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Selling Used Books Online: The Complete Guide to Bookselling at Amazon's Marketplace and Other Online Sites Paperback – June 5, 2002

69 customer reviews

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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,, 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!

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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 (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

246 of 254 people found the following review helpful By Patricia R. Andersen VINE VOICE on March 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
You got it all figured out - you'll ditch the day job and you'll sell your old Danielle Steele and Tom Clancy books on Amazon. You get up (after a little sleep-in) and after your second cup of Irish Breakfast tea, check your listings to see ten items have sold - a slow day! Your little darlings will be playing quietly, your cats will be snoozing on the sofa and the bunny will be making "binkies" around your work area. Life is good. And sales will pick up after 10:30am, they always do. You'll quickly pack your books, effortlessly mail them at the post office and search your favorite used book store before eating some lunch. Not too bad a haul today - a signed first edition by Hemingway, that rare, out of print William Fonner's groundbreaking child rearing book, "My House, My Rules", a signed and illustrated first edition by Hirshfield - all in like new condition - and a cookbook going for $60. Not too shabby a day.
Before you tell your boss to go do something physically impossible, read this book. It will save you from many "newbie" mistakes and you will see online bookselling for what it really is - _possibly_ a money maker but a job that you have to want to do and do well to profit. You'll understand your day could be more similiar to this: you check your listings, no new sales. You wait in line at the post office behind the person that is packing their mail at the counter and paying with a beginner's old of state check. And your trip to the thrift shop yields 10 books, all of them selling for a penny.
Mr Windwalker covers a lot of basics in this book - some say the book is too basic but I don't think so. You have to know the nitty-gritty of what you're getting into before you decide to take a huge plunge.
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144 of 148 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 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 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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198 of 209 people found the following review helpful By A Customer 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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