Selling books on Amazon FBA is a great way to start your own business. As a matter of fact, that’s how Amazon began!
It’s not well-known that Amazon started as a platform only selling books in the U.S back in 1994. Jeff Bezos founded Amazon to capitalize on what at the time was considered a boom in all things internet-related.
He didn’t choose books randomly. Its timeless, worldwide demand, low price point, and the huge variety of items available were all key factors. He managed a deal with what was at the time called Ingram Book to access their products at wholesale prices and then distribute them online.
Amazon soon diversified to sell almost any kind of product you can think of. Video games, gardening equipment, fashion, electronics, audio books, even video streaming now forms part of the Amazon market. Because of its meteoric rise at the beginning of the online era, it has come to shape our idea of an online store.
It’s hard to imagine Amazon starting out as nothing more than an online bookstore. If anything this example illustrates the timeless nature of books and our need of them. In this article, we will help you enter this popular market and start selling books on Amazon FBA!
First things first
It’s just common knowledge that without a good product and a target market any plan will, in all likelihood, fail. Take time beforehand and sort out your business model first. Entrepreneurs alike would argue over the best place to start. Do you start with an idea of what you want to sell and then find a supplier that fits the bill? Or, do you first locate a willing supplier and then sell whatever they provide?
Obviously, if you are producing and publishing your own books, these aren’t considerations you need to make.
Considerations to help you get started
What you do need to consider is what sells well on Amazon, who buys it, and what number of sales you can expect to make per month. So far, many people have had success selling textbooks through Amazon FBA. These products are of limited supply, are always needed by someone, and usually, require some marketing and distribution help.
It’s tempting to go with bestsellers but remember that you will be a small fish in a very big ocean competing with some very big fish. Sometimes it’s much better to find the right niche that isn’t flooded yet. This way you can steadily build a customer base and reputation. You will need both to compete with more established sellers.
Another decision you have to make is whether you will only sell through Amazon but ship the items yourself or take advantage of Amazon’s fulfillment infrastructure.
These kinds of questions and considerations are all covered by courses and workshops from the Sellers Playbook. If you feel you need some help, don’t hesitate to contact us.
You will need to spend some days and nights doing research, contacting people, and probably in the end just try it yourself and see what kind of results you get. Being able to change and adapt your strategy is extremely important in the short and long run.
The Amazon Advantage consignment program is for those who will either be selling large quantities of media items (in this case, books) of which you either have received the right to do from the publisher or are the author of.
It’s an entirely different program from Amazon FBA but works much in the same way. With Advantage, you will provide Amazon with information and descriptions of your product (much like with a seller account). They will then order the product from you based on their own market research and customer demand.
You will be paid the total amount for books sold at the end of each month, and there is a yearly subscription of $99. As you can see, this program is not for resellers or distributors of used books.
Create a seller account
The first thing you need to do is head over to Amazon.com and create a seller account. You aren’t going anywhere without one of those. If you have a normal Amazon account, you’re halfway there. Otherwise, you need to create one first and supply some basic information.
Once this is all done, you should head over to “Your Account” and then “Sell.” Next, click either the big, friendly “Start Selling” button or the link below it if you are an individual seller. What’s the difference? Good question! A business account costs $39.99 month as well as additional selling fees which are usually a 15% closing fee. An individual account costs $0.99 per item you sell and has the same applicable fees. This means if you plan to sell more than 40 items, a business account is worth it.
You will then go through a pretty straightforward process. You need to provide Amazon with a name for your “business,” a display name, a link to your online store (if you have one), verify a phone number, etc.
Next, provide your payment information to pay for your Amazon subscription and to receive money from your sales over Amazon. If you already have an account with Payoneer, it has some nifty integrations with online stores.
Sell your items
See? That was pretty painless, right? Who knew creating a seller account on Amazon would be so easy?
If you are happy with the signup process, you can expect the same from listing your items. It’s literally as easy as searching for the item on Amazon, going to the product page, and looking for the “Have one to sell?” link and “Sell on Amazon” button down the right-hand side of the page.
Create a listing
Alternatively, if you want to create a product from scratch or you are selling your own product, navigate to the “Sell your stuff” page. To make sure the same product does not exist on the site, search its ISBN number. An ISBN number is like a fingerprint for books and is used to identify them uniquely.
You should now be on the “Sell your stuff” page. From here, you can create a product listing that others will view on the product page when they want to buy your goods. You will need some basic information like the ISBN number (you can register your own through Bowker or your local ISBN agency if it’s your own publication), the title, the author, and the publisher.
Choose a price
Now comes the make or break aspect of most products. The price. You need to make sure, especially as a new seller, that you have competitive pricing. If you are just starting out, you don’t have much of a reputation to go on, and on Amazon, reputation is everything. For most new sellers it’s a good idea to try and price as low as possible to lure in new customers. This is one way that you can try and build a following of regular customers.
Once someone buys an item from you and receives fantastic service (which we are sure you will provide), you might’ve won your first return customer. A natural place to start is to look at the price of similar items on the Amazon marketplace. If you have your own online store you probably prices set already, but you may need to go lower to build momentum on Amazon.
Describe the condition
Amazon has more than just a “New” or “Used” condition. If the book is used, you can still specify the condition from “Like new” to “Acceptable. Be honest! If your product doesn’t match the description, you will most likely earn bad reviews and ratings. This can stop any progress you make in its tracks.
Amazon does provide guidelines on what condition category you should choose based on a simple inspection of the book. For example, a book in “Good” condition must have very little visual signs of wear and tear and all the pages must be intact. The book can also contain a few bits of highlighting and a library sticker.
Once this is taken care of, you can finally launch your book on Amazon! The last detail to take care of is to indicate which form of shipping you will use. Carefully go over all the information you provided and make sure it’s correct.
If you are happy (and your heart isn’t pounding as much anymore), hit the sell button. Your product will now be listed on amazon.com.
Ship products to Amazon
If you are selling books on Amazon FBA, you will need to make sure your listed products are specified to be “Fulfilled by Amazon.” You can also convert previously listed products to this setting if you want to ship through Amazon instead of sending it yourself.
The only thing you will need to do now is hand over your books to Amazon to ship. Amazon will provide you with the locations of their “Fulfillment Centers.” It’s from these warehouses that items are shipped, even internationally. Amazon will provide you with product information and shipping labels that you should print and stick to your deliveries.
The next phase is where the power of Amazon comes in. They will automatically ship the item, manage your inventory, update your listings, add the shipping costs to the item, and notify you when something is sold and shipped. Imagine taking care of all of that by yourself while trying to run your business and live a fulfilling life!
Start selling books on Amazon FBA
We hope this has helped you get one step closer to becoming an Amazon bookseller. As you can see, once you have a business plan in place and supply on hand, selling books on Amazon FBA is extremely easy. Just imagine all the extra costs, effort, and hoops you would need to jump through to do all this on your own!
If you are still skeptical or you are not getting the results you were expecting, Sellers Playbook can help. We are experienced industry-experts when it comes to all things Amazon FBA. We believe in its power to change lives and in your ability to make it happen. Check out our site for more information.