How Much Does it Cost to Sell Books on Amazon? (A Breakdown)

Listing and selling books on Amazon has become an increasingly popular choice for authors and online sellers alike.

With its vast customer base and convenient platform, Amazon offers a unique opportunity to reach a wide audience and boost sales.

The cost to sell books on Amazon includes referral fees based on the book’s category, ranging from 6% to 45% of the item price. Additionally, there are two selling plans: Individual (no monthly fee, $0.99 per unit sold) and Professional ($39.99/month, plus referral fees).

Optional costs may include storage fees for inventory stored in Amazon’s warehouses, shipping expenses, and packaging materials.

It’s important to carefully consider these costs when pricing your books to ensure profitability.

In this guide, we will delve into the details of selling books on Amazon, including the associated costs, advantages, and potential drawbacks.

To get you started, here’s a helpful table chart comparing alternative platforms to sell your books, key features, and more.

Table Chart: Comparison of Key Features for Selling Books on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Barnes & Noble

FeaturesAmazoneBayEtsyBarnes & Noble
Platform TypeOnline MarketplaceOnline MarketplaceOnline MarketplaceOnline Marketplace/Brick-and-Mortar Store
Customer ReachVast customer baseLarge customer baseNiche customer baseEstablished customer base
Book CategoriesWide range of categoriesAll book categoriesHandmade, vintage, and craftsWide range of categories
Selling PlansIndividual and Professional PlansVarious selling plans are availableBasic and Plus plansVarious selling plans available
Listing FeesVaries based on the selling planVaries based on listing options$0.20 per listingVaries based on listing options
Final Value FeesReferral fees based on categoryFinal value fees based on sale priceTransaction fees based on sale priceReferral fees based on category
Shipping OptionsAmazon FBA availableSeller-defined shipping optionsSeller-defined shipping optionsSeller-defined shipping options
Inventory ManagementIntegrated inventory managementSeller-managed inventorySeller-managed inventorySeller-managed inventory
Marketing ToolsPromotions, advertising optionsPromotions, marketing optionsPromotions, social media integrationPromotions, marketing options
Brand BuildingCustomizable storefrontLimited branding optionsCustomizable storefrontLimited branding options
Best forWide customer reach, logisticsWide variety of productsHandmade and unique itemsPhysical book sales, established brand

Steps to Sell a Book on Amazon

To sell a book on Amazon, follow these steps:

  1. Create an Amazon Seller Account: Start by creating a seller account on Amazon. Choose between the Individual or Professional selling plan based on your selling needs.
  2. Product Listing: Click on “Inventory” in your seller account and select “Add a Product.” Search for your book’s ISBN, title, or author to find the product listing page. If your book is not listed, you can create a new product listing by providing the necessary details like title, author, ISBN, condition, and description.
  3. Set the Price: Determine the price for your book considering factors like market value, competition, and your desired profit margin. Consider referral fees and other costs to ensure profitability.
  4. Product Details: Provide accurate and detailed information about your book, including its condition, edition, publication date, and any additional features or bonuses. Upload high-quality images of the book cover.
  5. Inventory Management: Track your book’s inventory in your seller account to avoid overselling. If you have multiple copies of the book, set the quantity accordingly.
  6. Fulfillment Options: Decide how you want to fulfill orders. You can choose to handle shipping and customer service yourself (Merchant Fulfillment) or use Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) service, where Amazon stores, packs, and ships your inventory.
  7. Shipping and Packaging: If you opt for Merchant Fulfillment, ensure you have suitable packaging materials and calculate the shipping costs accurately. Follow Amazon’s guidelines for packaging and labeling.
  8. Manage Orders: Regularly check your seller account for incoming orders. Process orders promptly, update order status, and communicate with customers regarding shipping details and tracking information.
  9. Customer Service: Provide excellent customer service by promptly responding to customer inquiries, addressing any concerns or issues, and maintaining a positive feedback rating.
  10. Marketing and Promotion: Consider utilizing Amazon’s advertising and promotional tools to boost your book’s visibility. Take advantage of features like sponsored product ads, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) promotions, and social media marketing.
  11. Manage Reviews and Feedback: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and ratings for your book. Monitor reviews and address any negative feedback professionally and promptly.
  12. Continuous Optimization: Regularly evaluate your sales performance, adjust pricing strategies, optimize book listings, and explore opportunities for improvement. Stay informed about Amazon’s policies and guidelines to ensure compliance.

