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Trampa501

Tips On Selling Books On Amazon.co.uk

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Hi, as some here may know I've started a bookshop in Madrid called Offside Books. Starting to sell second hand books on Spanish amazon, and although numbers aren't great, I am selling some each week.

I'm also sending/selling books to someone based in London. So far they haven't sold one copy (the books are a mixtures of Spanish and English, mainly second hand but some as good as new). They are trying to offer the lowest price for each book, but nothing is selling.

Does anyone have tips that work for Amazon.co.uk ? I can't believe things are so bad that no-one buys books in the UK anymore - or has there been a total switch to Kindles?

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Hi, as some here may know I've started a bookshop in Madrid called Offside Books. Starting to sell second hand books on Spanish amazon, and although numbers aren't great, I am selling some each week.

I'm also sending/selling books to someone based in London. So far they haven't sold one copy (the books are a mixtures of Spanish and English, mainly second hand but some as good as new). They are trying to offer the lowest price for each book, but nothing is selling.

Does anyone have tips that work for Amazon.co.uk ? I can't believe things are so bad that no-one buys books in the UK anymore - or has there been a total switch to Kindles?

I've been selling books on amazon for many years & confirm it is very difficult.

Sales / prices have collapsed in many areas as they have for dvd's & games. Don't get sucked into Az FBA

I only deal in non fiction these days, where possible.

Main reasons imo are :

1. megasellers selling stuff for peanuts , using price matching undercutting software

2. Expensive postage for heavy books

3. Ebooks

4, Less readers. General dumbing down of society,

5. tv & web distractions

6. readers using web to read for free

Try asking questions on the amazon uk sellers forum, though in tough times people are cagier .

https://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/forums/category.jspa?categoryID=2&ref_=xx_sfctg2_cont_sforums

"General Selling on Amazon Questions " is most popular

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Gave up selling (heavy) technical books on Amazon UK due to the costs of postage, and almost all the competition were cheaper. Unless you have something relatively unique and rare, such as a first edition.

I could have sold books no problem, provided I was prepared to loose money on almost everyone. Amazon and the courier/Royal Mail get paid of course. Why should I work for nothing?

Would need to be really organised with the packing, buy it in some quantity, and that was the other problem. every other book was a different size and weight!

If I lived in London. could have delivered them by bike I suppose and had a day out.

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Other tip - if it's outside the top 500,000 or so sales rank - it'll likely take a looooong time to sell.

Bestselling fiction books are basically worthless. As the previous poster said, choose a niche (you know well) and lightweight. Some business books fit this well, but watch out for new editions. For example, I could look at a pile of Doctor Who books and near instantly tell you which ones might sell for tens or even hundreds of pounds - but 99% of them would likely be worth nowt.

With Spanish books, maybe you would have better luck at Amazon.com?

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Haven't ever sold any books on Amazon but did discover, with 250,000 DVDs we couldn't shift, it was more lucrative to pay Eastern Europeans to remove the disc and sleeve insert and shrinkwrap in 5s to be sold as empty cases. The discs actually sold for money into the recycling industry, I think, as well as the sleeve inserts.

I do wonder if some of these stocks of paperbacks would be worth more weighed in for recycling than the potential profit on Amazon.

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Haven't ever sold any books on Amazon but did discover, with 250,000 DVDs we couldn't shift, it was more lucrative to pay Eastern Europeans to remove the disc and sleeve insert and shrinkwrap in 5s to be sold as empty cases. The discs actually sold for money into the recycling industry, I think, as well as the sleeve inserts.

I do wonder if some of these stocks of paperbacks would be worth more weighed in for recycling than the potential profit on Amazon.

A friend takes unwanted donations from a charity bookshop and sells any decent stuff, the rest goes for recycling(not sure if sold or just given away).

Even with free stock it is more of a hobby than a moneyspinner.

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I think people here has summed up most of the issues.

Firstly there is almost no profit in it, the postage costs for books are prohibitive given the lack of a reasonable standard. The Length and width for paperbacks is relatively OK but the depth puts a dampener on any sort of standard packaging. Also Amazon give a flat postage fee, might cover a paperback but not an extremely heavy text book.

