Last Updated on September 22, 2023
What are the most profitable books to sell on Amazon? We’re sure the reason you’re here is because you want to ‘one-up’ the competition in terms of book sales on Amazon.
Now, we’re going to be blunt and tell you- This article is different from those low-quality pieces written by inexperienced writers who simply make a list of the top 20 or something “bestselling” books on Amazon or state the obvious fact that textbooks can be valuable. Our article is the result of years of combined experience in selling books on Amazon.
So what are the most profitable books to sell on Amazon? Here’s a quick answer- The most profitable books to sell on Amazon are books that hold their value and sell for the biggest profits.
But that’s not all. We’re going to tell you to hold on, get a pen, notepad, and read on to get all the info you need to know about the most profitable books to sell on Amazon.
Most profitable books (Categories) to sell on Amazon
This list comprises books that are always worth scanning, can excite any bookseller, and have a high chance of being resold for profit. Here they are, presented in no particular order:
Books without Competing FBA Offers
Although not a specific genre, books without other FBA offers should not be overlooked. Some Amazon buyers are willing to pay a premium for Prime shipping. Watch out – some buyers will try to get free shipping on Amazon. If there are no other FBA offers for a book, you can set your FBA price significantly higher than merchant-fulfilled offers and still make a sale. Setting your prices around 2x or 3x higher than merchant-fulfilled is recommended, depending on the existing offers.
Book sets may have a higher cost than individual books, but they are still worth examining. Buyers often prefer to purchase the entire set at once, especially if it comes in a slipcase.
University Press Books
Now, let’s talk about university press books, which are particularly interesting and one of the most profitable books to sell on Amazon. Whenever you come across a book published by a university press, there’s a good chance it holds value. University presses are publishing arms of various colleges, focusing on niche subjects that larger publishers may overlook. You may have unknowingly sold many university press books before.
University Press titles typically have the following characteristics:
- High value
- Mostly non-fiction
- Medium-to-poor sales rank
- High profitability
- Niche subject matter
Interestingly, many Amazon sellers fail to recognize university press books as a profitable category on their own.
One of the most profitable discoveries is the potential of biographies. Especially older biographies without barcodes or ISBN numbers have proven to be particularly lucrative. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- Older books are generally rare because they’re out of print, and many have been lost or destroyed over the years.
- Unlike some other non-fiction genres where older books can become outdated, biographies remain relevant and accurate indefinitely. This means that old biographies tend to be worth more money than old science books.
There’s great joy in finding a stack of manga books. Not because of any particular fondness for Japanese culture, but because manga books often come in complete sets.
If you find one manga book, chances are you’ll find the rest of the most profitable books to sell on Amazon in the series. Manga series are essentially one comprehensive story, and readers usually prefer to have the complete set. That’s why they often buy and donate all the books at once.
Excitement comes into play when a manga series holds significant value. For instance, if a series has 15 books, each worth $30, you can quickly acquire $450 worth of books.
So, if you come across a sale or store with a manga section, make sure you explore it early on.
Recent editions of fiction classics + fiction compilations
Let’s combine two subcategories here, as, overall, fiction tends to be less profitable. However, within the broad category of fiction, these two subcategories often have value on Amazon.
- Recent editions of the classics. The classic literature canon includes numerous titles. Whenever you come across a relatively new edition published in the past 7 years or so, it’s worth getting excited about. Recent editions of classic fiction titles usually hold value.
- Fiction compilations. Typically, compilations may not be appealing, but when it comes to fiction, they can be different. When you find a book that brings together the works of a well-known author, it often translates into profit. It’s a rare subcategory within fiction that tends to have value.
New condition books
It’s astonishing how much money Amazon sellers leave behind by considering any book they find in a second-hand environment as “used.” The value gap between a used copy and a new copy of a book can be significant.
Interestingly, statistics indicate that only 10% of books are read past the first chapter, meaning that the majority of books remain untouched. Although it’s uncommon for a book to remain in new condition after being in a second-hand environment, many books still end up in excellent condition.
Remember, the condition of a book refers to its appearance, not the number of previous owners.
When searching for books, make sure you note any in new condition. Pay close attention to the “new” column on your scanning app, as this is where you can find potentially valuable books.
