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How to Sell Books Online

Learn how to sell books online with key tips and strategies. From establishing an online presence to marketing strategies, this guide can help you achieve your business goals.

Reports indicate that there was an uptick in the number of print books sold last year. There are a wide variety of reasons as to why book sales have trended up. People may have found more time during the past few years or their appetite for learning or getting lost in stories might have increased.

Whatever the case may be, it shows that it is still a fantastic time to get started in the book industry.

At the same time, even though it is a thriving environment, it does make sense to conduct your research before you jump into the industry. It would be worthwhile to look into how you can be effective in selling books online. If you are interested in learning about how to sell books online, here is what you need to know.

How to sell books online

With over 650 million print-books sold within the United States last year, getting involved in the industry is undoubtedly an appealing prospect. Outstanding and consistent numbers like these indicate great promise in this age-old industry.

Further, if the average spend on books per person translates into over $50 on books, it validates the notion that selling books online is certainly worthwhile.

The book industry is also fascinating because there are many different reasons to purchase books. It is possible to buy books for academic purposes or entertainment purposes. In addition, individual consumers can purchase books to learn how they can invest in real estate, save for retirement, or have a beautiful garden.

Of course, they can also get lost in mythical worlds with dragons, warring factions, and adventure.

This great variety of book options makes it to where there is a broad audience interested in purchasing books. The wide range of possibilities coupled with the fact that people appreciate going to independent book suppliers shows that one can carve out their niche in this sector.

When starting online business ventures, the first step is to start with the basics.

Start with the context

If you are interested in selling books online, you must first define your context.

Are you an entrepreneur interested in either creating an online bookstore or selling your books on different online platforms?

Are you looking to be a writer who will self-publish and sell books on Blurb or other places? Are you only looking to collect used books and sell them online?

Depending on the path you want to take, you would like to use different platforms.

Set a goal

Then it is essential to set a goal for yourself for the first year. Your goal setting will influence your decisions and actions for the year.

Ths goal will also help you to simplify your level of commitment and dedication to selling books online. A genuine goal will guide you when it comes to learning how to sell books online and meeting your objectives.

In essence, in this part of the process, you are able to set your goal, then you can establish a plan, and act according to it.

Establish a plan

When you set a goal, you can have a plan of action, understand what you are trying to get out of this project and set metrics to measure your progress. This is where a holistic plan becomes quite critical.

Many experts will note to do the planning work because it is here where you discover much more about the business and how you can succeed.

Think about creation of the content if you are a writer, the publishing of content, if you are a writer, then procurement, shipping and logistics, your customer policy, and your unique selling proposition. Then think about payment options, setting up a bank account, and other aspects to be successful.

Establishing your unique selling proposition

This is where you can get further into the details of the industry and conduct our market research. Then you can see how you fit into the competitive landscape.

Your unique selling proposition is important because it shows you how you differ from others in the marketplace and how you can serve your customers best. This helps you further define your value in the marketplace and establish yourself in this vast industry.

The unique selling proposition is important because it helps you with your branding and your marketing efforts as well. If you know who your customers are and why you are in the market, you will likely improve your messaging and target it accurately.

Comply with your respective laws and regulations

The next step is deciding whether your bookselling path requires you to form a legal entity, whether a corporation, an LLC, or a sole proprietorship.

You will want to look into a corporation or an LLC if you work with a group of people. The sole proprietorship is there for people working independently and by themselves. It is best to work with a legal professional on these matters for the best results.

They can guide you in avoiding current and future legal issues.

Establish a presence online to sell books

The next step is to establish a presence online to sell your books. In this part of the process, you would decide what storefront option works best for you.

This is where you will want to ask if you need a standalone website, a presence on places like eBay, Amazon, Shopify, Blurb, or Bookscouter.

If you are looking at a standalone website, you have a wide variety of options that range from the Mailchimp website builder platform to Squarespace, Wix, Wordpress, and a host of other website providers.

The significant part about doing a plan earlier is knowing whether you need a fully-fledged website or a simple digital space starting. When you think about a website, remember that it should be easy to navigate, should seamlessly display your products, and quickly process payments with ease.

