How Do Penny Book Sellers Make Money?  I am not sure if they do – if they do make a profit it is minimal a few cents at most.  Lets break down a penny sale on Amazon and see how it works.  Lets assume the seller is a Pro Merchant on Amazon and pays the $40 monthly fee.

Let’s assume the book weighs less than 1lb for shipping purposes

$4.00 – is the amount collected by Amazon – this is the $.01 plus the $3.99 standard shipping charge.

($1.35) – is the amount Amazon takes out of the shipping leaving $2.65.

($2.38) – the amount to ship a book that weighs 1lb or less via media mail as of today.

Potential profit $.27.  Twenty-Seven Cents - not factoring in other expenses such as labels, envelopes, internet, time spent listing and shipping and all the other subscription fees that make up your overhead.  So lets say a penny seller can make $.20 on each sale.  You would need to sell 500 books a day to make $100 a day at that rate – which means you are going to have to have someone help you prep all those books for shipping further eating into your profits. 

 Does this make sense as a business model – not to me.  Understand though – this is their business model – penny sellers are not by accident.  So they must be ok with those lousy margins.  Maybe the penny sellers do not value their time properly and are ok with stuffing 500 envelopes with books for $.20 each.

Sellers of books for a penny are the worst – they clutter Amazon with the junk listings with no descriptions but they do make money and so does Amazon.  Remember – Amazon makes $1.35 for every penny book sold.

There is almost never a case when I do not accept returns - most markets require you to accept them (see Amazon's A-Z policy). I keep my return policy simple. The only time I have not accepted a return is when a significant amount of time has passed between the purchase date and the return date or if the books condition is materially different from when I sold it (such as full of highlighting). Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the customer experience when I run a business from home and do not interact with the customers. Continue reading
What does CWS mean for us booksellers? Not much. You will not have your account credited until you ship a book. If you use The Art of Books or a similar inventory management system Amazon should be automatically updated when the book is shipped. There are a couple of downsides to Amazon's Charge When Shipped - you do not get to send your own confirmation email to the buyer and the buyer can still leave feedback on a canceled order. Continue reading
Sales of the Kindle are one thing but it remains to be seen if people are actually going to adapt to using it as their primary way to read - as we have seen with Amazon recenlty deleting Orwell titles there are several issues with the Kindle that will effect its popularity. Continue reading

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Filed under: Selling books online

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