Remember, this is a general overview of the steps involved in selling a book on Amazon.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with Amazon’s Seller Central platform and guidelines for detailed instructions and specific requirements.

Types of Selling Plans on Amazon

Amazon provides two primary selling plans: the Individual and Professional plans.

The Individual plan is suitable for occasional sellers, while the Professional plan is ideal for regular sellers.

1). Individual Selling Plan Details and Costs:

The Individual selling plan requires no monthly subscription fee.

Instead, sellers pay a fee of $0.99 per unit sold, in addition to referral fees. Referral fees vary depending on the book’s category and are calculated as a percentage of the item price.

For example, if you sell a book under the category of “Electronics,” the referral fee would be 15% of the item price.

2). Professional Selling Plan Details and Costs:

The Professional selling plan entails a flat monthly subscription fee of $39.99. This plan is advantageous for sellers aiming to list multiple books consistently.

Similar to the Individual plan, referral fees are applicable based on the book’s category.

Referral Fees and How They Are Calculated:

Referral fees play a crucial role in determining the overall cost of selling books on Amazon.

These fees range from 6% to 45% of the item price, depending on the book’s category.

To illustrate, if you sell a book priced at $20 under the “Home & Kitchen” category, with a referral fee of 15%, the fee would amount to $3.

Additional Costs to Consider When Selling Books on Amazon:

Apart from referral fees, there are other costs to factor into your selling strategy.

If you opt for Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) program, storage fees may apply for inventory stored in Amazon warehouses.

Additionally, shipping and packaging materials should be accounted for, as they contribute to the overall cost structure.

Factors Affecting Book Sales & Profitability:

To maximize profitability, it’s crucial to consider several factors.

The condition of the books you sell can significantly impact their market value and desirability. Researching the competition and pricing your books competitively is also essential.

Essentially, optimizing book listings with accurate descriptions, appealing images, and positive customer reviews can boost sales and profitability.

Benefits of Selling Books on Amazon:

Despite the associated costs, selling books on Amazon offers several notable advantages.

  • First and foremost, Amazon provides access to a vast customer base, increasing the visibility of your books.
  • Additionally, Amazon handles crucial aspects like customer service, payments, and shipping logistics, saving you time and effort.

Tips to Maximize the Profitability of Your Book on Amazon:

To enhance your profitability, consider sourcing books at lower costs from thrift stores, library sales, or by purchasing in bulk.

Pay close attention to book descriptions, as accurate and captivating descriptions attract potential buyers.

Positive customer reviews and effective marketing strategies, such as promotions and advertising, can also boost your sales.

Table Chart: Pros and Cons of Selling Books on Amazon

Wide customer reachReferral fees
Convenient platformPotential competition
Professional fulfillmentAdditional costs
Extensive customer baseInventory management
Efficient logisticsPricing competition
Payment handling

4 Best Book Genres to Sell on Amazon for Profits

When it comes to selling books on Amazon, the best genre to focus on largely depends on market demand and trends.

However, certain genres have consistently performed well on the platform.

Here are a few book genres that tend to attract a significant number of buyers on Amazon:

  1. Fiction: Fiction books, particularly those in popular genres such as mystery, thriller, romance, and science fiction/fantasy, have a broad customer base on Amazon. Readers often search for new releases, bestsellers, and books from well-known authors.
  2. Non-fiction: Non-fiction books covering topics like self-help, personal development, business, health and wellness, cookbooks, and biographies often perform well on Amazon. Customers are frequently searching for informative and engaging books in these categories.
  3. Children’s Books: Children’s books, including picture books, early readers, and middle-grade novels, are in high demand on Amazon. Parents, educators, and caregivers are always on the lookout for quality children’s literature.
  4. Self-Publishing and Indie Authors: Amazon provides an excellent platform for self-published and indie authors to reach a wide audience. Readers often enjoy discovering unique and niche books that are not traditionally published.

It’s important to conduct thorough market research, monitor trends, and evaluate customer reviews to identify the best book genre for your specific goals and target audience.

You could easily increase your sales on Amazon when you align your book with your customers’ interests and preferences.

Selling Books on Amazon: Takeaway

Selling books on Amazon offers a host of benefits, including wide customer reach and convenience.

However, it’s crucial to consider the costs involved, such as referral fees and additional expenses.

Remember to compare alternative platforms, considering their associated costs and features, to make an informed decision tailored to your specific needs and goals.

With the right approach, selling books on Amazon can be a rewarding venture for authors and online sellers alike.