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One of my favorite aspects about selling books on Amazon is the reactions from people when I tell them what I do.
A typical conversation:
“So… what do you do?”
“Well, I’m a medical device sales consultant and sell hip and knee replacements. Oh – and I also run a small business dabbling in books.”
“Wait… did you say books? Like actual books with paper and stuff? There surely can’t be any money in that… seems like everything is going digital these days!”
And that’s usually the extent of the conversation. A few people grasp that there could be some money in selling used books, but the majority turn up their noses, laugh a little bit, and change the subject to something, well, more modern.
Maybe that’s still your mindset when it comes to selling books on Amazon. Today’s post will aim to clear up some of those common misconceptions.. Before we go into detail on topics such as sales rank and the ideal technology setup for sourcing books, it’s important to understand two fundamental principles about this business: namely, why are we selling books, and why are we selling them FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon).
Why sell books: There is so much chatter online about getting rich quickly through Retail Arbitrage (RA), Online Arbitrage (OA), and Private Labeling (PL). While there is some great money to be made on each of the above topics, they all involve a significant amount of risk to get started. I may someday look at some of the above business models, but for now I’m having too much fun selling books. Here’s why I focus on books:
Why sell via FBA: Enough about books. Hopefully I’ve convinced you that they are out there just waiting to be discovered and listed online for someone to purchase. The next list will look at why you should sell your books via FBA. Many people (myself included) are leery of sending their inventory to some massive warehouse where they could get lost or damaged, and then there’s all the other fees related to selling them FBA versus MF (Merchant Fulfilled). Up until about nine months ago, I sold all of my books MF. I was limited by the space available in my house and when I traveled for work (around 40% of the time), I had to put my entire business on vacation mode until I got back so I would be able to meet the shipping deadlines for each order. I finally made the decision to switch everything over to FBA, and I haven’t regretted it for one second. I wish I had made the switch years earlier! Here’s why you should sell via FBA:
I sold the book for $24.95 when the lowest MF offer (in Very Good condition) was $4.03 with shipping included. Someone paid an extra $20 to purchase the book via Prime and get it with free two-day shipping. This happens more often than you think. Oh, and I only paid 10 cents for the book.
Not a bad way to spend a morning!
Conclusion: So there you have it. A closer look at why I believe books and FBA are the perfect combination to create a business model that can fit anyone’s lifestyle. My next few posts will go more into detail on understanding sales rank and also showing you the sourcing setup that I use to find books every week. Stay tuned, and in the meantime go flip some books!
Howdy! My name is Caleb Roth and I have dabbled in selling books on Amazon for the past decade. In late 2014 I decided to approach my business more seriously, switched completely over to FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon), and haven’t regretted it for a second!