How to Make Money Online Selling Books – Even Without Any Books of Your Own…

How to Make Money Online Selling Books

Have you got a Bookcase full of Books, you’ve never read? Want to know how to make money online selling books? Then we can definitely help you out, but we also have a way you can keep on making money online selling books even if you run out of books, there is a way you can sell other people’s books and make money.  It is definitely possible, and it uses the same business model that Amazon used to get started…

We all can look at the bookcase in our houses and realise the number of books that we have and don’t necessarily have any intention of reading them and clearing them out could earn you some money.  There are a number of options available to us to make money whether that be a car boot or online through eBay.

How to Make Money Selling Books

What we have come up with is a list of the best options available to you online, plus we have another option that utilises the same business model that Amazon used when it first got started and still uses today to be able to make money from selling books even when you don’t have any of your own books left to sell.

The Usual Suspects

There are the usual suspects when it comes to selling anything you have lying around at home clogging up space.  Here we are going to list the usual suspects, before we get into a much better option for making money online from selling books that aren’t even yours…


Selling Books on eBay

Whenever we start thinking about selling stuff online, eBay will normally come to mind.  However, it isn’t necessarily as easy to sell through eBay these days as a new member can only sell 10 items a month and these will come with fees which are typically 10%.  That is a huge chunk of money when it comes to selling second-hand books.

The only saving grace is that if you only sell 8 items in a month, you could go and relist an alternative 2 books.

As you continually sell items, you can always apply for a business account and increase the number of items you ship.

We use eBay for our wedding stationary items and eBay is relatively easy to use with a business account.

Having said that, unless you are producing your own books and can do the work to ensure the fees are covered by your sales price.  eBay does not give you a good return for selling used items.

You might have a value in mind for what you want, but eBay tends to have differing views and then there is making sure you cover the shipping costs in the price you charge.

I hadn’t used my selling account on eBay for a while and thought about getting rid of some old books.  The suggested price on eBay was 99p, with a recommended postage price of £3.  But it cost me nearly £4 to ship them to the buyer.  So, I only made 49p.

Hardly seems worth it, does it?

Of course, there are a few better options in the usual suspects for getting better value for your books.  The next couple of options are scouting sites.

BookScouter or BookFinder

You could try getting more for your books from websites like BookScouter or BookFinder.  When you visit one of their websites, you can type in the barcode number or ISBN and then they will give you a quote for your book.

You can then compare this against different bookstores through their site and accept the figure you want.  BookScouter offers up to 42 vendors for you to compare.

The added advantage is that you do not need to pay shipping, you will receive a free shipping label to post your book to the vendor.

Sell Your Books on Amazon

Books available on Amazon

Another option to you is by selling your books on Amazon.  Makes sense as Amazon launched as an online bookstore in the first place.  Although this would be an expensive option if you are just looking at selling your used books.  That is because it has a monthly fee of £25 or $40.  They do offer a free month, so you could always take advantage of this and just remember to end your subscription before they take the money from your account.

This is an option if you are going to be looking into buying and selling a decent number of books.  Amazon is the largest online marketplace and you could end up with a good return.  But you will need to be shipping a decent amount to make this work, although if you keep on reading our post.  There is also a way you could promote books on amazon, make some money and not need to pay for an Amazon selling account.  We will tell you more later on.

Music Magpie

Music Magpie isn’t just restricted to books, you could sell some of your old CDs, DVDs, Games and any electronic devices you have lying around.  They will also pay you the same day that they receive the goods.  They guarantee it, as they could cause a lot of emotion if it took too long to receive your funds.

Another great option they have is a free courier service that will collect it from your house.  No need to go and drop it off at your local parcel shop.

Their smartphone app makes it really easy for you to scan the barcodes and get a quote there and then.

We have two more of the usual options online, before we tell you about another way to make money online with selling books.


This is restricted to the UK, US, Canada & Germany and they work in a similar way to BookFinder & BookScouter.

The main difference is the vendors they work with.  Type in the barcode number or ISBN and get a selection of prices for you to browse and choose which is right for you.

They also send you a free shipping label and offer payments through PayPal which is a great option.

This is one for anyone who is stuck with a bunch of textbooks from University or College and want to sell them to others who are looking for a deal on books for their own college courses.

