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eBay can be an ideal place to sell just about anything you’re hoping to get rid of. Surely, you know eBay as one of the biggest online shopping and auction sites in the world. This article, however, focuses on selling one specific thing—books.
Selling books on eBay might not be something you would immediately think of as a lucrative activity, but we’re going to explain why it really can be.
You, like many Americans, probably have a whole pile of old books sitting around that you don’t know what to do with. Why not sell them on eBay for some cash?
We’ll show you just how easy it is to set up a storefront on eBay, and we’ll reveal some tools and tips that will set you up for success on the platform.
Finally, no discussion on the topic would be complete without taking a look at how you can find books to sell, and which ones are the most valuable.
So let’s get started by analyzing why selling books on eBay is such a unique opportunity.
The Best Way to Sell Books on eBay:
It’s Easy to Set-Up a Storefront
One of the best things about using eBay is how quick and intuitive it is to set up your shop.
You may have used eBay’s super-simple interface to buy things in the past, but you’ll be happy to learn that selling on eBay is just as intuitive and easy.
Here’s a quick guide to building up your eBay store:
Step 1: Register for an Account
The register button appears at the top of the home page, and the process is fairly trivial.
In addition to setting up your eBay account, you’ll also choose a method for accepting payment, with PayPal being the most popular choice. By linking a PayPal account to your eBay account, making and receiving payments is seamless.
Step 2: List a Book for Sale
Start by clicking the “Sell” button at the top of your account page to bring up a list of categories for all the different items you can sell. Select “Book.”
List the ISBN of the book, typically found on the jacket or the publisher page. This generally brings up information about the book and prompts you to fill in additional information about the quality and details of your book.
There’s also a comments section where you can fill in your own description of the book and add more details, like whether the spine of the book is broken or in-tact.
This is also where you decide on a selling price.
Step 3: Auction or “Buy Now”
eBay is, perhaps, most famous as an auction market, but there is also the option to sell your book at a “Buy Now” price that you can determine ahead of the sale.
This way, people can buy the book directly without having to participate in an auction.
Step 4: Shipping
A big part of successfully selling on eBay is maintaining a positive relationship with your customers. This includes shipping promptly upon receiving payment and being honest about the quality of your book throughout the entire sales process.
If you struggle with either of these areas, the buyer is likely to give you a bad rating, making it harder to make sales in the future.
That’s about it! As we said, selling books on eBay is intuitive and simple.
eBay Maintains a Huge Market of Buyers
Another reason eBay is such a strong platform for selling your books is that it appeals to a massive market.
Most recent statistics place eBay’s total active users at around 182 million people! So, whatever you are selling, you can probably find someone who wants it on eBay, even—and maybe especially so—if it’s something rare and obscure.
On eBay, you can reach a massive audience, so you have the best chance of attracting someone who is looking for precisely what you’re selling, no matter how rare it happens to be.
eBay Users Tend to Look for Unique Goods
Amazon and eBay are, in many ways, competitors. On Amazon, however, people tend to look for simple household goods, whereas searching for more unique items is common on eBay.
On Amazon, sellers may struggle to show up in search results when they’re promoting unique or unusual items.
If you’re selling used books, you’re probably going to be working with quite a few rare or hard-to-find items. eBay is often the better choice for this market.
You Can Create a Storefront
eBay allows you the opportunity to truly brand yourself as an individual by creating your own “storefront” within their website. You can customize your page, put in a section about yourself, and create descriptions for each of your items.
This level of customization makes the books you sell unique to your shop, and you can brand your products for maximum appeal to the buyer.
The Freedom to Establish Your Business
This topic has been touched upon throughout this article, but it’s so important that it really deserves its own section. With eBay, you maintain a sense of control as a seller that you don’t get on other platforms.
You have the freedom to sell how you want, create your own item listings and descriptions, choose your own pictures, even set your own shipping and return policies.
Finding Books That Will Sell on eBay
You might have a few books lying around your house that you think could sell but, if you’re hoping to sell in large volumes, you might be wondering how to find more books.
In this section, we’ll walk you through how to find a sustainable source of books to sell on eBay, and we’ll give you some general guidelines for which books tend to sell best on the platform.
Let’s get started by looking at where you can find books to stock your shop.
Where to Find Books?
So, you’ve tapped out your personal collection and are ready to expand your bookselling business on eBay.
Here are some places you might be able to find new books to fill out your storefront:
Thrift Stores or Goodwill
Your local thrift store is a great place to find all kinds of hidden gems, and books are no exception. Often, thrift stores have a whole section dedicated to used books.
Thrift stores tend to purchase their stock in bulk or for very cheap, so you might be able to find something that they haven’t realized is valuable.
Any time you drive or walk past a garage sale, it’s worth a look. Books are one of the most common items to crop up at garage sales.
Often, they’ll be more than happy to sell them to you for cheap or in large volumes!
People list all kinds of things on Craigslist. Not everyone understands how much books can actually be worth, so keep an eye on Craigslist (or any other online classified platform) for some good deals.
It’s worth checking regularly because you never know what is going to pop up in your area.
Friends and Relatives
Be sure to ask any friends or relatives if they have books they want to get rid of. Often, people are eager to get old books out of their homes.
You can even offer to cut them in on the profits when the books sell. Be sure to check your grandparents’ basements. Old/rare books have the potential to be worth a lot of money.
As you can see, there are all sorts of places you can find books to sell on eBay, just be sure to keep your eyes open!
Which Books Sell the Best?
Of course, the market for books is like the market for anything else. Some things are more valuable than others. When you’re selling books, you’ll find that there is a wide variety of themes and titles that will sell.
Here are the types of books you should—and shouldn’t—keep an eye out for.
If you’ve ever had to buy textbooks, you know how pricey they can be. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the market for used textbooks is major! You can sell a textbook for a much lower price than what it sold for new, and still earn a pretty decent profit.
Of course, the newer the edition, the better, as it will have to be a textbook that is actually full of up-to-date information. If you can get your hands on any used textbooks, they’re usually worth listing for sale.
Additionally, prep books always sell well, too. Search for books that focus on the LSAT, SAT, MCAT, N-CLEX, and other specialized exams.
Generally speaking, the more unique and rare books you can find, the better your business will fare. eBay is much better suited to selling unusual items, as there is a chance that someone out there wants the very obscure item you’ve got.
Additionally, if you’re one of the only sellers who is offering that book, you have less competition and can charge more for the product.
That’s right, the market for used books goes beyond novels and textbooks! If you have any copies of vintage magazines, it’s worth checking how much they go for on the open market.
Many people collect old editions of magazines, so it is worth researching the market price.
No, we don’t mean books about décor—although those might sell, too—we mean books that are used for décor. We’re talking about books with a classic look that people can use to decorate their houses.
Often, people utilize old books to give their rooms a traditional look. So, if you see any books with a truly unique appeal, be sure to pick them up and list them under the home décor category.
The older and more unique the bible, the better.
Turn Books Into Extra Cash
Through this article, we have shown you the benefits of selling books on eBay, told you how to get started, and talked about the best places to find valuable books.
Hopefully, you have realized the potential of eBay as a used book marketplace. Good luck with starting your book sales business!