Selling Books on eBay in 9 Easy Steps
With millions of users and a vast marketplace, eBay offers a convenient platform to connect with book enthusiasts and potential buyers worldwide. Follow these nine easy steps to start selling your books on eBay.
1. Create an eBay Seller Account
You’ll need to create an eBay account if you don’t already have one. Visit the official eBay website and click on the “Register” button at the top-left corner of the header section. eBay offers two types of accounts: “Personal” and “Business.” Select “Business Account” and fill out the registration form with your details.
MORE: How to set up an eBay store.
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2. Create a Listing
Once you’ve verified your account, log in and click on the “Sell” button at the top of the eBay homepage. This will take you to the “Create your listing” page. eBay typically provides sellers with two choices for listing types – Buy it Now or Auction.
Also, the platform offers various categories to list your items. Choose the “Books” category under the “Books, Comics & Magazines” section.
MORE: eBay listing tools
3. Find a Book
Identify the book you want to sell on eBay by writing the book’s title in the listing title field. If your book is popular, you’ll see an exact match in the suggestions that pop up from the drop-down bar.
Alternatively, you can enter the ISBN (International Standard Book Number), and the system will retrieve all relevant details about the book, along with a photo of its cover.
MORE: eBay seller hub
4. Create a Title
If you don’t find the book match in the search results, click on “Continue without a match” to create your listing with a blank template. Write the book’s complete title in the listing title field, including any subtitles, if applicable.
You can also choose bolding or a custom SKU from the Title Options menu on the right. These additional options make your listing stand out in search results, but some fees are applicable.
5. Add Item Specifics
Provide specific details about the book, including the author’s name, ISBN (International Standard Book Number), edition, publication year, and condition (e.g., new, used, like-new, acceptable).
Be honest and transparent about any flaws or damages the book may have. Use clear and concise language, and include relevant keywords to improve your listing’s visibility in eBay’s search results.
6. Add Photos
High-quality images make your listings appealing to potential buyers. Use a camera or smartphone with a good resolution and proper lighting to take clear photos of each book.
Capture multiple angles to showcase the book’s cover and spine. It’s best to not exaggerate the photo appeal but to accurately represent the book’s condition. This way, you can avoid negative reviews or reports of deceptive marketing.
7. Price Your Book
eBay offers a fixed pricing format by default. This option is popular for most book sales, but you can also list it as an auction with a starting bid.
To price your book competitively, you might want to check out other sellers’ prices. The book’s condition also determines its value. A used book typically costs less, but you can price it higher for new or out-of-print copies. Remember, eBay will charge you on the final sale price you’ve selected so make sure you settle on one with a good profit margin.
The good news is you can easily estimate your fees, evaluate your costs, and forecast your profit using our free eBay calculator.
8. Set up Shipping Options and Costs
You can set up shipping options and costs for the book under the Shipping information section. eBay’s Global Shipping Program includes various shipping services including standard shipping, expedited shipping, and international shipping.
Choose the shipping methods you’re willing to offer and enter the package weight and dimensions to calculate accurate shipping costs. However, it is advisable to opt for the Media Mail shipping option because it is less expensive and convenient.
9. Review and Post
Finally, double-check all the details of your book listing. Ensure everything is accurate and looks appealing to potential buyers. Confirm that you agree to eBay’s seller policies. Once you’ve reviewed and set all the necessary options, publish your listing to go live on eBay.
MORE: eBay seller help
Things to Know When Selling Books on eBay
There are several experiences to expect when selling books on eBay. They include:
- Diverse Audience: There are over 135 million eBay users worldwide, many of which are from different regions and demographics. Expect to connect with book enthusiasts, collectors, students, and casual readers looking for various genres and editions. Moreover, as of December 2022, books recorded the highest sales, with over 2.8 million items sold.
- Listing and Fees: Creating listings on eBay is straightforward, but keep in mind that eBay charges various fees, including insertion fees for listing items and final value fees based on the sale price. Understand eBay’s fee structure to calculate your selling costs accurately.
