Whether you enjoy books or simply enjoy selling online, selling books online can be a lucrative sideline or full-time business.
All you have to do now is do your homework and effort.
Despite fierce competition, the book industry has remained quietly successful. Not least because we read the written word in so many different formats. Ebooks and audiobooks are available for those who prefer not to read on paper.
We’ve put together a handy guide to help you do just that if you want to profit from the book market.
How to Sell Books Online: The Facts
Did you know that 675 million print books were sold in the United States alone last year?
Not only that but 74 per cent of adults read at least one book per year, according to Statistica. To the bookworms reading this post, that may not seem like much, but it adds up to an average annual book expenditure of $110 per person!
Ninety-eight per cent of customers claim they buy books for enjoyment rather than for academic or professional goals when it comes to books. So, if you’re thinking of opening an online bookstore, you’ve got a lot of people to deal with!
However, don’t overlook the academic market. The publishing sector in higher education accounted for $4 billion in 2017.
Even though traditional bookstores in the United States still make over $10 billion each year, their revenues steadily decline, primarily to huge online sellers such as Amazon. However, the decrease is mostly limited to the more well-known bookstores. Our fondness for small, independent bookstores does not appear to have decreased; rather, it has grown. Is it possible that this demand for the unusual and unusual can be translated to your online store?
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at why you might want to open a store, for example:
You’re a business owner who wants to open an online bookstore and sell your wares through an ecommerce platform such as Shopify.
You’re a writer with no agent or publisher. However, you wish to sell your book through Blurb or Amazon.
You have many used books that you wish to sell online. They’re either yours, or you bought them at a bookstore or a yard sale and wished to sell them on Amazon or Bookscouter for a profit.
Don’t worry; we’ll go over all three scenarios in this guide.
Creating an Online Bookstore
Whether you’re a writer looking to sell your books or you’re looking to sell other people’s, you must first decide how you’ll go about doing it. If you don’t want to sell books through the traditional internet giants, you’ll need to create an appealing and user-friendly ecommerce store.
Don’t you want people to buy your books? This entails retaining visitors to your website for as long as feasible. This greatly improves the likelihood of them making a purchase. As a result, building a well-designed and professional-looking website is worthwhile. We don’t advocate starting your store with an existing blog. Alternatively, if you already have an online store with other products, don’t just add the books to it.
Set up a distinct area.
This entails obtaining a new domain name and developing a new website that is professional in appearance, easy to navigate, and offers direct payment and delivery choices.
For such a business, Shopify is a good choice. Shopify has a plethora of appealing templates that are ideal for online bookshops. That’s all there is to it.
Many Shopify themes include fantastic features that even inexperienced booksellers may take advantage of. SEO optimization, slideshows, free stock pictures, the ability to use numerous currencies and languages, Instagram integration, and drag-and-drop page builders, for example. Those are only a few examples!
These themes can be used on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
The designs are well-designed, sleek, and clean, appealing to customers looking to spend their money on the next best read. You can even include videos and those all-important social media icons with some themes. You may encourage people to explore your Facebook and Instagram pages with a single click.
Most importantly, your online store must be able to securely accept payments, which is why Shopify is an ideal choice. Customers are safe, and you are as well. PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance is required for all Shopify stores. So relax; keeping your customers’ payment information and your company’s data safe is a piece of cake!
It’s critical to incentivising your clients, whether you use Shopify or another ecommerce platform. So, look around to see what your competitors are up to. Don’t try to imitate them. Just take a look around for some ideas.
Check whether you can set discounts for your stock on each platform you choose. For example, a three-for-two bargain or a percentage off if you buy numerous books by the same author or genre — it doesn’t matter (at this point) what kind of promotion you run; what matters is that you get to choose.
This is something that big sites like Amazon do all the time. However, it is more difficult for a smaller store, so you must be strategic.
You should organize competitions and giveaways in addition to discounts and promotions if you can. If you can tie events with authors to target a specific demographic within a geographic area, do so. These are all excellent methods for encouraging customers to purchase!
It’s critical to promote your online bookstore. How will customers know you exist if they don’t know you exist?
Here are some ideas:
Capture your customers’ names and email addresses so you may personalize the emails you send. This is a great method to keep them informed about all of your special offers and any new books you have in stock.
You may also send out a weekly/monthly email containing links to your store, social media handles, and any special coupons you’d like to offer your regular customers. Add related articles, such as if a new book is released and you have it in stock, and you’ve written a review for it, include it in the newsletter. Consider things from a different perspective.
Keep an eye on your competitors’ websites once more. Keep an eye on what they do.
