Sell Books

How to sell books online in 2024: a step-by-step guide

Learn how to sell hardcovers, paperbacks, and ebooks in the Amazon store.
Selling books online can be a great way to generate some extra income—or it can be the start of a profitable business. Whether you want to sell books from your brick-and-mortar store, offload children’s or comic books, list rare collectibles, or self-publish a book you wrote, selling books online can help you reach readers around the globe.

You can sell hardcovers, paperbacks, or ebooks through websites like In this article, we’ll cover ecommerce tools that can help you sell new books, resell old books, and specialize in specific titles or genres. We’ll also explain how to sell books in the Amazon store.

Why sell books on online?

People love books—even in a world packed with movies, TV shows, and social media channels. That means books are generally in demand and can be a relatively easy way to start an online business. As a product, books can also be both versatile and straightforward to sell online. You can:
  • Get started with just a few books (no need for a large inventory)
  • Choose from a wide variety of genre
  • Sell books for cash or credit
When you sell books online, you don't need to worry about building a website or creating an online system for customer orders. You can get started relatively quickly and with less overhead, especially if you sell in an existing store like Amazon's.

What types of books can you sell online?

You can sell hardcovers, paperbacks, or ebooks online. Generally, you'll sell physical books in one of the following conditions:
  • New
  • Used -Like new
  • Used - Very good
  • Used - Good
  • Used - Acceptable

Sell new books online

Some customers love the feeling of holding a brand new book in their hands. You can typically find new books through wholesalers, distributors, or publishers. If you want to sell new books, be aware that you may need to purchase large quantities in bulk.

Sell used books online

Secondhand books are generally easier to find, cheaper to acquire, and can be more profitable if you find good deals locally or online. You can sell used books right off your shelf, or you can find them at local used book stores, thrift shops, or estate sales. You can also check websites, local library sales, and your neighborhood yard sale.

Sell books without an ISBN

A book's International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a registration code you can find inside the dust jacket or on the barcode. If the book was printed before 1970, it might not have an ISBN. In that case, you can request an exemption in order to sell the book in the Amazon store.

Sell collectible or rare books online

Antique and vintage books can be an attractive niche market for literature lovers. Because collectible books are older, it's vital to list each book’s condition honestly. While you may be able to sell your collectible first edition of The Great Gatsby in the Amazon store, you can also list it on niche websites like

Sell your own ebooks online

Ready to share your masterpiece with the world? Consider self-publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). With KDP, you can maintain control of your rights, set your prices, make changes anytime, and earn royalty on sales.

Sell textbooks online

Do you have used college textbooks taking up space? If they’re in good condition, you can get them off your shelf and make a little cash by selling them online. Be sure to list accurate details about the book's condition. If you want to sell textbooks in the Amazon store, check our guidelines for selling textbooks.

Pro Tip

Bundle related textbooks

If you have multiple textbooks on the same subject, consider selling them in the Amazon store as a Virtual Bundle. This can appeal to buyers looking for all the materials they need for a particular course.

5 steps to sell books online

Here are five steps to help you sell your books in the Amazon store.

Step 1: Decide how you want to source books

There are multiple ways to source books for resale. The simplest way is to sell books you already own. But you can also build your inventory through the following channels:
  • Wholesale: Buy books in bulk online or at bookstore closings for lower prices. You can also procure new books in larger quantities from distributors or publishers. You may not have total control over what you get, but you can get more books at wholesale costs.
  • Local sources: Find used books by browsing local library book sales, used book stores, yard sales, and thrift shops.
  • Auctions: Seek out auctions, estate sales, or farm sales with used or collectible books.
While procuring your books, be sure to evaluate the condition of each one. Check the condition guidelines of any selling site you use. For example, Amazon has detailed condition guidelines for listing books, as well as category-specific guidelines for new and used books and niche items like collectible books.

Step 2: Determine where you want to sell

You can sell books online from your own website, through an existing site like, or through multiple sites at once. If you choose to sell from multiple sites, make sure you’re coordinating orders and staying on top of your inventory.