If you find that marketplace platforms work best for your needs, it is best to register with them as well. Many enterprising business founders get started on these websites because sites like Amazon, have a built-in audience base. This base of established customers helps you to tap into a valuable stream of customers.

Depending on your goals, you may choose a standalone website or a hybrid where you have your unique website and a presence on Amazon or Shopify.

This online presence is critical as it enables consumers to have a place where they can go to browse around and look at your books.

Market your brand or bookshop

Potential customers must be aware of your bookshop and what it has to offer.

Remember that marketing breaks down into several segments.

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion
  • People
  • Process

These various segments helped build your brand as you continue to improve and invest in these different aspects. So let us take a look at each of these individually.


When embarking on a new marketing campaign, defining the product and its relation to consumers is essential. Who are the end users, and why would they want the product? How does it differ from the current offerings in the marketplace? In essence, you will ask why people will love the product.

Marketing is easier when it is a fantastic product or service that will meet the consumer's needs. It is critical to easily convey the product's value to your audience.

As noted earlier, proper product definition enables you to distribute the product more effectively. When you think about the product effectively, you can price it well and promote it well.


You will price your products depending on the level of supply and demand and the real costs involved in selling the product. In addition, there are elements of perceived value and intrinsic value that are also critical in pricing your product. At the same time, prices may vary depending on the season, competitive positioning, and other aspects.


In this case, the place is in the virtual world. You will have a digital presence and will choose to go with a hybrid approach or a very simple approach depending on your needs. The place does matter depending on your brand, positioning, and objectives.


How will you promote the product or products?

What are other competitors doing to promote the product?

What do customers expect when they think about your products? How are you looking to make an impression in the minds of your customers?


It is essential to consider the culture within your organization and the people you are trying to serve with your products. Everyone should be on the same page for the best results.


The process is vital as this is what makes or breaks ventures. Firms that continue improving their processes will likely last in the marketplace. It is a good idea to establish your respective process so you can follow that, improve it, and have the best standard operating procedures that work well for you.

It is best to have a good understanding of these principles concerning your specific endeavor to increase your chances of success.

Best places to sell: online bookstores

Now that you know how to sell books online, what is the best place to sell books online? Again, this (place and promotion) is a vital part of those pillars of marketing that we noted above.

There are a few key sales channels for selling books online.

Your online store

If it makes sense for you, you can sell your books on your own online store. But, yes, it will take a bit of work because you will have to set it up and then draw attention to the site. At the same time, you will have to establish your logistics solution, so products are shipped out efficiently.

Merchants may turn to platforms like Mailchimp to establish their site to minimize fees paid to Amazon and other marketplace entities. Investing in your platform and reaping the rewards over time can certainly be worth it.

Upstart booksellers will have to conduct quite a bit of effort early on but can benefit from owning a large piece of their profits when the business is established. Conversely, this may not be the case with marketplace providers like Amazon, eBay, or other providers that offer infrastructure, and other features but continue to charge for their services.


Many might wonder if selling used books on Amazon is worth it. It certainly can be. If you are able to obtain the books for a lower price, it is possible to profitably sell used books on Amazon.

Amazon is an online e-commerce platform that sells its own products and encourages sellers to list their products as well. Many merchants sell their products on Amazon to benefit from its broad reach, functionality, and built-in logistics operations. This firm has been around since at least 1995, and it continues to show staying power. As such, many merchants place their products on the Amazon platform.

Amazon is also a compelling option because it has Amazon Kindle, Kindle Direct publishing, and is also an owner of Audible. Booksellers can conduct a variety of operations on this behemoth’s platform.


eBay is another internet native that has been around since the start of the dot-com era. Merchants list their books on the eBay platform to take advantage of its growing base of users, its user-friendly options, payment functionality, and exposure. The brand’s global audience is a compelling draw for enterprising merchants.

Facebook Marketplace

The Facebook marketplace is a fantastic place to sell books online. It enables you to access fantastic deals and a broad base of users in respective communities on the Facebook platform.

