A simple trick to sell books on eBay for more than you can on Amazon.
Note: An expanded version of this article can be found here.
FBA booksellers and the “throwaway books” problem
If you do medium-to-high volume book sales on Amazon, it’s inevitable: You’re going to end up throwing away a lot of books.
Maybe you buy a lot of of 500 books on Craigslist and only 30 have value on Amazon. Or you buy a pallet of books at a thrift store auction, leaving you with hundreds of unwanted ones. Or, maybe someone is holding a garage sale and sells your their whole library for $100 and there’s only FBA value for 10% of it.
(All three of these have happened to me in the last year).
Some would donate unwanted books to a thrift store. Some would just recycle them.
Both are fine. But here’s a trick to sell books on eBay, that nearly all FBA booksellers overlook…
The one way to make money from books on eBay
Most booksellers believe you can rarely get more selling books on eBay than you can selling those same books on Amazon.
They’re mostly right. But there is a circumstance in which selling books on eBay will get you more than if you tried to sell the same books on Amazon.
It’s possible, if both conditions apply:
- You have a medium-to-large lot of books (20+)
- The books are on the same subject, or in the same category.
These two things are a recipe for eBay profit. Here’s where I’m going with this….
Ebay users will pay more for large book lots of a single subject
And they will often pay more than if you sold the books individually on Amazon.
But only if you take the time to group the books by subject, and if you list them as a single lot.
Do both of these, and here are the advantages you will receive selling on eBay over Amazon:
- You will find buyers more quickly on eBay than on Amazon, and-
- Ebay buyers will spend more per book than those on Amazon.
Why this trick gets you more for books on eBay than Amazon
Essentially, eBay buyers are paying you for grouping the books for them. The extra amount you get paid per book is sort of a “curation fee.”
They will bid on your lot of books on UFOs, and bid high, because you have taken the work to aggregate the books and put them together into one tidy auction. All they have to do is click and in one week a giant box of books (on a subject they are passionate about) will arrive at their door.
Now, consider the opposite: If you pile together romance novels, Steven King thrillers, old biology textbooks, and children’s books into one chaotic mess of an auction, you’ll get almost nothing. Almost no eBay buyer wants a set of random books like that.
But a curated set of books on a niche subject? That’s a recipe for eBay book profits.
They could comb through Amazon and purchase each of those books for $4 each. Which is possibly less than they’re paying you on eBay. But its unlikely any of them have the time or interest to do this.
You did the work, and you’re being rewarded by eBay buyers by offering something Amazon can’t: A giant box of books on a subject they love.
What the eBay bidder doesn’t know or care about
The eBay buyer doesn’t care that this lot of 50 books on the JFK assassination are just your throwaways. They don’t care each one has an Amazon Sales Rank of worse than 2 million. They don’t even car that on Amazon they’re selling for $2 each. They’re not thinking about that.
They just want them all the books together in one tidy package. And they’re going to pay you extra for that.
How I organize my throwaways for maximum profits on eBay
First, if it’s a mainstream book that there are literally thousands of on Amazon and eBay, I get rid of it.
Ebay book lots are for very niche or very specific subjects only.
From there, I look through my throwaways for patterns to emerge: Did the person I bought 500 books from on Craigslist have a lot of titles on boating? I start to put the boat books in their own box.
Over several months, I start to see subject-specific lots form. And when I have enough titles (20+), they go up on eBay.
I’ve done this many many times and am almost always glad I took the time to organize my throwaways by subject.
Just remember the crucial factors:
- Sell books in lots (20+).
- Group books by narrow subject matter.
That’s the secret to selling books on eBay – and getting more than if you sold them on Amazon.