How to Make Money Selling Books Online

How to Make Money Selling Books Online

We are all familiar with Amazon, right? What most people do not know is that when Jeff Bezos began Amazon, back in 1994, the only product he was selling was books. He stocked, sold, and shipped orders to all 50 states all from his home garage. ...

We are all familiar with Amazon, right? What most people do not know is that when Jeff Bezos began Amazon, back in 1994, the only product he was selling was books. He stocked, sold, and shipped orders to all 50 states all from his home garage. Today, Amazon has grown to become a multi-billion-dollar company that sells everything under one roof, books, music, movies, furniture, electronics, and so many other items.

Types of books to sell online

Selling books online is not as easy as it might appear. With so many books being released by the day and with several platforms that are ready to give you a run for your money, you need to be very strategic about the type of books to sell, where to sell, and the pricing. Below is a list of the top 4 types of books that you can sell online to make the most money.


The cost of textbooks has risen by a huge percentage over the past years. Regardless, every year students spend hundreds of dollars in acquiring school books. This, therefore, makes selling textbooks a worthwhile niche to venture into.


The best place to get textbooks to sell is buying books from the publishers. With this, you can be guaranteed to get a good variety of books at your required copies. Another option is buying the textbooks in bulk from your local bookshops. You can also choose to sell second-hand textbooks that are in perfectly good condition. Second-hand textbooks can be bought from thrift stores, garage sales, or on online platforms such as eBay and craigslist.

First Edition Books

First edition books are a valuable commodity to booksellers and collectors. These are generally books that were published 30 to 40 years ago. Collectors are always in search of first edition books from their favorite authors and hence are willing to pay a higher price for these treasures.


Modern-day first edition books are easy to come by however; a far dated book is rare to find but the more money you can get from it. First edition books can be found in thrift stores, garage sales, house clearance, craigslist, or on eBay.

Out of Print Books

An ‘out of print’ book is one that is no longer being published due to several reasons such as limited print run, this is because publishers want to focus on book collectors. Basic print run, that is, the book does not sell well enough for the first print. Loss of rights, when an author chooses to change publishers. Lastly, ending an edition, when a new edition or series of a book is coming out hence they have to finish the old edition.


Out of print books can be found at old book shops or thrift stores. However, more often than not, you will find that these books do not cash in a lot unless you are lucky to find a rare book. This niche is also faced with a lot of competition from sites such as Amazon that has a bunch of sellers trading these types of books.

Collectibles and antiques

Rare and antique books as a specialist’s market, especially if it is a first edition of the book. Examples of rare and antique books include; First Folio by William Shakespeare, In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway, Harry Potter, and The Philosopher’s Stone, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen amongst others. These rare and antique books can be sold for hundreds of thousands. There are many factors collectors consider to determine how much to sell/ buy a book. They include the condition of the book, edition, imprints, scarcity, etc.


These books are very rare to find however if you are lucky enough, you are to find them on eBay, craigslist, thrift stores, garage sales, and in-home clearance. People who might not know the value of such books will probably donate them while clearing their homes.

Where to sell books online

There are tons of online platforms where you can start your online business of selling books. There are two ways of selling books online and whichever you choose narrows down to your preference they include;

Buyback sites: This is perhaps the easiest way to go about selling books online. With this, you are required to log into a website that buys books from sellers. To get the quote of the book, you are simply key in the name of the book. If you like the quote, you ship the book/s to the company then you get paid.

Online markets: such as Amazon and eBay. With this, you list your books on the website and wait for customers to buy them. The advantage of this is that you list your prices however, to make money you will have to wait until the book is purchased.

Below is a list of some online platforms you can use to sell your books;

Amazon is a trusted platform with a huge and ready market. Therefore, you stand a better chance of making quick sales from this platform.


Just as the name suggests, the site helps you scout for the best price for your book among different buyer sites. You are only required to key in the book’s ISBN. With the different price comparisons, you will be able to sell your books to the site that pays more.


This is one of the best sites to sell stuff locally. The best thing about this is that you get to set your price. To increase your chances of making a sale, you might want to take good pictures of the book and give a detailed description; hard or soft cover, edition, etc.

Barnes & Noble

This is especially good for selling textbooks. To get a quote for your books, you will need to enter the ISBN. If you like the offer, you ship your textbooks to the store and get paid.

Local Bookstores

Sometimes local bookstores buy books from people. You can call or email them to ask if they would be interested in buying your books and at how much. Once you reach an agreement you can bring your books and exchange them for cash.

Personal Website

Last but not the least, if you are adventurous, you can decide to start a website and set up an eCommerce shop where you will be selling your books. this method is not as easy as you have no ready market. You will be required to do the extra work of marketing your site to potential buyers. You will also be responsible for fulfilling all your orders hence you need to have a solid work plan.

Bottom Line

Anyone who is not familiar with the busy, complicated yet profitable art of selling products online might find it difficult to comprehend how one makes money by doing business on the internet. With a lot of companies and individuals reportedly making hundreds of thousands in sales every month, it means that the online space is a powerful platform for you to build your business and make money as a budding entrepreneur.

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