The top 3 book categories that see a surge of sales during the Holidays A guide for FBA booksellers
Video: Top 3 Book Categories That Sell During The Holidays
For a video edition of the article below, watch:
Who this article is for
This article is strictly for FBA sellers selling books on Amazon, to help your sales in two areas:
- Knowing what inventory to stock up on and get to Amazon during November/December (as of the time I’m posting this, you still have time to get inventory to Amazon before the peak sales dates).
- Knowing what inventory to give attention to while you’re repricing during the holidays (hopefully you’re repricing daily).
(I covered my process for maximizing Amazon sales during the holidays in this article.)
Does every book sell on Amazon during the holidays?
The answer is “sort of.”
Generally, sales for all books go up during he holidays (especially if you’re selling FBA). That includes nearly every book category not covered here.
Yes, even obscure, weird, used condition books will see Amazon sales go up during the holidays.
But there is one category of book that sees sales plummet during December…
What books *don’t* sell during the Holidays?
No one (almost no one) is buying textbooks during the Holidays.
Check out the historical Amazon sales rank (“BSR”) chart in for any textbook in Keepa. December is a low point sales-wise for literally every textbook on Amazon.
If your Amazon inventory includes a lot of textbooks, this is no reason to panic and drop prices n December. This is the “calm before the storm,” just before textbook sales explode during January. That’s the start of the school semester, when textbook sales go totally off the rails (in a good way).
And a reminder: Most books that Amazon customers treat like textbooks don’t actually look like textbooks. I use “textbook” here to include all “scholarly non-fiction” – i.e. anything that is primarily read/purchased by college students.
Expect textbook sales to be extremely slow in early-December, and be almost non-existent from December 10th to Christmas.
What book sell most on Amazon during the holidays?
Again, almost everything that’s not a textbook sees sales increase on Amazon leading up to Christmas.
It’s actually a little weird what I’ll see sell during December. Books frequently sell that I’ll never expect, and don’t feel giftable at all. Why did a used condition book on quitting smoking via hypnosis from 1985, that I’ve been sitting on for 9 months, sell this week? Who knows?
A lot of Amazon booksellers feel left out from all the “FBA selling” chatter online during the holidays,. All the hype around what they call “Q4” (aka fourth quarter) doesn’t feel as relevant when most of your Amazon inventory is used books.
But Q4 doesn’t leave booksellers behind – not at all. While our general used book inventory doesn’t see the magnitude of sales spike that sellers in other categories see, we do get a parabolic sales increase in a few categories.
Here they are…
Biggest seller #1: Books Amazon is sold out of
If you have a book for sale that Amazon normally has in stock but it sold out of, this is a goldmine.
Any book Amazon is not selling is a goldmine, but I’m specifically focusing on titles Amazon has sold out of (which becomes more common during the holidays).
As a reminder: The majority of book sales this time of year are going to Amazon’s offer. People can’t take chances with delivery times or item quality, and eliminate those risks by honing in directly on Amazon’s offer – i.e. buying directly from Amazon (and not a 3rd party seller).
But when Amazon goes out of stock for a book, that means FBA sellers are next in line. The whole world starts competing for our offers. That means we can start to command insane prices.
This is a big reason I recommend repricing all your FBA inventory manually during the holidays – its the best way to spot books Amazon is sold out of.
That’s when prices get crazy.
Biggest seller #2: New condition books
As covered in a previous article, its more common to give a new condition book as a gift than a used book.
When there is a new condition option available (which is not the case much of the time), Amazon buyers will purchase the New condition offer.
That usually means (as explained above) that the sale will go to Amazon itself. But if your FBA offer is listed at a premium below Amazon’s price, then you’ll see those books fly out the door.
Biggest seller #3: “Gift” books
Any book is a “gift” book to the right person, but there are some broader trends we can see that increase the odds something will sell fast (and at a high price) during the holidays.
Hopefully you’re buying up any profitable inventory you can, all year, whether its a “gift” book or not. But if you have more potential inventory than money to invest, the keyword list below can give you some direction.
And if you’re wondering where to direct your attention while you’re repricing during the holidays (i.e. what to price insanely high), these are the books to focus on.
Like with a lot of Amazon bookselling, there’s a certain intuition required to get in the heads of your Amazon customer. Here’s a short list:
- Box sets
- Books with “Limited Edition” in title
- Anything in a slipcase/slipcover
- Books described as “gift set”
- Books with “Deluxe” in title
- Coffee table books
- Christmas-themed books (prices of some of these get crazy)
While a “gift” book can be anything, books in these categories get the most love from Amazon buyers this year.
- Sales of all books go up during the holidays.
- Except textbooks.
- The biggest sales and craziest prices go to: Books Amazon isn’t selling/is sold out of, New condition books, and “gift”-type books.
May your Amazon deposits in December be so large, you don’t even care what Santa brings you – you’ll be able to afford it all yourself.
PS: Did I miss anything? Drop a comment below.
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