Total Loser’s Guide: The anti niche website.
Selling Books on Amazon FBA:
It’s not what you like, it’s the consumer.
~ Joe Dirt
Selling books on Amazon FBA is a popular way to earn some extra income, or even make a full time living. Books have been around for literally centuries, and can be found cheaply, you just have to know where to look.
We all know that as a reseller you make your money when you buy your product. This means that you want to purchase your products as cheaply as possible for the best profit possible when it sells. There are many options available to you to accomplish this task.
The first time you find yourself at a yard sale, or a thrift store looking for items to resell for a healthy profit, you may be shy to scan various items, or worry about what people are going to say. I felt the same way when I first started in this business. I was timid and anxious I guess you could say, thinking about people watching me scan items with my phone, and looking at me wondering what the heck I was doing. Then it happened, I found my first gold nugget.
I picked up a book to scan that I almost passed over, because it was a computer book that was 2 years old. We all know that as soon as a computer book is released it was out of date 6 months ago, but I decided to scan it anyway. This was a Microsoft Office book dated 2013, it covered Word, Powerpoint, and Excel. The book’s cover was the size of a phone book, and over an inch thick. I thought, ‘Who would want this computer book from 2013 in 2015?”
I scanned that book on my cell phone with the Amazon seller app, and saw that the book was selling NEW for $189.99, and in USED GOOD condition for $99.95. I grabbed that book quick, and protected it like it was a gold brick everyone was trying to steal from me. I know... I know, but finding an item like that to resell for such a big profit makes you over protective.
I had just started my Amazon FBA business, yes it is a business, and not a job, and was still a rookie. I decided to make a foolish rookie decision, and sell that amazingly useful book for $79.95 in USED VERY GOOD condition. What happened with that decision?
I sent in 30 books with that shipment because of the fact that the sheets of 30 labels that I used to label the books made it easy to pick that number of items in my shipment. When Amazon received my shipment I received an e-mail from Amazon that they received my shipment of 29 items. Wait a minute, I sent in 30 items not 29!
I checked into it, and every book was there except the most valuable Microsoft book. The next day I checked again, and no sign of it, I wasn’t happy to say the least. The following day I received an e-mail from Amazon that they shipped an item that I had sold. That item was the Microsoft Office book that I had sold for $79.95. Not bad for a .99 investment. That book sold the instant that it got to the Amazon warehouse. Do you think that I was shy to scan books after that sale? You shouldn’t be shy about scanning books to sell on Amazon either.
People are going to notice that you are scanning items with your phone, and they are going to ask questions.
The most common question that I get asked is, “Do you work here?”
There was one guy, an older gentleman that watched me scan books at a goodwill store. I noticed him looking at me, but of course I didn’t pay much attention to him because I was there to make money. He eventually asked me out of curiosity what I was doing, so I told him, and showed him.
He picked out a book from my cart, and asked me to scan it to see what it was worth. He also made a comment about how the book looked like it was in new condition. I however showed him the slight imperfections in the book that prevented it from being a USED LIKE NEW book. The book he picked from my basket was actually a college text book that still had the CD that came with the book inside.
I scanned the book with the Amazon Seller app, which is free by the way, and very useful. I showed him the results. Amazon was selling it in NEW condition for $129.99. The lowest FBA USED VERY GOOD condition price was $89.95. This book had a $1.99 price sticker on it, if it sold for $89.95 I would get about $73.00 after Amazon FBA fees. Not a bad return on a $1.99 investment.
Yes it cost money to ship it to Amazon, but they have a deal with U.P.S, and shipping costs are very inexpensive. It usually cost me an average of .35 per book to ship them to Amazon.
Yes I burn gas driving around to find books to sell, and take them to U.P.S. to ship to Amazon, but my mileage for doing that is a tax write off.
The right books purchased for the right price, will produce a fantastic return on investment. So where do you find cheap books to sell on Amazon?
Where do you find cheap books to sell on Amazon FBA?
The first obvious place to search for low priced books to sell is in thrift stores. The most popular two thrift stores are the Goodwill, and the Salvation Army. There are multiple Goodwill stores near me, and most of the books there are sold for $1.99 for the hardcover books and large paperback books, and .99 for the smaller paperbacks. The prices at the salvation Army are similar.
There are also thrift stores that are run by local churches. The prices there are even cheaper. The paperbacks sell for .50 - .75 depending on size, and hardcover books are $1.00.
There is a good sized section of religious themed books in the stores near me. It is a church run thrift store, and profits from sales go to benefit the church, so there are many parishioners who donate their books to the church’s thrift store. This is a great benefit for resellers like us, because religious themed books are great sellers on Amazon. Finding a couple dozen religious themed books selling on Amazon for $9.95 - $15.95+ that you paid .50 - .75 for will always put a smile on your face. I’ll take those profits all day long, how about you?
Incidentally, books at the opposite end of the spectrum from religious themed books, such as books on Black Magic I guess you could call them sell very well also. The Satanic Bible, by Anton Lavey for instance is currently listed on Amazon as a best seller. The books that I have found that would fall under the genre of New Age / Metaphysical have all sold very well for me also.
Some other great selling genres are, text books, especially near the start of the new semester. Many books that are self-help such as books on, How to stop smoking sell well also.
Sadly near Christmas time I have sold many books about dealing with depression. There are many people that make new years resolutions, and a big one is to lose weight. Ding... Ding... Ding... You guessed it, books on losing weight and dieting sell very well in January. Nonfiction books sell the best on Amazon FBA.
Some fiction books do sell, but usually the combination of hundreds of sellers, and low prices do not make fiction books economically viable for resale on Amazon FBA. If you find a fiction book with a low sales rank, few FBA offers, and a sales price that you can profit from, than by all means grab it. I have sold fiction books within days of them hitting the warehouse, but finds like that are rare.
Your first thought may be to look for books that you find interesting, but this is a bad idea. There is a line from the movie, Joe Dirt (Funny movie) where Joe comes across a fireworks vendor that just sells snakes, and sparklers because that’s all he likes. Joe told him, “It’s not what you like it’s the consumer.” That is great advice for you Amazon business as well.
Look for books your customers want to purchase, not just the books that you find interesting. What books do your customers want to purchase? Only experience can teach you that. The books tat I find, and think, “Who would buy that?”, are usually the first to sell. Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet, and learn your new business, and of course grow it. Learn about the basic accounting aspects of it to so you can take full advantage of the many tax write offs available to you as well.
Yard sales are another great place to find books on the cheap. There are many people who view their books as a burden that they want to get rid of. They will try to sell them at a yard sale, and avoid the back breaking work of taking them to the Goodwill, or other thrift stores. You can almost always negotiate a cheaper price with the seller, especially if you want to buy all of their books. You will be doing them a favor by purchasing all of their books, and saving them the hassle of dealing with them later.
So go ahead, and make a low offer on all of them if they are profitable books for you to sell on Amazon.
Craigs list is another great place to find books to sell on Amazon. Craig’s list can be a double edged sword though. You will find people selling books for a lot of money because they think that their books are worth more than they are, and you will find people giving them away for free if you take all of them. Free books are always good, but often you will find a lot of duds mixed in with the handful of profitable ones.