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How to Create and Sell an Ebook

How to Make a Profit Selling Your Old Used Books

10 min read

If you consider yourself an avid reader (or helpless hoarder) there’s a good chance you’ve got a mountain of old books lying around your home. Conversely, you may have a passion for collecting classic titles and collectible rarities. However your love for the written word manifests itself, you may be considering selling old and used books for profit.

Within this article, we’ll be looking at a few things you need to consider if you want to make money selling books.

Read on for more information.

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Make Money Selling Books: 5 Steps to Success

If you want to make a tidy profit selling old and used books, you’ll want to consider the following steps:

  1. Describe your books clearly: Be sure to state the condition, publisher, year of publication, and ISBN number.
  2. Price the books accurately: Make sure you research how much your books should cost. You can find this information on competitors’ websites and book auctions.
  3. Make sure your books are in the condition possible: It goes without saying that your books should be clean and complete — no missing pages!
  4. State shipping costs: If you are selling online, make sure you let the customer know how much shipping will cost and remember to use a trackable delivery option.
  5. Always be professional: You want to make a good impression; this starts with excellent customer service.

Describe Your Books Accurately and Clearly

If you are thinking about setting up a business selling books, you need to make sure you list your titles accurately and in great detail. Whether you are creating your own ecommerce store or selling through Amazon, Facebook, or eBay, you will want to post plenty of photos. These images should clearly show the front, back, and spine of the book, as well as any damage to the cover or pages.

You should also include the publication date, full title of the book, and the author’s name. If the book is relatively modern, it should have an ISBN, giving you all the information you need regarding the publishing format and when the book was published. Finally, you should clean the book as much as possible, but refrain from using any chemicals as they will damage the binding and paper; your book will reduce in value if you clean it too much.

Remember to Calculate Shipping and Postage Costs

Most of your buyers will expect to have their purchase delivered to the door, so you need to consider shipping costs when calculating your prices. First, of course, you need to make sure the book’s price is enough to cover any expenses and earn you a profit. If you are selling through a site like eBay, you can set a delivery charge on top of your sale price. As such, you may want to include different delivery costs to give your customer a choice between standard and tracked delivery methods.

If you are selling rare and expensive books, you should use a trackable delivery method to cover your back if the item is lost on the way to the customer. You also need to consider the cost of bubble wrap, packaging, and tape. If your book is particularly large or heavy, these costs can add up to as much as the postal charge. In addition, you’ll want to use durable, top-quality packaging. This type of packaging will ensure the book remains undamaged during transit.

Selling Books on Amazon, eBay, and Other Services

If you are selling your books on Amazon or eBay, you need to remember that these websites are very popular among other people looking to make a profit in second-hand literature. Anybody can list books for sale on these sites. As such, you should consider how much everybody else charges for the same item. Also, don’t be greedy; customers are less likely to buy from you if you price your items much higher than other people on the same site. Consider using a book pricing app to scan your books and figure out their market price.

Where Can You Find Second-HandBooks to Sell Online

Thrift Stores, Yard Sales, and House Clearances

If you start making a profit selling books online, you will need to source more stock, particularly if you intend to grow your business. Luckily, second-hand books are everywhere, and they are usually really cheap. Head to your local charity shops and thrift stores. Peruse their shelves and look for hidden gems that have been priced a lot lower than they should. This is where book pricing apps will come in handy out in the wild.

You may also want to check out auctions and house clearance to pick up large book collections. Many people want to clear a house as quickly as possible, which means you’ll save a lot of money than if you had found those same books in a charity shop.

Can Selling Books Online Make a Profit?

By and large, most books are only read once before they are given away to a thrift shop, auction, or even just left in a cafe or on public transport. However, if you take the time to sell them online, you’ll be able to make some money. However, this is far from straightforward, and selling books online takes a lot of effort and patience. You may experience weeks of absolutely zero sales, but then you’ll earn lots of money in a few days (sometimes with just one sale). If you want to make serious money selling books, you’ll need the knowledge and platform to back it up. This is where Ecwid can help.

Ecwid is an ecommerce platform that makes selling online more manageable. Build your own store from scratch to instantly sync and sell across your own website, social media, marketplaces, and more. Grow your business with automated marketing tools. And manage it all from your Ecwid control panel.

Make a Choice: Second Hand or Rare and Collectable?

If you are selling books online, you need to decide what type of books you will sell: second-hand or rare and collectible items.

Second-hand books are far more common. These books that have been owned by another person are now being sold for a fraction of the cover price. Second-hand books usually include popular fiction, student textbooks, or books sold in an auction or house clearing.

Rare and collectible books are, as you may have guessed, much more challenging to come by. In addition, this is an entire market that requires knowledge about the condition and rarity of the book and its investment potential moving forward. As such, profits are much more difficult to predict in this sector of the market.

If you have any items that you think could be particularly valuable, we recommend that you photograph the covers and the inside pages. Then you should contact any auction houses or specialist book traders that may be interested in your books. Some traders will have more knowledge about a particular book than you do and will be willing to help you price your book. Even if the book is not very valuable, you’ll learn more about what you should look for and what makes a collectible book truly valuable.

Final Thoughts

Here are all the tips on how to profitably sell old used books online:

  • Describe all the characteristics of the book.
  • Do not overprice books.
  • Books must be in good condition.
  • Tell the buyer the exact shipping cost.
  • Start selling on one platform first, and if successful, launch on others.
  • And don’t forget about great service.

We hope we’ve given you some insight into the things you should consider when selling books online. With the right level of planning, you may be able to make some extra money every month. However, you should be aware that you’ll have to sell books as a side hustle while working another job to make a good living. Remember, if you want to sell books online through your own ecommerce store, Ecwid is an efficient and easy-to-use service that will help you control your online business with minimal fuss and total satisfaction.

If you’d like to know more, click here.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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