
Sites like eBay, Craigslist, and even Facebook are awesome places to get great deals on collectibles. Remember, collectibles are priced higher on Amazon than generic books so spending time looking for them is worth it.
If You are a Self Publisher: Of course, if you are a self publisher on Amazon, you don’t need to worry about sourcing books or holding an inventory. Simply upload the manuscript of your book, and Amazon will take care of the publishing and printing processes.
Once you have decided what books you want to sell and made arrangements for how to source them, the next step is setting up an Amazon account.
Resellers can sell books on Amazon by signing up for an individual or a professional seller account. Meanwhile, self publishers need to sign up for a Kindle account.
New sellers who have a small inventory of books with little or no experience of selling on Amazon should begin by registering as an Individual Seller.
Individual sellers don’t pay any account maintenance fee and are only charged when they make a sale. Furthermore, Amazon gives them access to basic tools to manage and promote their listings.
In contrast, professional sellers pay a fixed monthly fee of $39.99. However, they get more tools and better support from Amazon to run their book selling business.
i) Go to sellercentral.amazon.com. Click on the Sign up button and enter your email address and password. Once done, select “Create your Amazon account”.
ii) Amazon will send you a code on your registered email. Enter it to verify your address.
iii) Next, provide your business details, starting with the location, type, and name. If you don’t plan to sell as a registered business on Amazon, simply select “None, I am an individual” from the list.
iv) Agree and continue. Proceed to fill in the rest of the details, including your personal information and billing and tax particulars. Amazon will verify all the information before giving you access to your Seller Central account.
The steps for setting up an Amazon Kindle account are as follows:
i) Go to kdp.amazon.com and begin the set up process by entering an email address and password.
ii) Amazon sends an OTP to your phone number and email for verification. Enter the OTP once you’ve received it.
iii) Review the Terms of Agreement and click “Agree”.
iv) Enter your personal details
v) Provide your bank and tax details to complete the signup process. Amazon checks these, so avoid entering any sort of misinformation.
Amazon doesn’t let you create multiple business accounts unless you have a legitimate need.
After you’ve officially become a registered seller on Amazon, you can start listing your book.
i) Go to the product details page of the book you would like to sell. Enter the ISBN number of the book to find it faster. Bear in mind though, books printed before 1970 don’t come with an ISBN, so you’ll have to search for them by their title.
ii) Once on the product detail page, click ''Sell on Amazon'' underneath the Buy Box. It should prompt you to sign in to your Seller Central account and lead you to the listing creation page.
iii) Enter the SKU, price, quality, condition, and fulfillment channel to confirm your book listing.
What if I want to sell a book not listed on Amazon?
In that case, you’ll have to create a listing from scratch. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to add a new Amazon listing to your account.
If You are a Self Publisher: Kindle listings are created using the Kindle dashboard. You must provide the book title, subtitle (if any), author name, description, category, keywords, and manuscript to list your book. Additionally, you must specify publishing and distribution rights. You can find the complete details here.
As a reseller, you’ll have to decide whether you want to fulfill your book orders through FBM or FBA.
Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) is when you self-handle all of the logistics. You must store, pack, and ship your books to the customers yourself. Even the returns are your responsibility.
Want an easier solution?
You can always sign up for Amazon FBA!
Amazon FBA is Fulfillment by Amazon. It is a service offered by the company to online businesses that need assistance with order fulfillment.
Book sellers who select FBA as their fulfillment method just have to ship their inventory to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and the retail giant then takes care of the rest. It picks, packs, and ships your books to your customers. In fact, it also processes the returns for you. However, there are fees that you must pay to avail these services.
When you choose FBM, your listing goes live within 30 minutes. However, if you pick FBA, it takes longer as your inventory must first reach the Amazon fulfillment center and be loaded for distribution.
If You are a Self Publisher: Of course, if you are a seller on Kindle, you don’t need to worry about how your book orders will be fulfilled. Ebooks and audiobooks are available for download to the general public, while paperbacks and hardcovers are printed and delivered by Amazon in exchange for a small fee. This fee is deducted from your royalties.
Use Amazon’s cost calculator to figure out the unit sales margin on each plan before you pick one. After you’ve decided which account is best for you, go ahead and set it up!
