Tips for Selling Used Books and CDs on

Spring is here, the perfect time to cull your bookshelves and media center for books, CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes that you no longer want and set yourself up as a seller on During a two-year period, I netted $510.19 from selling books and CDs that were sitting around, collecting dust. Here are a few tips for maximizing your profit and making your customers happy

  • Always send packages using Media Mail. Media Mail is a discounted USPS rate for books and CDs. Shipments generally takes 5-7 days to arrive. In addition, it will probably cost you less than the shipment allowance provides, which means an extra 25- to 30-cent profit.
  • Reuse clean, padded envelopes and small boxes, or purchase padded envelopes in bulk to save money. I found that Viking Office Products offers decent prices and free shipping. (Update: Viking has merged with Office Depot. Free shipping applies to orders over $25.)
  • Always send your packages the day you receive the order, or by the next business day at the latest.
  • Take time to rate your buyers. will prompt you when it is time to leave feedback. Give your buyers good reviews and leave a comment thanking them for their purchases.
  • Be honest about product condition. I made a habit of listing every flaw-dog-eared pages, cover nicks, cracked spines, writing in or on books, cracked CD cases, etc-and found that it paid in good reviews. There’s nothing more disappointing than buying a book that’s been described as “like new” and have it arrive yellowed and worn. If the book does not look like you just brought it home from Barnes & Noble, do not list it as “like new.” Most items I listed as “some shelf wear,” just to be safe. Many of my customers wrote and thanked me for the condition of the items and were surprised that they looked better than expected.
  • Price accordingly. will suggest a price after you’ve entered the condition. I almost always went with their suggestion. You can always lower the price later if your item is not selling, but, generally, I did not go through and undercut every other seller, and my books and CDs still sold.
  • Show your appreciation. Adding a “thank you” in the package, whether it’s a free book mark, or just a note on the invoice, is a nice touch that your customers will notice.

Selling on is fun and easy. It’s the Kool-Aid stand you always wanted as a kid. I go to the post office almost daily, so shipping was not a hassle. Packaging the items takes less than ten minutes and is no trouble at all if you keep the items you’ve listed in one location and have all of your packing supplies handy-envelopes and boxes, return address labels, scissors, pen, and packing tape.

Currently, I don’t have any books to sell-what was left I sold at our garage sale before we moved last summer. But as soon as I get in my new house, I’m going to start frequenting library book sales. It’s a win-win situation: The library makes their money and I get to profit, too. Before you buy books to specifically sell on, familiarize yourself with what’s hot and what’s not. Some books, like trade paperback romances and sci-fi, sell for as little as a penny on Amazon’s used marketplace and are not worth the effort.

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