Make Money Writing and Selling Books on eBay

eBay books

You can be a successful author and make money writing and selling books on eBay. It takes time, planning, and research, but hundreds of other authors have accomplished this and so can you.

Researching Your Topic

You may be an expert in your book topic, but you still have to know the marketability of your book. Do a search on eBay to find your competition and then check out the books listed on Google, Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Use subjects or keywords in the search to see whether your idea is a new one or whether it's been done before. Even then, you can give it a different angle and write something entirely fresh for the reading public.

Writing Your Book

A great place to start your work is with a writing guide. Check out places like The Web Writers Spotlight, which offer brainstorming ideas for authors. They also provide writing exercises to help you get over that pesky writer's block.

Publishing Your Book

There are two main ways to publish your books for selling on eBay: printed books, or eBooks. Both require formatting, a cover and other design elements to ensure your book looks professional and worth the selling price. If you are artistic and comfortable with the technical aspects of formatting and layout, you can design your book. Otherwise, you may save money and time if you work with a publishing company.

Printed Books

Printed books are best when you have lots of illustrations or if your audience prefers a book to a tablet. In most cases, you will have to store your books and ship them when ordered. Printed books command higher sales prices, and the extra work may be worth it. You can do all your own layout and design or work with online printing companies, who will take you from a PDF to the printed page.

  • At Bookstand Publishing, send them your PDF, pay a fee and they print and market your books. For $2500, they print and market both a hard copy and eBook. They also specialize in children's books so if you do illustrations, this is a bonus.
  • On Demand Books leases Espresso Books Machines throughout the US and Canada. These machines allow you to print a single book at a time, so you can really control your costs. Their guide takes you step-by-step from template to PDF to printed book.


You may be surprised to learn that eBooks represent at least 30% of book sales and they offer different publishing challenges to an author. Creating an eBook is more complicated than just generating a PDF from your manuscript and posting it online. You have to design the book, provide an attractive cover and make certain the book format meets e-publishing rules. There is software to help you publish and there are many guides out there for doing this, but the following will help you get started:

  • eBay offers a guide to self-publishing with an iPad and the Apple program, Smashwords. The great thing about using Smashwords is that you can submit your eBook and check to make sure it fits standard e-publishing guidelines. Even though you produce the book on Smashwords there are no rules stopping you from selling it on other platforms. So, you can format your book in Smashwords and sell it on eBay.
  • A step-by-step guide to e-publishing suggests that you have your book formatted by a company specializing in that service. Each website, such as eBay, Amazon and others, have specific formatting requirements for eBooks sold on their sites. You don't want your "W"s turning into "VV" throughout the text, so working with an e-publisher may cost you some money upfront, but it will save you headaches later. The companies can make certain the formatting will work with the eBay website.
  • Pricing your eBook takes some thought. While e-textbooks may cost more than $100, publishing experts note that the average price of a strong-selling eBook ranges from $2.99 to $9.99. Do your research and see what other, comparable eBooks are selling for on eBay. The bottom line is you can charge whatever you want for your eBook, but you will have to show your readers why it's worth the price.
  • One eBay seller offers tips for providing video and audio downloads of your eBook as well as the text version, which increases sales.

Selling on eBay

eBay makes it as simple as possible for a bookseller to succeed with online sales and make high profits. Their seller information page has links to getting started and setting up an account.

  • Before you list your books, familiarize yourself with eBay's digitally delivered goods policy. You must make certain your eBook does not violate selling rules.
  • Although it is free to list your books on eBay, you will pay at least 10% to the company on each sale.
  • You will also pay a fee for PayPal on each sale. Additional images of the book's cover may add a few cents more to your costs. Be careful and figure out those charges before you price your book. You can use a fee calculator at eBay.
  • Check out other eBay auctions with similar books. Compare the seller's keywords and descriptions with your listing, and continually upgrade your listing and improve your sales. Use bullet points to show your customers why your book is a must-have.

Promoting Your Book on eBay

Now that your book is listed on eBay, be sure to let everyone know about it! You can use Facebook, Twitter or blogs to announce your new publication. But you can also increase your profile on eBay by paying careful attention to your listings and telling your readers why this book is the best one out there.

  • Your title and descriptions are very important to your books; this is what your buyers will use to decide if they want your book or not. eBay offers a guide to writing a winning title and description. You can use a title generator to help create an eye-catching listing.
  • Your book auction/sales can increase because of your description, so follow a few basic rules.
  • Don't forget to set up an About Me page and get to know the sellers and buyers. Establishing a presence takes time and effort, but it also improves sales. If you have a website, be sure to add a link to your eBay listings.
  • Make it as simple as possible for your customers, and automate sales and downloads for eBooks.

Provide Customer Service

Remember that customer service is just as important as your book, so ship quickly and follow these eBay rules for customer satisfaction. Once your sales begin and the profits are flowing in, do something to celebrate: start writing your next book!

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Make Money Writing and Selling Books on eBay