Book Hustle…what does it look like to make money selling books on Amazon?

The other night I put another shipment of books together for Amazon.  I thought I might share some details about this part of our “side hustle”.  We started selling books on Amazon in December 2016.  Books are probably the easiest way to get started on Amazon.

The concept is simple – go out and search for books anywhere used books are sold or found.  Thrift stores, used book stores, estate sales, library book sales, garage sales, etc.  Then, you flip them and sell them on Amazon.

My goal is to find books that I can buy for $3 or less and sell for $20 or more.  Not easy, but they are out there.

Year to date in 2017 I’ve sold 374 books for $8340 in Sales and $4700 profit!  That’s 56% profit margin and over 580% ROI!  My average book sells for about $22.  We have another 369 books in inventory at Amazon currently.  Books are not the only thing we do on Amazon, but they make up about 20% of our revenue at this point.

My most recent shipment a week ago was 48 books with an estimated sales value of $1153 and profit of over $500.  These books cost me $108 total.  That’s about 500% ROI [once they sell of course].  Some books will sell faster than other due to the “rank” which indicates the popularity of the book.

I use a software called “Inventory Lab” which helps me list books onto Amazon faster and also tracks all my inventory, cost of goods, selling history, Profit & Loss statements, and expenses.  Inventory Lab also comes with a scanning app for my phone called “Scoutify” which is what I use when out looking for books.

Here are some images of my process.

First, I get all my books in order and save the receipts.  I usually will source over a span of a few weeks then get a shipment together once I have about 50.  The “big time” booksellers are out sourcing a lot more than I am and they will send out 10X this much.

Here is my “workstation”.  It consists of a Dymo barcode printer, a barcode scanner, Inventory Lab web software, Goo-Gone, and a “Scotty” peeler for removing stickers and price tags.  Oh, and coffee of course!

Each book is scanned into Inventory Lab software one by one, and it automatically pulls up the Amazon listing and gives me a recommended price.  I can then adjust the price and set the “condition notes”.  I also put in how much my cost was and when & where I bought the book.   When I hit “save” it prints out a barcode label which I stick on the book over the existing barcode.

You have to be sure to get all those pesky price tags off.  Amazon customers don’t need to know that you bought their $30 book for $0.99 cents at Goodwill.

And finally, after all the books are in the boxes, packed up, I weigh them and print off the shipping labels from Amazon.  Off to UPS and off to Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) Warehouses!  Amazon sellers call this “FEEDING THE BEAST“!

This batch of books took me about 2 hours, a perfect thing to do while watching a Netflix movie!

If anyone has any questions about selling books on Amazon let me know!  I’m not the most knowledgeable but I do have a good handle on it now.  There is TONS of information out in other blogs and YouTube videos if you just do a search for it.

This is a fun way to do some side hustle.  It’s not for everyone but it is pretty easy once you get the hang of it.  And when I say easy…I mean this isn’t rocket science.  But you DO have to put in the work.  It takes time and effort and patience.



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