You’d be surprised how useful this is for generating your ideas!
Separately, when it comes to photography, use caution. Beautiful book covers can be added to your Instagram and product sites. Perhaps you have three copies of the same book with three different covers? If that’s the case, ask customers to vote for their favourite and make sure they know where to get them. This is a definite technique to get your audience’s attention.
Continue to sell your bookstore in whatever way you can. Post any fascinating book-related facts you come across. Request feedback. Using an app like Buffer, you can schedule and automate your posts. The possibilities appear to be limitless!
How to Use Shopify to Sell Books
Shopify is one of the most prominent online selling platforms these days. If you don’t want to sell used books on eBay or Amazon, Shopify will allow you to create your literary brand from the ground up.
The best thing about Shopify is that it’s the most popular eCommerce platform for both physical and digital commerce. You could sell printed books, ebooks, downloads, and various other items.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Selling Books on Shopify
Using Shopify to sell books is the same as using this online shop builder to launch any other eCommerce business. Because of its simple interface, extensive community support, and minimal setup charge, Shopify is a popular platform for bookselling. You can start with a $9 per month Shopify plan and work your way up to $299 per month bundles.
Setting up an account with Shopify is the first step toward filling your digital library. The good news is that Shopify is really easy to use, whether you’re selling old books, trying to sell secondhand books, or selling digital downloads. It’s one of the most user-friendly systems for adding products, processing orders, and other tasks.
On Shopify, go to the Sign Up page and select the account type you want. If you’re unsure what you need right away, you can start with the 14-day free trial. Shopify will inquire if you’re already selling and, if so, how much money you’ve made so far.
Shopify will lead you to your homepage after creating an account, where you may add product information, create a theme, register a domain, and more.
Step 1: Enter your domain name.
When they’re looking for it online, customers search for your store’s domain name, such as bookscouter.com or Abebooks. Your domain will come with a myshopify add-on by default, but you can upgrade to a custom domain or use one you currently own.
Remember that you may get custom domains for a low price online, but it’s crucial to consider which domain is most likely to work. Remember that the greatest domain names are brief and easy to remember for your customers.
Choose a title that reflects the types of books you sell or informs customers about your used bookstore.
Using keywords like “collectable” in your name may help you rank higher in the search engines afterwards.
Step 2: Select and Personalize Your Theme
After setting up your domain name, you’ll need to choose a Shopify theme. Your website’s theme is what visitors will see when they arrive. To get started with Shopify, you don’t need any design or coding abilities; the platform comes with a plethora of responsive themes to pick from, and you can also ensure that these themes are mobile-friendly.
With Shopify, you’ll be able to choose from various high-demand themes created by expert designers, or you may create your own custom theme if you prefer. To get you started, the Shopify store offers both free and premium theme options.
Remember that a premium or custom theme gives you far more power than a free theme. It also means that your store will stand out from the crowd more.
Step 3: Add Products to your Store
It’s time to start adding your books to your store now that you have a domain name and a theme. This is the moment to start considering what kinds of books you’ll sell. Will you be selling excellent-condition college textbooks to students? Will you be selling eBooks for people’s digital devices, or will you be giving trade-ins as part of your second-hand bookshop experience?
You may become a speciality bookshop for extra cash that exclusively sells the rarest of volumes online. These days, you may find a lot of collectable objects by searching eBay, yard sales, and thrift stores.
Don’t forget that you’re not limited to selling only books. Even if you decide to focus on being a bookshop first and foremost, you may later decide to expand your offerings to include DVDs, stickers, and stationary.
Creating eye-catching product pages will most likely take the most time and effort when it comes to putting up your website. Keep in mind that you will require:
- Images of the books you want to sell that are appealing to the eye
- There’s a lot of useful information regarding those volumes, including the state of the books.
- Information on pricing that is competitive
- Additional information about packages, offers, and sales
- Information on shipping
- To manually add products or bulk upload information, go to the Products area of your Shopify admin panel.
Step 4: Make Your Store More Functional
Finally, you may start adding new functionality to your Shopify site to increase your earning potential. Shopify is one of the most adaptable website-building platforms available. You can expand the functionality of your online business and grow much faster if you have a large number of apps. An app will assist you in improving your website and embracing new technology trends in the future.
Thousands of apps are available to pick from. Some will assist you in making changes to your websites, such as adding additional payment methods and checkout alternatives. Search engine optimization and content marketing are two areas where other technologies shine.
If you want to sell a lot of books through other channels, you might want to connect your Shopify site to your Facebook and Instagram sites. Shopify allows for social selling integrations.
