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Customer Discussions > Textbook Buyback forum

Why list books for One Cent

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Showing 1-25 of 386 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 16, 2011, 9:32:09 PM PDT
How can anyone make the money that is claimed to be made on Amazon when every book I research has one or more people offering it for $.01 plus $3.99 shipping? With actual shipping and Amazon's fees, they make pennies or could even lose money on every sale. Is Amazon a loss leader for sellers and is only used to drive customers to a private website? I'm confused.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 16, 2011, 10:29:33 PM PDT
StarTraveler says:
Well, I've wondered about the low low prices on books offered here. However, I simply smile and keep placing orders! Amazon is great! Just keep an eye on the rating each seller has, and enjoy the read! Works for me!

Posted on Apr 16, 2011, 11:43:26 PM PDT
I P says:
Perhaps, they do that to get an excellent reputation. If they can get a new customer by offering a book for such a small price and follow up with the best service, they get a great review and therefore more buyers

Posted on Apr 17, 2011, 5:06:11 AM PDT
In some cases it is the shipping that will allow the seller to make money. I bought 9 text books from betterworldbooks , all for $.01 to $.36 cents each plus $3.99 shipping each, the shipping was not combined at that price as they do sometimes on a large multiple order with books that are of average price. It did not cost what they collected in shipping to send it UPS,so in my case I am sure they did make a profit considering that and when you average the cost of their inventory.

Posted on Apr 17, 2011, 7:39:53 AM PDT
Cheryl is correct...the $3.99 shipping is a flat rate charged by Amazon, but the sender does NOT pay that amount, they are getting a deal through the postal service for sending large amounts (which are also usually presorted etc..) which means they get a huge discount for "bulk" mailing. So they may only pay $1.50-$2.00 for mailing your book...and the MORE books the send the cheaper their rates go, so for example if they sell 5000 books at .01 cent they are getting a huge break on their shipping rates for ALL OF THEIR BOOKS! So in this case, the more the merrier...the more they sell the more they make, even if they do sell much at .01, you will also find that many of these companies are the SAME COMPANY with different names. I find THAT more dubious. I'm more curious in the reasons behind that. Probably to appear as you are getting a better deal by "comparing" or so that they can have multiple listings of the same book and you are more likely to get one of their books than their competitors if they have 3 of their listings for the same book appearing at the top.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 17, 2011, 10:40:11 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 24, 2012, 7:02:47 AM PDT]

Posted on Apr 17, 2011, 10:58:27 AM PDT
Robert that is the thing they ARE making MORE money this way...the more books they sell frequently the lower they pay to the shipping the more profit margin for them. They still sell other books for higher rates mixed in with all the .01 books, but they have to keep the books "rolling out of the warehouse" to keep up their cheap shipping. And again their profit margin goes up for ALL of their shipping not just the ones they send out at .01. So all those other books at $5, $10 etc which they may not sell as many of but make a higher profit margin on the BOOK, the others keep the high amount of sales volume so that their bulk shipping fees go down.

Hope that makes sense.

Posted on Apr 17, 2011, 5:00:28 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 24, 2012, 7:02:48 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 17, 2011, 8:25:08 PM PDT
Rebecca says:
if the books are that cheap, then many people would rather sell for a penny or a dollar and make a few more cents or dollars on the shipping than just throw it away or donating it to the friends of the library where it's chances of finding one more home and being useful one more time are simply less. we're book people. even at the end of their lives, we want to see books being read one more time.

Posted on Apr 18, 2011, 7:11:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 18, 2011, 3:04:11 PM PDT
Robert these are the USED books through wholesalers we are talking about not brand NEW books. And where do you get your ideas on those cost breakdowns? THAT sounds like nonsense!

Again not all books are listed this way at .01, many books that are more popular and such you will see are listed at $6 and $8 plus $3.99 shipping in some cases make those "used" cost more than the price amazon has it listed as new with free shipping.

These are BOOK WHOLESALERS, COMPANIES not individuals that are listing their books this was as I am suggesting. And they ship "media mail" not "parcel post", some even use UPS or FedEx. And if as you say they are "losing" money, it would prove to be more cost effective/efficient for them to combine your books in one package but they don't, they ship them all individually when they are coming from the same company, why is that?

No one is MAKING these people list through amazon, or "loose" money, they can start their own website or list through ebay etc...OBVIOUSLY they MAKE MONEY DOING THIS!!!

Honesly I don't really give a flying hoot and I don't need to sit here and argue with you, believe what you want and post your ideas. Those were my ideas, get over it if you don't agree!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2011, 10:21:22 AM PDT
L Flores says:
Explain the bulk shipping to me a bit more.. I just started selling books, and am loosing money on some .01 sales, cuz it costs me more to send the darn book than 3.99!!

