Do you love books? Do you enjoy the thrill of the hunt? If so, then you're probably a good candidate for selling books online.

Used books are for sale just about everywhere. Among the places you'll find them are:

  • garage sales
  • yard sales
  • estate sales
  • thrift stores
  • used books stores
  • library sales

Your job is to figure out what will sell well online and then scout for those books at locations like the ones listed above. Once you've done that you can list them for sale at places like Amazon and eBay

What kind of books sell well online?

Surprisingly, bestselling fiction is not what you want to look for. In fact, bestsellers of any kind are probably best to avoid because there are too many copies in circulation and, therefore, they won't bring good prices.

Instead, focus on obsure, nonfiction books that you have an interest in or know something about. Examples include:

  • Text books
  • Cookbooks
  • Business books
  • Hobby books

In many cases, the more specific or niche that the topic is, the better. That makes the book harder to find and, therefore, worth more online. Also, you can look for rare and collectible books in just about any genre, but you may have quite a bit of competition from other book collectors and sellers.

Where should you sell books online?

Amazon and eBay are the two kings when it comes to selling books online.

Selling book on eBay, in a nutshell: Advantages of selling on eBay are that you can customize your listing and really capitalize on the unique qualities of your book. You can also list similar books in sets or lots, which can sometimes be a selling advantage. Finally you can set your shipping price for whatever you like. That means you can offer free shipping to attract buyers or you can bump up the shipping charges to build in a little more profit for you. The downside of eBay is that all of this customization takes time so listing there is not as simple of a process as it is at other place.

Selling books on Amazon, in a nutshell: Amazon, on the other hand, doesn't allow you to customize your listings much beyond the comment you can add to the description. Shipping prices are also set for you. What this means, however, is that listing things at Amazon is lightening fast. You can also ship all your books to them at once and have them ship them out to customers when they sell. So if you'd really like to use most of your time scouting books, Amazon is a good solution.

A place to sell books that you may not have thought of: If you're selling vintage books, a place you may not have thought about to sell them at is This site allows you to list and sell anything vintage, including books. Etsy doesn't get the traffic that the other guys do, but fees are also lower so it's something to look into.

How much money can you make selling books on the internet?

This is what most people want to know. Like most things, it will vary a lot depending on your expertise and the amount of time you put in. I've merely dabbled in selling books online and my best sell to date was a book I bought at an estate sale for $1 and sold for $167 on eBay. Here are some numbers from people who are making online bookselling a business:

Christine Miller says in her book How to Sell Books on Amazon: The Stay-at-Home Mom's Secret Guide to Selling Used Books on Amazon that she started out making $200 - $250 per week and quickly progressed to profiting $2100 per month. Steve Weber, author of The Home-Based Bookstore: Start Your Own Business Selling Used Books on Amazon, eBay or Your Own Web Site, started selling books online as a hobby and two months later quit his job to sell full-time.

So you can see from these examples that it's definitely possible to make a nice hobby income, a full-time income, or anything in between by selling books online.