How to Sell Books Online: Guide To Boosting Your Sales

Elena Hudgens
By Elena Hudgens 24 Min Read

Selling books online has gained immense popularity among authors, publishers, and book enthusiasts, allowing them to establish global connections with readers. 

Whether you’re an independent author, the owner of a small bookstore, or someone looking to declutter your library, this guide will walk you through how to sell books online.

It’s crucial to do your homework and evaluate rates on various platforms if you want to make the most of your book-selling experience. Additionally, ensure your books are in good condition and accurately described to avoid any issues with buyers. In this article, you’ll learn everything about how to sell books online.

How To Sell Books Online: Overview

Selling books online grants you entry to an expansive global readership, enabling you to connect with individuals from all corners of the world. Online book selling brings convenience to both sellers and buyers alike.

As a seller, you gain the ability to effortlessly handle your inventory, establish pricing, and fulfill orders from the comfort of your home or office. On the other hand, buyers can conveniently browse and acquire books without visiting a store.

By selling books online, you can reduce costs associated with rent, utilities, and staffing, leading to increased profit margins and the possibility of providing competitive pricing to entice buyers.

The online selling platform empowers you with the flexibility to handle your inventory efficiently, establish prices, and adapt your selling strategies in response to market trends and customer preferences.

This adaptability lets you stay responsive to changing demands and optimize your sales approach accordingly.

Selling books online offers self-published authors a direct avenue to connect with readers, eliminating the requirement for a conventional publishing intermediary. This direct connection enables authors to maintain enhanced control over their creative endeavors & attain higher royalties.

How To Sell Books Online: Types Of Books That You Can Sell

Here are the types of books that can be sold online:

  • Second-Hand Books – Used books available for sale on various online platforms, creating virtual marketplaces where individuals can buy and sell previously owned and read books.
  • New Books – Newly published books are available for purchase through online platforms, serving as virtual marketplaces where publishers, authors, and retailers offer their latest releases to readers worldwide.
  • Rare Books – Collectible books are available for sale through online platforms, serving as virtual marketplaces where collectors, enthusiasts, and book lovers can discover and acquire rare, valuable, or hard-to-find books.
  • Textbooks – Textbooks used in academic settings, from elementary school to higher education, are available for purchase or access online, providing students, educators, and self-learners with convenient access to educational resources.
  • Collectible Books – Collectors, enthusiasts, and bibliophiles treasure valuable books available online due to their historical significance, unique attributes, or limited availability.
  • Audiobooks – Audio recordings of books narrated by professional voice actors or authors are available for streaming or downloading online, offering a convenient way for individuals to listen to books.
  • Books Without An ISBN – Books that do not have an assigned International Standard Book Number (ISBN) can still be purchased online through various platforms, despite the ISBN being a commonly used identifier for book identification.

How To Sell Books Online: Choosing A Platform

Selecting the correct platform can make all the difference when selling books online. Here are some of the top platforms to consider:


how to sell books online

Amazon is one of the most popular platforms for selling books online. You must create a seller account and list your books to sell on Amazon. Amazon takes a commission on each sale but provides much support and resources.


how to sell books online

Bookscouter is a search engine that helps you find the best book prices. It compares prices from dozens of buyers, including Amazon, and shows you the best offers. Bookscouter doesn’t buy books but can help you find the best place to sell them.


how to sell books online

Ziffit is a UK-based platform that lets you sell books, CDs, DVDs, and games. You can use its app to scan your items and get an instant quote. Ziffit pays for shipping and sends you the money via bank transfer or PayPal. It’s a convenient and easy-to-use platform, but remember, it’s only available in the UK.


how to sell books online

eBay is another popular platform for selling books online. It’s a bit different from Amazon because it’s an auction site, so you’ll need to set a starting price and wait for buyers to bid. eBay takes a commission on each sale but provides much flexibility and control over how you sell your books.

Ultimately, the best platform depends on your goals, preferences, and location. Consider your options carefully and choose the platform that’s right for you.

Powell’s Books

how to sell books online

Powell’s Books offers various new, used, rare, and out-of-print books spanning various genres and subjects. With multiple floors and shelves brimming with literary treasures, the store is a haven for book enthusiasts and collectors.

Powell’s initiates a bidding process when you add ISBNs to your books. Once you accept the bid, you can ship the books independently or utilize their prepaid mailing label. A confirmation will be sent upon their arrival, and you will receive payment in the form of Powell’s account credit or a deposit via PayPal.


how to sell books online

BookDeal is an online platform facilitating connections between individuals seeking to sell their pre-owned books and potential book buyers. It provides a convenient and user-friendly interface, granting access to a network of trusted book buyers. By utilizing BookDeal, individuals can compare offers and secure the best possible prices for their books.

When selling through BookDeal, individuals can provide the ISBN or title of their books. This information enables them to receive instant quotes from multiple book buyers. Sellers can make informed decisions and select the most favorable option by comparing offers.

how to sell books online is an online platform that supplies textbooks and educational resources to students, educators, and book enthusiasts. It provides a wide-ranging collection of textbooks covering diverse subjects and academic levels, serving college and K-12 education.

