After Amazon restricts a (very small) number of textbooks, how to know what’s allowed before you invest
- Amazon has restricted a (small?) number of books from being sold by some sellers.
- The restrictions appear to condition-based (new and like new), but it’s not 100% clear.
- Amazon is not even admitting these restrictions exist.
- Amaon is not telling sellers what they are and are not allowed to sell.
- You don’t want to invest in inventory before unless you know if you can sell it.
New Amazon textbook restrictions appear to be so small that even if you have no idea which few textbooks you’re not allowed to sell, it shouldn’t set you back that much.
But still, everyone wants to know: How to I tell what I’m allowed to sell before I buy inventory?
Option One: Try to list a few high-demand textbooks in New condition
From what we know, any possible restricted textbooks are usually those in New and Like New condition.
And there’s a light amount of evidence that high-demand books published by a big publisher might also trigger a restriction.
So we want to choose a few books that increase the odds they will be on the “restricted” list – if you’re restricted from selling anything at all.
Here’s how to find these books for our test:
Step #1: Go to Amazon’s Advanced Search page in Books. Advanced search is towards the top of the page when you go to the Books category.
Step #2: Search by publisher for Cengage, Pearson, or Mcgraw and Hill. We’re going for the biggest textbook publishers.
Step #3: Sort by Bestselling. We’re going for the most well ranked books.
Make a small list of some of the ISBNs. Now go to list them for sale on Amazon.
If thes listings go through, you have your answer. Delete the Amazon listing then jump to Step Two.
If your listing is denied, you also have your answer.
Next: List that same restricted book in Very Good condition
If you were restricted from listing that New condition textbook, try it again in Very Good.
It should go through. In which case you have an answer: You are restricted from listing some (all?) books in New or Like New condition. Delete the Amazon listing.
Option Two: Scan (or key in) every book you can find into the Amazon’s Seller app
After hearing from sellers that Amazon’s Seller App was alerting them to certain books they were not allowed to sell (again, almost always certain books in New or Like New condition), I contacted Amazon with this question:
Does the Amazon Seller App tell you if you’re restricted from selling a certain book?
Here was Amazon’s response:
Scan or key in the most “high risk” books you can find, based on what we know so far: Well ranked textbooks by big publishers (Cengage, Pearson, or Mcgraw and Hill).
Note: I currently appear to have no book restrictions, so I am not able to check this myself.
If you see anything is restricted, take note of the book. Then look for patterns.
There you go. After attempting to list or scanning enough books, you should know very quickly if 1. You are restricted from selling any books, and 2. What those restrictions are.
Would be awesome if Amazon just told us, but instead: We have to go rogue.
Want to share your results? Post in the comments below.