Despite our rapid growth in technology and digital products, physical books remain an essential staple of everyday life between academic and recreational reading. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that the used book market rakes in over 24 billion US dollars annually, and that number is expected to rise.
This is terrific news for resellers who are looking for a new niche market to sell in. Used books can be found relatively cheap and are easy to list on multiple marketplaces using Vendoo. Many full-time book resellers use Amazon, but when you're just starting out, you can list your books on eBay, Mercari, or one of the latest book reselling apps, PangoBooks.
In this article, you'll read about people who sold books professionally and as a hobby. No matter how you choose to sell books, there is money to be made. Like any reselling niche, the secret is all about buying low and selling high. If you can do that consistently, you'll make money in no time.
What Is PangoBooks?
PangoBooks was founded in 2021, making it one of the newest reselling platforms in the industry. Now everyone can have their own small bookstore online. It's already setting itself apart by adding social selling features such as favoriting or following shops and including discussion threads for book lovers.
PangoBooks is a great place to buy or sell inexpensive books or find rare copies of books you love and collect. There's something for every type of book lover, from students to beach readers and everyone in between.
There is a website and an app so you can use PangoBooks in your office and on the go. The app is very well structured, making the listing process very smooth. It also sorts books using use-created hashtags to help sort through the multitude of available titles.
Signing Up For A PangoBooks Account
You can create your PangoBooks account on the website or download and install the app on your tablet or smartphone. You'll select a username that will also be the name of your store. Don't worry; you can change your username later in the profile section if you wish.
Once you create your free account, you'll be able to add a short bio to your profile. The bio section is a great place to introduce yourself, discuss the types of books you plan to sell, and highlight a sale or store policy. Remember that you want to attract readers who will follow your store because followers get notifications when you add new inventory and host sales.
Shopping For Books On The PangoBooks App
Before diving into selling on a new platform, it's best to try out using it as a shopper. Knowing how shopping works from a buyer's perspective will help you craft the best listings.
Not only can shoppers look for books by title or author name, but they can also search by genre or trendy book hashtags. Learning these hashtags will help you draft listings later, so pay close attention to the tags used by fans of the type of books you plan to sell.
Once you find a book you are interested in, you "like" the book by tapping on the heart above the title, or you can add it to your cart if you want to buy it now. A great feature of PangoBooks allows sellers to offer a free shipping threshold. "Spend $20 in this store to unlock free shipping." Check the profile of the person you're buying a book from; if they offer free shipping, you should check out their store to see if you want a few more books.
To pay for your purchase, you can use a credit or debit card, ApplePay, Google Pay, AfterPay, or Klarna. Once your book arrives in the mail, you'll also be able to rate the seller. You can follow your favorite booksellers and be notified of future listings and sales.
Selling Books On The PangoBooks App
Professionally published books all have one thing in common, a bar code that contains their ISBN number. This makes it incredibly easy to list books because the description is done for you. The ISBN will fill in details such as the title, author, and book description. All you will need to enter is a cover photo, condition, and price.
You can snap your cover photo using the camera function in the app itself or shoot and edit a photo and choose it from your photo library when listing. Once you have your cover photo ready, you scan the barcode on the book. One additional thing you will add to make your book more searchable is hashtags. Some hashtags will be provided for you to choose from, but you can also enter more of your own.
Browse the app to get a sense of how people present their cover photos. You can take a clear shot of your book and remove the background to create a crisp sales image or decorate a book-lover backdrop such as a lovely bookshelf or a cozy desk shot with a mug or other extras.
Make sure to set your free shipping threshold to encourage bulk buys. If sales are slow, you can also offer a discount to put your bookstore on sale. There is no sharing or bumping listings required on PangoBooks. It may benefit you to be active on the app, following users and starting or adding to discussion threads. You can also periodically relist older listings on PangoBooks to give them a boost.
How To Ship Books You Sell With PangoBooks
You'll enjoy the lowest shipping prices available when selling books by using "media mail." Media mail is a special rate offered by the US postal system for educational materials, including books, sound recordings, CDs, and DVDs. Your media mail package can be up to 70 lbs, but you'll mostly find yourself sending packages of up to 4 or 5 lbs at the most.
Media Mail Shipping Rates:
The rates are low, but it does come with a slower delivery time, and you cannot use the free USPS priority shipping materials. So you'll need to come up with your own shipping supplies for these sales.
