The best ways to sell books online

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The best ways to sell books online
Antiquarian books often achieve high auction prices. (PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

The Internet has opened up a convenient market for selling books, whether they are second hand items or ones you’ve written yourself. While high street book stores continue to struggle with overheads, such as high rents and rates, selling books online requires little more than an Internet connection. Online giants sell mass market titles for extremely cheap prices, but if you have something unusual, there are several ways to reach the right online buyers. Setting up a small online shop may also be viable for second hand book shops who are struggling to find enough customers on the high street.

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Marketplace sites

Large marketplace sites are ideal if you want to sell a couple of individual titles. Amazon and eBay are the most popular choices for selling books. Online consumer magazine, Money Saving Expert, suggests ways to maximise the profit from these, which includes deciding on postage and packing charges, as well as organising envelopes, a postage schedule and labels. Building up good customer feedback also helps attract more sales. These sites can be a good way to get some extra cash If you have a rare book, which might fetch a high price. Listings also get up on search engine results. Business sellers could consider running an eBay shop to help supplement the income from a real shop.

Trade-in

Trade-in sites offer a fixed price for books, and are ideal if you have plenty for sale but little time to list them individually. These usually work by allowing you to list books using the International Standard Book Number on the barcode, which gives you an instant price. Although the typical remuneration is not high, there are advantages to this system. Once you have submitted your titles and agreed with a quote, you will be sent an email with postage labels and can then usually arrange free pick up with a courier. So all you need to complete the sale is a box. This way you can sell a large collection really easily, and do not need to engage in customer service.

Specialist

If you have antiquarian, academic or specialist books, search for a trade-in site that specialises in these as they will offer you a better price. These also usually obtain high prices on auction and marketplace sites because they keep their value. So this is a good way for students to make back a little cash having finished with textbooks.

Print on demand

Digital print technology has made self-publishing a viable option, and the online market for these books is huge. Several sites offer print on demand publishing, which keeps prices low when printing a small volume of books. To get a book printed in this way, all you have to do is upload files to a site and order a single print copy. Writers might consider employing a freelance editor and book designer but this is not a prerequisite for self-publishing. Once your book is complete, people can order individual copies at a price you set yourself, which takes into account the print price and leaves you with profit.

Sales

Achieving a volume of sales without the might of a publishing house behind you is hard, even though many publishing sites provide their own online book store. However if you buy an ISBN, you can usually sell through regular online book outlets. Professional networks, social media and personal sites are also a good way to market your books, and you could consider listing a cheaper ebook version.

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