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Selling books and other items on Amazon is a tried and tested way to get rid of stuff around your home. You can even start a side business selling on Amazon.If you’ve been an Amazon fan from the beginning, you know used books is what got the company started. Of course, you can now buy and sell nearly anything on Amazon. And there are multiple ways to make it happen. Here’s how to get started selling used books and other items on Amazon.

If you’ve been an Amazon fan from the beginning, you know used books is what got the company started. Of course, you can now buy and sell nearly anything on Amazon. And there are multiple ways to make it happen.Here’s how to get started selling used books and other items on Amazon.

Here’s how to get started selling used books and other items on Amazon.

Selling Used Books and Textbooks

Amazon is still a great place to get rid of your used textbooks after your college courses are over. But you can also use it to offload novels, self-help books, and pretty much any other books that are cluttering up your bookshelves.

Becoming an Individual Seller

One option for selling books on Amazon is to become an individual seller on Amazon. This gives you more flexibility to set pricing for your used books. To do this, follow this quick video tutorial. In essence, you’ll follow these steps:

  1. Create an Amazon account.
  2. Create an Amazon Marketplace individual seller account.
  3. Search for your books by title or ISBN.
  4. When you find your books, list their condition, and set up your pricing.
  5. When your books sell, print off the shipping labels and ship them to the buyer.
  6. Rinse and repeat each time you want to sell another book.

The individual seller route is more hands-on. It requires you to list your own items and manage shipping on your own. However, you’ll get more bang for your buck. As long as you sell fewer than 40 items per month, you won’t have to pay for a monthly sellers’ plan. But you’ll pay $0.99 per item plus referral fees and closing costs when you make a sale.

What if you want to make a business of purchasing high-quality books at thrift stores and garage sales and reselling them on Amazon? This is still a viable side gig option if you know what you’re doing. But in this case, you’ll want to pay for a professional Amazon Marketplace account, which costs $39.99 per month, plus referral fees and closing costs.

Amazon’s Buyback Program

The Textbook Buyback Program works similarly to trading in books at your college’s bookstore. You’ll only get a small percentage of the book’s original price — and that’s if your books are still in great condition.

But the buyback program makes it easier to offload your books. You won’t have to deal with multiple shipments or pricing them on your own. It works similarly. You sign up for an account, search for books by ISBN, and set their condition.

When you get done with several books, you’ll print off a free shipping label to ship them to Amazon. When your books are processed, you’ll get an Amazon gift card for your books.

Selling Other Items on Amazon

While Amazon started out as a book marketplace, it’s now a way to get pretty much anything you want. And it’s also a way to sell anything you might want.

Selling other items on Amazon is similar to selling books. You can trade in some items through the buy-back program for a small amount of money back. Or you can sell items independently to make more money.

When you sell independently, you can ship items directly from your home. Alternatively, you can ship larger packages to Amazon for their Fulfillment by Amazon program.

Most people who turn selling on Amazon into a side business opt for the professional-level account. But once you get that account, you should understand the three main ways to sell items on Amazon:

Selling Used Items

The most common used item on Amazon is books. You can sometimes find other listings with used or refurbished items available at a discount rate. Picking up books at garage sells to sell on Amazon at a profit is one way to turn this into a side business. If you’re interested in more broadly selling used items, such as clothes and household decor, selling on eBay may be a better option, though.

Retail Arbitrage

Retail arbitrage is the practice of buying new-but-cheap items at one retail store to sell somewhere else. Some people make a full-time living out of retail arbitrage on Amazon, though it’s more commonly a side business.

In essence, you’ll buy items at a deep discount to resell on Amazon. Think about the heavily discounted items you can find on the sale shelves at big box stores or drugstores. Even discounted items from specialty stores like TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning are ripe for arbitrage.

It’s possible to make a living out of retail arbitrage on Amazon. But you have to know what you’re doing. You need to know, for instance, if the items you buy will sell in a reasonable amount of time. That’s especially true if you’re paying fees to keep them in a warehouse through the Fulfillment by Amazon program.

But once you get the basics figured out and understand what tools you need to make this work, it can be a profitable side business.

Private Label Selling

If you want to sell your own products on Amazon, consider private labeling. With private labeling, you get your products directly from the manufacturer and then put your own branding on them. You can sell these products new on Amazon and often turn a great profit.

Private label selling involves more up-front costs since you have to buy products from the manufacturer. But it can also be a great way to cater to a niche market and keep the sales coming without having to constantly shop retail sales.

Is Selling on Amazon Right for You?

Selling used books and other items–new or used–on Amazon can be a great option for many.

Maybe you’re just looking to get rid of some things around the house and to make some money doing it. Use an individual seller account to list the things you want to sell. You may not make a ton of cash, but you can make a bit of money selling things you no longer want or need.

