Step 1 for the Book Reseller: Find Books and Buyers


One of the challenges is getting a business off the ground without wanting to invest much initial capital. I had already established a checking account via Simple (Bancorp). I felt it would be easy to track all of my overhead expenses and revenue if everything pointed to one account. Since I am starting out small, I haven’t yet established anything “business” related.

So first I thought that I would take an inventory and see what could be sold that I already owned. In a few weeks, my family plans to host a yard sale, so I wanted to collect all of the books that we no longer wanted. I quickly determined that books would fall into one of four categories:

Re-sell via Amazon

Amazon is an interesting beast. There are two models for selling with them.

If you plan to start small (individual plan), you pay Amazon a .99 cent fee per item sold plus other costs that Amazon charges (varies by category). Essentially, they are taking a portion of the proceeds, so you need to make sure you are selling items that make a fair amount of money. There are professional sellers who are charging almost nothing for a book plus Amazon’s default $3.99 shipping fee. They make money by earning a few pennies from the difference between their shipping costs and what Amazon bakes in.

A second option is the professional selling plan that charges a $39.99 monthly subscription fee plus per-item selling fees. This is great for the larger companies that plan to sell in large volume monthly. For the little guy just starting out, I selected the individual plan.

Re-sell via eBay

eBay doesn’t appear to charge fees as high as Amazon. I’ve found that it can be a viable option for selling, but since Amazon is known for books, I’ve found more success selling books on Amazon, despite the higher fees. Sometimes it’s worth a little less profit if the item has a better chance of selling, and more people think to search Amazon when looking for books. I’ve found eBay can be more niche, like selling collector’s edition books or book lots.

Re-sell via Textbook Buyers

Sometimes the books, especially if they are recent or classic edition school textbooks, have a chance of being bought by a company that sells used textbooks. The challenge is that they offer a lot less than you might be able to get selling on your own through Amazon, but it should be guaranteed money. Just make sure that you know the specific textbook you plan to sell. Most of these companies will not buy “International” or “Global” editions of textbooks that are printed overseas and offered at a discount. With that said, I’ve found the occasion when I am able to get a textbook and still make a profit using one of these resellers:


Leave comments if you are familiar with others. The benefit to these services is that although they may offer less cash.

Yard Sale or Donate

Most of the books I’ve collected from my home fall into this category. They are either old textbooks that are not worth anything (because newer editions exist) or they are best-selling books with so many copies that the big boys selling on Amazon can charge little and make profit from the shipping margins. So in a few weeks I’ll attempt to sell 3 large boxes of books. My plan is to advertise by genre to generate interest (children’s, popular fiction, psychology, etc.). I’m also considering selling by weight – that is, pay per pound of books That way I can get something for a large quantity of books sold. Otherwise, the books will be donated and used as a tax write-off.

What ideas have worked for you?

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