You can reuse boxes or envelopes you've already received in the mail or purchase a bubble mailer or small box from your local office store or post office. Most importantly, make sure the package isn't too large for the order, or the contents will shift around during transit which could damage the books. Bubble mailers work great for most books and small bundles.
Some booksellers will include stickers or bookmarks with their orders. This is not a requirement but a cute extra for the buyer. Do not include food or anything with a liquid or sticky substance that could ruin the books as a free gift. A business card encouraging them to come back or highlighting other places you sell can also be a nice touch.
The shipping label will come to you via email. You can print the shipping label on plain paper or with a label printer. Simply attach the shipping label to the package and drop it in the mail. The package will be trackable using the website or app, and you'll get a notification when the books have been delivered to your buyer.
What Fees Do Sellers Pay On PangoBooks?
PangoBooks charges 20% of each book sale, and their minimum fee is $0.40. While resellers hate anything that cuts into their profits, keep in mind that platform fees cover the cost of building and maintaining the website, app, customer service, updates and new features, insurance, and marketing to get traffic to your listings. It's safe to say that these platforms earn their fees, and it would be challenging to build your own platform and very expensive to bring the same traffic to it.
How Much Money Can You Make Selling Used Books?
The profit earned on an average (not first-edition or otherwise unique text) is around $4 after fees. So you would have to sell a lot of books to make a decent profit on PangoBook alone. However, because books are easy to source, list, and store, it is certainly possible to earn a decent chunk of change. The real magic will be using Vendoo to crosspost these books to platforms like Mercari and eBay. If you really want to up your bookselling game, you can also open an Amazon seller account. Let's take a look at what a few booksellers out there are earning.
You might also like: 10 Great Marketplaces Every Reseller Should Consider
My Personal PangoBooks Journey
I started on PangoBooks as a buyer. I wanted a way to buy low-cost books for my ever-growing TBR ("to be read") pile. I quickly saw how easy it would be to list my own books to build up a little spending cash on the app. I enjoy trying out authors and titles that aren't as well known with low risk due to the deals I find.
Once I saw how easy it was to list books, I could see the potential of the app and how selling books, in general, could be a great addition to my reseller income. If nothing else, I could earn a few bucks from my old books and use that money to invest in new favorites.
To date, I have listed 20 books and made three sales. I've earned an award for super fast shipping and perfect reviews. You can take a look at my little PangoBooks shop here. My next step will be to add my books to eBay and Mercari using Vendoo to track my inventory, crosslist, and mark them as sold. I can even mark books as sold on PangoBooks through Vendoo using the "sold on another platform" feature. This will ensure that my inventory is accurately tracked.
How This Person Makes Thousands Selling Used Books Online
Charlie Williams sold $9,000 worth of used books in one month, clearing around $4,000 in profit. Keep in mind he sources books several hours a day, 4-5 days a week, to accomplish this. He sourced used books at thrift stores, yard sales, and local charity shops to get started and now has books coming to him from all kinds of sources. You can read his full interview at Side Hustle Nation. With a toddler at home and another child on the way, Charlie was searching for an easy way to bring home a little extra cash. That's really all the inspiration you need to launch a successful side hustle or new income stream.
Charlie says the best things about flipping books are that they are widely accessible, and it's easy to research their resale value. One of his secrets is buying used textbooks directly from students at the end of a semester to resell online. Textbooks are especially lucrative, but you need to be aware of what books are still being used in today's classrooms. However, even older textbooks can still make a pretty good profit sometimes because they quickly go out of print once professors stop using them to teach.
Whether you sell books on Amazon or one of the many reseller platforms, you can use an app called Scout IQ or Book Scouter to scan books and pull up their resale value and popularity. This data can help you make fast, intelligent sourcing decisions when shopping. Simply scan the bar codes on every book you find.
This interview shows you the type of profit available in used book selling if you have the drive for it. Most successful book resellers are high-volume sellers or rare book dealers.
This YouTuber Sells Books From Her Personal Collection On PangoBooks
YouTuber Tatyana Vogt made a great video about her experience selling books from her own bookshelf on PangoBooks. It's crucial to research stories from both professional and hobby sellers to get a complete picture of what can be accomplished by selling used books.
