Monday, June 9, 2008

Setting up Online Selling with Amazon and eBay

Passive Family Income asked about my experiences of selling items on eBay and Amazon, so I thought I would write a little more about that.

Setting up an Amazon store is really easy. They also make it very easy to list items - especially books, where all you need is an ISBN#. I sold my first online item through Amazon and it happened within the first day or two, so at first I was very excited about it... but since then I haven't sold anything.

*** One of the things I am taking away from Amazon and is that from now on I will endeavor to never buy a new book at full price again! Both sites show you what other people are selling the book for so that you can price yours accordingly. Books that I paid $15 for and more are selling for $.50 or less - NEW. It is crazy! I am still going to go to the bookstore and relax and shop with a cup of coffee, but then when I find something I want I am just going to jot down the ISBN# and look it up on Amazon - even with shipping it is far, far cheaper than buying it at the store.***

ISBN# are on the back of every book - it is a universal media tracking system. So, to sell on Amazon or all you have to do is jot down the ISBN and the condition of the book. Then set up an account, plug in the ISBN and you are up and running.

Initially I was listing all my books with Amazon, thinking that because most people think of Amazon as only being businesses online (as opposed to "just folks") that I might be able to get more for my books on that on eBay. The other thing I like is that the listing doesn't expire - it just stays up until you remove it. Since things haven't really been moving though, today I listed my first book over at (which is a site for books and so forth, that is run by eBay.) My goal is to get all my books and DVDs on both websites, then I will be able to track which site has the better performance.


eBay takes a little more work. Once again, they start things pretty easy - they walk you though setting up an account and make it very easy to post your items online. For one thing, you need photos. I have an incredibly cheap, low-end low-tech camera. (But I got it for free, so I am not complaining.) To put one photo up of your item is free, after that they cost $.15. I believe in good photos, since from my own shopping experience I never bought anything off eBay that didn't have good photos. I think people want to see what they are are buying. If the item is pretty self explanatory, then I might just put one photo, but if I think it is a collector's item I will use more. Basically, the more I want people to spend - the more photos I put up.

Then I write a good description. I try to use words I think will search well, and try to use obvious descriptors. If there is a brand name involved I make sure that is in there too. I try to make it sound personable - but no huge fonts or crazy colors. I hate that stuff, just simple, clean, honest and to the point.

When you are a new seller you have to use PayPal - that keeps them safe in case you turn out to be a shyster. I like that anyway because then they handle all the transactions with bank accounts and whatnot. I already had a PayPal account so it all ties in. From PayPal you can also print shipping labels for UPS or USPS.

I find eBay addictive. You can see how many people are looking at your items, if anyone is watching it and you can see the bids go up. It is really fun. However, I am finding that it is better for me to put one or two items up at a time, that way the auctions don't end all at once. As soon as I see something is going to sell, I box it up and get it ready to go so it can be shipped out ASAP. I know from my own experience that fast shipping is a plus.

I don't know that I would ever want to be one of those professional online sellers - it is a lot of work. Although, I call it "passive income" - it isn't quite that easy. However, as a way to raise extra cash and clean out my apartment at the same time, it can't be beat.

I will keep updating on here how it goes - what works and what doesn't. If there is something you want to know about how it all works that I didn't mention - shoot me an email or ask a question in the comments section. I'll be happy to answer it!

EDIT: Looking for more information on online book selling? I am compiling all my articles about my experiences in one place. Check them out at The Online Bookseller.

1 comment:

passivefamilyincome said...

Dawn - Thanks for the follow up to my questions. I look forward to reading your updates on the matter.