Estimated Start-Up Costs for a Book-selling Business on Amazon

Uncategorized Jan 12, 2016


Here is a list of supplies and equipment that I recommend that you buy to get started with your book-selling business. Remember that the prices that I’ve listed are a reflection of what I paid and prices may have changed over the last couple of months. These estimates should give you a good, general idea of what start-up costs might be:

Heat Gun
$20 – for heating up sticker so that they can be removed. Some thrift-stores put giant, very sticky price tags and barcodes on their books. It’s important to remove these before sending them in to Amazon. A focused heating element will help to loosen up the adhesive and will make it easier to remove the sticker without ruining the book. You can use a hair dryer although a heat gun, or embossing gun will work best.

Scotty Peelers or Plastic Razor Blades $9 – Once the sticker has been heated up, it’s nice to have a tool to help scrap it off.

Rubbing Alcohol $3 – After the stickers have been heated up and scraped off, any remaining residue should come off with a little rubbing alcohol on a paper towel. Also, rubbing alcohol works great to clean up the cover of the books too.

USB Barcode Scanner $25 – Unless you want to enter in each UPC/ISBN number in by hand then you will need some sort of USB barcode scanner. The one that we use, plugs right into our USB slot in the front of our computer and works great!

30-Up White Address-sized Labels $38 – Once a book has been listed, prior to shipping, Amazon will want you to print a white barcode to attach to the book. These labels will have a unique information that will let Amazon know which specific book it is and who’s book it is once it hits the fulfillmemt center. You can buy Avery Labels (white, 30 per sheet) at any office supply store. I order my labels off of Amazon from a company called House Labels for $38. You get 400 sheets or 12,000, which is a great deal.

Medium-sized Boxes $1.10/each – Amazon requires that boxes shipped to their fulfimment centers weigh 50 pounds or less. Small-sized boxes from Home Depot or Uline work best. Your goal will be to tightly pack these boxes full of books and to get as close to the 50 pound mark as possible.

Brown Paper $14/roll – After tightly packing a box, if there’s still room you will need to fill in the gaps. We used to collect plastic shopping bags, fill them with crumpled newspaper, tie them shut and use this free solution for bunting(this is what they call material to fill in gaps). If you would rather spend a little money in order to go the more effienct route I suggest you buy some brown craft/shipping paper. We buy our giant rolls from Uline (go to for prices)

Packing Tape $2/roll – You’ll need tape to tape your boxes of books shut. We use Scotch brand moving tape, which can be purchased in 4-packs for about $2/roll. There are less expensive options out there of tape, but over the years have determined that this style of Scotch brand tape is the best. Cheap tape wont stick to the boxes very well, which is very concerning to us. We would assemble a shipment and get it ready for UPS pick up the next day and notice that all of the tape is pulling away from the box. The last thing that we want is our box of expensive books to be all over a UPS truck floor! Also with Scotch tape we can use about half as much and feel confident that it will hold, then what we would need to use with the cheaper stuff.

Shipping Scale $25 – before shipping your boxes of books off to Amazon you’ll need to weigh them. We buy our 200lb max. digital scales at Sam’s club.

Markers or Sharpies $1 – May provide helpful as you are weighing boxes. I weigh each box and then write on the top of the box how much it weighs so that I don’t forget later.

UPS Shipping Labels FREE – You can order free 2-Up shipping labels from (a full sheet of paper with 2 large labels for your UPS shipment) after you set up a shipping account with them (I’ll talk more about setting up a UPS account in a bit)

HP DeskJet Printer $30 – If you don’t have a printer you’ll need to buy one. You can buy HP Printers at Walmart for around $30.

Black & White Ink for Printer $6/each – We buy our replacement ink cartridges on Amazon. To save money we buy the re-manufactured cartridges at about $6 a piece.

ScanLister $97 – Bulk media listing program from

Monthly Expenses

AsellerTool $30/month – Down-loadable database program for your PDA

Amazon Professional Merchant $40 – Pays for itself if you sell at least 40 items per month

Calculating Start Up Costs

I figure now would be a good time to add up all of the expense thus far to get an estimate of how much a business, such as book-selling, would cost to get started.

Estimated Equipment and Supply Costs: $520.00

These estimated equipment and supply costs include a $200.00 scanning package, the $97.00 ScanLister program, 25 shipping boxes, 4 rolls of tape, 5 markers and 2 ink cartridges. In addition to everything else on the suggested list above.

Estimated Monthly Fees: $70.00

These estimated fees include the $30.00 monthly ASellerTool subscription and the $40 per month Amazon Professional Merchant account charge.

Total Estimated Start-up Costs: $590.00

That’s not bad for start-up costs on a business that could bring in some excellent revenue! Obviously these figures don’t include the cost of books sourced and commissions/finders fees that you might be paying your Book-Sourcers & Book-Listers. But, hopefully these estimations have given you a good idea of what it might cost to operate a business like this.

Regardless if you are planning on starting up a book-selling business or not it is very important to consider the costs. Some business opportunities look really good on the surface, but underlying this positivity there could be hidden or overlooked costs that could really stifle any profitability.

Other Articles That May Interest You:
How Much Up-Front Money Does it Take to Earn Passive Income Selling Books on Amazon?
3 Reasons Why You Should Sell Used Books on Amazon
Fulfillment By Amazon 101 (AKA FBA)

Click Here to Sign Up for Free Stuff and More Tips!


50% Complete

Sign Up Below

You are really close to getting actionable info to help you take your business to the next level or to start one from scratch.