Learn how to build a $10,000 Amazon book business step-by-step in 90 days.
Welcome back to Book Flipper University! Today’s segment will teach you how to set up an efficient workflow and workspace to help you list books quickly and accurately. This is the workflow we’ve developed over the years, so it’s been well tested and is Book Flipper approved. Let’s dive in.
Setting up your workstation is the first place to start. Here’s our recommendation:
Working from left to right with your new setup is going to be easy and efficient. Here’s the workflow:
We realize that there are other workflows out there, and ultimately you’ll find what’s best for you. Some sellers like to organize their books by condition before they begin scanning. Some like to scan everything in and label it all at the end. While there are many tactics, we’ve found that when getting started, it’s helpful to only handle each book once. This also gives you an opportunity to pick a price upfront so you don’t have to rely on a repricer. We’ll get into repricers later, but for now, setting the prices yourselves right now will help you better understand the basics of listing books.
We use and recommend AccelerList as our Amazon listing software, and we’ll be walking you through today’s demo using it.
First, set up a new batch. Name your batch (we recommend using the date), and select “yes” to use a custom sku. This option will help you determine which source a book came from when it sells. Then, you’ll enter your “shipping from” address, and select “Fulfilled by Amazon” (we’ll be showing you how to list FBA today).
For “workflow type,” we recommend using private mode. With live, you’re almost guaranteed to end up with a ton of shipping splits (think seven, eight, or even nine different shipments for one batch of books). With private, you’re still crossing your fingers a bit until the end, but it’ll almost always reduce the number of splits. In private mode, you’ll also have to label as you go. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have time to label, switch over to live mode and scan away. Just remember, Amazon will charge you 20 cents per book to label, and you’ll still have to prep the book by covering or removing other price stickers and barcodes. Once you’ve decided between private and live, go ahead and click “create batch.”
Now that you’ve created a batch, the interface will appear. Adjust some settings for this batch, starting with setting your SKU to 1. For the buy cost, it’s easiest to just use an average. Don’t worry about finding the exact cost for each book right now, even if you purchased from a variable-price source. You can save the receipt for later once you’ve finished scanning, and add your source to make it easier to track it down. The date purchased is obviously the day you purchased your books, and the list price we’ll set ourselves, so you can leave that one alone for now. Lastly, change the listing process to “precision”. This is what allows you to set your own prices.
Now you’re ready to start scanning! Go ahead and grab your first book and scan it in. Your book and its image should pop right up, along with other information about it. Flip through the book quickly to determine its condition. You’re looking for wear to the cover or pages, markings in the book, and other imperfections. Enter the condition and click “finish grading.”
Here’s where you have the opportunity to enter your listing price. A few charts will pop up to help you out. The chart with the green lines tracks the rate that book has sold in the past year, which helps you inform how competitively to price your book compared to FBA prices. The three column color-coded chart will tell you the prices your book has sold for new, and used, with and without FBA. All of these prices include shipping.
Here are two pricing examples from the first two books we scanned in:
The first book we scanned showed $6.58 as the lowest used price this book has sold for, and $28 for the lowest price this book has sold for brand new. Under the green FBA column, we have two prices that show up: $12 and $14. This is the buy box pricing, or the lowest used price on Amazon Prime. Bouncing back to the chart with the green lines up and down, our goal is to price between the lowest used price (the black line), and Amazon’s price (the orange line). If Amazon’s price isn’t listed, it’s best to price just under the Amazon buy box. For this book, we’d price it at $11.58, a few cents under the $12 buy box.
The second book appears to be selling a few times a month, according to the green line chart, and we’re also given the Amazon price. The lowest used price is just shy of $7 (the black line), and Amazon’s lowest used price is $25 (the orange line). Now, we realize this book isn’t selling a ton, just a few times a month, so we’re inclined to price this closer to the lowest used price. The data also shows that there were 4 FBA offers, but we’re only seeing 2 here in AccelerList. Click through to pull up your Amazon account where you can view all the Prime offers. For this book, we found that the lowest price was $9.99 and the second lowest was $12.99. We don’t want to be the lowest price, but the second lowest slot is still a good chance for sale, and a better profit, so we’ll price this book at $12.99.
We’ll get into pricing more later on in Book Flipper University, but that’s the gist. You can also change listing prices later after you’ve scanned everything in if you need to, so don’t worry about that too much here. Once you’ve added your price, click “add item to batch,” and your label will print.
