Try These Sneaky Tactics when Pricing Books on Amazon and Boost Your Profits

By Sharon Fussell, September 16, 2011

Sometimes I think I would love to employ someone to list my books and prepare them to send to Amazon…

I could spend more time out and about buying new stock…

I could also spend more time doing nice leisure pursuits like rambling…

But when it comes to pricing books on Amazon I wouldn’t trust anyone else…

There are many nuances to this and I believe it is an art. As I have said before, listing on Amazon does not mean selling items for the cheapest price, it means getting the best price you can.

The art of pricing books on Amazon

Sometimes I price an item many times the price of the lowest priced item and still sell it.

Sometimes I will price a penny or two below the lowest merchant seller price, other times I will list just under the Amazon price (despite my item being listed as used and theirs new).

Each listing is an individual decision.

You may feel like a bit of a rogue pricing an item for hundreds and indeed in some cases thousands of percent higher than the price you actually paid for it. But selling books is a little like selling antiques, you get what you can, there is no standard price. Most of my stock is quite obscure and I will only ever come across one of its kind.

Sometimes I can pick up the same title time and time again. Agreed, it’s usually the popular fiction/non fiction attracting a low value, but when sold in volume, low value popular, quick selling stock is certainly worth bothering with for cumulative profit margins.

Some items will sell for a very low price if they are in plentiful supply, others, if in demand but short supply, will sell for much higher profits; it’s all down to market forces.

The out of print in demand items will make up for the low prices you are compelled to list your popular stock for. You need to be prepared to ask for what you can get, whilst getting a balance between your items fetching a nice healthy profit, and being priced out of the market so to speak.

Pricing does get easier with practice

If you sell a book quickly you may feel you have priced it too cheaply. But you have no way of knowing that, it could be the price you placed your item at was the most a buyer would pay.

At one time Amazon had a facility where buyers interested in an item could place a buyers waiting offer on the description page.

For example I once listed a rare book on photography, only a few copies were available priced from £100+. A buyer wanted a copy but stated he was only prepared to pay £24 (the publishers RRP). As I had a copy I listed it at £24 as I was more than happy to receive £24 plus P&P for a 25p book. He immediately purchased it. Yes I could have priced my item for a much higher price but perhaps it would still be waiting to sell. In the event I was happy and the buyer was happy – a win-win situation!

FBA Forum

This week I had a little dilemma…

Amazon are offering to ‘sticker’ up your books for you. You can now choose whether you print off barcode labels and place them on the books prior to sending to Amazon. Or whether you list and price your books, create a shipment in the normal way and then box up your books and send them to Amazon to complete.

Of course labelling your books on your behalf does attract a cost; Amazon is asking 20 US cents (around 10p) per label used.

I pondered what I could gain by opting for Amazon to do this work for me, time perhaps? List more books in the time you have saved placing barcode stickers on your consignment of books and thus send up more books, more books equal more sales!

When I considered the issue, I realised that the actual act of placing stickers on my books takes just a small amount of time; mostly my time is taken with the cleaning, sorting, listing and pricing my books. So I declined their offer and carried on preparing my shipments in the usual way.

Now, if Amazon would clean and list my books, so that all I had to do was to buy and box up my stock and send it to them, then I would definitely consider that option for sure. As I said, buying books is not a problem for me, it’s the listing bit that is time consuming!

But even if Amazon did go that extra mile so that all I would have to do is box up my stock and send it to them to list, price and sort, would I use this facility?

This would certainly present me with a massive dilemma, more books sent to Amazon = more sales and more leisure time – but could I trust them to list my stock properly and get the price right?


What do you think?

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