Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

How to sell on AbeBooks

Reach global buyers through an established, international e-commerce site.

Updated

Fact checked

A subsidiary of Amazon, AbeBooks operates as an international broker for book, fine art and collectible sellers. But because of its niche inventory, sales won’t move as quickly as with other e-commerce sites.

What can I sell on AbeBooks?

AbeBooks focuses primarily on niche categories, including a wide assortment of genres and mediums. AbeBooks sellers can list:

  • Art, print and posters
  • Books
  • Comics
  • Magazines and periodicals
  • Manuscripts and paper collectibles
  • Maps
  • Photographs
  • Sheet music

If you’re not sure which category your item would fall, contact customer service to find out if you can list it.

How much does it cost to use AbeBooks?

AbeBooks charges a monthly subscription fee based on the number of books you have listed, starting at $25 a month.

Number of listed itemsSubscription fee rate per month
0–500$25
501–4,000$37
4,001–10,000$42
10,001–20,000$53
20,001–30,000$80
30,001–50,000$125
50,001–100,000$200
100,001–150,000$300
150,001–500,000$400
500,001+$500

You’ll also pay an additional 8% commission fee on all sales, anywhere from $0.50 to $40 an item.

Sellers are responsible for shipping costs, and the credit card fees depend on where the buyer is located. Buyers in the US and UK paying with credit cards cost you 5.5% for the first $500, and 3.5% for any amount over. All other buyers cost you a flat 3.5% fee for using a credit card.

Hot tip: Arrange for noncredit card payments to avoid extra fees.

Let’s crunch the numbers

Roberta is a US-based seller and sells a hardcover copy of Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll for $600, including shipping, to a buyer in Germany. The buyer opts to pay with a credit card.

Here are the fees Roberta pays for this sale:

ItemAbeBooks commission feeCredit card fee
Through the Looking Glass $600$48 at 8%5.5% for first $500=$27.50
3.5% for $100=$3.50

In total, Roberta pays $79 of her $600 sale, roughly 13.2% — that’s $48 to commission and $31 ($27.50 + $3.50) to credit card fees. Her profit is $521.

Is selling on AbeBooks worth it?

Sellers with large, niche inventories that want to reach a global market could profit from using AbeBooks. However, look to other marketplaces if you’re looking to sell a few used textbooks, as your profits could be eaten up by fees.

Pros

  • International sales. Everything listed on AbeBooks is automatically added to six international markets.
  • Cross-channel purchasing. Pairing books with art, ephemera, maps and comics can lead to more sales on otherwise hard to move items.
  • Free inventory management software. AbeBooks makes it easy to upload your catalog and manage inventory with their free software HomeBase.
  • Item customization. List books the way you want, including with extensive descriptions, photos or a simple ISBN.

Cons

  • Not for small sales. Price breaks for memberships and credit card fees for larger inventories and sales.
  • Fees. Expect fees for monthly membership, commission, credit card payment and shipping.
  • Niche seller. Though Amazon owns AbeBooks, but there is little to no cross-platform promotion.

How to start selling on AbeBooks

Signing up to be a seller on AbeBooks is free, but you’ll have to pay the subscription fee before your first sale.

  1. Visit the AbeBooks Seller page and click Create Account after entering your email, password and agreeing to the customer agreement.2. Pick a preferred language, choose a marketplace profile name and enter your bookselling address.
  2. Describe your bookselling business, decide how you’ll submit your inventory to AbeBooks and declare account information. Click Save and Continue when done.
  3. Complete your terms and disclaimers as you see fit for each website that AbeBooks runs.
  4. Declare your country of residence and fill out tax information accordingly. To sell in Germany or Canada you’ll need to fill out additional forms.
  5. Fill out bank information.
  6. Fill out credit card information to pay fees, input your US tax information and sign the remainder of agreements. AbeBooks contacts you to discuss your account and answer questions before you begin selling.

How to price your items

AbeBooks imposes no pricing restrictions, so it’s entirely up to you how to determine the item’s value.

