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Why list books for One Cent

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Showing 76-100 of 373 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2011 8:50:35 AM PDT
Marga says:
My conclusion is that the book program is geared to be profitable for the big sellers who pay a flat monthly fee to sell. They make their money a $1 or so at a time, but a large volume of sales per month amount to a tidy amount. Small sellers cannot recoup their gas and packaging costs. Amazon profits either way.

Posted on Apr 26, 2011 9:37:53 AM PDT
Unfortunately, many times it's the big sellers who drive the price down to a penny. They're not making money on penny books either. And you have to sell 41 books to make benefit from being a Pro Merchant. Though Pro Merchants having tools available to them (such as adding a SKU) and they can create new product pages for books that Amazon doesn't have in their catalog.

The program is geared to make money for Amazon and provide their customers with a wide selection of books at the best prices on the Internet. All the other big book selling sites have a minimum price but allow for discounted shipping on multiple orders.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2011 9:43:05 AM PDT
The $.01 price is certainly a deal for the buyer!! I resell books that I don't want, but if others have it for $.01, I just donate them to a library. Have to consider if the cost of the trip to the Post Office is more than I'd get for the book. The library has a yearly sale -- they get some money, I get the book out of the house and someone else has a chance to read it.
If someone can make money from keeping used/new books circulating, more power to them!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2011 9:46:38 AM PDT
Yeah, I don't bother listing them either. That time can be spent finding better books. I wait until I have a pile and take them for trade credit at a bookstore. I once gave about 600 books to a charity store for a local shelter. They sure were happy. And when I moved I donated several thousand to another charity.

Posted on Apr 26, 2011 10:58:50 AM PDT
Miz B says:
Doesn't anyone out there remember "yard/garage sales"? I LOCALLY re-sell my once-read, "almost new" books that I don't want to keep (have a LARGE library) for half their price,(or lots more, especially if I bought it from good old Amazon on the cheap!) right on the spot, NO "shipping", happy "customers"! If you want to "make money" through Amazon, BUY FROM them and SELL LOCALLY! Living next to the P.O., is a plus for me to walk over and pick up deliveries for no gas costs. Books that I wanted to read, don't want to keep, and aren't popular enough to sell, I DONATE to local charity book sales (plenty around here) and take off on my taxes! Antique, out of print books that I find once in awhile, at these same sales that I donate to, I either keep or sell on Ebay, NEVER on Amazon! LOL

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2011 11:01:49 AM PDT
J. Witt says:
But you are forgetting that there is a huge commission involved for the lowly single sellers out there. I have to list a book for at least 3.00 in order to make any money. I remember I listed a book for $1.80 and after everything was said and done, I lost money. Ebay has the same. The recommend using paypal (which I do) to be covered in case things go wrong and better money transferring between hands, but Ebay has a listing price, the selling commision and then paypal gets a cut as well. So if you sell a book for $1.00 you would not make any money. That is why shipping costs are increased. That is the only place you can make any cents for your sales. Of course this does not include package costs, ink and paper to print postage, ect. So of course the lowly book seller like me can't even break even.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2011 8:27:51 AM PDT
perhaps some huge companies out there get a bulk discount if they use a private shipping company, but I hate to break it to you that the only shipping discount a seller sees from the postal service is a minor discount on delivery confirmation and electronic postage purchases. Between packaging and postage that 3.99 does not go far (considering the seller ONLY GETS $2.99 of it) Better world can sell for a penny because they don't pay for books, they are all donated. Other penny sellers may be making a few cents on shipping a trade paperback two states away, but they lose it later on a different order for priority shipping where you don't get nearly enough to cover your costs. Mostly I blame automated pricing programs that push some prices down to a penny and others up to 25 million dollars for no apparent reason.

