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Selling Used Books Online: The Complete Guide to Bookselling at Amazon's Marketplace and Other Online Sites Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 173 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Perspectives Press (June 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971577838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971577831
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A wealth of information about the bookselling business, including descriptions of major online bookselling resources complete with detailed fee structures. -- News Update, A Friends of Libraries U.S.A. Publication

Incredible business resource.... an experienced authority candidly describes the pitfalls and the realities of ... book dealing with no punches withheld. -- from Bob Spear, Heartland Reviews, October 2002

Thousands of book enthusiasts are selling books online. If you'd like to join their ranks, this book is a must-read. -- Rebecca Hanneman, About.com, October 2002

From the Publisher

For Online Booksellers, Authors, Independent Publishers, Public Libraries, and Software Authors: Whether your bookselling vision is brick-and-mortar, click-and-mortar, dot-com or dream-on, this is the book that will take you to the next level!

More About the Author

I cut my teeth as a writer covering the Cape Cod Baseball League and other sports for what was then called the Cape Cod Standard-Times and later the Boston Globe, studied the craft of writing with Robert Lowell, Kurt Vonnegut, Monroe Engel and Carter Wilson, and served as Fiction Editor of the Harvard Advocate. In 1999 I founded a small independent publishing company called Harvard Perspectives Press (named after two of my favorite institutions from my undergraduate years, the Harvard House of Pizza and the Harvard Wine Company), and it has done astonishingly well, with a couple of niche bestsellers, other work that we have been proud to published, and now some stunning successes with the Kindle publishing platform. I have three wonderful children, and along the way I've been an author, a community organizer, a bookseller, a publishing executive, a marathoner, an elected official, and some other things unsuitable for mention here.

Customer Reviews

Windwalker's Selling Used Books Online.
Richard Rodgers
Very easy to follow reading, interesting, clear, practical, honest, and realistic.
Highly recommended for anyone interesting in selling books (old or new) online.
A Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

138 of 141 people found the following review helpful By T. Borden on December 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
I first read this book two years ago, soon after it came out, when I was first starting my online book selling business. The book is useful in laying out the basics of the business model and the nuts and bolts of Amazon.com Marketplace selling. It goes through where to find books, how to list them for sale, how to fulfill orders, and how to manage your inventory. This is the best and most specific book available on these topics. It also goes into some basics regarding accounting and future business growth issues, but these topics are treated much more cursorily. The biggest weakness of the book, however, is that the information is becoming dated.

A number of third party services have become available since 2002 that help sellers in book scouting, inventory management, and order fulfillment (e.g., Scoutpal, Sellerengine, Aman, Mail Extractor, etc.). These have altered the way most successful sellers run their businesses. Most high volume sellers don't edit individual listings when re-pricing but instead use one of these new tools to batch edit large portions of their inventory. Most successful sellers don't guess when buying books at sales but use Scoutpal to check the price before buying. In all likelihood future innovations like these ones will continue to alter the landscape of Amazon.com Marketplace selling and online book selling generally.

So, this is indeed the best basic primer for the nuts and bolts for selling books on Amazon, but let's hope that the author considers issuing a revised edition sometime soon that takes into account new seller tools and changing practices. He would also undercut the used market for his book...
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197 of 207 people found the following review helpful By "mommatiger_books" on June 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Wow! I sold a few of my used books on Amazon and made a nice little chunk of change! I think I'll find some more to list, and become a bookseller!"
Whoa, hoss. Yes, this is exactly how many people start selling used books online. But before you grab those Grisham and Clancy paperbacks at your neighbor's yard sale, do yourself and the marketplace a huge favor: Read this book.
Whether you've been selling used books for years or just barely getting started, there's much to be found between the covers of "Selling Used Books Online". It's a well-organized, thoughtfully presented and thoroughly readable business resource. The selection and pricing strategies alone, if conscientiously applied, will likely return your investment in this book many times over. But this should also go hand-in-hand with appropriate book grading and description, as well as good customer service; these, too, are covered quite well and amount to best-practice models which would significantly improve the buying and selling experiences alike if widely adopted.
The only book of its kind (at this writing) with relevant and up-to-date information specific to selling at Amazon, "Selling Used Books Online" is far more than a narrow formula for success in that venue alone. A cover-to-cover read will leave you more knowledgable about the used book marketplace in general, help you to avoid common mistakes, and give you the tools you need to achieve your goals. From a part-time "kitchen table" enterprise for extra spending money to a full-time career, there aren't many who wouldn't benefit from the advice of an articulate mentor with a great sense of humor who really knows his business. If you buy only one book on the subject, you can't go wrong with this one. You'll refer to it time and time again.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Donny B. Seagraves on June 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
As an online bookseller since 1998, I have often wished for a friend to sit beside me, guiding me through the complicated maze of selling used, rare and collectible books .... Stephen Windwalker's new book, Selling Used Books Online, is that friend for new booksellers and seasoned veterans alike.
Windwalker gives the reader all the inside tips and information needed to succeed in online bookselling. He begins with the basics, including background and history, and progresses on to the nuts and bolts of the business such as finding your books and supplies and building your inventory. Much of the book is devouted to selling on Amazon.com, one of the most profitable selling venues available to seller's today. But most of the information in the book also applies to just about any sales venue on the Internet.
If you are new to the business of online bookselling, this book is an absolute must-buy. It will teach you the basics and will continue to provide useful advice and valuable information as you grow and progress in your online business. Veteran sellers also will appeciate this source of bookselling information at their fingertips.
Buy it, read it, absorb what you've read, then keep it by your computer as a friend while you list, sell and profit from online bookselling. In my opinion, it's the best book out there for aspiring, beginning and veteran online booksellers.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Publish Now on July 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Five things strike me after reading this book and using it as a resource each and every day for the past month.
One. It is like one long, enjoyable, rewarding conversation with a colleague, or maybe a mentor, who is blessed with a really terrific mix of experience, intelligence, humor, and humility. He really understands bookselling, and he articulates what "Amazon.com" is all about and how we independent sellers fit into the larger picture better than anyone I have ever encountered in person or in print.
Two. He presents some very specific and original ideas that can be worth thousands of dollars to a bookseller when it comes to finding and selecting inventory. (A previous reviewer who said there was no new information in this book either did not read it or is not a bookseller, or both, in my opinion.)
Three. The book is a terrific ongoing reference that I expect to consult and annotate on a daily basis for years.
Four. Anyone who is going to prosper as a bookseller also has to be a good businessperson, and this book includes some well organized worksheets that got right to the heart of business and tax planning for booksellers.
Five. This is not a book about selling widgets or wombats or bobble-head dolls. Windwalker loves books and bookselling and that reverence and love comes though in every chapter. The book does honor to what he calls the "noble profession" of bookselling, and that frankly makes it nice, maybe even empowering reading.
I think, personally, that one of our own has written a classic bibliophile's and bookseller's book that will really help, over many years, to improve the quality of book life for online book buyers and sellers.
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