Use this collection of tested Amazon book condition notes for New, Like New, Very Good, Good, and Acceptable conditions; along with textbook-specific condition descriptions and bonus examples for used CDs, DVDs, and more. (Steal these for your own listings).
Video: Copy these Amazon book condition notes
Do Amazon condition notes matter?
I used to believe condition description notes didn’t matter at all. I thought it was a waste of time to think about them, and believed they didn’t impact sales.
Today, after testing various condition descriptions, I have totally changed my thinking. Now I get a little bothered when I see posts like this one:
They matter. After developing a better understanding of the Amazon customer, I know that details like your condition notes do matter.
Look at it this way: Even if only 10% of your customers make a decision based on your condition description, and you consistently have the best one, this adds up to a major revenue boost at the end of the month. Small numbers add up to very big numbers over time.
(And I think the revenue numbers this article will generate for you are not small.)
Why Amazon customers decide to buy
To understand how these condition notes I’m about to share can increase sales, let’s understand how Amazon customers make purchasing decisions. At the core, it’s based on three factors:
- Convenience (aka The Buy Box).
Probably in that order. But none of these are unimportant.
Under the category of “trust” are details like condition and shipping speed. Are they going to get what they pay for in the time frame they expect? This is what your customers most care about, and what motivates them to choose your offer over a competitor.
This isn’t just boring psychological analysis. #1 (“Trust”) will be the basis for the condition description examples we’re going to cover…
A formula for crafting the perfect condition description
Before we get to specific examples you can swipe, here’s a framework for creating your own Amazon condition descriptions:
Principal #1: Emphasize the item was individually inspected. You do this by mentioning a specific blemish, or other firm indication the book was inspected individually by a real human.
Principal #2: Put the most important info in the first 105 characters. This is all most Amazon customers will see. After that, they have to click “read more” (and few of them will). More on this in a second…
Principal #3: Put the rest after the first 105 characters. What comes after the first 105 characters doesn’t matter as much. This is where you can put secondary and/or redundant details like shipping, Prime-eligibility, and a “bonus” element described below, etc.
Principal #4: Pad with trust overkill. Add any additional trust-building content. You have 150+ characters. You may as well use them to add any additional messages that convey professionalism and trustworthiness. (Examples below.)
Merchant fulfilled sellers only
“Fulfilled by Merchant” sellers have an added burden that FBA sellers do not, and the best condition notes will also convey two additional things:
- Fast shipping time.
- Hassle-free returns.
Communicate these however you can in the shortest way possible. Add these after the core components (they are less important).
Reminder: The first 105 characters are what matter most
This is a specific number for a specific reason: It’s approximately the number of characters visible in your condition description without the buyer having to click.
Check this example:
How many customers are going to click to view the rest? Some, but not a lot. You want all the important details in the first 105 characters.
When I talk about building trust, conveying the item was individually inspected, etc; those are the elements you want to communicate in those first 105 characters.
What comes after that (i.e. “below the fold.”), is where you put the less-relevant, obvious, or redundant details. E.g. “Free shipping with Amazon Prime,” “packed with love,” etc.
Addressing Amazon customer objections in condition notes
Just by clicking over to view prices (where condition notes are visible), the visitor is expressing intent. They likely have an interest in buying what you’re selling, to one degree or another. So in a sense, the role of a condition description is to defeat customer objections.
Let’s take inventory of the main concerns that Amazon customers have when making a purchase:
- Item condition.
- Getting the item they paid for.
- Delivery time.
Is it possible to address each of these in a condition description? Absolutely.
FBA seller? You’ve won half the battle. #3 and #4 are implicit for Prime-eligible offers. Customers know that Amazon will ship fast and offers easy returns. So while it won’t hurt to mention those things, you don’t need to.
That leaves us the simple task of communicating to potential buyers that they’ll get the exact item they paid for in the condition it was advertised. Let’s go deeper…
The three missions behind the perfect condition description
The three boxes every condition description should check off are:
- Instill trust.
- Defeat the buyer’s objections.
- Doing all of this in the first 10 words.
The more of these boxes you can check in your condition description, the greater your sales. Understanding this, we can get closer to a scientifically optimized idea of a “perfect condition description.”
Writing condition notes for every item isn’t necessary
Before you think I’m suggesting authoring custom notes for every item you list on Amazon, let me clarify: That is not necessary (or advised).
I’m advising you to follow this format:
- Write condition notes that suggest you custom wrote them for that specific item (while still being honest)
- Save those notes (either in your listing software or a text file if you’re listing through Amazon directly).
- Make small edits on a per-listing basis as needed.
“Very good condition. Has light wear to edges of cover. Looks very lightly read.”
This description is probably accurate for the majority of books on Amazon in VG condition, but seems to have been custom-written for this listing.
That’s the magic balance you’re trying to achieve: A templatized description that looks like it was custom-written for that item.