Posted on Apr 28, 2011 12:35:22 PM PDT
Aryeh Wiener says:
I didn't read every single answer, but...did anyone mention generating customer leads as a reason to sell books for a penny? A seller sells a book and breaks even on it. They now have another customer whom they can email every time they list new books in that category. It's pretty simple.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2011 12:52:28 PM PDT
No, it doesn't work that way. The emails of buyer and seller are hidden from one another (this happened a year or two ago). All emails go through Amazon's system, and they have programmed it to pick up on violations, like passing your email to someone.

Secondly, listing books can be time consuming, and most sellers don't pay attention to categories. It would be extremely time consuming to keep lists of customers in particular categories, find the category of what you're listing, and then notify the customer.

Amazon has assured that we sellers are all generic. We used to have a storefront where we could list by category. It was called a zShop (as in A to Z). Amazon dumped that and dumped out categories. Go to any seller's shop and you'll just see a bunch of books. You can't browse. Many sellers also had .com after their seller name if they had an online shop. Amazon made them remove all those identifying suffixes years ago.

One seller is like another on Amazon. The closest a seller can get to having a customer is to mail them book catalogs (like Hamilton Books does [or perhaps did; don't know their current policy]) in violation of Amazon's policies.

The buyer is Amazon's customer, not the seller's customer. And Amazon intends to keep it that way.

Posted on Apr 28, 2011 2:56:50 PM PDT
I ended up listing a book for one penny only one time. Thought I'd try it since that was the going rate for it in the resale section. I kind of assumed I might make a few pennies on the shipping credit. But no I didn't take into account the Amazon fees which were not a percentage of the sale. I made one penny on the book, and $3.99 for shipping. From that $4.00 Amazon took over $2.50 for their fee, I don't remember the exact amount to the penny. But it didn't leave me enough to pay for shipping it. I did ship it at my own expense, but immediately went in and raised my other prices. Never again a book for a penny for me. I mistakenly thought a lower selling price meant a lower Amazon fee, but that's not how it works. I'm not a business, just a disabled older woman trying to make a little money on my excess books. Better to donate a book than lose money selling it for a penny. I cannot afford to do that.

Posted on Apr 28, 2011 3:52:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 3, 2011 6:50:51 AM PDT
I sold a book today for $1.20. I'm a Pro Merchant, and it was a 1-pounder, so I made $1.

The amazing thing was that there were 150 listings ahead of mine. Somebody scrolled through about 8 pages of listings. It was a miracle. Maybe it's because my feedback is 100%.

(BTW, the book cost me $1.50.)

Posted on Apr 28, 2011 4:15:26 PM PDT
Aryeh Wiener says:
Shipping proximity could be another reason.

Posted on Apr 28, 2011 4:15:58 PM PDT
Aryeh Wiener says:
Shipping proximity could be another reason.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2011 5:07:34 PM PDT
Media mail is the same rate for all domestic and APO/FPO addresses as is flat-rate priority.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2011 2:16:20 PM PDT
J. D. Wilson says:
I have also sold books online and shipped them media mail for much less than $3.99. Anyone can go on the USPS website and see these costs. Media mail cost is by pound. Never sold through Amazon so I don't know how much of the 3.99 a seller gets, but your post seems somewhat misleading.

Posted on May 2, 2011 2:29:34 PM PDT
Aryeh Wiener says:
Of course, shipping materials, such as bubble envelopes, can be pretty expensive. I wrap my books in plastic shopping bags and use plain manila envelopes (10" x 13"), which I wrap with packing tape to the shape/size of the book.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2011 2:45:13 PM PDT
In my experience as an individual seller, Amazon keeps a minimum of $2.49 per sale, even when that sale is for one cent. So you lose most of the shipping fee back to Amazon. Not leaving you enough to pay for even media mail. So in my experience selling a book for one cent costs me money (I only made that mistake once). There are better ways to donate a book if that is the intention.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2011 3:21:20 PM PDT
I just wanted to jump in someplace to tell the story of a couple of absolutely ridiculous prices offered by an outside bookseller selling on Amazon's site. I was looking for a book that had not been released by the publisher. A crazy bookseller was offering one used copy of that title for $168,000.09 The author had not received his copy at that time so where could the bookseller have acquired a used copy of it. Also at the same time I found the same bookseller offering another book for $223,000.00 - almost a quarter million dollars. Now these titles were not anything special like very rare editions. I contacted Amazon customer service and talked with two agents who both gave me the same lame response: other booksellers that sale on Amazon site can set any price they choose. These two cases, in my opinion, were simply sick pranks. I told Amazon this prank-ish-ness certainly made Amazon look silly. By day's end the two books had been taken down after I went to the bookseller's website and racked them over the coals. You won't find such silliness at Barnes

