Selling books on Amazon? Don’t waste your time on these!

By Sharon Fussell, January 27, 2012

I know when selling books on Amazon it is often difficult to decide not to list an item due to its condition. We have a system whereby I list the products and Clive does the quality control and packing/labelling of books suitable to go to Amazon’s fulfilment centre.

Sometimes I try and slip in a book that may have a few defects but is essentially okay – if listed as acceptable and described honestly – particularly if it has rarity value. But, in most cases Clive will discard books like this, which I list in good faith but he feels fail our quality control system.

The sad side of selling books on Amazon…

I have to admit; it does break my heart when I have to discard books, either due to poor condition, e.g. having photographs coming loose or some other defect that renders them too poor to sell on Amazon or other sites such as eBay.

Of course there are also books in wonderful condition that I decide not to list, perhaps

because they are too heavy to make a profit – usually due to supply outstripping demand forcing prices downwards, or because they are an old edition.

I especially hate study books that have been replaced with a newer edition – the newer copy selling for many times the older copy – in this case I tend not to list as it is unlikely that a buyer will want to buy the older copy in preference to the newly updated edition, even if it is priced lower.

Sadly this does mean that I have boxes of books that have to be discarded. I have to keep reminding myself that I can afford to discard books because, in most cases, for every batch of books I buy, one or two copies will put me in profit. So If I do discard ten or twenty percent of books from a batch its okay.

On occasion I will sell off stock that I cannot list either on eBay or to local book shops/market stallholders. I know I could easily have a stall on a car boot to sell off many of the wonderful books I discard, and time allowing I might do so later in the year, I do hate chucking books in the recycling bin that are perfectly good reading copies!

The nature of how I buy stock often results in purchasing duplicate books that I already have on the system. I rarely list more than one copy of any given book, with the exception of books I know will sell as quickly as I list them – the sales ranking has to be extremely high for me to do this.

These are the main reasons I discard books:

  • Books with personal dedications (e.g. gift inscriptions) inside
  • Books in poor condition
  • Duplicate Listings (to my inventory)
  • Books too heavy to render a profit when sold
  • Books with no real niche value with low sales rankings (IMO)
  • Out of date study books
  • Children’s books with scribbling inside
  • Children’s books with personal dedications
  • Children’s books with previous owners name inside

What do you think?

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