If you’re looking for a viable side business or a business you could turn full-time, selling on Amazon might be what you need there, too. Some Amazon sellers can make a profit in an astoundingly short amount of time. With the right approach, you could, too.

So how about it? Have you ever sold on Amazon before? Will you try it in the future?

Thanks very much to all the readers and contributors who have helped make Consumerism Commentary a complete community for the past five years. In the span of those five years, the “blogosphere” has exploded with thousands of new blogs that write about personal finance, the economy, budgeting, and every money-related topic you could possible conceive in your mind.

The problem now comes with finding the best of what’s out there. I have a number of suggestions.

Carnival of Personal Finance

The Carnival of Personal Finance is a weekly column, featured on a different host blog each Monday. Within the column is a select list of the week’s best articles, submitted by their authors and reviewed and screened by the host. The host also selects a few articles for “Editor’s Choice.” These five to ten articles are often great examples of the excellent writing found across the blogosphere. Note: The Carnival of Personal Finance was founded here at Consumerism Commentary. is an aggregator of over 1,000 personal finance blogs. This is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of this niche in the blogosphere. Most importantly, pay special attention to the Friends of; these bloggers take their writing seriously and work hard to produce the best content. You will find the popular listings on the most useful. The most frequently-visited articles from the past 24 hours are presented in order of popularity. Note again: I created


If you like Digg for finding the best news and articles in general, take a look at Tip’d. Tip’d is like Digg, where news articles are submitted by anyone. For example, I saw an article on MSN Money Central about Henry Paulson, and I submitted this article even though I was not the author. Submitted articles that are enjoyed by others in the Tip’d community get promoted.

It’s easy to find articles you like with Tip’d. You can browse a number of categories, such as personal finance, economy, green, and real estate. These are the types of articles that wouldn’t always “succeed” on Digg, so creating a “social media” website specifically for personal finance is a good move.

The founders of Tip’d have extensive experience with social media and beneficent search-engine optimization. If any niche new website has the potential for success, it’s Tip’d.

Every article on Consumerism Commentary is followed by an option to “Add to Tip’d.” If you read something here that you like, click on this link to share the article with the Tip’d community.


Alltop is an aggregator like With the Personal Finance page on Alltop, in one view you can see five latest articles from both mainstream finance news like The Motley Fool and Forbes as well as some of the top money-related blogs such as I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Get Rich Slowly, and Consumerism Commentary.

Google Blog Search’s business section contains the latest news from blogs as well as a search form to help you quickly find what you want from thousands of participating websites. Personal finance articles can be found in the business section. Google’s powerful search engine groups related stories across hundreds of blogs, giving you a quick idea of how many people are writing about any particular news item.


Like Google Blog Search, Technorati offers a home page for business articles throughout the blogosphere, but with this portal, you can focus on finance articles more specifically. Technorati meshes in news from mainstream media with articles from the blogosphere. In terms of search capabilities, I prefer Google, but Technorati has unique features that let you measure the popularity of blogs and blog articles.

Have I neglected to include any other resources? Please free to let me know.


PC Magazine recently published a list of their editors’ picks for the top 100 “undiscovered” websites. The list spans a variety of categories from reference to music to health. Consumerism Commentary readers are probably familiar with a few of these sites, particularly those in the “money” category. Here are some of the highlights throughout.

Hard to Find 800 Numbers: Some companies do a decent job of hiding their toll-free customer service numbers in an attempt to use e-mail (and possibly avoid complaints). Others gladly provide a long distance phone number to save money. This site lets you browse for your favorite companies to find those hidden toll-free numbers.

Cork’d: This site is billed as the “simple way to review and share wine.” I can never keep track of the wine I drink, so every time I go out, I have to guess at what I might like. Now, if there were only a device that would allow me to check reviews while at the restaurant…

Menupages: Speaking of dining out, this undiscovered website indexes menus for over 6,000 New York restaurants. This is a great way to decide where to eat rather than using other options, including visiting the restaurants’ individual websites, which may or may not include their own menus.

Kiva: This microlending site has been mentioned quite a bit by other financial blogs. Kiva provides a mechanism to provide small loans to needy entrepreneurs all over the world, improving the lives and communities of people who will likely be very appreciative.

Trulia: If you’re planning to make a real-estate-related move, Trulia should be one of the websites you check first. It has financial information as well as details about school districts and communities. Right on the front page, I can see that Trenton, New Jersey has made the top 5 in median listing price increases.

Topix: Here is a powerful news and blog aggregator that can organize listings by location or, as one would imagine, by topic. Some pages, like the one for Princeton, New Jersey are edited by humans, but when no human has been assigned, Topix’ intelligent robots take care of the job.

The Bargainist: For those who like to make their purchasing decision based on what’s on sale, The Bargainist provides a nearly-constant feed of coupons and deals. The only deal that stood out to me is the 40% of a CD at Borders. Even with that discount, you can find much better deals on music online.

