Secret to Bookselling on Amazon Revealed...!


1 turn in 15 years is slow growth objectively because it took you 15 years to make a sale.


I do not know anyone who remains in business or claims success for 1 item sold in 15 years. No one on thios thread did.
Inventory turns are not a measure of growth/ We look for growth in profits, cash flow, return on investment and other measures.

Low inventory turns are not a problem if those other numbers show growth. More often they may carry an opportunity cost. But if the slow inventory costs little, and storage is not a burden, it demonstrates little about the health of the business.

My monthly unit sales are up, my profits are down. This is a long term trend on AZ and constitutes a problem, not any sign of growth, even with a small increase in inventory turns.

Not everyone can run a business successful with slow turning items. You need to acquire enough, select those which are likely to sell at some point, and send to the landfill or some low profit/high turns operator those which aren’t worth anything and will never be worth anything. And you have to buy 100 items for what your profit is on one item… or pay even less

Amazon had issues with Wall Street for years because in spite of sales growth, there were no profits.

An old seller once told me, you make your money when you buy, you collect when you sell. I would add you can lose it when you buy too.


The sprinkler must just be stuck pointing in your direction!


Lake, perhaps you did not read the thread carefully. I was responding to O.L.D. Books who said:

“For the record, most of what I sell has been sitting on the shelves between 5 and 15 years.”

Feel free to scroll up & read.


After reading numerous posts from you, I doubt this secret of success.
You are obviously one of those people who sells books, not a bookseller.
There is a difference.


Complete nonsense.

Price is an issue, but definitely depends on the specific book you are selling and if the buyer is looking for a reading copy or a collecting copy. We find we do best if we are in the middle of the first page, or into the second page.

You must list accurately. As a buyer myself, I am very, very wary of books listed as New or Like New. They are often not graded right. I rarely will buy one as New or Like New because of that. I would rather buy a lesser-graded but accurately-described copy.

The newest, shiniest titles usually have too much competition to be worthwhile. If there are 500 sellers on a listing, why is someone going to buy yours?

The older books, the rare, the niche, that is where we make our bread and butter. We’ll list anything that falls within certain parameters, but it is usually that book we’ve never heard of before that does well.

We just sold an old middle school history textbook a few weeks ago for around $25. It had scribbles and doodles. We listed it as Acceptable and were very clear on the condition issues. We were the only seller. We were surprised when it sold, but it just goes to show that what is important is being there when a customer has an interest in that book, and being honest about the condition.

As long as you have the space available and a way to keep track of where they are, list as much as you can. Of course, you do have to have a minimum dollar amount to make it worth the time and space, but I will happily hold onto a rare book for a year if I got it cheap/free and it is going for $100. I think of it kind of like a lottery – the more tickets (listings) we have, the more chances a buyer will take one.

Like others have said, I really have to wonder why you keep trying to put yourself forward as some kind of an expert. You repeatedly post about how lousy your sales are, you are always trying to discourage a new seller or trying to get someone to drop a case they could appeal and win as “not worth it.” You give bad/irrelevant advice pretty consistently, and you get called out on it enough that you have to know what you are doing.

I think you may be just looking to decrease your competition in whatever small way is available to you on the forums.

I am taking no advice from someone who believes that sales come from sprinklers and algorithms. Sales come from finding items that customers want, describing them appropriately, pricing them right, and then getting them out quickly and packaged well. There is no “secret.” Just work, experience, and preferably, a love of books.


It depends on your philosophy of bookselling. Are you looking for a pretty face, or real companionship? I list obscure, niche titles, and recently sold one that I’ve had for almost 20 years. My books are stored in our finished basement, so it doesn’t cost extra to keep them, and I love it when a scholar or genealogist finds something unique in my collection. But I can see why you would want rapid turnover and a quick way out of the business. I have no idea how I’ll dispose of my inventory when the time comes.


This is a really good point overall in this thread.


I always just thought it was a case of “misery loves company”


To be honest, most of my books cost me next to nothing. Of my original inventory, mostly one-offs, my cost was zero. Space is not much of an issue due to my own customized sorting system. I do sell plenty of esoteric books that I have acquired fairly recently. I also focus on over all income over expense, not how long something sits on the shelf nor are my prices stagnant. I adjust prices a few times every year.

Those that suggest that my turnover must be poor may be right in some ways, but those long tail books are what I tend to specialize in. I never base my decisions in acquiring books on Amazon ranking. For most what I sell ranking has no meaning. Worldwide only a handful may sell in any given year. I acquire because I want to have that hard to find book someone is looking for, not what I can sell off in less than 3 months.


I like that analogy.


We’re bouncing back now. Long tail sales are fun and rewarding. If a seller survived from '08-'16, you’ve done well.


Depends on your definition of surviving.:wink::


The best way to shop on Amazon is to explore ALL of your choices with a real computer; do not APP shop as you are only presented with limited options.
Put this message on your FB page.


Hello! I’m new, have minimal inventory and find what you are saying to be true. I am literally paying out money to “GIVE” my books away. Any advice on how the shipping works? I’m charging shipping, paying for shipping, and the rest of the small profit isn’t enough to cover my fees. I realize low inventory and -.01 to -.02 pennies cheaper gets the looks and a purchase here and there, but no profit whatsoever. I agree that it’s probably not the best strategy, unless I list books with a minimal value of $15. So far anything I have sold for super cheap has cost me money and I show a negative balance every time. Then, I have to pay out of my bank account to just get to a zero balance. Any recommendations for a “newby” who is thinking of trying this thing out? I am interested in excellent customer service first and foremost. I am ready to stick to this long term, realizing it will take a lot of hard work and patience. Your reply is appreciated!


Have you read Seller University ?

That might give you some ideas.

All I can tell you is that Amazon isn’t the site to sell cheap books due to fees.

Taking selling advice from Cabin Fever books would be like learning how to avoid icebergs from Capt. Smith.:roll_eyes:


I probably sell fewer books than anyone posting on this forum… Not even 1 per day…much less.

So Anything I say here is likely not applicable to your situation…

And I’m constantly at risk for suspension at any given time…:hushed::worried:


Then why did you label this thread you started as The Secret to Bookselling on Amazon ?


I thought you might know…:smirk:


Hi Cabin. I shy away from the newer stuff; that’s not my style of bookselling. I’ve had a lot of good fortune selling old books on Amazon. Top sale last year was $600 for a fifty year old art exhibition catalog. My way of competing with sellers of newer merchandise is not to compete with them, because they and I are not the same animal. I arrived late at a recent estate sale. At least three scanners had gone through the room before I got there. Not one of them chose to pay a dollar for the book that was signed and inscribed by William S. Burroughs, which was worth more than anything that was scannable. Knowledge is the key.