by Steve Weber

#77, 18 September 2006

Cashing in by Adding Books
to Amazon's Catalog

Selling on Amazon

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About seven years ago, and Amazon launched a revolution in bookselling enabling anyone capable of typing an ISBN to become an online bookseller instantly. For those of us who started that way, that period seems like the "good old days," a time when buyers vastly outnumbered sellers, and selling prices were good, even for common books.

Today, with Internet bookselling more popular than ever, prices have crashed for oversupplied titles. So, more than ever, one of the best ways to earn money in bookselling is to focus on scarce and out-of-print books. The problem for Amazon sellers is that many scarce titles still aren't in Amazon catalog, so there's never been an effective way to sell many of these old gems on Marketplace.

Until now, that is. For the past several months Amazon has been perfecting a system enabling Pro-Merchant sellers to add missing books to its catalogs. It's already become a great way for part-time Amazon sellers to add value to their inventory, and as we'll see later, it also works for higher-volume sellers, who can use some new automation tools to manage bulk-listing of these scarce books.

But here's the best part: By entering these books into Amazon's catalog you can often sell them at a huge premiums, sometimes ten times the going price on bookseller networks like Alibris and, which many online buyers are still unfamiliar with.

Until recently, I've avoided this, figuring that creating a catalog page on Amazon wasn't worth the trouble. For five years, I've been tossing some out-of-print books into a boxes when I couldn't find them in Amazon's catalog. Recently that stack of boxes reached my ceiling, so I decided to dust off the cobwebs and see what I could do.

I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw some of the prices on Marketplace, and I decided this isn't too much trouble after all. Heck, for this kind of money, I'll drag out my digital camera and upload photos of the covers too.

Here's some examples of book detail pages that Amazon sellers have created themselves, and we'll compare the prices to listings outside Amazon using AddALL's out-of-print search.

  1. Children of the A-Bomb: Testament of the Boys and Girls of Hiroshima.

    Three copies are listed on Amazon, all priced at about $148.

    Over at, 11 copies are priced under $50.

  2. The Voyage of the Space Beagle.

    $64 on Amazon.

    $1 on ABE.

  3. Under Milk Wood: A Play for Voices.

    Two on Amazon starting at $12.

    On, 40 copies are listed at under $3.

  4. The Paternity Of Abraham Lincoln.

    $257 on Amazon.

    It's $100 less on ABE.

  5. Care for a Merger? Cartoons From the Wall Street Journal.

    $21 on Amazon.

    $5 on ABE.

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