Books That Are Better for eBay than Amazon

The general principle for flipping books is pretty easy. Check your book values on Amazon and if you can make a decent profit from the picking, do just that thing. But there are exceptions to the Books-Get-Listed-On-Amazon rule. Occasionally, some books are better suited for eBay.

In general, eBay gives you a greater sales pitch opportunity for you items. With Amazon, you get to list condition and maybe add a sentence or two to describe the defects. Not much chance to make your item stand out. But with eBay, you can put up all the photos you want, throw down all kinds of related keywords, and smooth talk your way into a big sale. In exchange for this freedom to add flair, the process to get an item listed on eBay with all those enticements can take a significant amount of time. So what books are worthy of the time that it takes?

Antique and rare books: Some folks do quite well by selling there antique, collectible, rare, or autographed books on Amazon. For me, on the very rare occasion that I do I come up on an early edition or a signed copy of a popular book, I like the advantages that come with the auction format. Some quality photos of those classic illustrations or embossed cover can go a long way. A quality listing will stand out and perhaps net you a few extra impulse bids or purchases.

Books that are restricted by Amazon: Some books and movies are just straight-up blocked on Amazon, particularly if you aren't paying the $40 monthly charge to have a Pro-Merchant account. This happen most often with DVDs, and will happen even more in the future. And then there are all kinds of hurdles to selling collectible books or toys during the holidays and on and on. When I hit against this wall, I just slide those bad boys over to eBay and count my money. Those fees could have been yours, Amazon.

Weirdo art books and editions that aren't even on Amazon: Despite having over 20 million books listed on Amazon, I regularly find myself with an opportunity to pick some obscure art title or self-published monogram or zine that isn't in their database. Now, an obscure book is obscure all over, so don't expect eBay to perform miracles... but somehow these things have a way of finding their way to the right person when listed with proper connective keywords.

Lots of books on a similar subject: See the picture of those old Qabalah hardcovers up there. Two of them are available on Amazon for less then $7 each, and one of them isn't even on Amazon at all. Not really worth a pick. But the whole is worth more than the sum of the parts (or whatever that idiom is). Put them together with some tasty photos, some choice words in the subject line, and some mystical wording on Qabalah that I found with a quick online search, and someone was putting over $60 into my Paypal by the end of the week.
There is a really good blog post about selling themed lots of throwaway books on eBay over at FBA Mastery. Do not interpret my posting of this link as an endorsement for all those overpriced eBooks promoted on that site, however.

Amazon is still my go-to spot for selling books and movies. But it is not a bad idea to keep these eBay-book picking thoughts simmering on the back burner when your out there picking. Have a good time and feel free to let me know any thoughts you might have on books that belong on eBay.


  1. Rereading this post. I just wanted to chime in about a recent garbage score I had recently. I picked up a couple hundred Harlequin romance books. Probably over 100 of these were by two different authors,so I sold them in three big lots on EBay. Made around 150.00 and they sold fast!!! Definitely an interesting little niche. Especially if gotten very cheaply or free.

    1. Nice. I never would think to try to flip romance novels.