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Customer Discussions > Textbook Buyback forum

Why list books for One Cent

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Showing 151-175 of 383 posts in this discussion
Posted on Dec 4, 2011 1:51:58 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Dec 4, 2011 7:38:59 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 5:09:00 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 4, 2011 5:10:14 PM PST
Crystal says:
People criticizing his post was inevitable, he was arrogant, condescending and belittling.

Telling a person 'Please...I'm laughing so hard that I'm having a hard time typing this' and 'You don't know what you're talking about. I've been writing and publishing for 10 years and have seen it all. You haven't' is asking for a verbal smackdown.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2011 2:24:46 PM PST
Lynn S. says:
You need to learn more about the cost to ship different sized/weighted books at media mail rate and priority flat rate. Weigh books and determine cost of packaging and shipping, then decide how much to list the book for to make a profit (less Amazon commission). There are some books that are too large and heavy to list for a penny and then ship via media mail and make a profit. You could try selling on ebay instead.
Many books are light weight and cost less than 3.99 to ship. If you're packaging costs are low - you could make a buck or so on a penny book. I personally, don't like to sell books anymore unless they are listed at at least $5. I just don't have the energy to fiddle with it or risk losing money on it (via Amazon fulfills) and will donate the book instead. Selling used books is a hobby for me.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2011 2:25:41 PM PST
Lynn S. says:
Don't sell a book for that cheap. It's not worth your time unless you have thousands of books and do a volume business.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2012 3:33:50 PM PST
Is the "Book Rate" different from the "Media" rate?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2012 3:34:14 PM PST
Is the book rate the same as the media mail?

Posted on Feb 27, 2012 3:46:40 PM PST
Yes. The post office no longer has a "book rate." But now calls it media rate.

Posted on Feb 27, 2012 10:05:40 PM PST
Susan says:
To make any money selling a book here and there you can not sell for a penny. I don't list books unless I can make $5 after fee and shipping.

Posted on Feb 28, 2012 8:59:01 AM PST
T.D. says:
Remember too that many, perhaps nearly all, of the penny books were free for the seller to acquire: garage sales, estate sales, etc. Goodwill is a huge Amazon seller. Many people will give away books before throwing them in the trash...and if you know where to look, there's always the trash.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2012 9:42:06 AM PST
The actual cost of the book to the seller is somewhat unimportant. If as a seller I actually got the $3.99 they charge the buyer for shipping I would not be in this discussion. What happens is the fees Amazon charges us as an individual seller often do not leave us enough money to ship the book. When the price of the book is really low the money transferred to us by Amazon for the sale of the book including the shipping fee has sometimes not been enough to cover even media mail shipping. Their flat fees can eat up the shipping fee and part or all of the book price. So selling a book becomes a financial loss. Donation or the trash sadly can become the better choice.

Posted on Feb 28, 2012 5:18:30 PM PST
B. F. Mooney says:
After about 10 years of selling books on Amazon, I may be able to add to this discussion. Let me assure you, sellers make money in many ways. But as long as the buyer still gets a good, satisfying deal, that's great. Done right, selling books can be fun and turn a decent profit for the time involved.

First of all, textbooks can be problematical because of the weight. They are an issue unto themselves. Often, I have to pay more than the Amazon allowance for shipping, even by USPS Media Mail (still a great bargain in shipping). All you can do is factor that into the price. Indeed, on the heavier books I sometimes ship via Priority Mail using a "flat-rate" box. It's cheaper for a heavy book, and pleases the customer to get the upgrade at no cost. So no-one is going to make money off of shipping heavier books, such as textbooks, due to postage and packaging.

But lighter books, such as lab manuals or non-textbook paperbacks, still earner the seller the same basic shipping fees. All you need is a decent scale to figure this out. So I get a $3.99 shipping credit for a book that costs me $1.99 to pack and ship. Even better -I always consider offering Expedited Shipping as an option on a very light item, and do the math to see if it will pay even more (small books, at Priority flat-rate).. There some profit to be had here with volume, and if I had employees who needed to keep busy, I'd do a lot of these. Any other profit on the book is fine. But unsold, and unshipped, thee books are just a loss. If you watch this for a while, you'll realize some of the "$0.01" books simply didn't sell locally. If you have time on your hands, and overhead to meet, you learn to generate the income.

It is different with a small, home-based family business. Sometimes I feel like selling off a lot of books. Other times I don't. I wouldn't have the freedom to follow my whims if I had an office to support and payroll to meet. Believe me, even at $0.01 someone is either a fool (and soon out-of-business) or they are making money somewhere. I've noticed many of these very low-price sellers have a large volume of sales. Isn't that a clue!

If you want to sell books and make a profit, learn the shipping systems and costs. Keep your packaging costs down (re-use sound materials and you can even say you recycle!). Use Priority Mail flat-rate boxes or UPS if that is more cost effective on heavy books (so buy that scale). Also, don't buy insurance (that's where UPS is handy). It is a major pain to get money form the USPS. Better to just take a loss on occasion, unless the book is very costly. Instead, always buy Delivery Confirmation and state that as a bonus feature in the blurb. As a USPS clerk kindly advised me, those packages rarely get lost and it it is more cost-effective than insurance. This has saved (made) me some money over the long run.