Businesses use the Facebook marketplace to establish connections, build a loyal fanbase, and provide people with more options. This is a place to dip your toes in the literary waters and get started with minimal costs.


If you want to specialize in textbooks, then TextbookRush is a great, cost-effective way to sell them. You can input the ISBN, and the platform provides you with what it will pay for the book.

Sites like Ziffit make it possible and profitable to sell books online. Ziffit makes the process simple by offering a free online service that quickly values your books and gives you an offer. Yes, this is effectively selling to one customer, but it is a very cheap and profitable way to get started as a bookseller.


Most people don’t think about Craigslist when it comes to selling books online. But this is another internet giant that has existed since the early days of the world wide web.

It continues to receive many views and traction each day. It can certainly serve as another outlet to gain some traction as you seek to gain more visibility in the marketplace as a bookseller.

This may also be the cheapest place to sell books online as you have much more control over the process.


Blurb can be a wonderful option if you are interested in designing fantastic books and publishing these literary works of art, or want to create and distribute ebooks. This fantastic provider enables you to distribute your books via Amazon, and other established book dealers. The site itself serves as a top rated online bookstore as well.

If you are looking to quickly get started with the production and distribution of your own books, Blurb is an amazing place to start.

Apple iBooks

Apple positions itself as the home of creativity. It is possible to witness this in its various actions. From bringing about a device that could carry thousands of songs, conveniently placed in your pocket, to devices that let you create art, Apple has made itself a key player in the creative industry.

It is not a surprise then that this technology giant has its own space for books. This platform, like the company, is future-forward, as such, it only works with ebooks. If you are looking to make a dent in the ebook industry, then iBooks is the medium for you.

Google Play Books

Google Play Books is also an option if you are looking to publish eBooks. At the same time, this platform is not known as being extremely intuitive, and it may not bring as much traction as other platforms.

Other Options

There are a few other options out there for individuals who want to tap into specific niches or digital places with a growing audience. These spaces include Scribd, Kobo, Barnes and Nobles, and the Nook platform.

So if you were wondering what is the best place to sell your books online, hopefully, this part of the guide answers your question.

How to Start an Online Bookstore

The process of starting an online bookstore is straightforward. It requires you to take a couple of key actions.

  • Choose a niche and offer compelling customer experiences
  • Get creative with your branding
  • Find great places to obtain your unique books
  • Establish and launch your online bookstore
  • Maintain your brand and grow your audience
  • Continue to thrive in your niche and expand your business


Many booksellers thrive because they find a specific niche that large booksellers are unable to fully cover. Many experts will respond to the question “what is the most profitable way to sell books online” by noting to focus on a niche. The niche may be sustainable for a long period of time, allowing you to also branch into other sectors.

Creative Branding

Independent booksellers find a way to appeal to their audience by genuinely immersing them in the niche. These booksellers place a significant emphasis on the niche and remember to never veer from the theme. This continuous theme that is present throughout the customer experience makes a significant difference to the audience.

Find Your Books

It will take a little bit of effort to find your books. Of course, the level of difficulty will depend on your specific niche. The sources of books are a key part of your business.

Establish and launch your online bookstore

If you are still wondering, how do I sell my book online, remember that you must start with the basics. If you are selling used books and want to start out small, you may be able to find success with platforms like the Facebook Marketplace. If you are looking to have a more streamlined operation, you may want to have your own digital presence or establish yourself on Amazon or other marketplaces.

Maintain your brand and grow your audience

Brands that continue to engage with their audience can increase their sales while slowly growing the audience over time. This is a crucial part of the process for new brands as it helps to form a bond and it helps you to learn more about the needs of your audience as well.

Thrive in Your Niche

You can improve and expand your business by investing in your niche. It is possible to grow your business by listening to your customers, learning about their unique needs and crafting solutions that work well!

Start Your own online business

Take a moment! You have learned a lot about how to start your own online business. It can seem like a lot at first.

Thankfully, you can take it one step at a time and eventually establish your own online business.

One of the keys to starting your own online business in the book industry is to be passionate about a specific niche or theme and to pursue it feasibly.

Begin with your research, establish your online digital presence, market your business, and start growing today.

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