Now that you have collected books for your online bookstore you will need to master some basics to insure successful sales on Amazon. A successful online bookstore is not mystical. It takes good books that people want which are made available to the people who want them at competitive prices. Here is part two of our series on starting an Amazon Book Selling Business.
First, you will need to sign up for an account on Amazon. If you have already made purchases on Amazon then go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller/sell-your-stuff.html/ and follow directions to list your books. If you do not have an Amazon account, then sign up for one.
A simple Amazon account is enough to begin selling books, however there are added tools and features with a paid Amazon Market Place account. Don't rush to pay for a Market Place account however. When starting out the additional tools are likely not needed. While you will save 99 cents per book sold, at $39.99 per month you will need to sell more than 40 books to break even. If you want to see how well your books do, you may want to sell for a month to track your totals. If you sell well, then upgrade to the Market Place account.
Next, you want to clean and sort your books.
Toss: broken bindings, mildew or musty books, any books missing pages or with unreadable pages.
Set aside to clean: books that are dirty or have minor stains or have stickers to be removed
Place directly into your classify bin: clean books ready to be classified.
To Clean: Use a damp (not overly wet) cloth. dust and clean off minor dirty marks. For some sticky tags you can use Goo Gone. However, you may want to insure that the book is valuable. For books that are "cheap" you may do better to list that with a price sticker and skip all the effort. Another hint is to use a pencil eraser, but be careful to rub lightly. Don’t spend too much time cleaning, especially if your book will still have a classification of “acceptable” or “good.”
To Classify: Amazon requires that you classify books correctly. They will close accounts if this classification is not done correctly. They have several conditions of which you are required to choose one for each book you list. Here is Amazon’s official condition guideline.
New: Just like it sounds. A brand-new, unused, unread copy in perfect condition.
Like New: An apparently unread copy in perfect condition. Dust cover is intact; pages are clean and are not marred by notes or folds of any kind. Suitable for presenting as a gift.
Very Good: A copy that has been read, but remains in excellent condition. Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged.
Good: A copy that has been read, but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact (including dust cover, if applicable). The spine may show signs of wear. Pages can include limited notes and highlighting, and the copy can include "From the library of" labels.
Acceptable: A readable copy. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact (the dust cover may be missing). Pages can include considerable notes--in pen or highlighter--but the notes cannot obscure the text.
Unacceptable: Moldy, badly stained, or unclean copies are not acceptable, nor are copies with missing pages or obscured text. Books that are distributed for promotional use only are prohibited. This includes advance reading copies (ARCs) and uncorrected proof copies.
While adding books on the Amazon webpage you can find this guide righ above the Condition drop down menu look for a link to the Condition Guidlines information.
To avoid negative feedback you should list specific nuances of your book by typing in additional information under "Add your comments about the condition" found below the condition pulldown menu. If there is writing in the book or a bent dust jacket, etc. make sure you let the potential buyer know. I always try to word these in a positive way. Such as "minor crease in book jacket” or "well loved book with creased spine” which describes the true condition with a possitive spin. I will often remind potential buyers that “this book will read well” if it is classified as “good” or below. At the end of adding your comments you may want to put in a simple blurb that sets you apart from other Market Place sellers. If you ship daily, put that down. If you offer email tracking let them know.
As you get started learn as much as you can. Don't feel like you have to perfect your bookstore before getting started. Provide a good product, follow the rules and success will come. Amazon allows you to start as slowly as you desire. You can list 10 or 1,000 books! It is up to you.
Next month we will discuss shipping.
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