Sell Books

Step-by-step guide for how to sell books online in 2024

Learn how to sell hardcovers, paperbacks, ebooks, and more in the Amazon store.
Selling books online can be a great way to generate extra income—or it can be the start of a profitable business. Whether you want to declutter, add an ecommerce channel to a brick-and-mortar store, or self-publish a book you wrote, you can reach readers around the globe.

Why sell books on online?

Even in a world packed with movies, TV shows, and other forms of entertainment, people still love to read. Here are a few potential benefits of specializing in this high-demand ecommerce niche:
  • Offer as many or as few books as you like without inventory constraints.
  • Provide convenience for your customers—no traffic, no lines, and you're always open.
  • Sell new or used books and offer a wide variety of genres, titles, and authors.
A few more perks? With ecommerce, you don't necessarily need to build a website or create systems for managing inventory, processing orders, and handling customer communications. You can get started by setting up an ecommerce storefront on an established website like Amazon.

What types of books can you sell online?

You can sell almost any type of book online—new, used, collectible and rare books, textbooks, comic books, children’s books—the list goes on.

Common formats include hardcovers, paperbacks, and ebooks. Often, you can offer a single title in more than one format or condition. For example, new releases are frequently available in paperback and ebook versions. Amazon book condition categories include:
  • New
  • Used -Like new
  • Used - Very good
  • Used - Good
  • Used - Acceptable
How do you know if a book’s condition is acceptable? Ask yourself: As a customer, would you be satisfied? If the answer is yes, chances are good someone else might like it too, and it might be worth listing for sale online.

Common formats include hardcovers, paperbacks, and ebooks. Often, you can offer a single title in more than one format or condition. For example, new releases are frequently available in paperback and ebook versions. Amazon book condition categories include:

New books

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

Used books

Compared to new books, secondhand books can be easier to find and cheaper to acquire. They can also be profitable if you find good deals locally or online. Here are some tips for selling used books:
  • Do pricing research before you buy. Used books can often sell for around half the price of a new edition, but factors like quality can drive down prices.
  • Pay close attention to the book condition. If the condition isn’t acceptable, you could end up with unhappy customers.
  • Check any guidelines for selling used books based on the channel where you want to list them.

Books without an ISBN

A book's International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a code you can usually find inside the dust jacket or on the barcode. If the book doesn’t have an ISBN, you can request an exemption to list the book in the Amazon store. This might be the case for rare or collectible books, or books printed before 1970.


Offer ebooks to customers who like to read on tablets and other electronic devices. Ready to share your own masterpiece with the world? Consider self-publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). With KDP, you can adjust prices, make content changes, and earn money.

Learn the lingo:

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

An ISBN is a number—often paired with a barcode—that can identify a book’s edition and publisher in addition to physical properties like format, trim size, and binding type. ISBNs can help differentiate between particular books, as well as specific editions.


Do you have used college textbooks taking up space? If they’re in good condition, you might be able to get them off your shelf and make some cash in the process.

New and used textbooks can be a lucrative niche. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
  • Textbook sales tend to be seasonal with the highest demand at the start of a new semester, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t sell any right away.
  • Do some pricing research on similar textbooks to figure out how to set price points.
  • Take great product photos to help customers make informed purchasing decisions.
You can sell almost any type of book online—new, used, collectible and rare books, textbooks, comic books, children’s books—the list goes on.

To sell textbooks in the Amazon store, double check the ISBN to make sure you aren’t selling the wrong edition. Some types of textbooks might be prohibited, like teacher’s editions and solutions manuals. Reference our guidelines for selling textbooks.

5 steps to sell books online

Step 1: Decide how you want to source books

You can sell books you already own or build your inventory through other sources like:
  • Wholesalers
  • Publishers
  • Distributors
  • Library sales
  • Auctions
  • Used book stores
  • Yard sales
  • Estate sales
  • Thrift shops
While procuring books, be sure to evaluate the condition of each one. Check the condition guidelines of any selling site you use. For example, Amazon has condition guidelines for books.

Step 2: Determine where you want to sell

Potential selling channels could be your own website, a selling website like Amazon, social media—or all of the above. Just make sure you’re coordinating orders and staying on top of inventory management if you use more than one sales channel.

In the Amazon store, you can create your own branded storefront to give customers a designated spot to browse what you have to offer.

Step 3: Set prices

Book prices can depend on a number of variables, including type and condition. One way to set prices is to monitor the prices of other booksellers and adjust your prices accordingly to make sure they’re competitive. Don't forget to take costs and fees related to things like packing and shipping into account when you set your prices.

Try Amazon’s Revenue Calculator to compare fees, costs, and estimated net profits for different scenarios.

