Many readers prefer old books over new ones since the former often comes at a lower price point than the latter. eBay and Amazon are the most popular online marketplaces for buying and selling used books.
While eBay is an auction-style platform that allows you to list items for sale and buyers to bid on those items, Amazon is primarily a fixed-price platform where you list items for sale at a set price.
Both platforms allow you to sell books. These books can be in varying conditions, from like-new to heavily worn or damaged. But which platform will give you the most profit as a bookseller?
Is it better to sell used books on eBay vs Amazon?
eBay may be a better option if you value customization and negotiation opportunities, while Amazon may be better if you prioritize ease of use and reaching a wider audience.
Regardless of the platform, your focus should be on creating detailed listings, optimizing their prices and shipping, and building a positive reputation through feedback and customer service.
You should carefully consider your goals and priorities when deciding which platform to use for selling used books. Before deciding, let’s look at each platform’s pros and cons.
What makes eBay a good marketplace for selling books?
eBay charges a lower fee than Amazon for individual sellers, making it a more cost-effective option if you’re only selling a few books. This means that you can potentially earn more profit per sale on eBay.
However, eBay’s fees may be low for lower-priced items, especially if you offer free shipping, since Amazon’s closing fee can be relatively high compared to eBay’s percentage-based fee. eBay charges a “final value fee” for each item sold, which is a percentage of the total amount paid by the buyer, including shipping and handling fees.
You Can Market and Customize Your Listings
eBay offers more customization options for listings, such as creating unique descriptions, uploading multiple photos, and using templates. This can help you stand out. You will need more creativity to customize your listings and attract more buyers.
Possible to Attract a Diverse Number of Buyers
With eBay, you can attract diverse buyers, including those looking for niche or rare books. eBay’s diverse audience includes buyers looking for specific books or editions that may be harder to find on other platforms.
Ability to Negotiate Prices
eBay is an auction-style platform where buyers can bid on your book listing. With the option for buyers to make offers on items, you get an opportunity to negotiate prices and potentially earn more money per sale.
Offers More Flexibility With Shipping Options
eBay allows you to choose from various shipping options and carriers, including USPS, FedEx, and UPS, giving you more flexibility in fulfilling your buyer’s orders.
eBay may allow higher selling prices due to less competition among sellers. Since eBay has a smaller audience than Amazon, you may have less competition for certain books, enabling you to sell your books at higher prices.
What are the limitations of selling books on eBay?
Seller Fees Can Add Up
Although eBay charges lower fees than Amazon, the fees can add up, especially if you have a high sales volume. The costs can add up due to listing fees, final value fees, and PayPal transaction fees.
Potential For Fraud
While there are many genuine, high-quality items listed on eBay, con artists frequently advertise phony or fraudulent items and ask customers to pay the full price. Similarly, there have been fraudulent buyers in the past, which can result in lost revenue for you as a seller.
Smaller Audience Than Amazon
eBay’s audience is smaller than Amazon’s, meaning there may be fewer potential buyers for your books.
Less Focused on Books Selling
While eBay does have a section for books, it’s less focused on books than Amazon’s dedicated book section, which may make it difficult for your books to stand out.
Requires More Effort to Stand Out
It may require more effort to stand out among other sellers: With more sellers on eBay, creating listings that stand out and attract buyers may require more effort.
What makes Amazon a good marketplace for selling books?
Lower Referral Fees
Amazon’s referral fees are lower than eBay’s final value fees for books, especially for higher-priced items. With Amazon’s selling plans, you can pay a fixed monthly charge(professional selling plan) or per sale (individual selling plan).
Amazon charges a referral fee for each item sold, a percentage of the item’s price, ranging from 6% to 45%, depending on the category. Other Amazon seller fees include a variable closing fee for media products, including books, for $1.80 per item sold. At the same time, the price for collectible books is fixed at 15%.
Easy to List and Manage
Amazon’s platform is user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it easy for sellers to list and manage their inventory.
Ability to Reach More Customers
Amazon has a more extensive customer base than eBay, meaning that you have the potential to reach more buyers and sell more books. Amazon has a larger audience, including dedicated book buyers actively looking for books to purchase.
Strict Shipping Requirements
Amazon has strict shipping requirements and offers a shipping credit, which can be advantageous if you have many books to sell. You must adhere to the strict shipping requirements, including delivery deadlines, packaging standards, and tracking information, to ensure customer satisfaction and avoid penalties.
You can sell your books faster on Amazon due to high demand. With a large audience actively looking for books to purchase, book sales may happen more quickly than on other platforms.
Chance to Scale up Your Business
Amazon allows you to sell as an individual or a professional seller with a more extensive inventory. This can be a chance to scale your bookselling business as it grows.
What are the limitations of selling books on Amazon?
Higher Fees Than eBay
Selling on Amazon can come with higher fees than on eBay, especially if you are an individual seller not using Amazon’s professional selling plan.
Amazon charges referral fees, a percentage of the item’s price, and fulfillment fees for orders processed through their fulfillment centers. Also, you may face storage fees when your products sit at Amazon’s warehouse for too long. These fees can reduce your profit margin significantly.
With a larger audience and more sellers on Amazon, there may be more competition, which can result in lower selling prices. It becomes difficult to stand out from the competition, making it challenging to attract buyers.
Strict Requirements for Book Conditions
Amazon has strict requirements for the condition and description of books sold on the platform, which may require you to put in more effort to meet these standards.
Strategies for Selling on eBay and Amazon
To succeed in selling on eBay, you should focus on creating detailed listings with high-quality photos and accurate descriptions. You must be responsive to buyer inquiries and work to build a positive reputation through feedback.
To succeed on Amazon, focus on pricing your books competitively and optimizing your listings for search. Also, consider using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to streamline shipping and increase your visibility to buyers.
When selling books, you can choose to use eBay or Amazon. When your choice comes down to your preferences, you may want to consider some factors. eBay may charge lower fees and offer more opportunities for customization, but it can be more prone to fraud and the possibility of its fees adding up.
Amazon has a more extensive customer base and an easier listing and management process but may have lower profit margins and more competition. Furthermore, eBay and Amazon offer transaction security measures to protect buyers and sellers, but eBay has had more issues with fraudulent buyers in the past.