Friday, March 13, 2015

Selling Books on ebay and Half

Thanks to the "34 Weeks of Clean" challenge, I have been sorting through and selling books these past few weeks. Since I have home school curriculum to purchase for next year, I am working towards a very legitimate and concrete financial goal.  Cleaning, sorting, and selling books is not only cleaning and decluttering my house, but it is also helping me to successfully earn money towards my goal.

Many readers of this blog have similar book collections as I do, and would love to successfully turn their book stashes into cash, so I am compiling a list of suggestions that have helped me to make money while selling my books.

Half  is a quick and easy way to sell books, especially if you have a large quantity of books to part with. First, spend a few minutes setting up an account and linking it to your paypal account. Then enter ISBN numbers into Half's easy selling page. Half does the rest - it brings up the book's information and cover picture. After reading the guidelines for determining the condition of your books, enter a condition for each book listed. Half automatically adds the media mail shipping rate to your books when they are listed. It also gives you the average selling price for the book you listed, and you can choose what you would like your selling price to be.

There is a handy account page that allows you to manage your book sales, reset prices, and see your currently listed inventory. When a buy makes a purchase, Half notifies you and collects the payment. It is your job, as a seller, to ship the book as soon as possible. Once the transaction is completed, the money is deposited into your paypal account, minus the small fee taken by Half. Really, it is simple and can be very profitable.

In the past I have purchased books from the bag sale at my library, and resold them for a handy profit on Half. At this point in time, I am focusing on clearing the clutter from my own home, so I am concentrating on selling my own unwanted or unneeded books though.

Selling books on ebay can be a little more complicated, but is still fairly profitable. Ebay has recently begun to allow sellers to list books by ISBN similar to Half, which saves a lot of time entering titles, authors, and subjects. Sellers should still describe the book's condition as clearly as possible.

After many years of selling on ebay, I have two major pieces of advice. The first is to know your market. I will often spend weeks watching items similar to those I want to sell, to see the buying trends. If no one is bidding on similar items, I know that mine will also go unsold, and it is not worth the time it will take me to list those items. By watching buying trends, I also learn the hot times of the year to sell particular items.  For example, the hot times to sell home school curriculum is spring (when people are spending tax returns, and planning for next school year) and late August/early September (when people are starting their school year and realizing they have a need for something that they don't already own, or perhaps are waiting until the last minute to purchase).

The second piece of advice that will make a huge difference in earning a healthy profit on ebay is to charge properly for shipping. In my early selling years, I got burned badly on shipping several times, and finally learned my lesson about doing the legwork for this before listing the items. Now, I completely package my items in boxes, and weigh and measure the package before listing. I will use the 'calculator' on ebay to pre-determine a shipping cost, and enter the package's weight and measurements while setting up the listing. This way, the buyer will pay the exact shipping price to their zip code, and I won't lose out on profit by undercharging for shipping.

Using ebay's shipping label feature is very convenient, because the money is removed directly from your paypal account, and a pre-paid shipping label is printed. This can be taped onto the outside of your package, and quickly dropped off to the post office at a convenient time for you. Also, using this option will notify your buyer when the package is shipped and allow them to track their package, which most buyers find very helpful.

Taking good pictures, and describing your items carefully is very important when selling items and books on ebay. If there are pages bent, or any marks at all in the books, this should be noted. Think of the information you would want to know if you were the buyer, and put that into your listing for others. If you have a smoke free and pet free home, be sure to note that, even for books. It is very important to some buyers.

Thanks to the inspiration from Michele I am well on my way to getting my books under control, and making some money too!

Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.


  1. Selling the books you don't need or love sound like a great plan for helping you get the books you do need.

  2. Erica, LOVE this post! I will share it tomorrow! I am so excited to see that not only are you decluttering, but making some money as well. Now just don't use it to buy more books! haha Thanks for linking up!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!