Tools and Supplies Amazon Sellers Need to Get Started

Welcome back to Book Flipper University! Today we’re going to walk you through the tools and supplies you’ll need to start selling books, no matter what your budget. We’ll be sharing the tools we suggest, and use ourselves, to streamline operations.


We’ve broken the tools you’ll need and the tools we suggest into four key groups, setup, sourcing, listing, and selling:


If you completed last week’s lesson on getting started, chances are you’ve already got everything you need for this stage: a computer or laptop, and an Amazon seller account. 


There are three key tools to have on hand while sourcing items to sell on Amazon:

Smartphone: A newer phone will have better battery life and will work faster than an older one. Either Apple or Android will work.

Budget option: Don’t have a smartphone? An iPod touch will run about $200 brand new, includes a camera, and will connect to a bluetooth scanner.

Bluetooth scanner: This is the item pictured in the middle of the image above, and will help you speed things up tremendously in the sourcing stage. You connect it to your phone to scan barcodes or ISBNs. In fact, if we had to invest in only one tool for our business, it would be a bluetooth scanner. Here are a few of our recommendations:

Budget option: While a bluetooth scanner will run about $200-300 brand new, you can purchase a gently used one from a reputable seller on eBay or Amazon for $100-150. Plus, if you decide later you don’t need it, bluetooth scanners hold their value well and can easily be resold. 

External battery pack: An external battery pack is handy to have, and they’re not too expensive, but this will help you keep your phone charged and ready to scan.

Budget option: Skip the battery pack 

We’ll walk you through how to set your scanner up in our next segment on sourcing. 


The listing phase is all about shipping tools and supplies. 

Wired Barcode Scanner: A wired barcode scanner is a little different than a wireless bluetooth scanner, and no, it’s not just the wire that separates the two! A wired barcode scanner costs around $35 and typically includes a stand. Some have an auto-sensing feature, such as the TaoTronics barcode scanner that we use (pictured above), which means that when you hold a book or barcode up to the scanner, it will automatically scan the item.

Budget option: If you don’t want to purchase a second barcode scanner, you can use your bluetooth scanner as most will also pair with a computer, but you’ll have to hold it. If your budget will prohibit you from purchasing a scanner at this time, you can of course manually enter ISBN’s and barcodes, it will just take much longer. 

Thermal Label Printer: Next, you’ll need a thermal label printer, such as the pictured DYMO 450 Turbo scanner. This one, and comparable printers, will run about $75, and then labels cost around $10 per 1,000 labels. You’ll use this to print the barcodes needed to label your items for Amazon fulfilment. 

Budget option: skip the printer because you can pay Amazon to do this for you for a fee of $0.20 per item. 

Shipping Supplies: 

  • Boxes: Nothing too technical here; just about any box will do so long as it’s on the small side because your shipments can’t exceed 50 pounds. We purchase the small-size boxes from Home Depot ($5 for 6 boxes). Your budget option would be to check Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or with local stores for free or cheap boxes. 
  • Shipping tape and a tape dispenser
  • Shipping scale: A shipping scale will be the most exact way to find the weight of your boxes, but if you’re on a budget a bathroom scale will also do the trick. It may be a pound or two off, but so long as you’re not too close to that 50 pound mark, you’re safe. 
  • Masking paper or other dunnage: While books are pretty durable, the shipping process can wreck havoc on the contents of your packages if they’re not tightly packed. You’ll want to use some sort of filler to fill any extra space and keep your books in place. Your budget option is to use crumpled up paper bags or other upcycled filler. 


For the selling phase, all you need is a bank account and a way to track your sales! As per our last segment, we highly recommend a separate business account. We’ll get into tracking sales a few segments down the road in Book Flipper University.

And that’s everything! All-in, you’re looking at about $300-400 to buy all of the supplies we’ve mentioned today. If you’re on a tight budget, consider purchasing your materials in phases. Because we’ll be going over sourcing next week, you could purchase your sourcing supplies this week. Then next week in advance of our lesson on listing, you can purchase your listing materials. Additionally, if you live in a more remote area, you may want to hold off on purchasing everything until you’ve found a reliable place to source items from.

That’s all we have for you this segment, but be sure to check out our next segment where we’ll dive into fulfilment methods.


This week’s video: 

Book Flipper Blog:​

Book Flipper Facebook Group:​

Free Listing Spreadsheet:​

Tracking Spreadsheet:​

The Book Scouting App I Use:​

My Online Arbitrage Tool:​

The 100 Book Challenge:​

The Listing Software I Use:​

Box Level Contents Spreadsheet:​

Scouting Tools I Use (scanner, printer, etc):

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