When pricing books, keep these tips in mind:

  • Condition. A beaten-up old book is worth less than a well-kept book.
  • Edition. First edition and signed versions are almost always worth more.
  • Scarcity. If you’re the only one listing an item, list it high. You can always bring it down over time.
  • Modern hardcovers love dust jackets. Selling pre-20th century books without a dust jacket is fine, but modern hardcover prices sell better with a dust jacket.
  • Use available tools. AbeBooks has useful guides and glossaries to determine a book’s condition, size and worth.

Consider your overhead, monthly subscription fees and commission rates when pricing your items. Listing more books on Abebooks within your specific allotted monthly subscription lowers the fee per book.

Compare e-commerce platforms

If you want to be able to sell on more than just AbeBooks, an e-commerce platform can help you build your own store and sell through multiple channels.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Products Monthly fees start at Processing fees start at Hosting
BigCommerce
Payment processing, Website builder, Inventory tracking, Shopping cart software, Shipping software
$29.95/month
2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Hosted
BigCommerce is an all-in-one e-commerce platform created to help you sell more.
Helcim
Payment processing, POS software, POS hardware, Website builder, Inventory tracking
$20/month
1.92% + $0.08 per transaction
Hosted
Conveniently packaged into three service tiers for in-person and online sales.
Square E-commerce
Payment processing, Website builder, Inventory tracking, Shopping cart software, Shipping software
None
2.9% + 10¢
Hosted
Create an online store with beautiful layouts to help drive business.
Shopify
Payment processing, Website builder, Inventory tracking, Shopping cart software, Shipping software
$29/month
2.9% + $0.30 online; 2.7% in person
Hosted
Shopify offers both e-commerce and in-person POS systems designed to help you build a new online store from the ground up.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

What types of payment does AbeBooks accept?

AbeBooks sellers can decide to accept the following forms of payment:

  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
  • Check
  • Money order
  • PayPal

AbeBooks pays sellers weekly by electronic funds transfer (EFT) for most countries. Your subscription fee is offset against the first Friday payment of every month.

How to get paid by international buyers

Since sellers decide how to accept payment they can determine how to get paid by international buyers. AbeBooks handles all credit card purchases and pays sellers weekly, and the fees charged by AbeBooks for credit cards covers international processing as well. But you can also accept payments through PayPal or an international money transfer company.

How to organize shipping

You typically have 48 hours to ship items you sold through AbeBooks. Set shipping options for buyers, including speed and price.

Determine clear shipping terms, especially to international customers, when you create your account, emphasizing:

  • Shipping speeds. Determine the average speed to ship books worldwide.
  • Shipping costs. Pay special attention to addons like tracking and insurance for shipping to another country.
  • Packaging costs. Use insurance when shipping rare and delicate books. Note this in your shipping terms so the buyer can expect the extra cost.

You can use drop shipping or warehouse services when you sell through AbeBooks. But AbeBooks doesn’t cover any damage or mishaps that could occur.

How can I market my AbeBooks products?

AbeBooks offers suggestions on ways to market your products on social media and Google ads, including:

  • Review your inventory. Specializing your inventory to offer unique products can give you a leg up on competition within your niche.
  • Better descriptions. Give customers as much information as possible in your listing, including details like ISBN, publication date and binding information.
  • Add high-quality images. Use custom images that show the quality of the binding, cover and dust jacket. Avoid using stock photos.
  • Free shipping. AbeBooks promotes booksellers who offer free shipping through email campaigns, special pages and highlighting them in searches.
  • Offer a sale. AbeBooks runs special sales pages that highlight sellers holding a sale of at least 10% off.

What to watch out for with AbeBooks

Before listing your items with AbeBooks, consider the fees, taxes and duties that can pile up with international sales. Other things to look out for include:

  • International tax responsibility. Countries like Germany, have special tax rules that could impact your sales on AbeBooks. Carefully read about any tax implications listed during the seller signup process.
  • Pressure to offer free shipping. Sellers that offer free shipping are more visible on the AbeBooks site. Those that don’t risk being listed as a lower priority.
  • Seasonal selling climate. Sellers that succeed pay attention to market trends like college dates, holiday interests and media events promoting specific books.

Frequently asked questions

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site