- Feedback and Reputation: As you make sales, buyers have the opportunity to leave feedback about their experience with you as a seller. Always provide excellent customer service and accurate product descriptions to build a positive seller reputation.
- Communication with Buyers: Expect inquiries from potential buyers about your listed books. Promptly respond to their questions and engage in a professional and friendly manner to increase the likelihood of making a sale.
- Shipping and Handling: Be prepared to handle shipping logistics. This includes choosing appropriate packaging materials and calculating shipping costs. eBay allows sellers to choose their processing time after each sale. So, choose a reasonable timeframe and endeavor to ship the books within the handling time you’ve set for your account to avoid garnering negative feedback from customers.
- Returns and Refunds: eBay has a returns policy, and buyers may request refunds under certain circumstances. Familiarize yourself with eBay’s return policy and be ready to handle any return requests professionally.
- Seasonal Trends: Book sales on eBay can be influenced by seasonal trends, holidays, and events. Certain genres or types of books may experience increased demand during specific times of the year.
Best Books to Sell on eBay
The best books to sell on eBay can vary depending on market demand, trends, and collector interest. However, some types of books tend to perform well on eBay due to their popularity and potential for higher prices. Here are some categories of books that often sell well on eBay:
- Rare and collectible books: First editions of well-known classic novels by authors like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, or F. Scott Fitzgerald are highly sought after by collectors due to their historical significance and literary importance.
- Antiquarian books: Books that are over 100 years old or have historical significance are highly sought after by collectors and history enthusiasts. One book (Summa Theologicae) written by Thomas Aquinas in 1485 sold on eBay for $17,600.
- Textbooks: Students often buy current edition textbooks for educational courses. Selling textbooks on eBay can be very lucrative, especially during back-to-school seasons.
- Popular fiction and bestsellers: Books by well-known authors or those that have received significant media attention tend to have a broad appeal and attract many buyers. Sales are typically high during the first few weeks or months after a book’s release when it is fresh in the minds of readers and promoted heavily.
- Limited editions and special printings: Limited print runs or special editions released by publishers often come with unique features like illustrations, deluxe bindings, or exclusive content, making them desirable to book enthusiasts.
- Children’s books: Parents and educators buy children’s books to support children’s literacy development and encourage a love for reading. These books are popular gifts for birthdays and holidays.
- Self-help and non-fiction: People are always seeking self-improvement and growth, and they rely on self-help books to gain insights, strategies, and advice for personal development and overcoming challenges. The demand for self-help books often spikes at the start of a new year when people are setting goals and resolutions.
When listing books on eBay, always do thorough research on recently completed listings to determine market prices and demand. Remember that the book market can be subjective, so adapt your inventory based on current trends and buyer preferences.
Where to Find Books to Sell On eBay
There are various places where you can find books to sell on eBay. Here are some popular sources to consider:
- Thrift stores and second-hand shops: Thrift stores and second-hand shops often have a wide selection of used books at affordable prices, making them ideal places to find inventory for resale.
- Garage sales and estate sales: Attend garage sales and estate sales in your area, where you might discover hidden gems among books being sold at discounted prices.
- Library sales and book fairs: Check with your local libraries for book sales and book fairs. Attending these events can help you discover a diverse range of books at reasonable prices.
- Online marketplaces: Check online platforms like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and other classified ad websites for people selling books locally. You can negotiate deals and purchase books for resale.
- Online book retailers: Look for clearance sections or discounted books on popular online book retailers. Sometimes, you can find valuable books at discounted rates.
- Charity shops and goodwill stores: Charity shops and Goodwill stores often have a rotating selection of books that you can source for resale. And the proceeds support charitable causes.
- Networking with other sellers: Connect with other eBay sellers or resellers who specialize in books. They may offer tips, and insights, or even have excess inventory they are willing to sell to you.
Remember to inspect the condition of the books and research their potential resale value before purchasing.
Selling books on eBay in 2024 offers an excellent opportunity to turn your passion for books into a profitable venture. We’ve selected some of the best eBay selling tools to help you streamline sales, fulfillment, or payments. Also, check out these eBay selling tips to learn how to make the most of your seller experience and position yourself for long-term success.