How to Sell Textbooks on Amazon: A Step-By-Step Guide

Published on: Wed Oct 13 2021

Written by Tony Do

Selling textbooks on Amazon is extremely easy, has a low upfront cost, and can be very profitable. Textbooks provide great opportunities for new and aspiring Amazon sellers.

It’s no surprise that books are one of Amazon’s top-selling product categories. Since the start, Amazon’s was built on selling books online. Founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos argued the importance of selling books, stating books are the most diverse and plentiful product category on Amazon. We mentioned this in our last Amazon book article, where we broke down the 2021 Guide to Selling Books on Amazon. We want to continue with our book-selling journey by getting into the specifics of how to sell textbooks on Amazon.

Like any other book on Amazon, textbooks can be an extremely profitable market Amazon. But, textbooks have an innate advantage over other books that make them easier to source and even easier to sell. For new and inexperienced Amazon sellers, textbooks provide a highway of sales and profits you can start collecting now. Let’s get into why you should sell textbooks on Amazon!

Why sell textbooks on Amazon?

In our 2021 Guide to Selling Books on Amazon, we provided a ton of different benefits and reasons to sell books on Amazon. Textbooks are no different, they carry the same benefits as other books.

Easy to Source

For starters, textbooks are extremely easy to source. Sometimes even easier than other books! For our college and high school students or our college graduates, you probably already have a bunch of textbooks in your house. Throughout your academic career, you have probably come across dozens of textbooks for various courses and lessons. After you finished a course or school year, you probably kept that textbook laying around and aren’t sure what to do with it. Selling them on Amazon is a great way to get rid of those pesky textbooks that are collecting dust on your shelves. If you don’t have any textbooks laying around, don’t panic. Textbooks, like all books, can be found at garage sales, thrift stores, or even online marketplaces for extremely cheap. You can easily stock up and build a textbook inventory!

High Demand in Academics

Another benefit of selling textbooks is the high academic demand. As mentioned, textbooks are commonly used for academic courses and lessons. Most curriculums use specific textbooks and center their lesson plans around the textbook chapters. There are hundreds of schools teaching the same courses and lessons that all use the same textbooks. And lesson plans usually stay constant from year to year. Every year, there will be classes that require your textbook and even more students trying to buy your textbooks. Textbooks are one of the only books that can truly take advantage of this high academic demand.

Requires Less Resources

Selling textbooks also require a lot less financial resources to sell on Amazon When selling on Amazon, you typically need at least $500 – $1,000 to get started. This is mainly to pay for your seller plan ($39.99 for Professional plans), source products to sell, and pay for shipping, storage, and fulfillment costs.

If you are only selling a couple of textbooks a year, you don’t have a lot of upfront costs. Because your inventory is a lot lower, you only need to invest in the Individual plan, which costs $0.99 per unit sold. So if you sell 10 textbooks, you would only have to pay $10 compared to paying for the $40 Professional plan. In addition, you aren’t paying to source a lot of products. You may already have old textbooks to sell without having to buy new inventory. Most importantly, limited stock means you don’t have to enroll in Fulfillment by Amazon, which includes shipping costs and warehouse storage fees. Textbook sellers can enroll in Fulfillment by Merchant, where the seller directly ships to the buyer instead of going through Amazon’s fulfillment centers.

Sellers can also store their limited stock in their houses or garages which saves a ton on storage. Ideally, you could start selling your textbooks for $1*.

*Note: sellers will also need to pay Amazon a referral fee for every textbook sold. For any book sold, Amazon charges 15% of the selling price + $1.80 closing fee.

Earn Extra Income

The most important benefit of selling textbooks on Amazon is the extra income. Textbooks are easy to sell, in high demand, and don’t require many resources to get started. For students or recent college graduates, this is a great way to make some extra cash without requiring too much work or time.

Opening Your Amazon Seller Account

Opening an Amazon Seller account is the first step to selling textbooks on Amazon. We have a whole article to help you get started on your Amazon Seller account.

Along with the article, we want to touch on your Amazon seller plan, which will play a key role in determining your business model. Your seller plan is the first potential upfront cost of your Amazon business. Amazon currently offers 2 different selling plans:

The Individual plan

Costs $0.99 per unit sold. We recommend the Individual plan for new sellers with little to no sales history, sellers with limited stock, or sellers who don’t plan on selling long-term.