I sold about 4000 CD's via Amazon a few years ago, there were a few highlights where I got seriously good money for some rare stuff, however the bulk of it was sub £1 and often only a penny. The thing was that I had a little system where I would purchase brand new jewel cases and repackage every CD so that it looked brand new (the CD's were in top condition and I did list as Used - Like New so no dodgy practices). Also I used to buy the padded envelopes in bulk and use a single second class stamp which importantly could be placed in a standard post box. The postage costs that Amazon would give for a CD covered all of the packaging and postage and still gave about 50p profit, so even though they sold for a penny there was always some profit there.

The point of that little story is this is what you are up against, people willing to sell things at a bare minimum profit. Be they actual retailers, people selling off old junk or people looking to make a quick profit on things they found at the local tip. The other surprising thing I found was that the most difficult and hard to shift things were the popular items.

The main plus for me with Amazon over say ebay was the postage element, it was fixed and so you knew the frame work you were working in. With CD's in my case I knew the cost of sending it, with books that becomes a little more tricky. If you had a good supply of suitable packing materials and lived next door to a post office it might be viable.

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Thanks for the feedback. Still no sales at all in UK. I suspect it's because everyone expects book to sell for a penny plus p&p. It's either a charity doing this (free donations, workers working for nothing, free storage etc), or a merchant who thinks they'll outlive the opposition by playing beggar-my-neighbour.

Strange to see how the Spanish marketplace works. You enter a fairly rare book at the most competitive price. Then within a couple of days, operators from the US or UK jump in and undercut your price by a cent or two. Bizarrely they enter in 3 entries eg one at 14.17 one at 14.18 and one at 14.19 when you originally listed at 14.20 - I have real doubts in some cases they have the books in stock.

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Thought I'd resurrect this one. I've sold spare books successfully in the past on Amazon.

But, now I wanted to pick the hive mind on now that I'm experiencing the site from the other side - as a published author of technical books.

So, I have authored a very low print run hardback technical book. It gets published by a mainstream trade press in 500 copies. It goes on Amazon, and immediately there are a dozen merchant sellers selling it 'new' and undercutting both Amazon and publisher. Not only that but there are about 10 sellers selling it used (possible I suppose as it goes out for review to individuals and trade magazines).

How does this work? Are the merchants just listing it and then hoping to buy it in from publisher if they actually sell it? But if they are undercutting Amazon and publisher, how can they make money?

edit: I should say this is not a cheap book - fifty quid.

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Suspect it's a mixture of review copies, and the larger firms gambling they can get it cheaper. If they can't the buyer will get a "Sorry the item was unexpectedly damaged on its way to you and so returned to us" - and the sale cancelled. That seems to be a get out that doesn't affect their amazon customer satisfaction numbers. Some are notorious for it.

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There are actually a few risks to listing books for sale which you don't have.

People can leave feedback if you cancel the order (they can write a comment and give a poor rating, which drags down the satisfaction percentage). If your percentage is low people will think twice about buying from you. But even if this percentage stays quite high, amazon sometimes closes accounts if you cancel too many orders.

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As mentioned niche....something about something out of the ordinary,first or one print run, excellent condition with complete jackets if had one......four books for one euro in charity shop Spain.....books that were printed in USA, Canada and other places, hard to find in UK.....off top of head.... No experience in selling books.

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As an aside, I run a small hobby-business publishing my own books on Amazon. At first I only published for kindle, thinking that 'real books' were dead, but now I find that I get just as many sales, if not more, for hard copies. I think a lot of people buy them as presents.

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I recently got a bee in my bonnet about wanting to collect old Thomas the Tank Engine / Railway Series books from the 70s, the same as I read when I was a kid. There seems to be a reasonably healthy market on ebay, but in trying to find the publication date of one of them, I put the ISBN number into Amazon. I was gobsmacked to find that Amazon shops are selling these things in paperback for 1p each. Granted, they want £2.50 for postage, which makes them more in line with ebay prices, but I'm amazed they clearly can't give them away.

