by the AMZScout Expert Team
Jeff Bezos founded Amazon on July 5, 1994. It was known as “Earth’s biggest bookstore” and still arguably holds this title back then. It is said that Amazon has one new book released every five minutes.
Whether you are an aspiring author or want to offer a book marketplace, there are plenty of offerings on Amazon. Below, we’ll answer all of your burning questions on this in-depth guide that you need to follow to be a successful bookseller on Amazon.
Kinds of Books that Sellers Can Sell on Amazon
To get a good idea of what kinds of books work on Amazon, you can start by looking at the best sellers list. There is a navigation bar along the left side of this screen that tells you of product categories.
Some of the more popular genres include the following:
- Children’s books
If you are an author, you don’t need to be told what to write. Aspiring authors should ideally write from the heart, as that is where their passion is. Still, knowing what sells well can give you some ideas.
For general booksellers, you might not want to sell something you’ve personally made. In that case, you can specialize in selling these book categories:
- Used books
- New books
- Books without an ISBN (Printed before 1970)
- Collectible books
If you’ve ever shopped around any local bookstore, what they have on the shelves can be what you have on the shelves. The only actual limit is your imagination.
How to Get Started Selling Books on Amazon
Any level of imagination comes with a bit of work. Thankfully, selling on Amazon is pretty easy to accomplish.
Below, we’ll provide you some detailed steps you can follow to get your book business on Amazon.
Step One: Register an Amazon Account
Before you can establish your business, you need to register an Amazon account. This is a multi-step process that requires a bit of patience.
First, you need to sign up to become an individual seller. To become an individual seller, you need to have the following information on hand:
- Your name
- Business address (this can be your personal address)
- Your Date of Birth
- Your country of citizenship and birth
- Something proving your identity (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
If you already have an existing customer account, you can use that to fill in your information. Amazon does enable its users to establish customer accounts, affiliate accounts, and business accounts under one email.
Amazon will bring you through a process where you insert all of the information available from the above sections. After you do so, Amazon will get you through a process that will enable you to verify your bank account.
For those who are affiliated with larger banks, Amazon has a built-in verification process. However, you might have to submit a digital bank statement to Amazon if your verification process hits a wall.
The last two steps you’ll need to complete are to schedule a verification meeting and verify your address.
To verify your address with Amazon, the company will send you a postcard containing a code. After establishing a password associated with your earlier account creation process, you can log in to insert the verification code.
Before or after this code is sent, you’ll need to schedule a meeting with an Amazon representative. This is something you can also do inside of the verification screen, so you’ll just need to log in and select the “here” button under “Video Call Verification.”
The video call will require you to have a physical copy of your identification, your bank statement, and thirty minutes of available time. Once you are done with this entire process, you will have access to Seller Central.
Should You Choose To Be a Professional Seller or Individual Seller?
When selling on Amazon, the company presents you with two choices in becoming a seller: professional or individual.
If you plan on selling fewer than 40 items and do not plan on using Amazon’s ad tools, being an individual seller is good enough. You will need to pay a listing fee of $0.99 per item as an individual seller.
Anyone selling 40 (or more) items needs to become a professional seller. Professional sellers can use analytics tools and advertisement tools. They are also more likely to qualify for higher positions when competing with other bookstores.
Step Two: Choose Your Fulfillment Method (FBA or FBM)
After establishing your Amazon account, your next option is to decide how to ship your books. Amazon gives its sellers two possibilities when it comes to fulfillment: FBA or FBM.
FBA Sellers, otherwise known as Fulfillment By Amazon, have their shipments and storage handled entirely by Amazon. This is typically the best option for new sellers, and those selling books typically lack the warehouse space and experience in handling shipping.
As an FBA Seller, you send your books to the nearest Fulfillment Center. Amazon charges you shipping costs but handles all shipment and storage as a result.
It’s incredibly convenient and enables you to take advantage of that Amazon Prime label. Amazon Prime sellers always have a higher chance of claiming top slots on Amazon.
Your other option is known as FBM Selling, otherwise known as Fulfillment By Merchant. FBM Sellers have experience in handling storage and shipment of their products.
Typically, FBM sellers own a warehouse or physical business location suited for shipping large quantities of merchandise. By doing so, you must handle all shipping yourself, often leading to slower times.
FBM sellers are rarely able to compete with Amazon regarding logistics. That’s because Amazon can ship products within two days to most of its customer base.
However, those who have the experience can have greater inventory control. So your choice between FBA and FBM entirely depends on who you want to ship and store your product.
Step Three: List Your Books on Amazon
Once you’ve decided on your fulfillment method, you can start to create the listings. For those familiar with books, you can easily list them in most locations without trouble.
This lack of trouble comes from the existence of the ISBN. The ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, is a way of quickly identifying books.
