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How much does it cost to sell books on amazon

How Much Does It Cost To Sell Books On Amazon?

It might not be true that everyone has at least one book in them. However, it probably is true that everyone has at least one book collecting dust on a shelf. Whether you’re a newly minted self-published author or a recovering hoarder, you’re probably wondering how much does it cost to sell books on Amazon? Well, cost depends on several factors.

Used Books for Sale

 

If you live in a city like New York or Portland, Oregon you may already be familiar with selling books. In Portland’s Powell’s Books, for instance, the line to sell used tomes often snakes toward the exit. Frequently described as “the largest independent bookstore in the world,” it takes up an entire city block. Newcomers usually consult a free map just to find their way around its 1.6 acres of retail space. Powell’s keeps its enormous inventory of “pre-owned” titles well-stocked through its in-house purchasing program. That means sellers often arrive with sackfuls, anxiously waiting as employees consult computers to determine what each book is worth. With the addition of online sales, Powell’s hunger for books only intensified.

 

Sometimes called the world’s largest bookstore, Amazon got its start in the 1990s selling books –– which are easier to package and ship than most other items. Today, they have your book selling needs covered by offering everything from publishing services to shipping. To begin, you’ll need to set up a seller account. If you’re only selling a few books, the individual account gives Amazon $0.99 per book sold. For $39.99 a month, the professional plan gives you access to promotions and advertising along with eliminating the per-book fee. From there, you need to decide how you’ll deliver the book to the customer. Either you fulfill the order (i.e. box it and ship it) or Amazon fulfills it. 

 

Be warned, with fulfilled by Amazon the fees can quickly consume your profits. One seller detailed his experience using the service to unload 25 used books for a total of $242. After fees, his profit was a whopping five bucks! Unfortunately, people with smaller numbers of books to sell soon realize that larger sellers can easily undercut their prices. 

 

If a local used book store isn’t available, you may be better off dealing with the shipping yourself –– at least from a financial sense. No matter how you slice it, it’s a very involved process. Of course if you’re a self-published author, how much does it cost to sell books on Amazon probably isn’t your first question.

 

Road to Bestsellerdom 

 

If you are a self-published author or contemplating becoming one, there are a number of factors to consider. The first is developing your audience. This should happen before you put your book out. If yours is a work of nonfiction –– like a self-help guide or a business book –– then you could be giving lectures and interviews on the topic. You could write blogs like this one. Social media needs to be embraced as well. LinkedIn and Facebook offer solid markets for nonfiction works. If yours is a work of fiction, consider posting a chapter to WattPad. Described as the largest social media platform exclusively for writers, WattPad not only offers you some 90 million potential readers but helped turn 15-year-old writer Beth Reekles into a best selling novelist. While your story might not have the success of Reekles’ The Kissing Booth, the site gives you a great way to connect with your potential audience. Amazon-owned review site Goodreads

 is another great place to form connections. There are even online reading clubs that might consider your book. You can also promote it on any of the thousands of blogging sites devoted to your genre. 

 

Your returns are partly determined by your investment. There’s a reason top publishers devote thousands of dollars per book to cover design, editing, and marketing. It works. Your book covers matters even more online than it would in a traditional bricks and mortar bookstore. Use your connections and network to find a top graphic designer and editor. Generally the ones supplied by sites like Amazon are hired because they are inexpensive and unfortunately you often get what you pay for. Realize you will have to pay people. Chances are that if you find someone willing to work for a share of your future profits they probably aren’t worth the money. 

 

Paper Matters

 

Despite or because of the proliferation of online media, a physical book has real intrinsic value. Online work is ephemeral, a book can easily outlive its owner. So devote some of your resources to a print-on-demand company. If you’re a public speaker or have the opportunity to become one, having print copes of your book will be invaluable.

 

Cultivate Reviewers

 

Using friends or families to review your book is risky. Amazon regularly changes its review requirements but a friend review is a red flag to the site that it isn’t genuine. You may be able to develop readers from WattPad, or you may have a list of connections.

 

With 2020’s lockdowns, more people discovered the joy of books. So take your time and make your book the best it can be. The publishing world awaits.

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