I buy a lot of books from people. Some are delighted to sell them. Others are disappointed with what I offer them and decide not to sell. They’ve looked up the value of their books on the Internet. If, for example, there are 20 copies of their book for sale on Abebooks, ranging in price from $10 to $50, they will value their book at $50. That usually means they aren’t interested in selling me a book for what I can offer, which is roughly 25-30% of retail.
This means they can keep the books, try to find another bookseller who will pay more, or sell the books themselves. If they decide there’s big money to be made in selling the books themselves, all they have to do is arrange to become a seller on one of the bookselling sites, find a computer program they can use to list their inventory, describe each book and price it, upload the inventory and wait for buyers. In the meantime, they will need a postage scale to weigh the book for shipping, shipping materials (boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape) , and a program where they can purchase their own postage. Oh, don’t forget to buy the USPS labels. Remember that the sites will want a percentage of your sale. Some will charge you a monthly minimum. So, let’s say you list a book for $7.15 that you paid $4 for. $3.15 profit, right? Not quite. You get the $7.15 and a shipping credit of, say, $3.99, for total revenue of $11.14. Your costs are $4 for the book, $3.22 actual postage, .50 for your USPS shipping label, .50 for your packaging, something for your monthly listing fee…we’ll not add that in for now. So your cost is $8.22. Oh, and from your sale, Amazon takes a cut of $2.85. So your profit? $2.92. Your time is free. Welcome to the world of bookselling!