I break down three types of books I used to ignore, but learned are profitable to resell on Amazon
The money on Amazon is in the “weird”
When you’re reselling on Amazon, a book is not a book is not a book. A lot of FBA booksellers get very opinionated about what kinds of books “aren’t worth the time,” and what categories of books you should avoid trying to resell. I have my own opinions, and sometimes they change.
If you’ve been selling books for more than 30 seconds, you know that when you’re out book sourcing, you can’t (and shouldn’t) scan everything. You have to have a formula for determining what gets your attention.
What follows are three book categories that I used to ignore. Now, I’ve warmed up to them, and learned they can be resold profitably.
How profitable are these weird categories?
None of these book categories are profit-centers. These are niche subjects that have been adding to my Amazon payouts, but they remain low on my priorities when I’m book sourcing. But whereas before I used to ignore them completely, I now give them a glance. And it often pays off.
My advice with each of these book categories is: Make these a low priority, but don’t ignore them altogether.
Here they are: Three types of books I never scanned, but now resell on Amazon consistently:
I’ve been a huge and vocal critic of this category for a long time. In Amazon Altitude, I even listed these among the book categories to avoid altogether.
Like I said, live and learn. While I still agree with my “avoid children’s books” sentiement for the most part, I’ve softened my stance. Lately children’s books have been getting more of my attention.
One feature of children’s books that makes them repellent to most FBA sellers is that children’s book sections are usually a mess. If you’re at a books sale or any second hand source, the children’s books are usually the most chaotic section. And because most of the books don’t even have a spine with which to size up their content, they’re hard to visually skim without just going through everything.
All of these are valid criticisms of children’s books. But then I started braving the storm, and have been finding consistent gems.
Of the three types of “weird” book categories I’m describing here, children’s books have been the most profitable.
Non-fiction mass-market paperbacks
This is another category I have been vocal that Amazon sellers should avoid. And while it’s true these don’t offer the best return on your time investment, there is one sub-category that is an exception: The non-fiction mass market paperbacks.
(For those unaware, “mass market paperbacks” are those small, romance novel-sized books.)
Only in the last year have I given these any attention, and this category has been growing on me. Here”s what I’ve learned:
98% of this category is fiction, and you can go ahead and skip the fiction completely. (Maybe I’ll retract this position in the future too. But I doubt it).
Once you’re done ignoring fiction, you’ll find some weird non-fiction mass market paperbacks. I’m talking about biographies of has-been celebrities and other oddball subjects. And these are some real gems.
Recently, I’ve found some very valuable mass market paperbacks on ghosts, aliens, and 80s video games. The trick is learning how to do a quick visual scan and isolate the non-fiction from the fiction.
This is another one for the “low priority, but still worth your time” file.
Audiobooks on cassette
I began always checking out audiobooks on cassette when I see them. And I do it for the same reason I glance over VHS tapes: A lot of titles in this format never made it to the more modern format (in this case, CD or Audible). That means if you want them, you have to buy them on cassette.
That also means some of these can be very rare and collectible.
The Star Trek audiobook I picked up the other day that is selling (albeit, rarely) for $40 will testify to my point: There are some hidden gems in the cassette audiobook category.
This is a reminder for Amazon sellers to always test their assumptions. That belief that a certain category “isn’t worth your time” could be an expensive mistake.