If you want to sell with Amazon, you’ll start by choosing a selling plan and creating a seller account. Then you’ll list your books for sale. If you enroll a brand with Amazon, you can also create your own Amazon storefront to give customers a designated spot to browse your inventory.

Step 3: Set your book prices

Book prices depends on a variety of variables, including type and condition. It can be a good idea to monitor the prices of other booksellers and adjust your prices accordingly to make sure they’re competitive. Don't forget to take packing and shipping costs into account when you set your prices.

If you decide to sell in the Amazon store, you can use several different tools to set and adjust your prices. We also provide a revenue calculator you can use to estimate the profits, costs, and revenue for an item using multiple fulfillment methods.

Did you know?

You can mange prices automatically with Amazon

The Automate Pricing tool lets you automatically adjust prices based on pricing rules and preferences. You can also use Amazon’s Match Low Price feature to match the lowest price for a product in the Amazon store.

Step 4: Figure out how you’ll fulfill customer orders

After a customer buys a book from you online, you need a way to get it to them. That process is called “fulfillment.”

If you want to manage fulfillment yourself, you’ll need space to store your inventory. You’ll also need a way to receive, pack, and ship customer orders, and you’ll want to create processes and policies for handling returns and customer inquiries.

Keep these tips in mind while packing book orders yourself:
  • Use multiple packing materials. Appropriate packaging could involve a combination of bags, craft paper, or bubble wrap.
  • Protect book corners, edges, and dust jackets.
  • When shipping more than one book, consider wrapping each one individually or using single book boxes for protection. For multiple books, you can place pieces of flat cardboard between each book.
  • Books should fit snugly in the padded envelope or box, so there’s little wiggle room.
If you’d prefer to outsource fulfillment, you can use programs like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). With FBA, you’ll send your books to Amazon. We‘ll store them in our fulfillment network, and when a customer places an order, we’ll pick it off the shelf, pack it for delivery, and ship it to them. We also handle returns and customer service.

Learn the lingo:


ISBN: International Standard Book Number

An ISBN is a unique number and bar code for each published book. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency. Authors that self-publish on Amazon will automatically be issued an ISBN for each book.

SKU: Stock Keeping Unit

SKU is a unique number to help a business keep track of inventory.

ASIN: Amazon Standard Identification Number

An ASIN is a unique number that is assigned automatically to all products listed in the Amazon store. ASINs are 10 alphanumeric digits long and start with "B0."

Step 5: Boost book sales with marketing

Once you’ve started selling books online, you may want to use promotions or advertising to help attract customers.

Promote your online book business on social media

Social media can be a powerful tool for increasing your business exposure and reaching readers. Find out where your audience hangs out and get the word out on the social media platforms they’re using.

Offer promotions, deals, or coupons

Sales and discounts can be a great way to attract new customers and inspire purchases. You can offer seasonal promotions—"50% off all items purchased before December 25." You can also create deals and coupons for customers who buy a certain number of items or spend a certain amount.

If you decide to sell in the Amazon store, you can use a range of promotional tools, including the Prime Exclusive Discount, which is a discounted price offered to Amazon Prime members.

Advertise the books you sell

Digital advertising can be another great way to increase sales. You can take advantage of cost-per-click (CPC) options so you only pay for ads that are actually clicked by shoppers. You can also look for providers that surface ads using keywords, which can help connect your products with the right searches.

Amazon Ads offers a variety of CPC options and lets you create ads that appears directly in the Amazon store. You can create campaigns for specific products or your brand’s entire catalog. We also offer video ads, audio ads, and other specialty services.

Pay attention to reviews

When you're selling books you didn't write, you might not take book reviews personally. But you’ll still want to monitor reviews for feedback about product quality, customer service, and other factors.

Good reviews go a long way when it comes to building confidence in your online brand. Here are a few tips to help you earn positive feedback:
  • Be honest about item condition
  • Ship orders on time
  • Respond to customer inquiries quickly
  • If issues arise, solve them as soon as possible
Good reviews can also increase a product’s chances of being listed as the Featured Offer in the Amazon store (that's the prominent offer on a product detail page with Buy Now and Add to Cart buttons).