Step 5: Sell, Learn and Grow
Finally, use Shopify’s powerful dashboard and statistics to determine how to enhance your profitability over time. You can measure everything from website visitors to sales and referrals using Google Analytics and other reporting tools (here’s how to add Google Analytics to Shopify).
It will be easy to see which products your clients prefer if you spend more time tracking your business activities. This will allow you to spend more confidently in future sales methods that will help you achieve better results.
You can even engage in marketing tactics to assist you in attracting a steadier stream of clients to your online store once everything is fully set up. To keep your subscribers up to date on the latest books in your catalogue, you may use email marketing in your Shopify approach. Another alternative is to establish a strong social media presence or publish blogs and articles that regularly demonstrate your thought leadership.
Your reporting and analytics tactics will provide you with additional information about which of your marketing campaigns are producing the best outcomes.
Do You Want to Sell Your Books? Here’s How to Sell Books Online.
Are you one of those people who believe they have a story to share and have also taken the time to write it down?
If that’s the case, congrats!
It’s now time to sell it, and don’t be afraid to do so. If you’re not simply a writer but also an online marketer with an online bookshop, continue reading!
If you have a day job and only want to sell your book(s) on the side, selecting a site with a larger reach, such as Amazon or Blurb, is usually the easiest option.
Here’s what to watch out for if you decide to go down this path.
The Blurb website covers all you need to know to get started selling your book with them. It doesn’t include expensive print runs, which is a spoiler.
They’ve been around since 2005 as a marketing and self-publishing platform. The blurb gives creators the tools to create, publish, advertise, and sell their books online.
You can sell your work in any format, including books, ebooks, audio, magazines, and even PDF files.
Never fear if you’re selling a printed book. You don’t have to worry about shipping because Blurb takes care of everything. There’s also a useful online forum where you can ask questions or just join in on the general writer-ly banter. Blurb can be used as an additional sales channel if you already have a website. You can even integrate the Blurb book you’re selling on your website to try to boost sales.
What about the money, though? Blurb sends you whatever money you’ve earned at the end of each month, either by PayPal or check. However, you must earn a minimum of $25 (USD) in profits to be eligible for payment; the amount is the same in Canadian dollars and £12.50 in the UK.
So that’s the practical side of things taken care of. With Blurb, how do you print your book?
Blurb offers a variety of templates from which to pick. Upload your text after choosing the one that best fits your book’s genre. They have templates for various businesses, such as travel, cooking, photography, and memoir-style books, to name a few. The novelist has a place here as well!
Blurb comes with a lot of applications, including an Adobe InDesign plugin that lets you build blank templates for your book.
But what about getting your book published?
So, you’ve completed your manuscript. Great!
After that, go to your Blurb dashboard and create your book listing. Complete your author profile by clicking sell my book.’
You want to make yourself sound fascinating, so write something catchy. But reserve the reams and reams of writing for the book! Examine other author profiles to see what works and what doesn’t.
The same rule applies when you’re writing an enticing description of your book.
Remember the final reader in whatever you do. What do you believe they’ll be interested in learning about your book? What would compel people to buy it if it ended on a cliffhanger? What are the twists and turns? Have you formed an emotional bond with the characters? Honesty? Tell your audience about your book’s cover. It’s your only chance to make a quick sales presentation. Keep in mind that people’s attention spans are short, so be succinct.
After that, decide on pricing for your book. This is done on the Sell & Distribute tab. Remember to decide how much money you wish to make. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to sell at a loss!
Last but not least, get out there and promote yourself! Embed the listing on your blog and social media pages like Facebook and Instagram. We also urge you to offer a brief excerpt from your work and write a book review. This is a great way to increase sales. Don’t expect them to find it on their own. Make a lot of noise.
If you’d rather sell your book on Amazon, you can still use Blurb to prepare it; simply include the ISBN, and it’ll be ready to self-publish on Amazon.
You’ll earn an author profile on Amazon. This section contains a list of any other works you’ve published (as well as any products you’re selling). There’s also a section with links to your blog posts. In addition, each of your books will have its own product page. That’s not awful!
Set your list price once you’ve completed your author profile and made a listing for your book. This is the overall cost of your book and the profit margin you’ve selected, and the Amazon fees. Remember to factor in all of these numbers; otherwise, you’ll have a big fat zero.
Amazon charges a distribution fee. Each sale will cost you $1.35, plus a $1.15 markup on the list price at the time of writing. Customers can request a refund or return within 30 days on Amazon. Within 15-45 days of the conclusion of this time, Amazon will report the sale, handle payment, and transmit the money. The minimum payment is $25.