It is exclusively for textbooks to do with courses and offer a simple way of selling them off.

You will need to consider the condition that your textbooks are in, as the value you are offered is based on a good condition copy.  So, if there is a bit of damage to the spine, etc. you might see the money decrease.

Now, for the Other Way to Make Money from Selling Books

Unless you have an endless supply of books or are looking at getting into drop shipping, etc.  Selling your own books will only get your so far.  Once I sold the 20 books that I had on the bookshelf, that was it. Or is it?

There is actually business model where you could sell an endless supply of books without actually having any of your own stock.  No need to buy some to try and make a mark-up when you are selling them and like I said earlier, it uses the same business model that Amazon used when it first launched and still uses today for its marketing.

The method I am talking about is affiliate marketing.  If you have never heard of it or have been worried it is a scam, let me tell you that it is one of the most exciting and best methods to making money online.

How to Sell Books Online with Affiliate Marketing

How Amazon Got Started with Affiliate Marketing

When Amazon got started, they were a bookstore and didn’t have a huge budget for marketing.  How were they going to encourage people to buy their books, if they couldn’t get their brand in front of an audience?  Well, they started a referral program or affiliate program.  If any of their users could introduce a new buyer, they would receive a commission.  This commission was a percentage of the sale price of the book.  The more people they introduced, the more commissions they would receive.

Fast forward to today and they use the same marketing system.  It is called Amazon Associates and you can earn commissions for referring people to books that you have recommended.

It could work for literally anything that Amazon sells, and that is a lot of items and a lot of books

Using Affiliate Marketing to promote books is a much simpler model to follow to be able to promote any of the books that are currently available on Amazon.  You can also expand into other affiliate programs depending on the types of books you are wanting to promote.

You will need to target a specific audience in a specific niche to be able to make it work.  You couldn’t just write about any book and expect to be able to make a sale as it needs to be relevant to your target audience.

But I could actually include some book reviews on this website, as long as they were relevant to my target audience.

Let me show you, As part of my research for this business I have bought a couple of books that have been a fantastic help to me.

The one is a blog planner called “Create Blog & Editorial Planner“.  It is a great workbook for anyone starting a blog and wanting to plan their way for a year.  It was definitely worth the money.

The second was “How to Write Copy That Sells“.  This has definitely helped me with writing headlines and effective Call to Actions.  Again a worhty investment.

I could write book reviews on these two, as they are relevant to the audience I am targeting and it would hopefully make sense to them and include affiliate links.

Anyone who reads those reviews could go off to Amazon and buy themselves a copy and I would earn a commission.

But if I started writing reviews of College textbooks, then that would not be very relevant to my target audience and would probably harm my brand.  So, there is a little research you will need to do to identify your target audience and the right niche for that audience.

But you could definitely utilise Affiliate Marketing to promote books that interest you and you could share your thoughts online and make some money whilst doing it.


The point I am trying to make is there is a clear difference between wanting to sell a few books to clear up your bookshelf or after leaving University and starting an online business using affiliate marketing.  But if you are really interested in reading books, you could make money by writing product reviews about those books to help others make a decision as to whether that book would suit them and make some money off them.

You could still sell that book on eBay after you have finished about them.  But that is only one copy, you could use affiliate marketing and sell thousands of that one book you have read and earn recurring commissions for years to come.

There is also the huge market in audiobooks and digital books.  Which could lead to digital reader devices.  Either way, affiliate marketing is a fantastic way to make money online and use your hobby or interest to make money and definitely gives you a better prospect that buying and selling books which comes with its own headaches.

If you want to know more about affiliate marketing, how it works or how to learn affiliate marketing.  We have a number of guides on this website.  Our top recommended training platform that will help you step-by-step through every step to getting started is Wealthy Affiliate.  They offer a free starter membership, but we recommend you read our review and learn a little more about affiliate marketing first.

Thanks for reading our guide, if you have any questions about selling books online or affiliate marketing, then please write them in the comments below.  We love helping people online and if we can help you in anyway, don’t be afraid to ask.

14 thoughts on “How to Make Money Online Selling Books – Even Without Any Books of Your Own…”

  1. These are some cool and unique ways to sell books. I’m a fan of doing it via affiliate marketing, but using AbeBooks or BookFinder is a great idea! Selling books is still big business and I personally still think there is plenty of room for people to do well in that niche.