Posted on Apr 18, 2011, 2:31:41 PM PDT
Sorry Robert who worked for the Post Office. Your answer is too-complicated for one thing!
Two words, "media mail".
Maybe they call it 4rth class, or something else these days, but essentially it is a special rate for books, and a limited category of material.
If a seller is receiving a shipping & handling credit from Amazon of $3.99, and the 1st Class postage rate, or Media Mail rate, (can't remember current name?), is (for example) $1.92, anything after the cost-of packaging and labor, is a profit on the shipping credit.
Some text books are extremely heavy, so sellers have to check their costs to ship before listing or they can lose money.
The one cent price also affects the competition.
Some sellers can afford to make very little on each sale, because they have thousands of sales.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2011, 2:48:11 PM PDT
Robert I think you are confusing the Amazon policy that wants you to ship the item promptly after you receive the order?
Amazon does not require that you ship books for next-day delivery, unless you make that, (more expensive option) available, and the customer chooses that option.
Sellers should always determine shipping costs and options when listing an item because it will determine the profit. (or loss).
I had a buyer with an international address and somehow they did not choose international shipping, and they were not charged international rates. When I priced the cost to ship my item, I would have taken a big loss, so I had to cancel that order and ask the customer to order the international shipping option if they wanted the item. (it was not a book).

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2011, 3:01:04 PM PDT
LFlores, as an individual you should ship media mail through the postal service.

It is a special rate to ship books, movies, cd's and other "media".

It's around $2.80 per parcel.

Posted on Apr 18, 2011, 4:28:30 PM PDT
Thank you all for your input. We would like to become a booksellers on Amazon, but we are just working from home and certainly can't afford to lose money on sales (.01 + 3.99 = 4.00 - costs of book - packaging - gas to the post office - actual shipping... not to mention the time involved in communication and all of the previous... for maybe a buck). Guess we'll have to look for something else to supplement our retirement. Thanks again.

Posted on Apr 18, 2011, 5:57:37 PM PDT
Sweden says:
I used to work for a place that sells used books on Amazon. Not quite for one cent, but they did make money on the shipping charges. The woman got a mass mailing discount. It's the same with magazine subscriptions and junk mail, they don't pay what we pay to ship or mail.

Posted on Apr 18, 2011, 7:21:47 PM PDT
K. Mays says:
Supply and demand, perhaps? I have listed books for one cent before simply because I don't like to throw things away. I'd rather someone get use from it as opposed to it ending up in a trash heap somewhere.

Posted on Apr 19, 2011, 9:54:02 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 19, 2011, 9:54:27 AM PDT]

Posted on Apr 19, 2011, 10:00:35 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 19, 2011, 10:01:38 AM PDT]

Posted on Apr 20, 2011, 11:46:08 AM PDT
Joey says:
I list stuff at a penny on eBay just because if someone wants it I'm happy to give it to them before throwing it away. I don't gauge shipping, either.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2011, 12:53:09 PM PDT
M. Fox says:
Media mail rates depends on the weight and size. Here's the USPS rate chart -

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2011, 12:57:58 PM PDT
M. Fox says:
L.Flores - Media Mail is subject to weight and size. Here is the USPS media mail chart -

What you need before listing the shipping rate is to measure and weigh the book - get a scale or try using a bathroom scale - then get the rate from the chart.

Posted on Apr 21, 2011, 9:15:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 21, 2011, 9:15:35 AM PDT
i listed a book for $1.00 +3.99 credit and i got screwed to hell by amazon. They wanted to charge me 4 dollars for amazon fees, so i actually would loose money after shipping, i told them to shove it up their ass.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2011, 2:45:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 21, 2011, 2:56:22 PM PDT
How is that even possible Jelissa? What is $3.99 credit? The Amazon referral fee for books is listed at 15%-I don't know if text-books are different.
The way that I see it, Amazon would have collected $4.99 from the customer, and kept 15% of the cost of the book? (apx.15 cents). OH-and a .99 fee? Here's a link to a calculator, I don't know if it always works, it is not an Amazon page.
Am I mistaken? Ha ha-third time I had to edit! Amazon charges a "closing fee" of $1.35 for books!-wow. The "Pro-Merchant" accounts do not have to pay the .99 listing fee, but they pay to subscribe.
I still get that you would have made about .50 cents on that deal?

Posted on Apr 21, 2011, 3:21:53 PM PDT
Emendator says:
Heaven help the poor old Post Office ... if he really DID work there. Oh. Maybe you don't need reading comprehension. Though my father did. He was a postmaster long before it was called USPS and had to interpret regs. *sigh*
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Discussion in:  Textbook Buyback forum
Participants:  212
Total posts:  386
Initial post:  Apr 16, 2011
Latest post:  Jan 6, 2017

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