Finally, it’s time to label and prep your book. Amazon’s rule is that their label must be the only scannable item on the book, so put the label that just printed over the book’s barcode. We like to exhibit a little professional courtesy here, and leave the ISBN exposed under the label. That way, if the next seller comes along, they can’t scan the Amazon label, but they can still enter the ISBN.
If there are other barcodes or price tags on the book from previous sellers, either peel them off or dispense a blank label or two from your label printer to cover them up (they don’t have to line up perfectly, they just have to cover the barcodes). A Scotty Peeler is a little tool that makes removing stickers a breeze. They make plastic and metal versions of this tool, but stick to the plastic ones as the metal will cut up your books because they’re really sharp. If there’s still sticky residue from the sticker you’ve peeled off, you can use a little bit of GooGone to clean it up, or you don’t have to worry about it. Also, don’t forget to check the inside covers of the books for hidden price stickers and barcodes! Don’t worry about prices that are actually printed onto a book’s cover.
Then, set your book off to the side and get ready to scan in the next. Your first few rounds may feel clumsy and time-consuming, but with each book you scan, you’ll get faster and more comfortable in the workflow. The goal is to spend about a minute per book once you’re in the groove.
After you’ve scanned all your books, but before you’re ready to package and ship the batch, there’s just a little more prep work to do.
First, determine if you need to make any changes to the cost of books in your batch. Take a look at your receipts and consider if you had any books you decided not to sell. In our sample batch, we found a book that had some pretty substantial water damage. Because it was only a roughly $10 book and we don’t want to risk a return or an unhappy customer, we decided not to sell this book and adjusted our cost accordingly (we just doubled the cost of another book from $2.53 to $5.06 to make up for it). Then, if the total cost AccelerList shows you is a few cents off from what your receipt shows, you can simply adjust the cost of any of your books to make up for it if you’d like.
Next, take a look at your batch metrics and figure out how much you’re likely to profit! In our batch, we got a total list price of $850 for 57 books. Our average list price of $14.91 is okay, but because we typically buy books that sell for $14 or higher, our averages are typically higher. Ultimately though, we’re still happy with this batch. Our goal, and hopefully yours too, is to make at least a 100 percent return (a book that cost $2 should bring in at least $2 profit) so handling the book is worth your time. Another thing to keep in mind is you probably won’t sell every single book in your batch. A sell rate of 75 to 80 percent is a safe estimate.
Then, you’ll factor in the cut Amazon keeps. From our sample batch, Amazon is going to take a little over $400 in fees from our $850 total list price. After all the costs are factored in, our estimated profit is $326.57 which is about a 383 percent return. With this batch, even if only 75% of it sells, we’ve still made over $200 for about two hours of work (about thirty minutes of sourcing not including drive time, just under an hour of listing, and probably another half hour packaging the books up to ship). Even if you’re just starting off making a dollar or two per book, it does help you get some sales and feedback, and you’re still making money.
Now that you’ve determined roughly what your profits will be, you’re ready to complete the batch. Once you click complete you’ll be prompted to confirm the upload. After your listings have been submitted, you’ll be notified that they’ve been uploaded and you’ll be prompted to create shipments for the books. Click yes and cross your fingers for as few splits as possible. We got lucky with our batch, and all of our items are going to the same place. Due to the weight, we’ll probably have to ship in two boxes because there’s a 50 pound weight limit per box. If your batch does have splits, simply go back through your books and separate them by shipment and either send them in their own box (not quite the most cost-effective) or set them aside and relist them or add them to a shipment later (more effective, but requires a little more effort).
Thanks for checking out today’s segment on the listing workflow we recommend for selling books on Amazon. We hope this workflow helps make the listing process simpler and more efficient for you. On the next segment of Book Flipper University, we’ll pick up where we left off today by showing you the best ways to package and ship your books to Amazon for fulfillment. Be sure to check it out!
BOOK FLIPPER RESOURCES
This week’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5wnG9Buj5E
Book Flipper Blog: http://bit.ly/2qFe31w
Book Flipper Facebook Group: http://bit.ly/2IYSKiU
Free Listing Spreadsheet: http://bit.ly/2vfMcud
Tracking Spreadsheet: http://bit.ly/2Ho44rx
The Book Scouting App I Use: http://bit.ly/2voBstC
My Online Arbitrage Tool: http://bit.ly/2HuCnh3
The 100 Book Challenge: http://bit.ly/2H3mkY5
The Listing Software I Use: http://bit.ly/2qAxEjV
Box Level Contents Spreadsheet: http://bit.ly/2qxesCW
Scouting Tools I Use (scanner, printer, etc): http://bit.ly/2viDRpF
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!