The Professional plan

Costs $39.99 upfront, no matter how many units you sell. We recommend the Professional plan for sellers with consistent sales history, sellers expecting more than 40 sales per month or serious sellers who want to sell long-term.

To determine the best seller plan, estimate how many products you plan a selling per month, your long-term goals, and experience. Remember that this plan can be upgraded later on if necessary. So if you are unsure which plan would be best, we recommend starting with the Individual plan and upgrading to the Professional plan as needed.

Picking Books to Sell

Now that you have your Seller account set up and the seller plan picked, the next step is to pick which textbooks to sell on Amazon. We recommend looking at the competition, selling price, and profitability of your textbook.

Step 1:

Find your textbook’s International Standard Book Number (ISBN). This is a 13 (ISBN-13) or 10 (ISBN-10) digit code found on the back of your textbook underneath the barcode. Each textbook and edition will have a different ISBN.

For example, our textbook “Campbell Biology – 11th Edition” has both an ISBN-13 (978-0134093413) and ISBN-10 (0134093410).

Step 2:

Find your textbook’s listing on Amazon (if available) by searching the ISBN.

Step 3:

Find how many sellers are selling your book in the same condition. We are selling our textbook in Used-Acceptable condition. We see that other sellers selling the same book are listing it for $59 – $145.

Step 4:

Determine the profitability if you were to sell your book with competitive pricing. Competitive pricing is usually 15% higher than the lowest selling price. The lowest selling price for our textbook in the Used-Acceptable condition is $59. From this figure, we estimate the cost to sell and ship the product.

Selling price – $68 ($59 + 15% more = $68)

Delivery cost: $3.99

Referral fee: $10.65 ($59 x 15% + $1.80)

From this equation, we subtract the selling price ($68) by the delivery cost ($3.99) and referral fee ($10.65) and we get a profit margin of $53. This is what we would make if we sold this textbook.

Fulfilling the Orders

Before you create your listing, you will need to decide which fulfillment method you want to use for your textbooks. You have two options: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). We discuss both of these shipping models in our blog on FBA vs. FBM that you can read here. If you are still unsure, we suggest you ask yourself the same questions from the seller plan section above.

If you are planning on sell a couple of textbooks a year and do not have plans to sell consistently, we highly encourage using Fulfillment by Merchant. Although your products won’t be eligible for Prime Shipping, you end up saving a lot of money not paying for fulfillment costs or storage fees. Since you only have a couple of books to sell, FBM makes a lot more sense.

Fulfillment by Amazon is a great model for sellers with a lot of inventory, no storage capacity, or sellers anticipating consistent sales. FBA will provide you with warehouse space to store your inventory (for a storage fee) and will handle all of your shipping for you. All you need to do is create your listing, select FBA, and ship your inventory to one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers.

This is a quick overview and recommendation. Depending on your model, goals, and inventory, you may prefer one fulfillment model over the other.

Adding Your Listing

With your profit margins in the positive and have a fulfillment method, you know that this product will make you money, The next step is to create a product listing for your textbook.

Step 1: Head over to your Amazon Seller Central dashboard and “Add a Product” under Inventory.

Step 2: Find your textbook on Amazon by searching for the ISBN. If your textbook is not on Amazon, you can also create a new listing for your textbook.

Step 3: Set the pricing and condition for your textbook. For our textbook, we would use our competitive price of $68 and set the condition as Used-Acceptable.

Step 4: Most importantly, set your fulfillment method. If you want to ship directly to the customer, use Merchant fulfillment. If you are an FBA seller, you can select that option as well.

Once complete, hit “Save and Finish” and your listing should be live!

Textbook Lessons for the Future

Textbooks provide great opportunities for new and aspiring Amazon sellers who want to get their feet wet in the Amazon selling game. Whether you’re still in college or a recent graduate, selling textbooks on Amazon is extremely easy, has a low upfront cost, and can be very profitable.

For sellers who want to get serious about selling on Amazon, the opportunities are there and we can help! Sellgo provides Amazon seller tools to help you find high-demand, profitable products like textbooks that can drive your sales and increase your profit margin. Your future awaits at Sellgo.com!

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