Everyone knows the ‘textbook’ category contains a high number of valuable books to sell on Amazon.
While your scanner app will guide you in selecting the right textbooks to purchase, there are also physical signs that indicate a textbook’s value.
Look out for the following indicators:
- Recently published textbooks
- Textbooks with a barcode sticker covering the original barcode (a sign of prior sale)
- Textbooks with a used sticker on the spine (another indication of previous ownership)
- Certain types of textbooks tend to be more valuable than others.
Here’s a general rule of thumb: the more potential to earn money by applying the skills taught in a textbook, the higher its value.
When scanning textbooks, prioritize these subjects:
- Computer Science
In essence, textbooks can be considered instructional books, teaching readers valuable knowledge and skills.
When listing your textbooks on Amazon, it’s advisable to hold onto them until January or August. These months coincide with when most students receive their syllabi and purchase textbooks for the upcoming semester. The increased demand during these periods can lead to higher prices and greater profits.
Books on fringe religions
By “fringe religions,” we refer to religions outside of the top five (Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism), which collectively represent 98% of religious identification.
If you come across a book about religion not on that list, be sure to scan it immediately. A good guideline is to scan books about religions you haven’t heard of, such as Huna, Druidry, Wicca, and others.
Pro Tip: This does not mean that religion as a whole is not a profitable category. It remains one of the favored broader categories, and there are opportunities to earn money even with Christian titles. However, the less-known religions often present more profitable subcategories.
As mentioned earlier, the most profitable books to sell on Amazon are those that provide information enabling readers to earn significant income.
Consider the average salary of a software engineer, and you’ll understand why books about computers fall into this category.
When we refer to “computer books,” we specifically mean books that teach something related to computers, such as programming languages, software programs, and computer architecture.
Although most of these instructional books fall under the category of textbooks, they are highly lucrative and valuable and deserve a dedicated section. If you encounter a book sale or store with a computer section, it’s recommended to explore that section before others (unless there’s a specific textbook section, in which case prioritize that first).
Niche business books
The world of business books holds great potential, especially when you spot valuable niche titles.
Remember this rule: if you don’t understand it, scan it.
A business book with wide appeal might be something like “Car Flipping For Newbies,” which can still have value. However, we’re focusing on niche business books here.
A niche business book could be “Algorithmic Binary Trading: A Qualitative Analysis.” The title alone should prompt you to reach for your scanner.
Alternative health books
You may notice a pattern by now: the offbeat and lesser-known books can be quite lucrative. This is another example.
In the health category, valuable niches include hypnotherapy, raw food diets, healing with crystals or magnets, and more. If it’s something your health insurance probably wouldn’t cover, it’s likely a good bet.
Remember, the more specialized, the better. This is because, in this category, you can’t go too niche.
Let’s talk about another subcategory of fiction that deserves attention on its own.
Poetry books may be unconventional, but they tend to hold their value better than many other books. If we were to rank this list, poetry books would probably be number lower. They do have some downsides, but they are worth your time.
One important characteristic of poetry books is that their Amazon Sales Rank is usually quite low. It’s rare to find one with an average rank better than 1 million, so be prepared for that.
On the positive side, poetry books are often lightweight and compact, usually under 150 pages and sometimes under 100 pages. This means lower Amazon FBA fees and higher profit margins for you.
Overall, poetry books, although one of the most profitable books to sell on Amazon, may sell slowly, but they can be a profitable category that any bookseller should consider.
Interestingly, audiobooks are often overlooked by other sellers and it’s hard to say why.
Now, if you decide to buy audiobooks, you need to make sure that all the discs are included before making a purchase- you don’t want an incomplete audiobook.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that audiobooks are more challenging to sell at higher prices with FBA compared to merchant-fulfilled offers. And you must also note that people who buy physical copies of audiobooks usually prioritize a lower price over fast shipping. So you need to keep this in mind when setting your prices.
Large print books
Large print books are designed for people with vision issues, and they are printed in smaller quantities, which often makes them valuable.
Just like poetry books, they may take longer to sell due to lower demand, but it’s worth it for the potentially larger payout.
You can identify large print books by their hardcover library-style layout or artwork indicating “large print.” With practice, you’ll learn to spot them easily. It is recommended to scan every large print book encountered.
