Sell books

How to sell books on Amazon in 2024

Der komplette Leitfaden zum Verkauf von Büchern auf Amazon in 2024
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How to sell books on Amazon in 2022
Whether you love books or simply want to sell them online, online bookshops are becoming increasingly popular.
This is also confirmed by the figures: in the last ten years (2011–2021), more than seven million books have been sold in Germany alone, and the trend is rising.

The enormous reach of the internet and the easy way to sell books make this an attractive option. But someone who has never sold books online may find it difficult.

Today, online bookshops offer numerous options, such as finding used, rare or very old books and specialist books, without having to walk from shop to shop. This saves time and makes it very convenient to search and compare from the comfort of your own home. This makes it possible to compare prices and the search functions make it much easier to find than in a bookshop, and they usually only have a limited range of products in store. Shipping is often free of charge above a certain purchase price and is very quick and easy to get straight to your home.

Another advantage is that you can also sell books at many online retailers. This means you can part with old books and earn some money at the same time. This option has meant that more and more people are interested in online bookshops and also want to start selling books themselves, but often don't really know how to start with it.

This article is a guide for you on how to sell books online and with whom.
How do you start selling books online?

How do you start selling books online?

You can sell your books online in two different ways: direct sales or on an online marketplace.

When selling directly, your books are sold directly to an appropriate provider. This means you quickly get the profit you have earned paid out to your own account. Your own books, including a photo and a detailed description, can be listed and offered for sale on an online marketplace. You have to wait until buyers are found here.

How to deal with a direct provider
With a direct provider, you usually go to the provider's website first, enter all the information requested about your book and then receive a price offer. If the price offered is too low for you, you can look for another provider.
As soon as the right provider is found, you enter your personal details, bank details, print out the shipping label and choose the shipping method. Once everything has been completed, you will pack the offered books and send them to the retailer. After the retailer has received and checked the goods, you will receive your money. Done!
Which books are suitable for online sales?

Which books are suitable for online sales?

In principle, you can sell all books online, the question is always whether you can find a buyer for them. It is helpful if you choose a niche or pursue specific book genres. Here are a few ideas as to which books are good for sale. These include, for example, children's, pocket, antiquarian and old books, as well as novels, used textbooks or school books, to name just a few. You can also sell common book formats such as hardcovers, paperbacks or e-books. Whether you want to list and sell books from your bookshelf, resell non-fiction books you've already read, part with beloved comics, or want to get rid of rare hardcover collectibles, almost anything is possible.

Selling via an online marketplace

You can become an online book seller by selling your own second-hand books, working with publishers to become online book retailers, or publishing your own work. In addition, there are also e-books and audio books, which you can also offer online.
This type of e-book is becoming increasingly popular and is read or listened to by many on smartphones, tablets, or e-book readers.

Before you start your bookshop, you should decide whether you want to create your own online bookshop or sell via an existing provider.

Here are a few things you should consider when setting up your own business if you don't have your own online shop yet.
  • Choose a domain name that suits your offer and is easy to recognise if you're an author, then your author name.
  • Clarify the expected costs for creation and maintenance before you start.
  • Decide which payment options you would like to offer.
  • For electronic books, you need a download function that works quickly and easily.
  • Have you already thought about packing and shipping?
  • Also consider how returns are processed and who will be the contact person for customer enquiries.
  • It is also very important how you get visitors to your online shop, i.e. which marketing concept will you use for this and what effort is involved.
As you can see, this requires a good deal of preparation and investment that can quickly use up your resources in terms of time and money. The alternative would be to use an existing online bookshop for this, such as Amazon.

If creating your own online bookshop seems too time-consuming for you, there are already ready-made solutions. One provider for this is Amazon, for example, which initially sold only books online and is now one of the largest booksellers. Amazon also offers the option to sell all types of books, i.e. physical books that are shipped and e-books or audio books to download, all from one provider.

Selling books on Amazon

Selling on the Amazon website represents a number of opportunities for sales partners.
A lot of people love reading books. Despite all of today's competing entertainment media, books are fortunately still in demand.

If you're still considering which seller would be best for your online book sale, here are some of the benefits you enjoy as a bookseller on Amazon:
  • Start with just a few books (no large inventory required) and choose from a wide range of genre categories.
  • You can sell your books for an instant payment or instalments.
  • You decide which shipping option is best for you.
Do everything yourself or take advantage of the Fulfilment by Amazon offer.