It’s also fine if you want to sell books on Amazon without going via Blurb. Selling books on an online marketplace such as Amazon differs from selling books on your eCommerce site.
You’ll need to create a seller account before you can start. This entails entering information from your driver’s licence or passport into Amazon to show that you are who you claim you are. You’ll also need payment card information and bank account information to take payments.
Go to Amazon.com and click on the sign-in page to create your seller account. Sign in if you already have an Amazon consumer account. Create an Amazon account and validate your email address if you don’t already have one. Once you’ve signed in, go to your account page and select “Seller” from the “Other accounts” section.
How to Create an Amazon Seller Account
If you want to sell textbooks, normal novels, or eBooks on Amazon using a seller account, you’ll need first to learn everything there is to know about the selling procedure. Visit learn more, go to the Sell on Amazon page. Remember that you’ll have to pay a monthly fee to sell, which is normally $39.99, and you can list as many products as you like.
You can pay 99 cents per item if you wish to sell products individually. Closing fees are included in both options, so make sure you factor them into your pricing estimate. It might be worth setting up a professional seller account if you want to sell more than 40 items without relying on independent sellers like Powell’s Books.
To finish your profile, go to:
- Accept the legal agreement to sell on Amazon by entering your legal name and accepting the legal agreement.
- Add your business’s address and the display name you’d like it to appear under. You can also include information from your website if you have one and a phone number to utilize for account verification.
- Set up a billing mechanism and a deposit method for consumer payments. The billing method will handle your monthly charge, per-item fee, and closing costs. Amazon will send your revenue to you via the deposit option.
- Fill out the tax information questionnaire. Although this isn’t a formal interview, you will be asked to provide Amazon with your tax information. Enter your social security number and address after confirming that you’re a US citizen or a citizen of the Amazon version you’re using.
Posting an Item for Sale on Amazon
It may take a few days for your business account to be properly set up after completing the Amazon identity verification process with your driver’s licence or passport. After that, you can start selling your things. You can use the ISBN or the title to find the books you want to sell. The ISBN for the book is 13 digits long.
Choose the category you’ll be selling and search for the item. Open the product page for the book you want to sell, and scroll down to Sell on Amazon. Set the price for the item you’re going to sell by clicking this button. Here, you must choose competitive pricing.
You’ll need to fill in a few more data here, such as whether you’re selling a hardcover or paperback edition of the book and the condition of the books. If you’re selling used textbooks, make sure you’re upfront about the book’s condition. If you claim that your item is in good condition when it isn’t, you’ll have to deal with the headache of a terrible seller reputation.
Dealing with Customer Shipments
Save your book for sale on Amazon, complete with the ISBN, and keep an eye on it. Once it sells, you must be prepared to sell it to the customer. If you’re planning to send your things through the post office, you’ll be responsible for handling shipping fees and finding the cheapest pricing on your own. This may be the ideal solution if you just sell used books regularly.
If you wish to sell a store’s worth of books, on the other hand, Fulfilment by Amazon would be a better option. This solution makes it simple to send things to customers who have purchased them. Amazon Fulfillment provides customer care for your merchandise, lowers delivery costs, and assures you get the best deal on fulfilment.
When you’re done dealing with things like ISBN numbers on your products, store credit techniques, and textbook buyback or buyback pricing, Fulfillment by Amazon is probably worth looking into. Items sold and set up using Fulfillment by Amazon are eligible for 2-day shipping, which draws in additional customers.
Amazon will charge you based on the weight of the items you’re selling when it comes to shipping expenses. Your fee pays for things like picking up your item, making sure it’s wrapped properly, and shipping it to customers. Customers of Amazon must also consider storage fees. You’ll be charged for storage based on the number of cubic feet you use.
During the holiday season, when Amazon is busy, this cost might skyrocket.
How to Promote Your Self-Published Book
You must make your books appealing to sell them online.
Especially if you don’t have the support of a publisher on your side.
As a result, create a stunning cover. Something eye-catching and relevant to the topic. If your book cover doesn’t get a second look. There are several templates available to assist you in getting started; take a look at Canva to see what they offer. Invest in the services of a skilled designer as an alternative.
You’ll need a book title and subtitle that are appealing and engaging. Examine the best-selling novels in the genre in which you’re competing. What makes them so appealing? You can’t count on readers knowing your name because you’re an unknown author. So spend some time coming up with a catchy title for your book.
Along with the cover, that will go a long way toward boosting sales. Maybe have a brainstorming session with some trusted friends/readers? After all, it’s better to have two heads than one!