    • Hey Nate,

      thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments.  Books are still huge business and hugely popular.  Done correctly, this is a great niche to target.


  2. Well this was eye-opening!!

    Who would have known this was possible. Thanks so much for sharing this information about how to make money online selling eBooks. 

    I love the angle you’ve taken with affiliate marketing too.

    Quick question… with podcasts and audiobooks becoming more and more popular do you think this is a long term strategy?

    • Hey Mike,

      thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments.  Personally I love the feel of a book and there are still plenty of people who feel the same. 

      But inevitably it might all go digital, but affiliate marketing still works with digital stuff like podcasts and audiobooks, so you could still be earning money from promoting those.  SO, yes it is long-term.  Books are still being published and people are still buying books, I think it will take a long time for books to disappear…


  3. Ah,this is very good honestly. You see, I have just started an affiliate marketing business but it didn’t occur to me that I could actually make money via selling books I don’t own. It’s great to know that they offer affiliate programmes with books. I am a great lover of books so it’ll be really easy for everything to work out for me. Thank you so much for the idea. It’s a very good one!

    • Hey Henderson,

      thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments.  I think it is much better if you choose something that you love, because you will find it much easier to stay motivated about. If you love books, it could be a great idea for you to use.

      All the best


  4. Hello, you have given a broad range of places that one could sell a couple of books online and has also outlined the various advantages and disadvantages. EBay and Amazon are definitely the goto site for me since I can always get a wider audience easily and can get myself more pay through amazon prime. Selling   books is great to make money but much more beneficial if it is done as an affiliate marketer that would not require owning a book before earning from the book sales.

    • Hey Ramos,

      thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments.  eBay & Amazon are good, but you might not necessarily get the return you want.  That is why we listed the others too, as they are specialists you might find a better deal.



  5. Selling book as an affiliate marketer is actually a much more better option and all of these options you have listed offer affiliate programs too, I guess.  Since as an affiliate, you don’t need to own the books, it is much more cost effective and can provide passive income over a long period of time. I am an affiliate on Amazon and I promote books to others to which I earn commission. Great post. By the way, I also heard of book selling arbitrage on Amazon, have you heard about that too? I would love to read your suggestions on that

    • Hi Roland,

      thanks for checking out our blog and for offering some comments.  I had not actually heard of book selling arbitrage, but after a quick look it definitely looks like a good deal if you can find the right places to find cheap books to be able to sell to Amazon.  Looks like something someone could utilise well into a booking selling business.

      Will definitely read more to add more detail to this post.  thanks


  6. Selling few books can give you the satisfaction of decluttering and earning meager amount. I am interested in trying to sell it online through various websites that you introduced because I have a lot in the boxes! Here in our country, you can also try to sell it in online shopping platforms as long as you have an account. It’s quite similar to Amazon’s – membership is free and buyer has to shoulder shipping expense. 

    Selling books through affiliate marketing is a different level. It not only helps promote budding story or novel writers but also help the audience to have a clearer overview of the content. In some readers, a synopsis isn’t enough to decide whether they should purchase the book or not. With the help of an affiliate’s more profound introduction of characters and story flow, it definitely gives clearer view to potential buyers. 

    Thank you, John for all the options you presented. It’s a big help for people out there to save time and effort in selling books through online platforms. Hope to read more of this type of articles from you!

    • Hey Maureen,

      thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments.  Glad you found our post useful, we do try our hardest to help as many people as we can.

      All the best


  7. There are two avenues where we could sell books, One is e-bay and Amazon. One is we can sell books of our own authorship and selling not yours. There is a limitation in each account up to 10 books but we can make multiple accounts to sell more. Selling books on any genre can be done through Amazon. The idea of earning has to be tempered with the percentage commission that would be taken by the two sites. It is a piece of good information to get two options on where to sell books with two different procedures. Thank you. The thing is how we go through selling our own authorship?

    • Hey Florentino,

      thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments.  If you are creating your own books, you could still use eBay or Amazon to sell them and that would bring its own rewards, but you would pay fees.

      The other option you have is to create your own website and sell them direct from that website.  here is a guide I put together on how to build a website.



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