When selling books on Amazon, there are a few things to consider, such as pricing, design, and marketing. It's also important to know the best types of books to sell.

And that's why we have a guide to help you set up a successful bookshop on Amazon.

When setting up your online bookshop with Amazon, you can decide how much you want to sell to expand your business later on. This allows you to start with lower costs.

However, opening an online bookshop also requires a bit of research. For example, what type of books you're going to sell: novels, textbooks or select a specific niche. The key is to choose books with consistent customer demand and high profit margins.

There are multiple ways to choose which books you can sell on Amazon. The first is to check the Best Seller Rank (BSR) to see which are similar to the ones you want to sell with Amazon. You can find the BSR in the product details of every book on Amazon.

What books can you sell?

A key question for aspiring booksellers is often which books they can sell.

Here is an overview:

In your online bookshop, you can sell common book formats such as hardcovers, paperbacks or e-books with Amazon.
Keep in mind that some books sell better than others. It can therefore be worthwhile to research books that are in high demand. To find out, use the list “Bestsellers in books”.

Here are a few popular book types that you can sell on Amazon:

Sell textbooks online

Do you still have used textbooks from your school days or from your studies that take up a lot of space? If so, then get them off your shelf, check that they're still in good condition and earn a bit of money by selling them on Amazon. Make sure that you provide accurate information about the current condition of the book. A good time to sell textbooks is usually in the spring and fall of each year. In spring, the second half of the school year and new courses of study begin. Study preparation and books still to be purchased for the new school year offer good opportunities to sell your used ones.

Sell books without an ISBN

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) of a book is a registration code that can be found in the dust jacket or on the bar code, usually on the back of a book. If the book was printed before 1970, it may not have an ISBN. In that case, you can apply to Amazon for an exemption for these books.
Learn more about ISBN requirements here.

Sell collectibles or rare books online

Antique books can be an attractive niche market for literature lovers. Older collectors' books can be in very different conditions, so it's important to state them as precisely as possible. If you have first editions or rare collectibles, one option is to sell them on Amazon and also sell them on niche selling websites that specialise in rare and special books and collectibles.

Sell e-books online

Have you written an e-book to sell online and reach a global audience? With Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you can publish this yourself. When you use KDP, you control your rights, set your prices, make changes whenever you want and get revenue shares.

Sell new books online

Some customers love the feeling of holding a brand-new book in their hands. New books are brand-new copies in original packaging, purchased directly from wholesalers, retailers or publishers. However, if you want to sell new books, you must be aware that you can usually only buy them in bulk. To carry out initial research on competition and prices, use the overview on Amazon.

Sell used books online

Used books are generally easier to find, cheaper to buy, and can be more profitable if you find good deals locally or online. Perhaps you also have used books on your bookshelf that you would like to sell. Other resources for used books may include local second-hand bookshops, thrift stores, libraries, bookshops, local flea markets, book auctions and garden sales.
Used books are usually a good option to get started, but when selling, be sure to include details about the condition of the books. It is best to use Amazon's condition guidelines for this.

Demand for used books is usually lower than for new editions, but you can set the prices yourself here, especially for very rare books. The environmental “reuse factor” is also an argument for some buyers to buy these copies earlier.

Sell books online for collectors

Another option is to focus your offering on “collectable books” in these areas:
  • Rare or out-of-print copies
  • First editions and uncorrected prints
  • Books signed by the author
The terms and conditions for selling collectibles with Amazon can be found here. In addition, you should know that books printed before 1970 often don't have an ISBN. In such cases, you can contact Amazon to request an ISBN exemption.
Selling books on Amazon — step by step!

Selling books on Amazon — step by step!

Now that you know which books are suitable for sale on Amazon, here are step-by-step instructions on how to get started.

Step 1: Decide what type of books you want to sell

The easiest way to start selling books online is to sell books that you already own. You can also use other ways to get books for sale, such as:
  • At wholesalers, there are large quantities at lower prices online or when there are clearance sales from bookshops.
  • You can also buy new books in larger quantities from retailers or publishers. You may not have complete control over what you get, but you can buy many books at wholesale prices.
  • You can also find second-hand books at local sources such as libraries, second-hand bookshops, flea markets and thrift stores. You can also discover collectibles at estate sales.
  • Also search for auctions or warehouse sales in your area to get used or collectible books for your sale.
It is important to assess the condition of each of your books now available for sale. Follow Amazon's detailed condition guidelines when listing your books. Be sure to read the category-specific guidelines for new and used books, as well as for niche items such as collectibles

