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.
Christopher Czwiklitzer’s book Picasso Posters (Random House, 1971).
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.
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.
Mystically liberal Virgo enjoys long walks alone in the city at night in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig who strives to live by the maxim, “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a college dropout (twice!). Occupationally, I have been a bartender, jewelry engraver, bouncer, landscape artist, and FEMA crew chief following the Great Flood of ’72 (and that was a job that I should never, ever have left).
I am also the final author of the original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record collectors and the original author of the Goldmine price guides for record collectors. As such, I was often referred to as the Price Guide Guru, and—as everyone should know—it behooves one to heed the words of a guru. (Unless, of course, you’re the Beatles.)