Did you know?

Amazon can help generate customer reviews

Amazon provides qualified brands with access to Vine, a tool that helps generate product reviews.

5 tips for selling books in the Amazon store

Ready to sell books online with Amazon? Keep these tips in mind.

1. Choose the right selling plan

Amazon offers two selling plans: Individual and Professional.

If you’re only planning to sell books in your spare time, the Individual plan might be the right fit. You’ll be able to use essential selling tools to list and price books one at a time, and you’ll only pay Amazon when you have a sale.

If you want to establish a book-selling business, we’d recommend the Professional plan. It allows you to sell as many books as you want for a flat monthly fee, plus additional fees and costs for certain services. The Professional plan also gives you access to advanced tools for listing, pricing, and tracking your sales.

Not sure which selling plan is right for you? That’s okay too. Just pick the plan that feels right for right now—you can switch at any time.

2. Research genres and categories to sell

Some books sell better than others, so researching high-demand books can pay off. If you’re looking for a quick way to locate high-demand books, try the Best Sellers in Books.

You can also check a book’s Best Seller Ranking (BSR). BSR is a metric that appears on an item’s product detail page and indicates how it’s selling in the Amazon store compared to other items in the same category. To find a book's BSR, locate the book in the Amazon store and scroll down to the product description.

3. Be 100% honest about the condition of your books

You can use specific definitions to describe the condition of a book in an Amazon product listing. This description helps manage customer expectations. Make sure you use our condition guidelines and requirements when listing a book in the Amazon store.

4. Choose the right fulfillment option

As an Amazon seller, you can fulfill customer orders in two ways:
  • Fulfilling items yourself—which we call Fulfilled by Merchant—means you get to be hands on when it comes to delivery. If you have plenty of storage space or keep a low volume of inventory, fulfilling items yourself can be a great way to put your personal touch on customer orders. Just keep in mind that it also means you’ll be packing and shipping each order, and you’ll be handling returns and customer service.
  • Using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) means you get to outsource storage, packing, and shipping to Amazon. That could give you more time to research and procure the books you want to sell. The program can also help you deliver faster and more cheaply. To use FBA, you’ll enroll in the program, then send your books into the Amazon fulfillment network. Make sure you check out our packaging and prep requirements, product size tiers, and shipment label requirements.

5. Monitor your sales performance

Hoping to increase your sales? Trying looking at what you’re already selling to find trends and turning points. If specific genres are flying off the shelves, you could try stocking up in those areas. If lowering your prices led to a spike in customer orders, consider a new pricing strategy that might help keep you more competitive.

Amazon offers sellers several tools to help them track their performance and develop selling strategies. In addition to sales and payment reports, we offer dashboards like Brand Analytics, which help sellers understand their customer searches and purchasing behavior.

Drive online sales for your products

Learn how to sell with Amazon.
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Helpful resources

Whether you’re looking to start a new brand, expand an existing brick-and-mortar business, or increase ecommerce sales, here are some resources to support your path to success.

Frequently Asked Questions: Selling books online

Is selling books online profitable?
Selling books online can be a lucrative side gig or a profitable business venture. Here are a few benefits of selling books online:
  • You have no sales constraints—sell as much or as little as you like.
  • Convenience for you and the buyer—no traffic, no lines, and you're always open.
  • Offer a wide variety of titles, authors, and genres.
What types of books can I sell in the Amazon store?
You can sell new books, used books, collectible books, comic books, and more in a wide variety of different genres. If your books don’t have an ISBN, you can also sell books by title, helping you turn your used books into cash.
How much does it cost to sell books in the Amazon store?
Amazon's selling plans give you the option to pay per sale (Individual plan) or a flat monthly fee (Professional plan). You can decide which option is best for you based on your business model. You’ll also pay a referral fee and closing fee for each book you sell

Shipping costs depend on whether you pack and ship items yourself or use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). If you choose to fulfill orders yourself, follow our guidelines for rates for books, music, video, and DVD (BMVD) items and consider using Amazon's Buy Shipping services.

Start selling today

$39.99 a month + selling fees