Selling books online … an experience

by Mike Laskowski

I am retired, (not of my choosing, mainly because China has taken most of the manufacturing jobs in my field) so I’ve been searching for a way to make a little extra cash. Taking online surveys is kind of fun but not very rewarding, a gift certificate now and then but nothing to write home about. Then listening to  “The Kim Kommando show” one Saturday morning selling on Amazon was mentioned. I decided to look into this since I do a lot of reading and have several books that I have read available. I normally donate them to the library book store, but why not make a little extra money selling on Amazon.  I visited some internet sites and was impressed with the glowing accounts of how easy this was, get your inventory from  Goodwill, thrift shops, garage sales, even Craigslist has books available for almost nothing. The time had come to start my own online book store.

I started out opening up a sellers account on Amazon, it took me longer than the normal person because I had a previous account that I had closed down and after several emails, telephone conversations and frustration I got a customer service rep that realized the others had reset my password, but failed to reactive the account.  Anyway, I gathered up my books, some fiction, some nonfiction including Dummies books, business management books, and do it yourself type books. I went on line and listed them on my seller’s page. Each one takes a little time since you have to make sure you are selling the correct book, the best way is to use the ISBN number to identify the book you are selling. Paperback books and hardcover books of the same title subject and by the same author have different numbers. Then you describe the condition of the book, price it based on your desire and best guess and list it. Sounds great, the first thing you will find is there are some people selling the same book for as little as one penny, I don’t know how, but they are. After you have your books listed you can go to your account and see all your books. Amazon even lists the lowest price that book is selling for on their site.  This sometimes leads to a pricing war between sellers if someone tries to beat that price.

I put seventeen books in my inventory, not a huge amount, but I felt that was enough to give me a feel for how this was going to go. I listed them for as little as ninety nine cent and as high as four ninety nine. The very next day I received an email from Amazon that two of my books had sold already, (such a deal).  One sold for $1.25 plus $3.99 Amazon tacks on for shipping, the other sold for $3.25 plus the $3.99 for shipping. Not bad, $12.48, according to what I found on the internet media mail was fairly inexpensive, like $2.40 per book. I figured I would get $7.68 after shipping. Wrong, Amazon charges $.99 per transaction plus a commission. That came to $4.50, after all the shipping was added and the fees deducted I received $7.12 still not bad for books I was going to donate. OH but wait now I had to ship them. Media mail is a little more than indicated on the web site I visited, that came to $6.50, I now have realized a grand total of $.62 cents for my trouble. Do I still have the remaining books in my inventory, yes, but I have priced them at $9.99, any less than that isn’t worth my effort. They probably won’t sell, but if they don’t in a reasonable period of time I’ll remove them and see what other great sounding things I can find. Stay tuned, I am now embarking on selling ebooks on Amazon, I’ll keep you posted.

About LODI360 Editor

Keith Colgan is the Editor of and owner of Keith Colgan Photography


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