Selling books on Amazon


I think because Amazon started with books that there may be a widespread perception that they have some kind of commitment to them. But in twenty-odd years they have captured a vast proportion of the trade by driving prices down to historic lows and books probably aren’t very important (in cash terms) to them now. So people associate them with cheap books, go to the site to get cheap books, cannot find them, and buy the more expensive editions instead. This latest fee hike is a way of pushing up the prices for the editions they normally “hide” on those occasions when customers can actually find them.


I edited my answer but I think your question is rhetorical! We know who benefits, and it’s neither the buyers or the sellers!


That’s possible but the entire site seems to be following a similar downward path.
During lockdown I spent a lot of time looking for food and household goods on Amazon but the stock was either unavailable or being offered at ridiculously inflated prices from 3rd parties (and also Amazon itself).

Now the supermarket home deliveries are almost back to normal but Amazon still has a very sparse selection of groceries &c and price-gouging is still rife.

The cheapest bread flour I can find, for example, is about 5 or 6 times as expensive as the supermarket equivalent.

The site is also increasingly dominated by dodgy overseas sellers (mainly from China) and/or dropshippers.

It’s looking shabbier by the day.

I think all of this must be leaving an increasingly bad taste in the mouths of customers


Interesting. I’ve been out of the country for nearly a year so have not been using Amazon. I never used it for food at all, ever. I tended to use it only for books, some electronics, hardware, etc. Obviously because we sold books I became very aware of how poor it was becoming in this department, but not others.

I wonder what others think about its general performance/value.


I daresay a lot of people were in a similar position. Self-isolating, unable or unwilling to go to physical shops and becoming reliant on online.

Demand was no doubt outstripping supply (and still is in many areas) but rather than rationing supply, Amazon appears to have allowed itself to run empty, encouraging the price-gougers to move in.

To tackle this, Amazon used the blunt instrument of sanctioning all sellers who were seen to be overcharging, even for things like rare DVDs and PC games.

Hence loads of us had numerous items removed from sale for ‘pricing violations’ even though they were non-essential goods and priced at fair market levels.

And yet, the price gougers in groceries are still at it.
It makes no sense.


Is there one advantage in this announcement in that you could get more book sales as amazon will not automatically grant itself the buy box for new books? Other sellers books that are currently hidden could now get the buy box? Or have I misunderstood?


As you and I well know, the search engine and its algorithms is carp and has been for years.
Very few buyers know the ISBN or ASIN of what they want, unless maybe buying from a uni/college book reading list.
Most basic title /author searches bring back a long list of totally unrelated titles, and so the potential buyer assumes not available, and yes, will go elsewhere.


Maybe good if you sell new books, but I think MANY booksellers on here sell used books, so no advantage.


As an elderly non professional seller I am a little confused, BUT ASSUMING Amazon actually put this through as it looks could one of you bright young people tell me what the break even price will be for me if postage is £1.40, £1.83 and £2.95? so I can start culling my stock.


I am great at parties!! Especially on a good day like today ;o)


I’m hoping to get the bright young person crown but I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong. Obviously these costs don’t count the costs of your packaging, time, stock, etc.

Break even on £1.40 parcel - buyer needs to pay £0.92 + £2.80 postage.
Break even on £1.83 parcel - buyer needs to pay £1.38 + £2.80 postage.
Break even on £2.95 parcel - buyer needs to pay £3.36 + £2.80 postage.


hello, @Quality_collectable1

your break even point will depend on how much your envelope/packaging costs are and also any other costs that go into fulfilling an order (eg costs for your time or anything else). I’ll copy into here a table of figures i posted above, but these cover amazon fees only - you’ll have to deduct your other costs to find an accurate figure.

for example, I bulk buy envelopes of different sizes and so my average envelope cost is 20p, and i add the postage costs to that and deduct that from what i get from amazon to find the profit.