Do My Stuff: Why do something yourself if you can pay someone else to do it for you? This site lets individuals and companies bid on your mundane and annoying tasks.

Yapta: After seeing this site featured, I joined Yapta immediately. I entered the confirmation code for my upcoming flight to California and will now allow Yapta to track my route’s prices. If the tickets become available for a lower amount of money between now and my flight, Yapta will inform me how to receive a refund for the difference. The likelihood of my holiday travel suddenly becoming available for less money is low; the flights are sold out now.

Remember the Milk: If you’re highly organized, unlike myself, you may enjoy making lists. You can tie your to-dos listed on Remember the Milk into your email or SMS (text messaging system) to allow you to be reminded of your tasks any where. Become a slave to a list — you know you want to.

Those are some of the “undiscovered” websites I found interesting or possibly useful for Consumerism Commentary readers. There are lots more — 89, to be precise — with commentary in the PC Magazine feature.

Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites [PC Magazine]


Yesterday I received an email apparently from eBay, informing that my account was used for malicious purposes, and I should change my password post-haste. I’m very skeptical of emails apparently from eBay. Normally I delete them without thinking. But this email managed to catch my attention. Here’s a portion of the text:

It appears your account was accessed by an unauthorized third party and used to send unsolicited emails to other community members, including email offers to sell items outside of eBay. It does not appear that your account was used to list or bid on any items. Additionally, the email address on your account may have been tampered with, which is why you may not have received any emails about this activity.

At this time we have taken several steps to secure your eBay account. Rest assured that your credit card and banking information is safe on the eBay site. This information is kept encrypted on a secure server and cannot be viewed by anyone.

eBay account hackedClick on the screenshot to see that the email is authentic looking. I’ve removed all the naughty bits to protect my identity. To check the email’s authenticity, I tried to log into eBay in a new browser window — not by clicking on any links in the email.

I was unable to log in, as the email explained further. eBay had changed my password after it detected malicious activity. I reset my password after verifying my identity and logged in. In my message inbox was the same email I received externally. Apparently, my account had been used to send “questions” to the hosts of a variety of auctions pointing them to some external website. I checked my sent messages folder within eBay, and I saw 25 messages sent on July 2 to a number of other eBay users.

The account was not used to bid on any items, so I didn’t have to worry about that. I did go through and change all of my passwords as the message from eBay suggested. I’m not happy with this situation, and after being conditioned that all email appearing to be from eBay is most likely spam or someone trying to trick me into entering my password somewhere, I could easily have overlooked this warning.

There are several ways my password could have been used by a hacker. There’s the slight possibility I clicked on one of those fake eBay emails. I find that really hard to believe as I am very careful about such things. One of my computers may have a keylogging program installed on it. My home computer is protected by AVG, which has never discovered any malicious programs running, so either that’s not the answer, or AVG Anti-Virus Free has failed.

Most likely, the password was guessed through software designed to do such hacking. I could have chosen a stronger password to use.

If there’s anything to take away from my experience, it’s that not every email from eBay is fake, strong passwords aren’t strong enough, and even rarely-used accounts with unimpressive stats are targets.


Wall Street Journal: Managing Money in Public

by Luke Landes

My former boss at the company I currently work for knows that I have a side interest that involves personal finance and the web. Obviously, I do not supply too many details to him as I prefer to maintain some level of anonymity on Consumerism Commentary, considering the personal information I’ve been posting since 2003. […]

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Spending More Money on the Internet

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Here are five reasons according to Forrester Research people spend 15 percent more on the average online transaction compared to a traditional transaction from a brick-and-mortar store. You don’t have time to think. Once you have items in your cart, retailers want to move you through the checkout line before you can reconsider. If you’ve already […]

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Some readers of financial blogs keep coming back for the free “advice.” There are some better ways to get in touch with financial advisement online, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has a few suggestions for finding a real advisor through the internet. * The Alliance of Cambridge Advisors is a network of 75 advisors in 25 […]

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I have a deal for my personal finance blogging friends. Blogger was a great piece of software several years ago, bringing “pushbutton publishing to the people.” When they added BlogSpot, it only enhanced the value of the software. But let’s face it, BlogSpot is not that stable despite being hosted by Google, and many people […]

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Ten Websites I Couldn’t Live Without

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I’ll admit there’s a little bit of hyperbole in the title of this post. I’m sure I’d survive without the internet, but I’d be unwilling. Unwilling to go on living. If I had to choose, here are the ten websites I’d want to have with me on a desert/deserted island, in no particular order. CNN. […]

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HOWTO Let Google Blog Search Access Your Full RSS Feed

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If you have a popular blog that generates income through advertising, chances are you offer an RSS feed that contains only an exceprt of each entry. This is a good way to encourage readers to visit the blog to continue reading. In the similar interest of drawing traffic to the site, you should also want […]

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