IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: MyWalletHero is becoming The Motley Fool UK - click here to read more about our name change.

Can you make money selling books online?

Can you make money selling books online?
Image source: Getty Images.

Many people are looking to become online sellers, and items such as books are readily available, so can you make money selling books online?

Selling books online is a relatively easy process when compared with other items such as clothes, since the seller doesn’t have to deal with high return rates due to consumers ordering multiple sizes. If the books you are selling are in good condition, you will likely only have to deal with the occasional item being damaged in transit.

But is it worth it?

Anyone thinking about becoming an online seller needs to determine whether they can make enough money. There is no point in doing it otherwise. The short answer is yes, you can – but you need to manage your expectations. Chances are you won’t make enough to live on, but it can be a lucrative sideline that can supplement your income. The process can take some time and effort, so if you are thinking about selling books online then it could be worth doing this as part of a bigger online selling strategy.

Things to consider

You need to think about what type of seller you want to be. If you are having a clear out and want to make a bit of extra money on the side, then it can be a relatively easy process. However, if you want to become a proactive buyer and seller of books as part of a long-term strategy, you will need to be more organised. Additional considerations will be necessary, such as storage, categorisation and research on the type of books that make money.

Other things to consider will be the condition of the books, so put yourself in the buyer’s position and ask yourself if you would buy them.

You will need to do some research when pricing your books, and don’t forget to factor in website charges and the cost of post and packaging.

When describing the book, you need to make sure you include features such as whether it is hardback or paperback.

Every book has an identifying code known as an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and you should add this to the description so buyers can make the distinction between different editions.

Where can you make money selling books online?

There are a number of different options that are worth investigating. Here are the most popular:

1) eBay

You can list up to 20 items per month for free and you have access to more than 24 million active buyers. The website is also useful for finding out how much your book is worth by looking at similar listings.

You can choose between a fixed-price listing and an auction, but unless it has some value, such as a first edition, a fixed-price listing is best. Their help section has useful information on how to sell books using their website, so it is well worth reading this beforehand.

2) Amazon

Like eBay, Amazon has an extensive reach and plenty of sellers make money selling books regularly. You can choose from two types of account. The Basic account is for selling fewer than 35 items per month and there is no monthly fee, but Amazon does charge £0.75 per item sold and additional fees do apply. If you want to sell more than 35 items per month, there is a £25 monthly fee (excl. VAT) plus additional fees. Do read the information about additional fees before signing up.

3) Reseller websites

These are websites such as and These are good if you are having a clear-out and don’t want to deal directly with individual buyers, since they buy second-hand books for resale. All you have to do is go to the website, enter the book barcode or ISBN and you will get an instant online valuation. If you are happy with the valuation, you can send the items free of charge. It is important to note that valuations are based on the items being in good condition so bear this in mind when deciding which books to send.


If you have some old unwanted books in good condition then there are plenty of online options for hassle-free selling.

Alternatively, if you are interested in online book-selling as a long-term commitment, it can be a lucrative sideline. But it is worth undertaking some additional research so you can maximise your profits.

Could you be rewarded for your everyday spending?

Rewards credit cards include schemes that reward you simply for using your credit card. When you spend money on a rewards card you could earn loyalty points, in-store vouchers airmiles, and more. The Motley Fool makes it easy for you to find a card that matches your spending habits so you can get the most value from your rewards.

Was this article helpful?

Some offers on The Motley Fool UK site are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.