Posted on May 3, 2011 3:27:17 AM PDT
Yep, I've ordered several one-cent books from a single dealer. They're almost always shipped all together in one media mail package, though I've paid $3.99 each for the shipping. So, someone makes money -- and a good amount of it -- as well as keeping books out of the landfill. And, for the titles I order, I'm happy to pay $4 to $5 total, regardless of the actual shipping charges.

Posted on May 3, 2011 5:10:45 AM PDT
J. Johnson says:
There is no break at the USPS for multiple books. I quit selling books for a penny, because you make NO money. Especially when you add the Delivery Confirmation on for an additional $ .80. The Delivery Confirmation is so worth it, due to people lying saying that they never received their purchase.

Posted on May 3, 2011 5:32:11 AM PDT
B.H. says:
It's quite obvious that Robert has never worked for the Post Office, and apparently hasn't even been inside of one for quite a while.

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2011 6:49:36 AM PDT
Suppose you order 3 penny books and pay $11.97 shipping. After deducting the variable closing fee, Amazon pays the seller the seller $7.92.

The books weigh 3 pounds total. Media mail is $3.23 for a net profit of $4.69. Subtract $.15 labor for packing and $.60 for the box. The seller is down to $3.94.

Suppose the books cost $1 each plus $.10 shipping for a total of $3.30. The seller has made a whopping $.64!

But if the books cost the seller $2 each plus $.10 shipping, the seller has lost $2.16.

Posted on May 3, 2011 7:13:31 AM PDT
Meziane says:
Most of those people are probably Pro Merchants and the don't pay such high fees to Amazon when selling. I sell books but I only list them at a price that makes me some profit. I ship media mail as it is cheaper. I buy shipping supplies in the dollar store $1 for a roll of packaging paper which lasts for a few books, $1 for a big roll of tape and $1 for 3 padded envelopes for DVDs...Post office is nearby too. So you gotta calculate all that in when listing here. I'm sure there are many sites that let you sell your books these days besides Amazon and eBay...

Posted on Oct 9, 2011 11:32:21 AM PDT
I have now sold 42 books on Amazon. After the shipping costs, these 42 books (which I originally paid roughly $1380 for, mostly hardcover Architectural books) I have netted $32.47. Not counting the cost to drive to the post office about 3 dozen times.

In the end, the books sell for $4 to $7, have fees from about $3.90 to $5.00, and the shipping in every instance has been at least $3.99 and on average $4.82.

It would be far easier to put them all in a big box, go to the library and donate them (if it meets their guidelines, typically newer than ten years, good condition and approved subject). Then take the tax write off!. Not all libraries accept, but they can tell you who else wants them.

The Amazon program is a total ripoff. I have done better on Ebay, although it takes longer and the book needs to be fairly in demand.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 9, 2011 12:18:22 PM PDT
Hammiche wrote: Most of those people are probably Pro Merchants and the don't pay such high fees to Amazon when selling.
For Media:

People who are not Pro-merchants pay 15% commission + $1.35 variable closing fee + $1 per sale.

Pro-merchants pay 15% commission + $1.35 variable closing fee + $39.99 per month.

You have to sell over 40 books per month before you begin paying less than a non-Pro-merchant.
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Discussion in:  Textbook Buyback forum
Participants:  206
Total posts:  373
Initial post:  Apr 16, 2011
Latest post:  15 days ago

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