When it comes to selling used books, offers a convenient avenue. Once you accept a buyback quote, the quoted price remains valid for 30 days, and the platform provides a complimentary UPS label for shipping. 

Payouts for sold books are issued via a check or deposited into a PayPal account within one to four weeks after receiving the book.


how to sell books online

AbeBooks is an esteemed online marketplace dedicated to books, facilitating global transactions between individuals and independent sellers. On this platform, users can engage in buying and selling activities for a wide range of books, including new releases, pre-owned copies, rare editions, and out-of-print titles.

Buyers can choose between purchasing new books for a pristine reading experience or using copies often priced more affordably.

How To Sell Books Online: Preparing Your Books

Before you start selling your books online, you must ensure they are in good condition and have the necessary information to be listed. Here are some key steps to prepare your books for sale.

ISBNs and Barcodes

You must provide the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) or the barcode when selling books online. The ISBN is a unique identifier assigned to each book, while the barcode is a scannable code that contains the ISBN.

If your book still needs an ISBN or barcode, you can still sell it, but it may be more challenging to list and sell. You can purchase ISBNs from Bowker or other authorized ISBN providers.

Condition Guidelines

When selling books online, describing the book’s condition is essential. Most online marketplaces have condition guidelines that you should follow to ensure that buyers know what they are getting. Here are some common condition guidelines:

  • New – The book is in brand new condition.
  • Like New – The book is in excellent condition with no visible signs of wear.
  • Very Good – The book may have minor wear and tear but is still readable.
  • Good – The book may have signs of wear and tear, such as creases or highlighting, but it is still in readable condition.
  • Acceptable – The book may have significant wear and tear, such as missing pages or a damaged dust jacket, but it is still readable.

When describing the condition of your book, be honest and accurate. Use clear language and provide photos if possible to help buyers understand the book’s condition.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your books are ready to sell online and that buyers know what they are getting.

How To Sell Books Online: Listing Your Books

If you want to sell books online, you need to list them on a platform where potential buyers can find them. Here’s how you can do it:

Creating Your Seller Account

First, you must create a seller account on the platform of your choice. Some popular options include Amazon, AbeBooks, and Blurb.

On Amazon, you can choose between an individual and a professional plan. The individual plan is free, but you must pay a fee for each book you sell. The professional plan costs $39.99 monthly but allows you to list unlimited books without additional fees.

To create an Amazon seller account, follow the Amazon Seller Central website prompts. You’ll need to provide basic information about yourself and your business, such as your name, address, and tax ID number.

Uploading Your Listings

With a seller account, start uploading your book listings. Depending on the platform you’re using, you may need to provide different types of information, such as the book’s ISBN, title, author, and condition.

If you’re using Amazon, you can choose between two types of fulfillment: merchant fulfilled network (MFN) and fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). With MFN, you handle the shipping and customer service yourself. With FBA, Amazon handles your shipping and customer service, but you must pay a fee.

When uploading your listings, include high-quality photos and a detailed description of the book’s condition. You may also want to set a competitive price to attract buyers.

Listing your books online reaches a wider audience & sells more copies. Following these steps, you can create a seller account and upload your listings quickly.

How To Sell Books Online: Shipping and Fulfillment

Shipping and fulfillment are critical when selling books online to ensure customer satisfaction. This section will discuss the two main aspects of shipping and fulfillment: Shipping Costs and Labels and Fulfillment Options.

Shipping Costs and Labels

When shipping your books, it is essential to consider the shipping costs and labels. Shipping costs depend on the book’s weight, destination, and carrier.

You need to print the shipping label once you have calculated the shipping costs. The shipping label contains the shipping address, tracking number, and other essential information. You can print the shipping label using a printer or a printer.

Fulfillment Options

Two main fulfillment options exist when selling books online: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN).

FBA is a program where Amazon stores, packs, and ships your books to customers. With FBA, you can use Amazon’s vast customer base and shipping network. However, FBA comes with additional fees, such as storage and fulfillment.

how to sell books online

Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN) is a program where you store, pack, and ship your books to customers. With MFN, you can control the shipping process and save on storage and fulfillment fees. However, you must handle the shipping yourself, which can be time-consuming.

When choosing between FBA and MFN, consider the cost, time, and control trade-offs. If you have a large sales volume, FBA may be the better option. MFN may be better if you have a smaller sales volume and want more control over the shipping process.

In conclusion, shipping and fulfillment are critical aspects of selling books online. By considering the shipping costs and labels and choosing the right fulfillment option, you can ensure customer satisfaction and maximize your profits.

How To Sell Books Online: Marketing and Promotion

Marketing and promotion are essential when selling books online to drive sales and increase your reach. This section will discuss effective ways to promote and market your books online.

Discounts and Promotions

Discounts attract new customers & retain existing ones. You can offer discounts on your books for a limited time or bundle them with other products to increase their value. Here are some ideas for discounts and promotions:

  • Holiday sales – Offer discounts during Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other festive occasions.
  • Bundle deals – Bundle your books with other products like bookmarks, posters, or other merchandise to increase their value.
  • Free shipping – Provides free shipping on orders over a certain amount to incentivize customers to buy more.