Step 2: Create your Amazon seller account

Decide whether you want to register as an individual seller or a professional seller. The main differences lie in services and fees.
  • The individual selling plan is ideal if you want to sell less than 40 items per month. You can create individual offers by associating products with existing pages or by creating new pages in the Amazon catalogue. You only pay fees to Amazon if you've sold an item. This makes this plan ideal for when you first start selling online on Amazon.
  • The professional seller tariff gives you access to advanced sales tools for a basic monthly fee. Unlike the individual plan, you pay a monthly fee regardless of whether you list or sell products (instead of a per-item fee — although both plans require a referral fee to be paid for items sold). The professional selling plan also gives you access to inventory tools. You can upload multiple files and manage your orders via feeds and reports. These advanced tools are particularly useful for medium-sized to large companies.
Compare selling plans to see which option is best for reaching your goals.

Once you've decided on a selling plan, the next step is to use the cost calculator to calculate your sales margin per unit. Then the beginner’s guide will help you get started. After signing up as a selling partner on Amazon, you get access to the Seller Central dashboard, where you can list products, manage your inventory, and fulfil orders.

Step 3: Decide on a delivery method

Would you like to handle inventory, packing, and shipping yourself or would you rather Amazon do it all for you? As an online seller on Amazon, you have two options for fulfilling orders:
  • Fulfilment by Merchant (FBM) means that as a sales partner, you take care of sales, storage and inventory management, customer service, and deliveries yourself. This option is mostly used by niche booksellers.
  • Alternatively, Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) gives you access to Amazon's logistics service. Specifically, this means you ship the books to an Amazon fulfilment centre, which does the rest for you. Fulfilment by Amazon includes storage, packing, shipping, customer service, and returns. Using Fulfilment by Amazon to ship your products is also the easiest way to get the Prime logo for most offers. Many Amazon customers are looking for products with the Prime logo because it represents fast and free shipping. While you take care of sales and marketing, Amazon manages storage, deliveries, and customer service. FBA is the first choice for larger shops with large inventories.

Step 4: Set your book prices

Book prices depend on a wide range of variables, including book type and condition. Monitor the prices that other booksellers charge and adjust your prices accordingly. It is possible to change prices again at any time. Here are a few key 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)?
When setting prices, don't forget to consider packaging and shipping costs.

With the “Price Hit” tool, you can quickly and easily get the current lowest prices on Amazon for specific products.

Learn more about the “Apply Price Hit” feature and how you can apply it to one or several offers.

Step 5: List your books on Amazon

An easy way to list books for sale is to go straight to the product page and look up the titles of the books you want to sell.

Just follow these instructions:
  • Enter the book's ISBN code in the Amazon search bar. If the book was printed before 1970, enter the title manually.
  • On the product overview page, click the “Sell on Amazon” button.
  • Enter the item number. This can be an SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) of your choice, or if you leave the field blank, Amazon will automatically generate an SKU for you.
  • Select your price To get the lowest price, simply click this button.
  • Then enter the total quantity of the book you want to sell. The default is one unit.
  • Indicate the condition of the book. Be 100% honest when providing information about the condition of each book.
  • Now select your shipping method (FBM or FBA).

Step 6: Promote and market your books

Now is the time to think about how you can really move your book sales forward.

Take advantage of Amazon tools

If you want to sell books, use Amazon Seller University, which offers free training videos that help you learn the basics of selling, sales tools, advertising, and promotion. With Amazon advertising, you can grow your business, increase sales, and measure the effectiveness of your ads. Check out the Amazon Ads website to learn more.

If you're an author, promote your own published books on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

Promote your online book business on social media

Social media can be a powerful tool to increase your business presence. Find out where your target group is and increase your activities for this demographic.

Pay attention to reviews

Good reviews really help build trust. Here are a few tips for getting positive feedback:
  • Be honest about the condition of the books you want to sell.
  • Ship the books ordered from you on time.
  • Respond in a prompt and friendly manner to all customer enquiries.
  • If problems arise, respond as quickly as possible to find a solution.
  • As a professional seller, good reviews also increase the chance that your product will be listed as a recommended offer (the first option on the yellow “Buy” button).

Step 7: Pack and ship your books

When choosing the delivery method, remember that only satisfied customers can become regular customers!

