A lot of book sellers always ask “Do high rank books sell on Amazon?” The answer is Yes!
I just sold a set of books for $549.95! When I first looked up the set up on Amazon it was ranked around 3.5 million.
In this post I will go over how I found these books, why I listed them merchant fulfilled, and most importantly, how I packed the books securely.
How I Found This Set of Books
These books came from a retired pastor who was cleaning out his book collection. His wife saw a Facebook ad I was running for Free Book Pickups. He then called me and asked if I also buy books.
I typically don’t blindly buy books from people because it’s a total crap shoot and it’s a ton of work to go through all the books.
I do buy books when someone has a collection that I can look at or if I can scan through the books. The pastor was very upfront and said he knew the books were valuable and he would want more than just $1-$2 per book.
When I went to look at the books I told him I was going to scan a bunch of books to see what the potential value might be (I use ScouitIQ). Just about every book in the first box I scanned was profitable. The second box had a very similar acceptance rate.
There were a lot of books that had no barcodes. But it looked like there were a lot of book sets so I figured I’d be able to lot them up on eBay.
I offered the pastor $200 for the 20 boxes of books. His face lit up and he said, “That would be great.” Right then and there I knew I overpaid.
But I knew he was going to have more books and I wanted to make sure he called me (2 weeks later he called and I got another 20 boxes for $150).
The set of books I sold was GILL’S COMMENTARY An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (six volume set). There was no ISBN number in any of the books. The books looked like they could be valuable, so I looked them up on ebay.
I found the exact set on ebay. The Ebay sales history showed the book only sold once. The list price was $550.00 plus $14.08 shipping … but a best offer was accepted. So I have no idea what the customer actually paid.
Then once I knew the name of the set I searched Amazon. There was a listing but there were no other sellers on it and the rank was in the 3,500,000 at the time. I thought that might have been because no one had a set.
Why Did I List the Set Merchant Fulfilled
99% of my books are listed FBA (except during Covid-19 when amazon wasn’t accepting book shipments). I posted them on Amazon, Ebay and Facebook Marketplace.
Since the books were rare I wanted to post them on as many marketplaces as possible to give them the best chance to sell.
I didn’t think the books were going to sell on Amazon based on the rank. I thought for sure the books would sell on ebay.
But I really wanted to experiment and test two things on Amazon:
- Would a set of books ranked 3,500,000 sell on Amazon?
- If the books sold on Amazon, how long would it take for them to sell?
We’ll if you’ve read this far you know that this set of high ranked books sold on amazon. But how long did it take?
It only took 52 days!! I thought it would take at least 6 months or even a year for them to sell.
Always remember you have nothing to lose by cross posting your items on different platforms. You just have to remember to delete them on the other platforms once the item sells.
After fees and shipping the profit for this sale came to $402.68.
How To Pack A Set of Books Worth $549
The most nerve-racking part of selling a highly profitable item is shipping. I want to make sure the books arrive to the buyer undamaged so I can keep that profit!
Here’s how I packed the books:
I started by shrinkwraping the books together. Since there were 6 books I wrapped 3 sets of 2 books each. This helps protect the books from getting damaged while in transit and prevents the books from moving around and breaking the box (those book corners can do damage).
Next, I put them in a heavy duty box. I love to use the heavy duty Staples boxes. They are strong and the sides are easy to cut down if you have to make the box smaller. Try to avoid using amazon boxes. I know most of us have a ton of them but they are cheap and break easily.
After that I fill any open spaces with packing paper. You don’t want the books moving around at all. Then on top I put a little post it note thanking the person for ordering and add more packing paper until the box is completely filled and almost hard to shut.
The last thing I do is pick up the box and shake it. If I hear any movement I check to see where I can add more packing paper.
Now for one of the most important parts: Selecting the shipping. My standard setting for books is media mail. But there is no way in hell I am shipping a set of $549.00 books media mail.
From my experience a lot of larger packages shipped with media mail get damaged, lost, or take forever to arrive to the customer.
In this case it did not make sense to ship them media mail. Amazon gets such great rates with UPS it’s a no brainer to ship it with them (it was only $2.00 more). I also declared the value of the package to be $550.00 which cost an extra $6.30 but I want to make sure if anything happens to that package I’ll be covered.
What I Learned from This Experiment
- High ranked books do sell on Amazon. In the past I have had high ranked books not sell on Amazon but I’d say a majority of mine do eventually sell if they are priced reasonably.
- Don’t be afraid to cross list. I got a few offers on ebay. I actually accepted two offers for $250 but both buyers never paid. I was annoyed at first, but now I am really happy they didn’t pay.
- Don’t be afraid to pay for books from someone’s personal collection. Yes, we all want to get books for as cheap as possible, but it’s very unlikely you will find sets like the one above at thrift stores.
Let me know in the comments the highest ranked book or highest price book you have ever sold and how you acquired it!
Also if you haven’t seen my interview with Romer the Roamer go check it out now: He Quit His Job to Sell Book on Amazon Full Time.