Tatyana has an impressive number of books she's already read but doesn't plan to keep. It's expensive to buy so many books and donate them after reading, so she decided to try her hand at reselling them.
First, she researched selling books on Amazon. She quickly learned that the Amazon program had too many fees for a low-volume bookseller, so she turned to PangoBooks instead. On the platform, she was able to list books quickly and started making sales right away. In her video, she shows the backdrop she uses to take photos and does a great job showing the shipping process she uses as well. While her book sales as a hobbyist won't pay her rent, the dollars add up, and she can use them to buy more books!
What Books Have The Best Resell Value?
When it comes to flipping books, not all titles are created equal. Most recent fiction paperback books will sell for between $3-$6. If you have a large volume or inventory sourced insanely cheap or for free, that might work for you. If you don't have that type of inventory access, you'll want to pay attention to books that sell for a bit higher profit.
Here are some books to keep an eye out for:
Educational books (such as textbooks)
Non-fiction will often sell for a little more
Craft books or Table books
Rare or out-of-print books
Tips For Sourcing Books Cheaply
Americans read a lot of books, so you'll never run out of books to source! The best part is many people are willing to donate or part with their used books for pennies. Here are some ways to get books to resell for cheap or even for free.
Sourcing cheap books:
Yard Sales / Garage Sales
Church or community sales
When paying for books you plan to resell, it's important to get the lowest price possible. When shopping at thrift stores, pay attention to the days when books are on sale. Make deals for bundles of books at yard sales where people will likely want as many books sold that day as possible. You can also find great bundle deals on local selling apps like Facebook Marketplaces, OfferUp, and others.
Sourcing books for free:
- Ask family and friends to donate their old books
- Make a post on Facebook or Nextdoor to your community asking for used books
Don't let feeling uncomfortable keep you from asking for free books. Many people who are overwhelmed by the number of books they have in their homes would be more than happy to donate them (or sell them super cheap) to have them gone. Offer to pick the books up, saving them a trip to donate them, and assure them that any you can't sell will be donated rather than thrown in the trash.
Sample Message To Request Free Books:
"Hello! I run a small business to help supplement my income by reselling used books. If you have books you no longer need and wish to give away, I can help make that process easier by picking the books up from your front porch. I will sort the books based on condition and popularity and sell what I can. I will donate any books I cannot sell to charity on your behalf. Please message me for more details. Thank you!"
Pro tip: The above message also works great for asking for clothing, furniture, or just about anything else you want to resell.
5 Tips To Help You Sell More Books Online
We've already learned that sourcing and listing books are easy tasks. The real skill comes in actually getting these books sold. If you aren't careful, you can quickly turn into a book storage facility rather than a book reseller. Here are some tips to help you sell used books faster.
Make sure to research book trends and popular titles. Know how much your books are selling for before you buy them. It's also good to get a sense of how quickly these titles are selling so you'll know how long you'll have to hold on to them on average.
If your books aren't moving, use platform tools to hold sales, create bundle deals, or offer free or reduced shipping to motivate buyers.
Use social media to advertise your online shops and tell your audience when you have new inventory or sales.
Bundle books together in lots for faster sales.
Please don't sleep on old magazines; they can be pretty profitable and take up less space than books.
Use media mail and offer free shipping if possible when a book isn't selling.
Crosslist your books to multiple platforms.
How To Use Vendoo To Crosslist And Manage Your Used Book Inventory
Once you put time, effort, and money into acquiring books to resell online, you want to get as many eyes on your listings as possible. The best way to do that is by listing on more than one platform using inventory management and crosslisting software from Vendoo.
Vendoo can help you keep track of the inventory you have on hand and let you take the work you did once and multiply that onto other platforms with just a few clicks.
Here are the ways Vendoo will help you make money selling books:
Keep track of current and sold inventory
List to multiple platforms (eBay, Mercari, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, and Shopify are all great for selling books)
Use custom tags or notes to keep track of other places you have your book listed (such as PangoBooks!)
Mark books as sold (and delist them from Vendoo-supported platforms automatically)
Use the "sold on another platform" feature to track sales on PangoBooks
Get analytics that shows you where you are selling the most books
Quickly relist stale inventory
Have you signed up for PangoBooks yet? Make your free account and start selling books today, then use Vendoo to list that same inventory in multiple marketplaces!