Did you know?

You can manage prices automatically with ecommerce automation

Amazon’s Automate Pricing tool lets you adjust prices based on real-time demand with customized repricing rules.

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 ecommerce fulfillment.

In the case of ebooks, fulfillment could be as simple as providing a download option for successful transactions. For physical copies, you might want to work with a print on demand (POD) service that can create and ship paperbacks and hardcovers as orders come in.

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 the right 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 look into third-party logistics (3PL) providers.

Learn the lingo:


A copyright protects original works of authorship. If you write something yourself, you’re typically the copyright owner for your original work.

You might be able to sell books by another author if you’ve received permission from the copyright owner. Also, you can usually sell a genuine, lawfully purchased book because the resale is protected by the first sale doctrine.

Step 5: Boost sales with marketing

Use promotions and advertising to help attract customers. Here are some ideas:
  • Get the word out about your book business on social media.
  • Increase your exposure through special promotions like seasonal sales.
  • Offer digital deals and coupons.
  • Start a blog or vlog.
  • Send email campaigns and build a loyal following.
You can also get strategic with cost-per-click (CPC) ads in the Amazon store like Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Sponsored Display. These digital advertisements can draw attention to the products you offer using specific keywords. Learn more in our guide to ecommerce marketing techniques.

Pro Tip

Use customer reviews as a source of social proof

Good reviews can go a long way in winning customer trust and earning more sales. To get excellent reviews, focus on providing a great experience at every stage of the shopping journey, including:
  • Creating great product listings
  • Shipping orders on time
  • Responding to customers and resolving issues quickly
Brands enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry, a free resource to help you build and protect your brand, can also generate reviews through Amazon Vine. Vine is a program that allows you to provide your product to a community of trusted reviewers who can try it and share high-quality reviews.

5 tips for selling books in the Amazon store

1. Choose a selling plan based on your goals

Amazon offers two selling plans: Individual and Professional.

If you’re only planning to sell a few books here and there, the Individual plan might be the best fit at $0.99 per item sold plus applicable selling fees. 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 $39.99 per month plus applicable selling fees. It also offers a larger set of tools and programs to help you manage your business.

You can pick one plan and switch to the other option at any time.

2. Research genres and categories

Researching high-demand niches can pay off. If you’re looking for a quick way to locate high-demand books, try the Best Sellers in Books list for a ranking based on what’s trending right now.

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

Another way to do product research is to use the Amazon Seller app to scan barcodes or use visual search to look up a product without a barcode and see details about it in the Amazon store. Just tap the camera icon in the app and point your phone at the product to pull up information.

3. Be honest about book condition

Make sure to include accurate information about each book so customers can make informed purchasing decisions. Be fully transparent and share important details to set appropriate expectations and avoid issues like returns and negative feedback. Reference our conditions guidelines for books.

4. Choose the right fulfillment option

In the Amazon store, you have several options for meeting your fulfillment needs.

You can fulfill orders directly, maintaining your own inventory and shipping to customers. This can be a cost-effective approach when you have a low volume of orders and adequate storage space.

If you want to outsource packing, shipping, returns, and customer service, you can turn to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). As part of Supply Chain by Amazon, FBA allows you to ship inventory into Amazon’s global fulfillment network, where we can take care of fulfillment services on your behalf. FBA can help you save time, reduce operational costs, and grow your business.

5. Monitor your sales performance

Hoping to increase sales? Trying looking at what you’re already selling to spot trends and turning points. If specific genres are selling well, it could make sense to scale up in those areas. A pricing strategy might help you be more competitive. For example, adjusting prices could lead to a spike in sales. Free sales estimators can help you calculate your margins and grow profitability.

Brands enrolled in Brand Registry can also access Amazon Brand Analytics—a collection of dashboards that offer customer and brand performance data like clicks, impressions, cart adds, conversions, and much more.

Drive online sales for your products

Learn how to sell with Amazon.

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 very profitable. Whether as a side gig or a lucrative business, this niche can be a great way to make money. In the Amazon store, US-based sellers sold more than 4.5 billion items in 2023 and averaged more than $250,000 in sales.
What types of books can I sell in the Amazon store?
You can sell virtually any type of book in the Amazon store. If a book doesn’t have an ISBN, you can request an exemption. Maximize your sales potential by making optimizations to land in the Amazon Featured Offer.
How much does it cost to sell books in the Amazon store?
Amazon's selling plans give you the option to pay $0.99 per sale (Individual plan) or $39.99 per month (Professional plan) plus applicable selling fees. You can decide which option is best for you based on your business model and goals. To get started, sign up for a selling account.

Start selling today

$39.99 a month + selling fees