Fulfilling orders using the FBA method

  • Create your shipment using your Amazon Seller Central account. But before you do that, take a look at all the details of sending/replenishing your Amazon inventory.
  • Pack your books adequately for delivery to an Amazon fulfilment centre. For more information, see Parcel Deliveries to Amazon, Packing and Preparation Requirements and Product Size Ratings.
  • Verify that your shipments are properly labelled and meet shipping label requirements.
  • If your books are brand new, carefully review the requirements for FBA products that should be sold as new.
  • Track how Amazon receives and stores your inventory to be sure that your shipment has arrived properly.

Fulfilling orders using the FBM method

  • Manage orders from your seller account
  • Pack all your books securely for shipping.
  • Prepare the delivery notes and print them out. Amazon generates a product and shipping label for you in PDF format (see Printing a Delivery Note).
  • Send your parcel with the carrier of your choice. It is best to choose one that allows you to track your shipment.
  • Confirm the order (see How to confirm a shipment).

With the shipping service

If you ship your books yourself, you should use Amazon's mail-order purchase service. It lets you buy shipping labels, ship, confirm, and track orders all in one place. With this service, you automatically receive confirmation and do not have to do it manually.


The online sale of books can become an additional source of income — or the start of a lucrative online business. If you're considering selling dusty books from your bookshelf, children's books that your children don't read anymore, or even your original self-made e-book, Amazon can be a wonderful start for a new business model. The Amazon website is very popular and is visited by millions of people every day. With numerous tools, Amazon helps you start selling in just a few hours. It doesn't matter whether you want to sell new or used volumes, specific titles or specific genres, the beginner's guide will help you build a successful business.


Is it profitable to sell books online?
Selling books online can provide lucrative additional income or become a profitable business.
Here are a few benefits of selling books online:
  • As an online book retailer, it is possible to earn extra money.
  • There is no limit to how many or how few books you want to sell.
  • This business can be very convenient for you and your buyers, with no queues and no opening hours that need to be observed.
  • Offer a wide range of titles, authors, and genres in your bookshop.
What costs should I expect when selling books with Amazon?
Amazon's selling plan offers you two possible options: per sale (individual sales rate) or a flat monthly fee (professional selling rate). You can decide which option is best for you based on your business model. For books, the brokerage fee is 15% and there is no minimum referral fee. The shipping costs depend on whether you pack and ship items yourself (FBM) or outsource this to Amazon (FBA). If you choose to fulfil orders yourself, there are guidelines for Amazon's book, music, video and DVD (BMVD) rates and Amazon’s“Buy shipping fee” service.
Can I sell my books on Amazon?
Selling books on Amazon is a great option for many different types of books. For example, if you're a self-publishing author, this is also a great opportunity to get your work out to millions of people.
Can I sell books on Amazon for free?
No, there are fees associated with selling books on Amazon and accessing millions of online customers, including over 150 million Amazon Prime members.
When selling with Amazon, you can choose between an individual selling plan with pay-as-you-go pricing or a professional selling plan where you pay a flat monthly fee. Amazon also charges a referral fee for each sale, which is a percentage of the total transaction and varies by product category. Learn more about selling plans here.
What types of books can you sell on Amazon?
You can sell new books, used books, collectibles, comics, and more across a wide range of different genres. If your books don't have an ISBN, you can also sell books by title to monetise your old used books.
What is an acceptable condition for a book
You can use specific definitions to describe the condition of a book on Amazon. This description helps manage customer expectations. When listing a book, refer to these guidelines and requirements for conditions.
Should I sell my books on Amazon only?
You're not limited to just selling your books through a website. However, if you choose to sell through multiple sales channels, make sure to keep track of your inventory and manage sales accordingly.
What are the pros and cons of selling books online on Amazon?
The benefits of selling books on Amazon include:
  • Access to Amazon's 300 million customers worldwide
  • Use tools and business resources from Amazon that optimise revenue, grow your business, and expand your customer base.
  • Services such as Fulfilment by Amazon that help with inventory, selling, shipping orders, and returns management, so you can free up your resources and focus on your business.
Some potential challenges may include:
  • You must remain competitive with your prices and customer service to differentiate your brand from competition from other sellers who already serve millions of buyers who visit Amazon every month.
  • Accessing selling on Amazon is subject to required fees, which may vary depending on the method of sale and delivery
Is selling books on Amazon a good idea?
Selling books on Amazon is a great idea! Whether you're looking to free up some space on your shelves or want to start an online bookshop, you can adapt your strategy to meet your sales goals.
Ready to get started?
Sell to millions of monthly buyers on Amazon Compare sales plans to find out which programme is best for your business or sign up now.

Start selling online with Amazon today

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