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Customer Discussions > Textbook Buyback forum

Why list books for One Cent

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Showing 126-150 of 382 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2011 6:01:27 AM PDT
kreynolds says:
Amazon charges the customer a $3.99 shipping fee which they in turn credit to the seller's account. This is supposed to cover shipping charges. However, depending on the size and weight of the book, it often does not. Generally it is enough to cover Amazon's fees with perhaps a few cents left over to cover shipping.

Truthfully, the listings of 1 cent books annoy me but I also remember the adage, "You get what you pay for." Personally, I would be leery of purchasing books from someone who is listing them for a penny. Apparently there are others who feel the same way.

I'm simply getting rid of all my professional and student books after retiring from teaching due to disability. I have had a number of books which have sold despite the fact that mine are listed at a higher price than all the penny books by the same title. I'm also noticing that I have not had a single complaint either. I'd rather pay more to someone with a 100% positive rating than buy something for a penny from some one who has a 92% positive rating.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2011 6:15:11 PM PDT
DaveHwriter says:
In my studies of science and math, I am seeking out the biggest text books with high ratings (book) and asking dealers if they are marked. I usually get good service and with the extra help, I purchase up to EXPEDITED to pay them for their time. I never get the sense that the better sellers are shying away from me. And their service on pre-purchase seems to correlate to overall ratings very closely (that is, the 97% and up folks will answer inquiries and routinely keep up a strong customer support function).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2011 6:22:56 PM PDT
DaveHwriter says:
I think some of the volume in the .01 - 4.00 space is due to the large number of thrift-style stores operating used book stores from largely donated inventory. For example, Thrift Books affiliates, Good Will (they have at least a half dozen store fronts), and Better World Books. Some of their staff are probably volunteers, as well. Or possibly some folks in rehabilitation programs.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2011 11:11:39 PM PDT
Smythie says:
I would lose money if I sold a book for a penny. I don't know how they do it, either. Of course, I am just offering what I have to someone who needs it; reduce, reuse, resell, recycle. If we can do that, both of us are happy with the deal. I don't know how the big sellers are able to make a profit on a penny book. I don't get any shipping deals if I sell a hundred books. It's charged by weight. I still have to pay for packing materials, etc.
It's a great deal for whoever needs a book and finds it for a penny!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2011 9:38:27 PM PDT
D. Shaver says:
If you use the United States Postal Service ask for the "book rate". I just sent 10 LARGE hardcovered books to CA from NJ for $6.73. Had I sold them (instead of giving them to my son) for $.01 plus $3.99 ea..
$4x10 books = $40 less shipping of $6.73 is a $33.27 profit.

I hope the example help.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2011 9:47:18 PM PDT
D. Shaver says:
If you use the United States Postal Service ask for the "book rate". I just sent 10 LARGE hardcovered books to CA from NJ for $6.73. Had I sold them (instead of giving them to my son) for $.01 plus $3.99 ea..
$4x10 books = $40 less shipping of $6.73 is a $33.27 profit.

I hope the example help.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2011 7:49:58 AM PST
Had you sold the 10 books, chances are they would have been shipped to 10 different addresses increasing the postage costs significantly. But you're also forgetting the fees Amazon charges, which they charge per book so in your example it would be the fees times 10. For individual sellers, they eat up most of the postage allotment. So you are left to pay postage out of your own pocket. I'm sorry I'm not providing exact figures today. I just don't have time to calculate it all out right now. It's pretty depressing when you do. It has been done by others previously on this thread. The biggest misconception I see is that when you sell a book for a penny is thinking you'll have $4.00 including postage to work with. But by the time Amazon gets their cut you don't have enough left to pay the postage on the minimum rate for a "book rate" package. Not only is there no "profit" but it costs you your money to ship the book, so you end up taking a loss.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2011 10:55:20 AM PST
If you are talking about the price of postage only, media mail is $2.41 for a book weighing one pound or less. If you add the mailing envelope, you still have some contribution from the $3.99. If you add in the value of your time to ship the book, then it may cost more than $3.99, but then you are also earning some "wages" by shipping the book.

Posted on Nov 6, 2011 12:48:16 PM PST
No, I was not talking about the value of my time or any packing materials. I was talking about minimum sales fees and listing fees which Amazon charges individuals which combined come to $2.34 per book I believe. Combine that with $2.41 for media mail weighing one pound or less, and you've spent $4.75 to sell and ship your book. If Amazon credits you with $3.99 for shipping and you only sell a book for one penny. That sale has cost you 75 cents.

Posted on Nov 7, 2011 12:15:42 PM PST
N. Ovsak says:
Well heres my theory, when you see a larger seller, or retailer/business selling an item for 1c, they probably have a business shipping method such as a package deal with UPS or USPS, so that they aren't paying 3.99 to ship the item, and are therefore making a profit of $1+

Posted on Nov 8, 2011 9:00:16 AM PST
k says:
Amazon also take a fee from the $4.00 .. so it's hard to make good money unless you sell a book at a decent price and ship it though medial mail or something.