Anything weird and unusual
In a way, this is the number one principle of bookselling, in general- “Scan anything that looks weird.”
When it comes to books, the money lies in the weird ones. The niche. The unconventional. The fanatic. Books on subjects that only a few hundred people on Earth read.
And if those few hundred people happen to be considered eccentric, it adds to the value.
The weirder, more unusual, and more niche a book is, the higher the chance it holds value. Trust us, there’s no such thing as “too weird or unusual”.
Books without barcodes
This category differs from the others in one key aspect: Books without barcodes aren’t inherently more profitable, but they tend to be because most other Amazon sellers overlook them.
Handling these books requires some selectivity. If you don’t know how to assess a book’s value based on other factors, especially subject matter, then this category might not be profitable for you.
Books without barcodes often tend to be simply old, which is usually a negative value indicator. For this reason, it is not recommended for new sellers to manually look up every book without a barcode.
However, if you can filter out obviously unprofitable books, you’ll be left with a vast selection of titles that no other Amazon seller has touched. Most sellers are simply too lazy to bother with any book lacking a barcode.
Self-published or Micro-press books
It’s usually exciting to come across a book with a cheesy, bad, or funny layout. Most times, this means the book was either self-published or published by a small press without an art department. And that means potential profit for the brave.
The same principles apply to every book category discussed: There is no need to extensively analyze each book to determine its subject matter and publisher before scanning.
You need to learn to quickly assess if a book is published by a small press. Once again, the giveaway is “less than professional” cover art.
Even though fiction is not frequently mentioned on this list, micro-press fiction is the best type and often more valuable than fiction from larger publishers (although the demand may be lower).
How to find profitable books to sell on Amazon
From extensive experience, there are two essential steps to finding profitable books.
The point is relying entirely on a scanning app to find profitable books won’t lead to success as an Amazon seller. It’s crucial to understand the two parts of book sourcing:
- Filtering: Filter your options before scanning a book, as time is limited and not every book is worth scanning.
- Scanning: Use your scanning app to confirm the potential value of the selected books. Both steps are equally important and necessary for success.
While some exceptional booksellers may be able to profit without relying on a scanning app, its not exactly a given for those who are relatively inexperienced.
The importance of identifying value without a scanning app
Amazon sellers who can recognize which books to focus on (like the ones on this list) and which to avoid have a significant advantage over other sellers.
It’s a simple concept really; increased efficiency leads to higher profits.
How to know which books are profitable using a scanning app
When using a scanning app, two key factors to consider are the lowest FBA price and the sales rank. Books with low sales ranks and high prices tend to be more profitable.
Which book scanning app is best?
FBAScan/Scoutly is recommended as a cost-effective and feature-rich book scanning app.
Some Tips for Selling Books on Amazon
Using relevant keywords is essential for attracting readers. The Amazon algorithm searches for keywords like Google does. Research and incorporate keywords that describe your books and their specific niche. Also, consider using AMS ads to complement your books.
Eye-catching covers play a significant role in book sales. Choose designs that capture readers’ attention and make your books stand out.
Positive reviews influence readers’ decisions. Seek out book review sites, subject-specific platforms, and influencers to generate favorable reviews for your books.
Craft compelling opening lines that hook readers from the start. Captivating hooks increase the chances of readers continuing with the book.
Here’s a few examples you can use:
- “The wind whispered secrets through the ancient oak trees, carrying the promise of adventure and the scent of forgotten lands.”
- “In the heart of a bustling city, amidst the chaos of daily life, a mysterious letter arrived, setting in motion a chain of events that would change everything.”
- “She had always been told that magic wasn’t real, but as the book crackled with electricity in her hands, she couldn’t deny the tingling sensation that ran through her veins.”
“The dusty attic held more than forgotten trinkets and old memories; it was a portal to a world where dreams came alive and imaginations soared.”
“Under the silver glow of a full moon, shadows danced on the cobbled streets, revealing the hidden secrets of a town that had long been forgotten by the world.”
Use social media platforms to reach a wider audience. Engage with potential readers through posts and create attention-grabbing videos that showcase your books.
Tips for Choosing the Best Book Category on Amazon
When it comes to finding profitable book categories on Amazon, Kindle provides more information than Amazon itself. Currently, Amazon only allows three book categories to be shown on your sales page.
