7 steps to selling your book on Amazon
Here are seven steps to help you sell your books on Amazon.
Step 1: Decide what type of books you want to sell
Although there are various ways to find books to sell, the simplest way to begin is generally to sell books you already have.
You can also build your inventory through the following channels:
- Wholesale: Buy in bulk for lower prices online or at bookstore closings. 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. You may also discover collectible books at estate sales.
- Auctions: Seek out auctions, estate sales, or farm sales selling used or collectible books.
In the process of procuring your books, it's essential to evaluate each one’s condition. Follow Amazon's detailed condition guidelines
when listing your books. Be sure to read over the category-specific guidelines for new and used books
, as well as for niche items like collectible books
Step 2: Create your Amazon seller account
Decide if you want to register as an individual seller or a professional seller. The main differences have to do with benefits and fees.
- The Individual selling plan is a pay-as-you-go plan that provides access to basic listing and order management tools. You can create listings one at a time by matching products to existing pages or creating new pages in the Amazon catalog. You don't pay fees to Amazon unless an item sells, so it’s a good starting point for entrepreneurs new to online selling.
- The Professional selling plan gives you access to advanced selling tools for a monthly subscription fee. Unlike the individual selling plan, you pay a monthly fee regardless of whether you list or sell anything (instead of a per-item fee—although both plans pay referral fees on items sold). The Professional selling plan gives you access to inventory tools to upload batch files and manage your orders through feeds and reports. These tools are especially beneficial to medium- to large businesses.
Compare selling plans
to determine which option is best for you.
Once you pick a plan, consider using this handy cost calculator
to estimate your per-unit sales margin. Once you're ready, set up your Amazon seller account
. This will allow you to start selling on Amazon. It will also give you access to the Seller Central dashboard, where you can list products, manage your inventory, and fulfill orders.
Step 3: Decide how you will fulfill orders
Do you want to handle inventory, packing, and shipping on your own? Or would you rather have Amazon do all this for you? As an ecommerce seller on Amazon, you have two choices to fulfill orders:
- Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN) – You store inventory, pack, and ship books independently.
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) – You ship books to an Amazon Fulfillment Center, and they do the rest for you. FBA includes storage, packing, shipping, customer service, and returns. Using FBA to ship your products is also the easiest way to get the Prime badge for most offers. Many Amazon customers look for products with the Prime badge because it represents fast, free shipping.
Step 4: Set your book pricing
Book pricing depends on a variety of variables, including book type and condition. Monitor the prices other booksellers are asking for, and adjust your prices accordingly. You can always go back in and change the price at any time. Here are some top factors that can influence book prices:
- What condition is the book in?
- Is the book new or used?
- Is the book a collectible (such as a first edition)?
Don't forget to take packing and shipping costs into account when you set your pricing.
You can automatically manage pricing on Amazon
While pricing is something you can learn more about and adjust over time, there’s an easy way to manage it through the Seller Central dashboard.
- The Automated Pricing Tool lets you automatically adjust prices for your available inventory based on your pricing rules and preferences.
- The Match Low Price feature helps you match the lowest price with the click of a button
This tool helps you quickly and easily match the current lowest prices on Amazon for specific products.
Step 5: List your books on Amazon
A simple way to list books for sale is to go right to the product page and look up the titles for the books you want to list. Follow these steps:
- Type the book's ISBN code into Amazon's search bar. If the book was printed before 1970, enter the title manually.
- Once on the product listing page, click the "Sell on Amazon" button.
- Enter the SKU. This can be an SKU of your choice, or if you leave it blank, Amazon will generate one for you.
- Select your price. To match the lowest price, simply click that button.
- Enter the total quantity. The default is one unit.
- Choose the condition. It's vital to be 100% honest about the quality of each book.
- Select your fulfillment channel (MFN or FBA).
Learn the lingo:
ISBN, SKU, and ASIN
ISBN: International Standard Book Number
An ISBN is a unique 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. ISBNs are also a type of SKU.
ASIN: Amazon Standard Identification Number
An ASIN is a unique number that is assigned to all Amazon product listings automatically. ASINs are 10 alphanumeric digits long and start with "B0".
Step 6: Promote and market your books
Now it's time to think about promoting your bookselling business.
Take advantage of Amazon tools
If you’re selling books, check out Amazon's Seller University
for free training videos to help you learn the basics of sales, selling tools, advertising, and promotions. You can help grow your business, drive sales, and measure the effectiveness of your ads with Amazon Advertising
. Check out the Advertising Learning Console
to learn more.
If you're an author, promote your own published books on Amazon with Kindle Direct Publishing
Promote your online book business on social media
Social media can be a powerful tool for increasing your business exposure and strategically targeting customers who want to buy the types of books you're selling. Find out where your audience hangs out
and get the word out on the social media platforms they’re using.
Pay attention to reviews
When you're selling books you didn't write, you might not take book reviews personally. But you will want to monitor your Amazon reviews about products and customer service.
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
If you’re a professional seller, good reviews also increase your product’s chances of being listed as the featured offer (the first option on the yellow “Buy” button on Amazon’s shopping website).
Step 7: Pack and ship your books
Preparation is essential to getting your books to their destination securely. Remember, happy customers are repeat customers!
How you handle shipping depends on which fulfillment method you choose.
Fulfilling orders with the FBA method
Fulfilling orders with the MFN method
- Manage orders from your seller account.
- Pack books securely.
- Get your packing slip ready and printed. Amazon will generate a PDF product and shipment label (see print a packing slip).
- Send your package using the carrier of your choice. Note you can use Amazon's discounted shipping to send to a fulfillment center.
- Confirm the order (see how to confirm a shipment).
Buy Shipping services
If you’re fulfilling your own orders, consider using Amazon's Buy Shipping
services. Here you can buy shipping labels, ship, confirm, and track orders all in one place, using Amazon’s trusted network of shipping carriers. If you opt-in for this service, you don't need to confirm shipment—confirmation is automatic.