Which books to sell on Amazon… and where to find them

By Sharon Fussell, January 13, 2012

I am often asked if it is possible to purchase books to sell on Amazon from charity shops that have a high profit margin. I know it sometimes seems like charity shops stock nothing but low value paperback fiction… but that’s not the whole story!

Choosing books to sell on Amazon

If you think about it, a lot of people buy popular fiction on a regular basis and, once read, take it to their favourite charity shop for donation. So, there is more of a chance that charity shops will stock them – which is good news for their sales, as most buyers are looking for this type of book.

However, I am often invited to go into the back rooms of charity shops to sort through the books not on display and am always amazed how often the books in the back (usually inaccessible to customers) are great niche titled books.

In fact in many cases managers will ask me not to take the paperback fiction as it is needed to restock the shop! I happily agree to this request, after all, for my purposes niche non-fiction books in good condition are exactly what I am after and can be extremely profitable, whilst, in the main, popular paperback fiction only attracts low value profits.

Here are some examples of the books I have sold recently. They have all been picked up from charity shops for as little as 25p or less. Some have ‘long tails; and so have taken a while to sell, others sold within minutes of being available for sale:

American Beauty: Screenplay – £12.99

The Cafe Fresh Cookbook – £11.99

Participant Observation – £41.99

Chocolate Paste Cakes (Sugar Inspiration) – £12.99

More Value Than Many Sparrows – £11.99

The Welsh Revival of 1904 – £12.99

How do you know if a book has value before going to the trouble of buying it? If you are selling as a merchant seller then I would always recommend you check the ISBN’s on Amazon UK to see if they have value. Remember to take into account weight – if the books are too hefty you may not make a profit after posting them using royal mail.

(If you sell using FBA, then in nearly all cases you should make a profit as long as you only pay a few pence for your books.)

How do you know how quickly a book will take to sell once listed? Check the Amazon Sales rankings for an indication – but this is not 100% accurate in every case… it all depends on who is looking for that title at any given time.

The examples below have all sold over the last few weeks, as you can see they are made up of a selection of genres. (All were sold in good to very good used condition).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I sell a variety of books for a variety of prices, some for as little as £2.80. The books in the bigger price bracket help to bulk out my average overall profits. One or two books with a higher value, alongside lower value book sales, can soon add up to a tidy sum. In fact, earnings like these gained from such a small outlay may only be seen as ‘winning on the races’, but I hope you’ll agree, buying books for pennies to sell for pounds is much less of a gamble… especially when you consider the percentage mark up can be in excess of 9000%!

In the Garden of Desire The Intimate Woman £12.99

Quick Easy Family Meals Slimming World £14.99

Yoga Beats Asthma: Simple exercises £24.99

No One Left to Lie to: The Triangulation… £12.99

The Enchanted Doll’s House £24.99

A Taste of India £12.99

Boot and Shoe Making: £49.99

Basics of Embroidery on Paper £22.99

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Work £12.99

Alan Clark Diaries £11.50


What do you think?

You must be logged in to post a comment.