book price postage cost to customer current amazon fee new amazon fee Diff
£1.99 £2.80 £4.79 £2.36 £2.39 -£0.03
£2.00 £2.80 £4.80 £2.36 £2.39 -£0.02
£2.05 £2.80 £4.85 £2.37 £2.39 -£0.02
£2.10 £2.80 £4.90 £2.38 £2.39 -£0.01
£2.15 £2.80 £4.95 £2.39 £2.40 -£0.01
£2.19 £2.80 £4.99 £2.40 £2.40 £0.00
£2.20 £2.80 £5.00 £2.40 £3.00 -£0.60
£2.25 £2.80 £5.05 £2.41 £3.01 -£0.60
£2.49 £2.80 £5.29 £2.45 £3.05 -£0.60
£2.99 £2.80 £5.79 £2.54 £3.14 -£0.60
£3.09 £2.80 £5.89 £2.56 £3.16 -£0.60
£3.49 £2.80 £6.29 £2.63 £3.23 -£0.60
£3.99 £2.80 £6.79 £2.72 £3.32 -£0.60
£4.49 £2.80 £7.29 £2.81 £3.41 -£0.60
£4.99 £2.80 £7.79 £2.90 £3.50 -£0.60
£5.00 £2.80 £7.80 £2.90 £3.50 -£0.60
£5.49 £2.80 £8.29 £2.99 £3.59 -£0.60
£5.99 £2.80 £8.79 £3.08 £3.68 -£0.60
£6.00 £2.80 £8.80 £3.08 £3.68 -£0.60
£10.00 £2.80 £12.80 £3.80 £4.40 -£0.60


eg if i sell a book (at this time) for £6.29 (cost to the customer) and send out for £1.83, the profit would be a total of £1.63

customer pays £6.29
amazon takes £2.63
post + envelope £2.03
equals = £.1.63


Thanks for that.

Amazon’s long term strategy is simple - stay ahead of the sigma curve, create the illusion of value, generate return for shareholders. There’s no meat on it, no real value, just growth for its own sake. If that means selling Jeff Bezos’s toes to a weird Kazakh warlord’s weirder missus, that’s what it takes.


Apologies if I’m mis-reading the replies but I can’t see anyone adding the 15% they currently take if you have postage on a book (referral fee on delivery)? Our postage for books is £3.25 to UK so they take £0.49 currently or is this being absorbed in the new rates for Jan 2021 or is that wishful thinking?


So small sellers who do this as a hobby and lime to think that books are being re-read are priced out. Anyone know of an alternative market place for second hand book?


I get the feeling that this is Amazon using the fee structure to fine-tune the categories of book they wish to boost. (1) A fee cut for books -which has to mean secondhand books- at under £5. Obviously intended as a bonus for the megas. (2) A flat rate fee hike on everything which will incentivise sellers to go for high priced recent (ISBN) books at over about £10-12, which probably means largely. technical/academic/text book stuff.
It’s the generalist bookdealer between those extremes, with stock probably in the £6-£12 range, who will be squeezed. Hard. They haven’t said outright “please move over to ABE”, but they’re sure hinting it.


This is pretty tragic for a small book seller like me. I inherited a vast book collection from my father when he passed away in 2013, probably more than 6000 books. That’s why I started selling on here. Most are pre-ISBN, and listing them in the early years was easy… if the book wasn’t in the catalogue, I could add it. I used to sell at least 2 or 3 books a week on Amazon in those days. But for years now, sales have just dropped and dropped and dropped on here… I probably only sell about 10 books a year on Amazon (compared to 5-10 per week on ebay), and since I still have around 5000 to sell, I simply can’t see Amazon being worth the effort any more. It’s not worth my while going through my entire inventory to up the prices to cover the extra costs, so I shall probably just delete them all from Amazon. Sigh.


Pre-ISBN? Try ABE, that’s their bread-and-butter


But does ABE attract the buyers?

I don’t think many outside the book business even know it exists!