It's not hard. Just think it out, and offer good deals so you get the business. I love getting a book at a good price, and passing on the savings to a customer. Also, be nice to your USPS and UPS friends. They usually know their business. It's the right -and smart- thing to do. Then, sometime, when it's not busy, ask some advice. You might learn a lot.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 2:54:57 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 2:56:29 AM PST
Susan says:
As the cost of postage and gas goes up, Amazon may have to adjust their shipping allowance to help the seller, too.

The benefit of Amazon collecting my money and depositing it into my account is why I like selling my books and stuff on Amazon. Thank you.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 7:43:04 AM PST
W.T. Keeton says:
I added up all costs and credits and for me, I found that I have to charge a minimum of $1.47 just to make 1 cent of profit. That's assuming an average Media Mail cost, which for me would be $2.47. I do sometimes sell stuff that cheap or even a little less just to get rid of it. I would rather lose a little than throw away a book. It's worth losing a quarter or two on the deal if the book winds up in the hands of someone who can actually use it! And I'll make up the difference on the next sale!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012 7:49:28 AM PST
V. Gindratt says:
But what about sellers who are sending the books to the buyers themselves and not to Amazon by bulk?

Posted on Mar 1, 2012 9:47:24 AM PST
Steev Wilkie says:
The thing people keep forgetting is that Amazon takes a commission as well. If you sell a book for .01 cent, they give you the $3.99 in shipping credit and then take $2.34 in commission, resulting in a sale of $1.66 ... I have never been able to ship a book for less than $1.66. The standard 1lb media rate is $2.80 plus .19cents for tracking, the seller always LOSES money

Posted on Mar 1, 2012 12:18:19 PM PST
All of this is the reason why I use paperbackswap. I never have to lose money in any transaction, because I can sell more high-value books on Amazon, and post the low-value books on PBS. Even if I end up doing a deal on them with someone that wants them, I still get a far better value out of the deal.

Posted on Mar 6, 2012 5:35:59 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 6, 2012 5:39:02 PM PST
If I may speak freely here, I think only morons sell books for .01 (one U.S. cent) per book. It shows a lack of understanding of what a book is. I understand the part about the shipping cost. Okay, you can sell the books cheaply to the customer and still get some money flow for yourself. But what does it say about how we personally value books and their authors? I think it is insulting to any author and shows a very low regard for the entire history and value of literature and civilization. I don't think you should set prices low just to shove the books out the door. Pricing at .01 per book just to avoid throwing it into a dumpster or into paper recycling is just a panic selling method. Rather than price the book that low, why not pick up that book that you have just priced at .01 and read a few pages. Slow down. Appreciate that book a bit before you price it. Thank you for considering this. (If a book is worth .01 I think it would have to be in such damaged condition that it shouldnt be sold anyway. Books in good condition, worth reading, at .01? "I'm not buying it."

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2012 1:14:01 PM PST
el cid says:
well said!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 5:45:23 AM PST
Actually, media mail can be shipped for as little as $1 for a paperback!!! Get it. Shipping is usually a blindside price.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 5:49:03 AM PST
You've got that right. The artist gets a major screwing by the label.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2012 12:05:56 AM PST
R. Davenport says:
didn't know if you got answer to your query. I have been sellin on Amazon for four years and am not a "moron"....we get paid 3.99 for shipping, and unless its a really big book, it costs between 1.80 to maybe 2.59 or so to mail a book. I don't usually list big books for 1 cent, but smaller books can be and i can still make a little bit. Just letting you know what's happening. thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2012 7:48:06 AM PDT
S. Kapustka says:
I love buying books for a penny. I love buying reference books, old textbooks, books with pictures. If I buy 5 books from one seller, they ship them in one package and keep the extra postage money. Everybody happy. Thank you for providing this service.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2012 6:36:59 PM PDT
I'm not sure you understand the concepts of variable and fixed costs. And I'm not sure about USPS, but it is fact that people and companies who do a large amount of shipping with UPS and FedEx get price breaks. So it would make sense that some sellers would sell low to keep product moving and stay above thresholds where UPS and FedEx increase shipping rates.

"I'm laughing so hard that I'm having a hard time typing this. Book prices have NOTHING to do with shipping costs." You're correct, but you are no where near the point that you were responding to. Nowhere does NaturallyMama say anything about shipping rates being based on price. NaturallyMama said VOLUME, not price. And with the POSSIBLE exception of the USPS (I'm not convinced that there are no bulk discounts offered by the Postal Service), NaturallyMama is absolutely correct.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2012 6:45:09 PM PDT
What? I think it's great. I think any author would rather someone sell his/her book for $0.01 rather than throw it in the dumpster. If someone has read a book and has gotten their value from it, why not pass it onto someone else for next to nothing so they can enjoy it, too?

And you would pass on a book you are interested in because you think the price is too low?

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 7:23:57 PM PDT
el cid says:
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention."
(Sir Francis Bacon.) I just felt it was appropriate to post Sir Francis Bacon's comment here. A book that says something meaningful to you may have a "price "of 1 cent U.S. on Amazon ; But a "value" to the buyer that can not be monetized. What is it they say about economists?; They know the price of everything and the value of nothing!! Just thinking out loud.
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Discussion in:  Textbook Buyback forum
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Initial post:  Apr 16, 2011
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