is there money to be made selling books on the internet?


Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

THE POP­U­LA­TION OF THE U.S. is ap­prox­i­mately 330,000,000. Of course, Amazon reaches around the planet, so the po­ten­tial market for just about any­thing you might want to sell is in the bil­lions! If you’re into books and think you might want to dabble a little in buying and selling them to pick up a few bucks, my ad­vice con­sists of two words: “Think again.”

This isn’t going to be a lengthy piece about selling books on the in­ternet. If that’s what you want to read, call up your fa­vorite browser and type in “best places on the in­ternet to sell books” and read on. I just want to share the in­ti­mate de­tails of my latest sale on Amazon.

I just re­ceived a no­ti­fi­ca­tion via email of the sale and the de­tails are listed here:

Price:                                                               $ 5.99
Tax:                                                                  $ 0.43
Ship­ping:                                                        $ 3.99
Ship­ping tax:                                                  $ 0.29
Amazon fees:                                                  $ 4.29
Mar­ket­place fa­cil­i­tator tax:                         $ 0.43
Mar­ket­place fa­cil­i­tator ship­ping tax:        $ 0.29
Your earn­ings:                                                $ 5.69

The buyer will send me the price ($5.99) plus ship­ping ($3.99) plus the ship­ping tax ($0.29) for a total of $10.70. 1

Amazon will deduct from that the Amazon fee ($4.29) plus the mar­ket­place fa­cil­i­tator tax ($0.43) plus the mar­ket­place fa­cil­i­tator ship­ping tax ($0.29) for a total of $5.01.

As the final line above states, my “earn­ings” will be $5.69.

Sounds good?


Czwiklitzer PicassoPosters 600

Christo­pher Czwik­l­itzer’s book Pi­casso Posters (Random House, 1971).

There’s more!

Out of that $5.69, I have to pay the ship­ping, which in the case will be $3.27. Then there is the cost of the box or padded en­ve­lope that I have to buy to place the book in for ship­ping. 2

If I buy these by the hun­dred, I pay ap­prox­i­mately $0.40 each. So $3.27 plus $0.40 is $3.67.

I sub­tract that from my earn­ings of $5.69 and I have $2.02!

So, a whop­ping $2.02 is what I make from my sale while Amazon makes $4.29 from the same sale.

Hope­fully, I paid less than that for the book or I haven’t made a profit. 


Picasso poster Vallauris 1955 1000

FEA­TURED IMAGE: This poster by Pi­casso is ti­tled Ex­po­si­tion Val­lauris 1955. This poster is plate 15 in Christo­pher Czwik­l­itzer’s book Pi­casso Posters.



1   Un­less you are listed as a pro­fes­sional seller and fork over a fee of $39.99 per month. Amazon re­stricts the amount of the fee sellers like me can charge for a book to $3.99. That is re­gard­less of the weight of the book. If you have a 250-page pa­per­back ($2.75 for Media Mail) or a block­buster of a book like Czwik­l­itzer’s Pi­casso Posters (just under ten pounds and $7.43 via Media Mail), the ship­ping fee is $3.99.

2   Padding in­side the box and tape to wrap the box also costs money and can add 50¢ to the cost of “ship­ping” the item.



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