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Sell books with Amazon Fulfillment Services, tutorial

Too many books? Valuable books? If you or your organization has a library of too many books, consider selling them using Amazon.com fulfillment services. Unlike using eBay or the Amazon ‘Marketplace,’ in exchange for various fees, Amazon handles everything: they pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for your products. No wasting staff time, or rushing to pack up a book and run to the post office every time someone places an order. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do it…

Using RedLaser app on the iPhone1) Scan the UPCs from your books. The UPC code is  the ISBN-13 code. There are many apps for this. I used the Red Laser app, available for iPhone, Android, or Windows phone. Make a “list” from within the app, then from within the list, start scanning with “multiscan” on. When you are done scanning a few dozen, or hundreds of books, email yourself the list. The CSV file will contain ISBN-13 numbers and the book titles.  (If your books don’t have barcodes, or you are not selling books, skip steps 1 and 2 and enter them manually in step 4.)

2) Make a spread sheet file, e.g., with Microsoft Excel. These are the column headings, and the values for each:

  • sku – this can be anything unique, I duplicated the ISBN here
  • product-id – the ISBN from Red Laser
  • product-id-type – this explains what the “id” is. Put a “2″ in this column, that means “ISBN”
  • price – put “1000″ (will explain later way)
  • item-condition – 2 (means “very good”)
  • quantity – put “1″
  • add-delete – skip this (leave blank)
  • will-ship-internationally – y
  • expedited-shipping – y
  • standard-plus – y
  • item-note – Add any note you want buyers to see
  • fulfillment-center-id – leave blank

This is all easier than it looks. See documentation about the row headings. You can “fill down” in Excel to repeat the same values. Export the file as a tab delimited file.

3) Make an account with Amazon to start “selling professionally”. This costs $39.99/month, one month free. Go to sign up. Once you have an account, you will log in to the “Seller Central.” They have a free plan, but you can’t do bulk uploads.

4) Upload your spreadsheet containing your listings to Amazon. Go to “Inventory” > “Upload products and inventory”. Under “Upload inventory files”, choose “Inventory loader file”, then click the “Upload Now” button. Wait for a few minutes, then look in the “Inventory” > “Manage Inventory” > “All My Inventory.” You should see all your books. They will all be priced at $1000.

5) Price your books to the market price. Select all your books, and choose “Actions” > “Match Low Price”, and then “Save”. Repeat as needed for additional pages of books. This will set your price to what customers will expect to pay. You can sort by price, and then delete any books which are too cheap to be worthwhile. Most serious books about arts and science should be valuable. Then select all your books, and choose “Actions” > “Change to Fulfilled by Amazon”. Now the system is waiting for you to mail them. You can always set any price you want.

6) Send your books to Amazon. From “Inventory” > “Manage FBA Inventory”, choose your books, and mark them for shipping. Print PDF product and shipment labels provided by Amazon. Pack your books into your own boxes. You will put one label inside each box, and tape one to the top.  Use Amazon’s discounted shipping or select your own carrier. (A box will cost $5-10 to ship with UPS).

7) Amazon stores your books. Amazon catalogs and stores your products in their ready-to-ship inventory. Amazon receives and scans your inventory. They record Item dimensions for storage. You monitor inventory using their integrated online tracking system.

8) Customers order your books. How soon this happens will depend on the popularity of your books. Customers search for and purchase your products directly on Amazon.com, or on other e-commerce channels such as your own site. Your listings on Amazon.com are eligible for Amazon Prime and Super Saver Shipping, and rank by price excluding shipping. You can expand to list and fulfill your products globally.

9) Amazon picks and packs your products. Fulfillment by Amazon picks your products from inventory and packages them. Amazon locates your products using their advanced web-to-warehouse, high-speed picking and sorting system. They manage your order volume – whether you get a few orders a day or a thousand. Customers can combine your orders with other products fulfilled by Amazon.

10) Amazon ships your products and provides support. Amazon ships products to customers from their network of fulfillment centers. Amazon ships customer orders using the method they choose. All outbound shipping costs are included in your service fees. Amazon provides tracking information for customers. For orders on Amazon.com, customers can contact us for customer service.

Then you get paid from Amazon. They can pay personal or business accounts.

This same process works for items other than books, e.g., T-Shirts. The basic process is the same, but steps 1 & 2 differ. Amazon has extensive help pages. If you can post an ad to CraigsList or eBay, you can figure this out too. Remember to cancel your monthly subscription once you sell everything. For anything that doesn’t sell, you can have Amazon dispose of it or mail it to you for a nominal fee.

Get volunteers involved! The work goes quick with a few extra hands, and once you mail off the boxes to Amazon, there’s nothing else to do.

Comments

  • Ariel Velázquez

    I’m already an amazon professional seller. If I want to become a FBA seller, how should I proceed? When sending books to fulfillment center do I pay for shipping charges? Do you list books and then send them to the fulfillment center or send them first and them list them. How does it work on a daily basis? I will appreciate any comments.

    • You do pay for shipping, but they will give you a label, so you pay via Amazon. You need to make an inventory of what you are going to send before you send. Amazon's docs are very good.

      • Ariel Velazquez

        Thanks for your answer, greatly appreciated. Can you expand a little bit more about when the listening happens? I list a book and the I send it to Amazon or vice versa? Tank you again, any further comments will be greatly appreciated.

  • ariel velazquez

    I guess my question is: while now I receive $3.99 from Amazon for mailing a book to a buyer, I will then pay postage to send the books to the fulfillment center but get no credit whatsoever?

  • If my book already has ISBN and bar code, do I need to pack each book separately or can I send the books in case lots?

    • I'm not sure what you mean by case lots, but you can pack many books in a box. I don't recall the limit, but it's approximately 25 pounds to the box.

  • Correct. Your shipping costs to Amazon are your responsibility.

  • You only need the pro account to upload the spreadsheet, after that you can convert to a personal acocunt. There will be a 99c per item charge but not the 39.99/month fee. Depends how many books you’re selling a month.

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