You must consider various variables when pricing your book. Think about the kind of book you’re selling (ebook, paperback, or hardcover) and the condition it is in (new, old, or used). Make sure your initial costs are covered. You must also factor in any storage, packaging, and shipping fees in your final price.
Pro tip: Always look at the competitors to see how they have priced their book.
First things first, you must pay a fixed fee of $39.99 per month if you plan to resell books on Amazon as a professional seller. This fee is excluded for individual sellers, though. In addition, you need to pay a referral fee of 15% on every sale you make, along with a $1.80 closing fee. Finally, there may be some additional FBA fees depending on what fulfillment method you are using to sell your books on Amazon.
Things are a little different for Amazon KDP users. There is no account maintenance, referral, or closing fees. You don’t have to pay for shipping either when selling physical copies of your book. However, Amazon will charge you a fee of $0.15/MB to deliver your digital books to customers.
Amazon takes a 15% cut on every new or used book you sell on the marketplace. For Kindle books, this number can be as high as 65% depending on the royalties and pricing you set.
You can’t just list your book on Amazon and expect sales to start rolling in. You need to make sure it is found by potential readers–and this is where marketing comes in.
Marketing is an essential part of selling in a competitive marketplace like Amazon.
Here are some effective ways to market your book on Amazon:
Amazon lets you create sponsored ads where you bid on keywords like you would for other digital ad spaces. Amazon ads are an effective way to increase awareness, gain visibility, and boost sales.
Have thousands of followers on social media? Pitch your book to them and see if you can get some conversions. However, don’t force them to buy your book but instead try to build a trusting relationship.
A mailing list of people who have done business or shown interest in doing business with you in the past can be an efficient way to increase sales for your book.
Starting a blog can be an effective way to build a customer base and promote books. This is especially useful when you’re catering to a specific niche with limited readers who’re looking for a sense of community.
This one is for self publishers. Amazon’s Author Central page can prove to be very beneficial for establishing your brand as an indie author. It allows you to post blogs and videos and links to your social media pages.
Your book should at least be 24 pages long to be published on Amazon. The maximum page count depends on paper, trim size and ink options.
Normal book listings can take up to 24 hours to go live on Amazon. Meanwhile, KDP listings can take up to 72 hours. This is because Amazon must review your manuscript to make sure all publishing guidelines have been followed.
Do You Need ISBN to Sell Books on Amazon?
No, you don’t need an ISBN to sell a book on Amazon unless you want to sell physical copies. Amazon assigns ASINs to all books for identification, sorting, and processing.
I Already Published My Book Elsewhere, How Do I Sell It on Amazon?
You can publish on Amazon and other platforms at the same time. However, if you enroll in KDP Select, you will only be able to sell exclusively on Amazon during the enrollment period.
You can sell your books in a set of 10 on Amazon by creating a series and linking your Kindle Book Series Bundle on the platform. Decide a series name, and add it to the description of all the books. Lastly, you will need to inform Amazon about your series bundle.
Amazon KDP offers print-on-demand services so publishers don’t need to stock inventory and only pay for physical copies that they sell.
In order for a book to be classed as a collectible, it should add value to a collection. Collectible books can be first editions, first prints, inscribed, signed, or just scarce copies. Check out Amazon’s guidelines regarding collectibles for more information.
Yes, self-published books on Amazon can become bestsellers, provided they belong to a niche with low-to-moderate competition with sufficient demand.
Amazon will pay you 60 days after your first sale, after which it will pay you monthly for the books you sell. Amazon pays you through checks, direct deposits, or wire transfers.
Selling books on Amazon can prove to be a source of steady income.
You can publish new books on Amazon KDP aka the Kindle Store if you have the skills to write a book. These books can be sold as ebooks, audiobooks, and/or physical copies using Amazon’s print-on-demand services. The ecom giant also offers higher royalties to self publishers than most other platforms and gives you access to millions of active customers.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of writing a book yourself, you can resell already published books on Amazon. You can start by sourcing new or used books. Once you have inventory, you can set up a seller account on Amazon and start selling.
Regardless of whether you’re selling on the Kindle Store or in the books section on Amazon, you’ll have to conduct thorough research to determine the most profitable niches.
Take advantage of online tools like Zonguru’s NicheFinder to make informed decisions when selling books on Amazon. Start your 7-day free trial today.
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