eBay and other internet auction services offer a good method for selling books you no longer need. Because of eBay’s national and international popularity, it is much more likely that an interested customer will find your books, in comparison to newspaper classifieds, yard sales, or other selling methods which only reach local buyers. Read on for tips on listing, promoting, and shipping books on eBay…
LISTING: When listing books on eBay, be sure to enter the ISBN number if there is one; this will make it easier for buyers to find your books when searching, and often provides a stock description and image to be used in the auction listing. However, you may want to change the pre-filled title to something people are more likely to search for; sometimes the pre-filled titles are cut off by the title length limit, leaving a useless piece of a word at the end in space which could be better utilized. If they apply, consider adding such abbreviations as “NR” (No Reserve), “FE” (First Edition), or “NOS” (New Old Stock) if there is any extra space. Try to list the books at a time (such as 10PM EST) when the most people are likely to be using eBay in your time zone and adjacent time zones, so that the auction will end at this time; sometimes most of the bids in an auction come in the last few hours or minutes.
PROMOTING: Selling books on eBay is often possible without any additional promotion, especially if they are desirable or in short supply. However, any extra promotion will give them a greater chance of being sold and possibly increase the selling price. One free way to promote books is to visit eBay’s “Want It Now” section (pages.ebay.com/wantitnow/) and look to see if anyone has posted a message asking to purchase one or more of the books you are selling; this is most likely for rare books which aren’t frequently listed. eBay also offers paid promotion options, such as gallery images (shows a small image of the item next to the listing in search results; this isn’t as important for books, people aren’t interested in their appearance as much as other items), captions (smaller size line of additional text under the listing’s title), and featured items (makes the listing appear at the top of relevant search results).
SHIPPING: The U.S. Postal Service’s Media Mail option is usually the least expensive way to ship one or more books to customers. According to their website (usps.com), Media Mail takes about 3-7 days and costs the same regardless of destination (within the United States); to send a five-pound book from the east to west coast only costs about $3.50. For small books, USPS First Class Mail is sometimes about as expensive (or only slightly more), and faster. It is good to offer Priority Mail, First Class Mail, or another fast option to customers at extra cost; sometimes buyers need to receive a book within a short period of time, especially right before the beginning of a college semester. Insurance and tracking should be offered when selling a book valued at over $20 and required for very expensive books.
Following the above-mentioned tips should help improve your success in selling books on eBay without much difficulty.