Newsletters keep your customers engaged and informed about your new releases, promotions, and other updates. You can send newsletters to your subscribers regularly, such as weekly or monthly. Here are some tips for creating high-quality newsletters:

  • Keep it short and simple – Keep your newsletters short and to the point, highlighting the most critical information about your books and promotions.
  • Use eye-catching designs – Use attractive designs and images to make your newsletters visually appealing.
  • Include a call-to-action – Encourage your subscribers to take action by including a call-to-action in your newsletters, such as “Buy Now” or “Learn More.”

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps are becoming increasingly popular for buying and selling books online. Create a mobile application for your bookstore to make browsing and buying your books easier for your customers. Here are some benefits of having a mobile app:

  • Convenience – Customers can browse and buy your books from anywhere, anytime.
  • Personalization – You can personalize your app with features like recommendations, wish lists, and more.
  • Push notifications – Remind your customers about new releases, promotions, and other updates.

In conclusion, marketing and promotion are crucial for selling books online. By offering discounts and promotions, sending newsletters, and creating a mobile app, you can attract new customers, retain existing ones, and increase your sales.

How To Sell Books Online: Selling Tips and Strategies

To sell books online successfully, you must have a solid strategy. Here are some tips to help you sell both used and new books.

Selling Used Books

Selling used books can be a great way to make extra cash or store credit. Here are some tips to help you sell your used books:

  • Check the condition – Before selling your used books, ensure they are in good condition. No one wants to buy a book that is falling apart or has pages missing.
  • Research prices – Research to find out how much your book is worth. Check online marketplaces like AbeBooks, Powell’s Books, and Half Price Books to see what similar books are selling for.
  • Be honest about the condition – When listing your book for sale, be honest. If it has any flaws, mention them in the listing.
  • Consider selling in bulk – If you have a collection of used books, consider selling them in bulk. This can be a great way to get rid of books quickly and make some extra cash.

Selling New Books

Selling new books can be trickier than selling used ones, but there are still ways to profit. Here are some tips to help you sell your new books:

  • Find your niche – If you are a writer or publisher, finding your niche can be key to selling your books. Focus on a specific genre or topic to attract readers who are interested in that subject.
  • Offer promotions – Offer discounts or free shipping to encourage people to buy your book.
  • Get reviews – Ask your readers to leave your book reviews on online marketplaces like Amazon. Positive reviews can help attract new readers.
  • Use social media – Use social media channels to promote your book and connect with potential readers.

Whether you are selling used or new books, there are plenty of ways to profit. These strategies can improve your chances of success and make extra cash or store credit.

How To Sell Books Online: Benefits

Here are the benefits of selling books online:

  • Selling books online opens up possibilities by granting sellers access to a vast global audience across different regions and countries.
  • The convenience of online bookselling benefits both sellers and buyers, as sellers can easily manage their inventory, set prices, and fulfill orders without leaving their homes or offices.
  • The cost-saving advantage of online bookselling shines through, as it eliminates the need for physical storefronts, reducing expenses associated with rent, utilities, and staffing.
  • The potential for maximizing profits expands when selling books online, giving sellers greater control over pricing and the opportunity to attract buyers with competitive offers.
  • The direct channel established by online bookselling connects sellers directly with buyers, fostering personal connections and facilitating responsive customer service.
  • Integration with other sales channels, including social media platforms or personal websites, is often available through online platforms, amplifying sellers’ reach and allowing them to leverage additional avenues for promoting and selling books.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) On How To Sell Books Online

1. How to sell second hand books online?

You can sell second hand books online by using these platforms:

  • Amazon
  • BookScouter
  • eBay
  • Powell’s Books

2. Is it worth trying to sell books online?

Engaging in online bookselling presents a lucrative opportunity to generate additional income. Considering the steep prices of textbooks and academic books, recouping some expenses through their sale makes it worthwhile. Selling your used textbooks is advantageous, ensuring you can maximize your returns sooner rather than later.

3. Can you sell books to Barnes and Noble’s?

Enter the ISBN on the back of the book you intend to sell into the designated field labeled Get Quote. Click the Get Quote button to instantly view the amount to pay for your book.

Conclusion: How To Sell Books Online

If you approach it strategically, selling books online can be lucrative. Begin by choosing an online marketplace that suits your objectives and target audience. Creating precise and comprehensive descriptions, incorporating high-quality images, and emphasizing distinctive selling features is essential.

Conduct market research and establish competitive prices based on condition, edition, and rarity. Enhance the visibility of your listings by optimizing them with appropriate keywords, titles, and author names to improve search rankings.

Expand your reach by promoting your books through social media, forums, and relevant communities. To differentiate yourself, consider offering bundle deals, free shipping, personalized recommendations, or detailed information about the book’s condition.

I hope today’s article on how to sell books online sounds helpful!

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Elena Hudgens is an entrepreneur with 10+ years of experience. She started her journey by building her own e-commerce website on Shopify and turned her $1000 savings to millions in just 2 years. Soon she started different ventures in which she failed and succeeded. And now, she's on a mission to help other entrepreneurs with her life and business lessons.
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