IBSNs used to be ten digits in length but now consist of 13 digits after updates in January of 2007. These numbers are in five sections and divided by a series of hyphens.
To recognize ISBNs, look for a series starting with 978 or 979. If you are an author or book publisher, you should register your ISBN.
If you are a bookstore owner, you don’t need to register any ISBNs. Instead, you can typically find them by typing into Amazon’s system.
Here’s a step-by-step guide you can follow to list your books:
- After logging into Seller Central, click on “Inventory” and select “Manage Inventory”
- In the upper-right-hand corner, choose “Edit” and select “Send/Replenish Inventory”
- If you haven’t already, enter details on your “Ship from Address”
- Choose “Individual Products” if you are a bookseller selling different books with different ISBNs
- Select “Case-Packed Products” if you are an author sending one book (or a bookseller sending multiple copies of the same book)
- Enter the total number of books you plan on sending
- Select “No Prep Needed” on the last step, as books do not have any particular shipping guidelines
After filling in this information, Amazon will provide you with an address that tells you where to send your books. Amazon usually prefers UPS, but you can choose another carrier.
You’ll want to enter your package dimensions and weight to determine your shipping costs. Once you pay these costs, you can begin to print the necessary shipping labels.
Once you’ve got the shipping labels in hand, you can ship your products to the preferred fulfillment center. This process is known as preparing your books for FBA.
How To Find and Resell Books
If you are struggling to find books to buy and resell, here are some common ways people find books for their collection:
- Wholesaling – Newer books like comic books, cookbooks, or other forms of books are still sold wholesale. When looking for new books to sell, you can reach out to multiple companies to see if they offer wholesale rates.
- Retail or Online Arbitrage – Arbitrage refers to resellers buying large quantities of books on sale. People call it “online” when you buy those bulk-discounted books all at once. After buying them, you can sell them again at a higher price.
- Buying Used – Many online marketplaces are more interested in getting rid of their books over selling them. If you see listings on Facebook Marketplace, buying used copies in bulks is incredibly similar to online arbitrage.
Step Four: Prepare Your Books for FBA (Optional)
Once you’ve put in the information above, you have two more choices when it comes to FBA prep. In your case, you won’t need to pay for an FBA prep service, as books require no special preparation.
The next page is the “prepare shipment page,” which enables you to modify the shipping plan depending on what changes. This page reminds sellers of the importance of being accurate.
Always double-check the weight, dimensions, and number of units before finalizing any shipping labels. You’ll want to do all of this in the previous step. Otherwise, you can make changes within a 5% threshold.
If you must make changes above 5%, you’ll need to create a new shipping plan. You can do this with the “Delete Shipment/Cancel Shipment” button at the bottom of this page.
The shipment method you will be choosing is known as Small Parcel Delivery (SPD). SPD is typically done through UPS, FedEx, or USPS.
To ship through SPD, you need to meet these requirements:
- You must have a shipping label (mentioned above)
- Your package should not weigh more than 50 pounds
- Your package cannot exceed 25 inches on any side
- It must be adequately sealed and packed
If your package exceeds dimensional or weight limits, you will need to send multiple packages. You are not likely to send your packages by Less Than Truckload (LTL) or higher.
Once your package arrives and is checked thoroughly, your shipment will be closed. Closing a shipment is not the same as canceling.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing: Selling Your Books Digitally
If you are an aspiring author, you should also seek all methods required to publish your books digitally. In Amazon’s case, your best way of doing this is through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
KDP enables authors to publish their content by converting their book to eBook format. KDB takes this eBook and creates it in both Kindle and paperback formats.
Kindle also provides guides and optional tools to create covers and ensure you meet formatting requirements.
Instead, closing shipments refer to a job being complete. If there are shipment errors, the closing can take up to 90 days while investigations take place. Using Kindle Create, you can write an entire book without ever leaving Amazon.
Amazon also includes guides if you want to use Word or other eBook creators. Check out KDP University if you want to see how to write and publish your book end-to-end.
Whether you are an author or offer incredible customer service as a bookseller, Amazon enables you to do both. Regardless of what you want to sell, Amazon can make those dreams come true.
Before we close the book on this article, here are some quick tips you can write down to make sure your bookselling business takes off:
- Don’t forget to advertise your books and bid for suitable targets
- Be honest about what condition your books are in
- Make sure you practice competitive pricing against other sellers
- Establish how you are going to get the books before opening a store
- If you resell books, try and stick with hardcover options that sell more
- If you sell collectible books, you will need to become a professional seller
- Don’t forget the basics: offer quality products, ship fast, and focus on customer service
This article was written by the AMZScout Expert Team. AMZScout analytical tools help sellers maximise revenue and achieve success on Amazon.