The secret to successfully buying children’s books to sell on Amazon

By Sharon Fussell, December 13, 2012

Certain types of book I often buy nowadays are children’s books. At one time I would avoid them, as I perceived them as a nuisance with little profitability to make it worth the bother to list.

This, of course, was totally wrong of me: how arrogant to ignore a whole sector of books. Now, I know differently, and I always take the time to peruse book-cases and shelves laden with (usually) a mismatch of sizes and colours of children’s books.

Mind you, I’d never advocate buying any old children’s book – some are just not worth the effort. Sometimes they’ll be too heavy and cost too much to post to make any worthwhile profit.

What to look for when buying children’s books to sell

I’d say that Amazon sales rankings are quite beneficial when deciding to list children’s books. I tend not to bother listing a copy if I can see there is little or no demand for a particular title of kids’ book.

When buying children’s books to resell, take note that condition is king. Personally, I don’t bother with children’s books that have any sort of major defect – such as names inscribed inside. Many children’s books are bought by family members as Christmas and birthday gifts, and little ‘Sian’ or ‘Rhys’ would be far from pleased to see that a ‘Harry’ or ‘Jenny’ or ‘Sammy’ pre-owned their book!

Take special interest in old-fashioned books from past generations, such as Enid Blyton’s work, books about ballet, or horses. Many parents enjoyed those books when they were little and like the idea of their own children enjoying the same books. Chances are, their own copies were thrown out years before, and now need to be replaced.

Harry Potter books are still very popular – I know it’s a scary thought, but those children that first read Harry Potter are now old enough to be starting families of their own, therefore new generations of kids are in place to read books their mum and dad read in the past. Roald Dahl’s titles have been proving this for years now, and are still very popular.

If you can pick up boxed sets in good condition, they are usually sought after, and oftentimes provide good profits too.

Some great reasons to buy children’s books to resell

Usually cheaper to buy

  • Much demand for popular children’s books
  • Usually easily available in boxes and baskets under book-shelves in charity shops
  • Can be light to post
  • Boxed sets can fetch wonderful profits

Children’s books to avoid

Books sold in packs from book-clubs – for example, Walt Disney film tie-in hardbacks

  • Books with scribbling inside
  • Gift inscriptions inside
  • Previous owner’s name written neatly or otherwise on the page with the ‘This book belongs to label’
  • Treasure story’s printed by Ted Smart or Hamlyn or Marks and Spenser or other book clubs
  • General children’s stories
  • High School Musical, or books of that ilk
  • Books with scruffy covers, severe creasing or damage. As a general rule, if I cannot list as ‘very good or better’ I do not pick them up

Children’s books to choose

Here are some writers or genres that I tend to pick up as often as I can:

  • Children’s stories about vampires or ghosts
  • Horrible Histories / science / geography
  • Children’s work books for school subjects
  • Enid Blyton books (even old copies from the 1970s tend to sell well)

I especially look for the following writers, as I know their books just ‘fly off the shelves’:

  • Michael Morpurgo – any titles, but especially look for:

Private and Peaceful
Billy The Kid
War Horse
The Butterfly Lion

  • Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Harry Potter – any from this series
  • Roald Dahl – any titles, but look for poetry books such as Revolting Rhymes –these often sell at a premium

I also look for baby books in very good condition, such as Usborne Books and Nick Butterworth – very popular and much in demand.

Also, don’t forget to look for books with characters from TV, for example, Spot the Dog, Fireman Sam, Charlie and Lola. Touchy-feely baby books are also very popular.

Not all children’s books will fetch high prices, but some are so light to post they’ll still bring you in a profit.


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