Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Selling Books on Amazon to Clear Clutter

   I spent the last several days trying to help clean up the house, which included getting the carpets steam-cleaned by a professional, rearranging the furniture in the living room, and clearing out a lot of old books that were in storage. Getting rid of the books is a more difficult endeavor than I thought it would be as the local library doesn't take most books as donations. Apparently the only books they really need a steady supply of are ones for young children, as these are the books most likely to get damaged or destroyed.

   So instead I've been spending my time trying to figure out how to sell the books online, reading a bunch of articles on how to sell books on Amazon. I now know a bunch of useless things about this topic. I know that book sellers should use media mail from the USPS to ship, as it's usually the cheapest option and might let you make a little profit off Amazon's shipping credit. I also learned how to pack books for a safe trip through the rough handling the USPS subjects them to. Why is this knowledge useless?


   Because unless your book is a collectable or an expensive non-fiction text chances are you can't compete with the penny-sellers. Those are the people who sell books on Amazon for a living, pricing them at $0.01 and making their money off the shipping credit Amazon provides, or using the low priced books to build high ratings so they can sell other items. If your library is filled with paperback fiction like mine, you don't have much chance of selling your books without taking a loss because of Amazon's fees. You'd have to charge a penny just to have a chance of selling the book within the 60 day period it'll stay listed if the penny-sellers are offloading their copies of that book, and because of the $0.99 fee non-pro sellers have you'll probably end up making no real money on the sale, even if you manage to ship for cheap.

   I learned this after sorting through my books and taking the time to post several on Amazon. How can one person wanting to sell off their clutter compete with penny-sellers? I can't, and it doesn't seem like it's worth the time to try other online options like cash4books because they only take newer books. Looks like my old books are going to any local charity that will take them. No money, but at least they'll go to a good cause and reduce the amount of stuff in my house.

1/7/11 - Well, I donated most of my library away and got a tax deduction receipt for it. The whole point was to de-clutter, and while it would have been nice to earn a little money off my books, I don't mind giving them away to a good cause. I was able to sell some college textbooks on Amazon for my sister, so creating a seller account wasn't pointless. My sister also bought me a Kindle 3 with 3G, which has been an awesome little gadget so far and definitely one of the best gifts I've ever gotten for the holidays. I'm half-way through Consider Phlebas already, a book I've been meaning to read for years. I've been too busy to continue studying Essential ActionScript 3.0 like I meant to, that and my Flash game development are on hold for now.

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