11 things you must mention when listing on Amazon

By Sharon Fussell, August 5, 2011

It’s always a difficult balance to strike when listing on Amazon a) ensuring that you are listing in a manner that both satisfies your expectations for a sale and b) meeting the expectations of a buyer…

It should be said at this point, that some buyers either do not read the related product comments or just have an unrealistic expectations of a used product. But, for the majority that do, how do we strike that balance?

It is a very rare thing to find a used book (or indeed any other product) with no defects whatsoever. There is, however, no reason why books with small defects should not be listed, but it is always worth playing safe and noting the defects in the comment box. In most cases buyers will read these and buy accordingly.

Composing your listing on Amazon: must-note defects

Here are some common defects that some buyers will pick up on and which will likely lead them to leave adverse comments on your feedback page:

  • Difference in cover picture
  • Difference in cover: e.g. hardback not paperback or vice-versa
  • Gift/inscriptions inside
  • Severe creasing to cover
  • Tanning/browning/foxing to pages/page edge
  • Creasing to inner pages
  • Underlining/highlighting/comments inside
  • Ripped covers
  • Swear words blotted out
  • Broken spine
  • Loose Inner pages/photos

It should be noted that books with severe defects such as the last two on the list should not be listed at all!

I do try and describe any issues regarding my products, but I am not infallible and sometimes errors are made, for example this week a buyer noted that a book they bought had little markings throughout the book where the previous owner had marked out swear words within the book. In this case I was at fault as if I had picked up on this defect I would not have listed the book at all.

I have to admit that, going by some superb feedback comments, 99.9% of the time it appears I do describe my books in a realistic and honest fashion. However, there are always one or two buyers over the course of a month that disagree with my description and take issue with the book they receive via the feedback page…

For example if I list an item as ‘very good’ and a buyer complains that the product was not ‘like new’. (Some buyers must totally forget which book they purchased and forget or fail to read the comments left to describe the product in the first place).

Of course, if a buyer leaves unfair feedback I always try to leave a comment stating my side of the story or ask Amazon to remove the comment (see here for Amazon’s feedback removal policy).

Sadly (and the source of much frustration) unless the buyer agrees to remove their comments or Amazon remove it, you simply have to take the criticism on the chin, try and do better in future and accept that some people are just impossible to please.

I’ve certainly become more discerning over the years, and yes, whilst a couple of books may fall through the quality control net, most do not. We either do not pick them up in the first place or discard them during the listing/shipping process.


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