The next step is to generate positive feedback. We all read reviews, so it goes without saying that if your book doesn’t have any, who will buy it? As a result, encourage readers to share their ideas once they’ve finished. Request a positive review from friends or family who have read and enjoyed the book. Every little bit counts!
If you sell on Amazon, consider that reviews and sales heavily influence their algorithm. As a result, the more you sell, and the better your reviews are, the higher you will rank on Amazon. Isn’t it simple?
That’s why it’s critical to work hard in the first few weeks after selling your book on Amazon or Blurb to develop some buzz. Request reviews from Amazon’s top reviewers. Explain why they should. If you’re selling an ebook, include a link for readers to leave a review.
Last but not least, you will require a superb book description. Yes, the title and subtitle are important, but a brief description of the book that does not give anything away but draws the reader in is also crucial. Amazon has a free tool for creating book descriptions. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can do better.
They’re attempting to assist you. Don’t forget that you’re making money for them and yourself.
Make full use of the author page as well. Make your author bio stand out from the crowd. Treat it as though it were a dating profile for readers. Don’t be weird or sleazy, but consider who might be reading it. If it helps, enlist the assistance of a friend who works in sales or marketing.
Do some research on employing keywords as part of your author description and book description. To assist you, use Google’s keyword planner or Publisher Rocket.
Resale Books for Sale
You’ve accumulated many used books that you’d like to sell online. Either you own them and want to get rid of them to make room, or you’re a professional book buyer who buys books from second-hand stores, garage sales, Freecycle, BookCrossing, and other places and resells them for a profit.
Amazon and Bookscouter are two well-known and successful online bookstores with a large number of sellers.
We’ll suppose you’ve already gathered your stuff and spent a lot of money on it. All you need to start selling online is a business plan and a catchy and cool name for your bookstore.
You should also understand all of the legal requirements for starting an online business, such as obtaining a Federal Tax ID number and registering your company name. You’ll also need to brush up on the more technical aspects, such as purchasing a website domain name and web hosting if you don’t already have one. Web hosting providers sometimes include a free domain name, but not usually.
Register as a seller on the platform of your choice. This is a rather straightforward procedure to follow. For example, suppose you’re selling books on Amazon. In that case, you’ll need to form a seller account, register the books you’re selling, and determine whether or not you want Amazon to handle the fulfilment on your behalf, among other things. A monthly fee will be charged if you register as a professional seller on Amazon.
This costs $39.99 a month at the time of writing, so factor it into your budget. It is much less expensive to set up as an individual seller, as this option costs around $0.99 per book sold. But, this is only acceptable for someone shifting modest stock levels, e.g., less than 40 volumes a month. You’ll also need to enter your banking information. Amazon will walk you through the process of listing your books for sale.
It’s more difficult to set pricing because you’re competing with other sellers and don’t want to undercut them. Decide on how much you wish to pay for the book. You’ll get less for it if it’s a popular, mainstream book that many other sellers have previously sold. Check to see how much it’s selling for on other sites. If you’re a beginner, start with lower prices. However, if the book is in excellent condition, state such and request extra. If you don’t obtain the conversions you desire, you can easily change the costs afterwards.
Select a shipping method. If you don’t plan on using Amazon’s fulfilment service, this won’t apply, but if you do, the charge is usually $3.99. All that’s left now is for the book to be shipped. Remember to include the estimated delivery time!
Amazon will reimburse sellers for the $3.99 shipping fee, but if you’re selling a more valuable book, such as a hardback, it’ll cost you more, and you may lose money if you don’t account for it.
Do you want Amazon to do the task for you?
If you nod, you’ll need to send your inventory to one of their fulfilment facilities. Amazon will print shipping labels for you and offer you discounted shipping.
You can also ship the goods yourself, employ a less expensive local carrier, or hire a man with a van – whatever works best for you!
Having Amazon fulfil your purchases is mainly only for people who need to move a lot of books and don’t want to focus on their website and brand. It will inevitably cost you more, but it has its benefits if you own more than one type of online store, for example.
Bookscouter, on the other hand, is a unique proposition. It is well-liked by students looking to sell their textbooks. If you have books to sell, enter the ISBN into the site, and Bookscouter will search around 40 buyback sites to determine which one will pay you the most!
To use Bookscouter, simply download the app, scan the barcode ISBN, and you’re ready to go!
Are you ready to start selling books on the internet?
So now that we’ve gone over all of your options, you’re ready to go. Best of luck in making money!
You may make a fortune from your literary sales, create a mobile app for your audience, and even attract new leads by giving half-price books at specific periods of the year using the alternatives listed above. Nothing can stop you from creating a fantastic brand.