Posted on Nov 8, 2011 8:55:40 PM PST
Francoise says:
I always sold books on eBay, but wanted to give Amazon a try. I listed a brand new book for $0.01 thinking that (3.99 + 0.01) minus around $2.50 for Media Mail would bring me about $1.50 or so for the book. My mistake. After I sold the book I read that it had to be sent with a tracking number. Being new to Amazon Marketplace I didn't dare send it media mail and ended up with a loss.

By the way, for all of you selling a book just to get rid of it, you might like Bookmooch where you get points for listing books and can get books for free. This is where I list all the books I don't want to sell. You pay for the shipping when someone requests on of your books, but the books you requested are free. Worth a look.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2011 5:40:16 PM PST
Hello D. Shaver,
Are you saying that one buyer purchased 10 books?
That would seem fair, but what about someone like me which only sells 1 book per buyer. I concur with John Woodward, I would lose money.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 3:59:02 AM PST
squigglehead says:
Hey now, while I agree with all of the factual things you said like the bulk mail system and stuff (I worked for a company who sent things bulk mail), I think your final statement is a little harsh and you lose credibility when you talk like that.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2011 7:15:39 AM PST
I think that some of the sellers have no idea their books are listed for one cent. Many of my Amazon orders for one cent books are canceled. Over and over again books listed for one cent are "not available." OK, maybe a few of them were already sold but this happens too often. I know that the software that some stores use to list their books can be set to price a book one cent lower than the lowest price that is already listed for that book. It snowballs and keeps listing their book lower and lower until it reaches one cent without their knowledge. When someone orders the book, they discover that it has been listed for one cent and suddenly it is "not available."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2011 3:26:51 PM PST
H. Amireh says:
I tried better world books once, and regretted it. I don't care how good the condition of the book was, first of all it was a lot more than one cent, and second it LITERATELY TOOK 3 WEEKS FROM THE SHIP DATE TO ARRIVE!!!! slowest shipping ever. your probably just some better_world_books representative or something, besides i didn't eve bother to read your whole humongous post because its probably just as bogus and fake as the first sentence you wrote.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2011 10:26:56 PM PST
Doctor Oz says:
People mail them from work for free and keep the postage money for themselves. So I've heard.

Posted on Dec 1, 2011 11:59:17 AM PST
S. Kapustka says:
I have purchased many, many books for a penny. I often have them displayed according to price and buy several similar books for research. When I receive several in one package, I know the seller (usually BWB) has made a few bucks from the excess postage payments. I don't know anything about Amazon's fees, but I imagine that the huge sellers might be able to negotiate a different price than I can.

Posted on Dec 1, 2011 4:43:56 PM PST
Susan says:
Many of the sellers that list books at low end are massive businesses who sell at Pro Sellers on a monthly fee basis not volume. I, on the other hand, sell a few here and there so I have to pay a fee for each book which is much higher. Sometimes the book weigh more than the amount allowed for shipping, but sometimes I luck out and sell a book for a great deal more than I paid for it. I enjoy selling books and Amazon makes it easy to sell, plus they collect the money and put it in my bank account quickly. Thanks Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2011 4:51:07 PM PST
Susan says:
Don't believe everything you hear. JS

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2011 7:32:14 PM PST
I most heartily agree with you, and just keep placing orders for CD's and books that appeal to me. I am very grateful for marketplaces of this sort, and will stay a faithful customer. I will also search for textbooks that are assigned in any of my classes. I have like-new hardback books for one penny, consider that!!!!!! Wahoooo!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2011 7:36:51 PM PST
Regardless of your life's work or experience, you are a very ill-mannered person, of the sort that seems to be, unfortunaely, populating the world lately. I can only hope that your parents had you neutered at birth.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2011 7:52:59 PM PST
S. Kapustka says:
Bruce, honey, calm down. What caused this outburst?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2011 9:22:39 PM PST
kc says:
Ive sold several books for 0.10 to 3.00 and you do make a few bucks n the shipping by shipping media mail. Plus its great recycling!

Posted on Dec 2, 2011 4:18:10 AM PST
Tsarevna says:
I see a lot of chatter about media mail savings here, but I'd like to point one thing out.

Media Mail can help you save on shipping costs, but often times it is unnecessary. Media Mail is always slower than First Class Mail, but it isn't always cheaper. If you always use it without thinking, you are losing money. For light-weight books and CDs you can send them First Class Mail for bigger savings and happier customers. First Class Mail is usually delivered in 2 or 3 days in the US.
Look up the current rates for Media Mail packages 13oz or less and that of First Class Mail, and find the magic weight for packages and the cutoff point for savings.

I'm usually saving money with First Class, but I make it a habit to eat 3, 5 or 10 cents here and there in order to please a customer with quick delivery, as good feedback is worth much more than a dime to me. If you ever see a person say "free upgrade to First Class Mail" it is more than likely a low-weight item. They aren't just doing the customer a favor with First Class Mail, they are benefiting themselves.
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Discussion in:  Textbook Buyback forum
Participants:  209
Total posts:  382
Initial post:  Apr 16, 2011
Latest post:  Apr 18, 2016

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