This basically meant that only three categories of your books were visible to potential buyers.
Use Analytical Tools
To see all the categories that your books belong to, you can use an analytical tool called Publisher Rocket. This tool allows you to enter the ISBN number of the book you want to check. It will display menus and pop-up boxes containing every single category related to your book.
Publisher Rocket includes category strings, which are sub-categories that your books can fit into. Simply click the export tab to assign your books to these categories.
Is It a Good Idea to Sell Books on Amazon?
Selling books on Amazon is a popular and profitable idea. Whether you’re already experienced in online business or just starting out, it can be a smart choice.
The initial investment is relatively low, depending on how many books you want to start with. You must note that selling books on Amazon requires some effort to stand out from the competition. But with the right approach, you have the potential to make a significant amount of money.
Do You Make Any Money Selling Books on Amazon?
Selling books on Amazon can be a great way to earn some extra money. It’s also a good opportunity to start your own business on Amazon.
However, before you begin, it’s important to understand how selling on Amazon works. You need to learn how to find books to sell, which types of books are suitable for selling, and which ones are not.
Finding books to sell on Amazon can be done through various methods. You can visit local thrift stores, garage sales, or library book sales to find used books at low prices.
Another option is to source books from wholesalers or distributors who offer discounted rates for bulk purchases. Additionally, researching and understanding market demand can help you make informed decisions about the types of books you should focus on selling.
How Do You Make Money off Amazon Books?
If you’re an author, selling books on Amazon’s Kindle platform can generate income through royalties. You earn a percentage of each sale, while Amazon takes a commission from the book’s price.
Another thing you must understand when it comes to making money from selling books on Amazon is that it’s crucial to understand the various factors that can impact your profitability.
Beyond the fees charged by Amazon, you should consider other expenses such as packaging materials, shipping costs, and any marketing or promotional activities you undertake. It’s also important to stay updated with Amazon’s policies and guidelines to ensure compliance and avoid any unexpected penalties or restrictions.
But, when you consider all the costs involved, selling books on Amazon is still a cost-effective option.
How Much Does Amazon Take Per Book Sold?
When it comes to the fees charged by Amazon per book sold, there is a fixed rate of $0.15 per megabyte (MB) for the file size of your Kindle eBook. This fee applies to books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 if you choose the 70% royalty option. But you have to keep in mind that there is a minimum charge of $0.01, and delivery fees may vary depending on the country.
Forget the fact that Amazon takes a percentage as a commission for each book sold, the significant advantages their platform provides are well worth it. Amazon has a massive customer base and a well-established infrastructure for handling payments, order fulfillment, and customer service.
These features can greatly simplify the selling process and enable you to reach a wide audience without the need to set up your own e-commerce website or deal with the complexities of payment processing.
Additionally, Amazon’s algorithm-driven recommendation system can help expose your books to potential buyers who may have similar interests, further increasing your chances of making sales and generating income.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of books can you sell on Amazon?
You can sell a variety of books on Amazon, including fiction, non-fiction, textbooks, children’s books, and rare or collectible books. Authors can also self-publish their own works using Kindle Direct Publishing.
What kind of books sell best on KDP?
Certain genres tend to perform well on KDP, including romance, mystery/thriller, and self-help. Well-written books with captivating stories also have a higher chance of selling successfully on KDP.
Why Sell Books On Amazon?
First, Amazon initially started as an online bookstore and has a vast selection of books, including rare finds that may be difficult to locate elsewhere. Secondly, selling books online is more convenient as you have the potential to reach a larger audience compared to traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores, increasing your chances of selling more copies and generating higher profits.
How Much Can I Make Selling Books On Amazon?
Forget about those figures websites are telling you. Here’s the cold hard truth- Just like any other business venture, you only get what you put in. There are no shortcuts. However, with a bit of ingenuity, you can make a load of money selling books on Amazon.
Read also: how Amazon lets yo sell used items
Even though we’ve done all the hard work for you, it’s still up to you to do the needful in terms of doing your own research on what’s trending and what works best for you.
Lastly, no matter what you decide or choose to do, you must remember to stick to the rules of Amazon so you don’t end up getting kicked out!