I'm picking up the hardbacks for an average of £3.50 each at the moment. So finally, in my 40s, I've become a trainspotter of sorts. Not good...

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I recently got a bee in my bonnet about wanting to collect old Thomas the Tank Engine / Railway Series books from the 70s, the same as I read when I was a kid. There seems to be a reasonably healthy market on ebay, but in trying to find the publication date of one of them, I put the ISBN number into Amazon. I was gobsmacked to find that Amazon shops are selling these things in paperback for 1p each. Granted, they want £2.50 for postage, which makes them more in line with ebay prices, but I'm amazed they clearly can't give them away.

I'm picking up the hardbacks for an average of £3.50 each at the moment. So finally, in my 40s, I've become a trainspotter of sorts. Not good...

As someone pointed out, mass market books more than 2-3 years old are essentially worthless, which is why they are sold for a peppercorn on Amazon.

A few years ago a large second hand book retailer went bust and rather than sell their stock they just let people come and take what they wanted.

I have also heard stories of charity shops selling paperbacks by the kilo to scrap paper merchants rather than putting them on sale, for, say, 10p, either because they still don't sell at that price or they don't want the buying public to get used to low prices (hmmm wonder if they got that idea from the housing market!)

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As someone pointed out, mass market books more than 2-3 years old are essentially worthless, which is why they are sold for a peppercorn on Amazon.

A few years ago a large second hand book retailer went bust and rather than sell their stock they just let people come and take what they wanted.

I have also heard stories of charity shops selling paperbacks by the kilo to scrap paper merchants rather than putting them on sale, for, say, 10p, either because they still don't sell at that price or they don't want the buying public to get used to low prices (hmmm wonder if they got that idea from the housing market!)

One the one hand that seems like a crying shame to me. On the other hand it means I can collect all the ones I'm looking for at a total of about £70, which seems like a steal given the personal value I'd put on them.

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I got a "rare" hardback of a book I had lost off Amazon for £8.

Books are rubbish in this digital age. :unsure:

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I got a "rare" hardback of a book I had lost off Amazon for £8.

Books are rubbish in this digital age. :unsure:

I've got a copy of BS 376-2:1954

Railway signalling symbols. Wiring symbols and written circuits

There's somewhere selling it for (train)shed loads of money.

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Thought I'd resurrect this one. I've sold spare books successfully in the past on Amazon.

But, now I wanted to pick the hive mind on now that I'm experiencing the site from the other side - as a published author of technical books.

So, I have authored a very low print run hardback technical book. It gets published by a mainstream trade press in 500 copies. It goes on Amazon, and immediately there are a dozen merchant sellers selling it 'new' and undercutting both Amazon and publisher. Not only that but there are about 10 sellers selling it used (possible I suppose as it goes out for review to individuals and trade magazines).

How does this work? Are the merchants just listing it and then hoping to buy it in from publisher if they actually sell it? But if they are undercutting Amazon and publisher, how can they make money?

edit: I should say this is not a cheap book - fifty quid.

It seems this is a thread I started - no longer running the shop in Madrid, but have kept some interests in Spain.

Now one of my concerns is a bookstore/giftshop in Kilburn, and in answer to your question, we receive review copies from local residents from time to time. So probably a reviewer is trying to sell your book online? There is another alternative (seems unlikely to me though) that one of the big operators has noticed you've started selling books, and wants to crush your fledgling business before it gets started...

Have to say that I can't see how anyone makes money selling books on Amazon marketplace. The numbers of sales are too low, and the competition too fierce.

How to make money from "hard copy" books? Cannibalise the big books with nice pictures.... Or sell to art students who do this...

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Books are strangely out of fashion. They are 25p each in my local charity shop. DVDs are £1.

Like I said, Fahrenheit 451. They are probably more value burned.

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I've got a copy of BS 376-2:1954

Railway signalling symbols. Wiring symbols and written circuits

There's somewhere selling it for (train)shed loads of money.

Well that sounds interesting? :blink: Technical books might sell. I like them.

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