Reminder: Don’t rely on default condition notes in software
Most sellers sign up for an Amazon listing software tool like Scanlister or Accelerist, and proceed to rely on their pre-formatted condition descriptions. This is always a mistake.
The thing to understand about default any default settings (whether in listing software, automated repricers, scanning apps, or anything) is that they are created to serve the lowest common denominator. If there was one single “right” setting, it wouldn’t be editable. So repricing tools are going to give you the most basic & simplistic Amazon repricing formula, scanning apps will offer the most newbie trigger settings, and so on. Same applies to Amazon listing software.
You’ll see generic condition notes in listing tools like:
“Very good condition. May contain small creases and tears. Free shipping with Amazon Prime.”
Four major problems with these generic condition notes:
- They don’t convey anything specific about the specific item for sale.
- They often indicate the condition is worse than it actually is.
- They have zero personality. The buyer feels like they’re buying from a robot.
- They are used by TONS of Amazon sellers. So they end up looking spammy and weird.
Write up and save your own notes. The delicate tone you’re trying to strike is a condition description that is pre-formatted, but looks specifically written for that item. That gives you the best of both worlds: Saves time, and conveys trustworthiness.
Now it’s time: condition description note examples you can copy for your listings…
Amazon condition note examples for Acceptable condition books
Acceptable is the worst condition allowed by Amazon. If you have a book in Acceptable, it likely has some very specific (and major) damage that should be specifically noted.
Unlike Good or Very Good condition, it gets tricky to create a generic description that appears to be custom-written, simply because the range of damage that can make a book Acceptable is pretty broad.
Here are examples for Acceptable condition books I have refined over the years and use myself:
- “Heavy reading wear, but still intact and 100% readable. No writing or highlighting”
- “Heavily loved (still intact and perfectly readable). Cosmetic wear only (on cover & spine).”
- “Heavy wear to cover. Great on the inside & doesn’t affect reading! “
- “Pen marks on approx. ___ pages only. Doesn’t obscure text.” (Include approximate number. Replace “pen marks” with “writing” or “highlighting” as needed).
- “Great interior with ___ inch tear to cover. Doesn’t affect reading. “
- “Good condition EXCEPT for ______. Perfectly readable, usable copy.”
- You’re getting a perfectly readable book with heavy cosmetic wear (& nothing more) to the cover.”
- “Interior is perfect! Cover has heavy love (in the form of reading wear and creases).”
You can mix and match portions of these, but the general formula I advise for Acceptable condition is conveying these two points:
- The specific damage.
- That it doesn’t affect reading / functionality of the book.
Be upfront with damage, be specific about it, and let them know they’re still getting a usable book. That’s the formula.
Amazon condition note examples for Good condition books
Good condition is where there starts to be less pressure. Less emphasis on conveying specific damage, and less hesitance from buyers (most books sold are in Good or Very Good condition). Good and Very Good are simply “average used books.”
Some condition description examples for books in Good condition:
- “Individually inspected: Average reading wear. Good condition, Intact book with light amount of love.”
- “Good condition book with average reading wear. Confirmed to look good and reads better!”
- “Average shelving wear. Some wear to cover but overall great shape.”
- “Cosmetic wear to cover. Doesn’t affect reading and overall good condition. Individually inspected.”
- “Small folds & average wear to cover. Good condition with average amount of love from previous owner.”
- “Good condition book. Inspection found no major damage & only average reading wear. Great copy.”
- “Inspected & found cosmetic wear to edges of cover, but overall good condition & great, readable copy.”
“You get the idea. I’m going to sound like a broken record, but the Amazon customer wants to know you inspected the book and that it’s both intact and readable.
Amazon condition note examples for Very Good books
Since Good and Very Good condition are very similar, we can reuse the basic template from Good condition and tweak it slightly to apply to Very Good.
Again, mix and match the various elements to create your own if you like.
- “Individually inspected: Light reading wear. Very good condition, Intact book with light amount of love.”
- “Very good condition book with light reading wear. Confirmed to looks great and read better!”
- “Light shelving wear. Slight wear to cover but fantastic shape overall.”
- “Minor cosmetic imperfections to cover. Overall extremely good condition. Individually inspected.”
- “Small fold to cover. Very good condition with only light amount of love from previous owner.”
- “Very good condition book. Inspection found no blemishes worth mentioning & only light reading wear.”
- “Inspected & only slight cosmetic wear to edges of cover. Very good condition & great copy.”
Amazon condition note examples for Like New books
Now we’re coming out the other end, where the damage starts to get more specific again. Whereas Good and Very Good condition books usually have generic imperfections, Like New condition usually means a single blemish to an otherwise New condition book.
Reminder that you should rarely use Like New condition. It is only accurately applied to a small percentage of books, and you’re usually better off listing as Very Good.
With these, we’re going to mention the specific blemish that keeps the book from New condition, and then emphasize that the book would be New condition if it weren’t for this blemish. Pretty straightforward.
Condition note examples for books in Like New condition:
- “A new condition book with small pen mark to fore-edge. Otherwise flawless, new condition copy.”
- “New condition copy w/price written on first page. Otherwise brand new.”
- “Fold to title page: Otherwise brand new, unread copy.”
Like New condition notes are simple and all you’re doing is getting the single blemish out of the way and letting them know the book is unread. If you have more than one (small) blemish to describe, the book is probably not Like New and you should use Very Good.
Sample Amazon condition notes for Textbooks
Textbooks are a category with their own peculiarity when it comes to condition notes. What’s the top, #1, absolutely crucial element to include in any textbook condition description?
Before I share it, understand the top concerns of an Amazon textbook buyer are excessive underlining or highlighting. This doesn’t mean all textbook buyers care (some actually prefer highlighted books because it saves them the work). But when they care, they really care, and it’s likely a dealbreaker. Keep that in mind as I continue…
The best way to increase textbook sales is mention the absence of highlighting or writing in the condition note.
- “No writing or highlighting.”
- “No highlighting or writing.”
- “No pen marks or highlighting inside.”
Put this first thing, front-and-center of any condition description. Guaranteed to increase textbook sales since:
- Almost no sellers take the time to do this.
- Many (most?) textbook buyers specifically look for this.
Believe me, this is a power move. Use it.
Condition notes examples for used media (CDs, DVDs, etc)
The stakes are even higher with used media condition descriptions (CDs, vinyl, VHS, cassettes, etc). Unlike books, used media can actually break. So a lot of Amazon buyers have their guard up.
Here’s a few to put them at ease and get sales:
- “Individually inspected: Guaranteed to play perfectly or your money back.”
- “Inspected & plays perfectly or your money back.”
- “Buy with confidence: Plays perfectly or your money back.”
While it’s not practical to test every used media item, if you can truthfully say you have, try these:
- “Tested & confirmed to play perfectly.”
- “Personally tested & plays perfectly or your money back.”
- “Tested this myself: Plays perfectly.”
Any way you communicate that you inspected (either visually, or through playing it yourself) that a used media item is on playable shape, you get a huge advantage over other listings. Almost no other Amazon sellers do this.
Bonus: End condition notes with an appeal to emotion
This last part is not backed up by any science or statistics, except for my general understanding of one thing: some people make logic-based decisions, and some make emotion-based decisions. And all of our work so far has appealed to the logical mind.
How do we craft our Amazon condition description to also appeal to the emotional side of the brain? By mentioning things like
- “Support small sellers”
- “We are a small family business”
- “Packed & shipped with love.”
Things like that.
Does this increase conversions? I don’t know and the science has not spoken, but I strongly suspect this can win over a small number of Amazon customers. Which (again) adds up over time.
How these condition descriptions let you beat your competition
If you’re still on the fence about the value of condition descriptions and why the examples I just shared are effective, here are two reasons they will increase your sales:
#1: A good condition description allows you to beat your biggest competitor: huge megasellers
Using the condition description examples I’m about to share will give you a big advantage over Amazon megasellers. Your condition notes will simply destroy the ones used by megasellers. It doesn’t mean they won’t beat you on price (they often do), but no one will choose their offers based on a superior condition description again. You’re about to get a huge advantage.
Here’s why: Due to the volume of inventory they sell, Amazon megasellers are unable to individually inspect every book. This is where their weakness becomes our strength: As small sellers, we do have the ability to inspect everything we sell. And when the condition description reflects this, our offers become vastly more appetizing to customers.
The average condition description of a megaseller doesn’t just lack assurance an item has been specifically inspected, but actually confirms it has not been inspected. You see descriptions like “May include writing or highlighting.” Keyword: “may.” They’re actually telling potential customers they don’t know the condition of the books they sell.
Amazon customers hate this. And when they see a description that indicates a book was actually inspected, it increases the likelihood of a sale.
#2: A good condition description allows you to beat your 2nd biggest competitor: Amazon
Many customers bypass third party sellers altogether and buy new from Amazon. And the biggest reason buyers purchase from Amazon instead of you is that customers trust Amazon (and don’t trust you). Amazon has spent billions (?) in marketing focused on one thing – getting consumers to trust them.
When people buy from Amazon instead of you, it’s because Amazon presents the least opportunity for complications. I.e. people trust Amazon will delivery exactly what they ordered with the lowest risk of disappointment.
Your optimized condition description will communicate you can be trusted, and combined with your cheaper price, let you beat out Amazon itself.
Your condition notes do matter
Other than price, your condition description is the top reason buyers will purchase your offer over a competitor (arguably, it matters more than feedback score). Copy these condition notes to give yourself a small edge that adds up to big profits.