Tips For Making Money Selling Online

Profiting From Textbook Season On Amazon By Selling FBA

If you are a FBA seller, you may have heard that textbooks can make you serious money but then you scan some at your local thrift store and nothing is worth anything. Just a bunch of penny books being sold by MF sellers.

Well that is true and not that isn’t true. It depends on if you know how the power of FBA works during textbook season, how to forecast with Keepa charts and how to source from AZ 3rd party sellers.

Profiting From Textbook

Textbook Season Dates

Textbook season generally is mid to late August through mid September and about the second and third weeks of January ( also smaller season in May for the summer sessions)

This is when students go back to school and need books. Basic the start of each semester and the week or so after the semester starts.

The Power Of FBA With Textbooks

Lots and lots of book sellers ( especially the really big sellers) are only MF. They sometimes are only making money off of the shipping ( the the difference between media cost and the $3.99 shipping charge). This works great when someone isn’t in a hurry to get their books.

Not the case with college students.

College students may have a number of reasons why they need the book in 1 or 2 days. There is no way they can wait 2-3 weeks for it to show up via media mail.

Hence, FBA comes to the rescue. So a book can be normally be sold for only $4 suddenly become able to sell for $35 because it can be bought Prime and show up in 1-2 days.

This is why you can get so much more for textbooks during the short textbook seasons and creates the arbitrage opportunities.

The Number #1 Skill That You Need For Book Sourcing

If you are buying books to resell on Amazon, you need to know how to forecast the selling prices during textbook season and the way you do that is by using charts ( Keepa or CamelCamelCamel).

You have to be able to understand what the charts are telling you about what happened to the price and sales rank during prior textbook season. You have to trust these charts ( but there is no guarantee that it will always repeat. Thing do change.)

I actually have a Udemy course out on how to read and use Keepa and CCC charts.

( You can get it ½ off buy using this link:

The books that scans for a good selling price are easy to source. Just buy them when you find them but for more advance sourcing, make sure you understand how to use the charts before wading into that.

Sourcing Textbooks To Sell On Amazon

There are several ways to source textbooks but finding large quantities is the issue in general.

You can find the occasional textbook while scan at a thrift store, library sale, garage sale, flea market, etc. and many of these will be high ROI if you know what to look for.

The problem is that you see the MF low price and think these are penny books and put most back on the shelf. Your are not seeing the Keepa charts that show the FBA price during textbook season ( you could look them up but that is very time consuming and hard to do in the stores on your phone)

Basically you will miss 95% of the good stuff this way just because of lack of information.

Another way to sourcing locally is directly from college students. This is something that works year round but is best at the end of each semester. The advantage is that you can use your computer to access the Keepa charts to make better buying decisions and most of your competitors are doing this.

I am not going to go into great detail about this because I actually have a Gumroad course on how to do this.

The final common way to source is to basically flip from Amazon to Amazon. ( or several other online sources like eBay,, etc)

The advantage is that you can source in quantity and have access to the charts that you need.

The problem is that this is hit or miss and there are other people doing this. There is also the timing factor. Books are constantly being listed by MF sellers on AZ and the inventory is constantly changing.

I have sourced by just looking through listing after listing and found some random deals. Sometimes I might find 1 or 2 in an hour and depending on the find, it may be a great return for the effort. Other times I want to beat my head against the wall.

Here is how it is done manually:

People have had software developed that helps speed the process up. This is good and bad.
It is good because you can quickly find deals and it is bad because other people can quickly find deals.

The secret sauce is that the fact that AZ listings are constantly changing, so that if I scan for books with the softwares I might might not find one under a title but if you scan 3 hours later, there might be some new listings on it.

Then there is the problem of cost.

If you haven’t used software, you see the price and say “ I can do it myself for free”. Then you try to search, can’t find anything and then give up on sourcing textbooks.

I get that. I think the same way too. I think that is why the 2 major softwares give free trials. Once you use them and see that you make money by using the software, then it is an easy sale.

I used the free 3 day trial from eFlip and was hooked. I helped me find books and after I saw how much I could make from these finds, I saw that it would pay for itself and more. ( way more)

Putting It All Together

I made some videos of me actually sourcing textbooks from Amazon to flip. They shows some of the Keepa chart reading that I have talked about and how the whole process works.

Warning: both of these videos are pretty long

Here is a more advanced video on sourcing


Selling textbooks should be a part of your FBA selling. There is a lot of money to be made doing it, but you have to grasp the power of FBA during textbook season to really take advantage of it.

My recommended approach is to grab the free 3 day trial of eFlip, get on AZ and find some books to flip. Learn how to read the Keepa charts and forecast. See how much you can make from them if you sell them during textbook season and if you see that there truly is potential to make money, then load up on books before textbook season hits.

Textbook Arbitrage With Zero Risk ( Almost Zero)

Textbook Arbitrage With A Twist

Amazon has a book buy back / trade in program. Many times on book listings you will see an offer “Sell yours for a gift card”.  This post will tell you how to make money from this.

Textbook Arbitrage

How Does The Buy Back Work

Amazon will give you a gift card for books in “good” condition and they give you a label for free inbound shipping.

When you click the button to trade yours in, it is going to ask you to verify the ISBN number. They are wanting the exact match to the book.

After you verify the book, and accept the offer, they give you a certain number of days to return the book.

I have seen 14 days as a common number of days, but at other times it has been less ( between late Dec. and early Jan) . I am not sure if it is variable based on the time of year or the book.

The price you are offered is guaranteed as long as you get the book in in time and it meets the minimum condition standards.

Also you are NOT obligated to send it in. You could just let the offer “die” or cancel it. ( this is important, as you will see later)

Arbitrage Opportunities

There are actually Merchant Fulfilled  3rd party sellers ( MF) that are selling textbooks for less than the trade in value.

This creates an arbitrage opportunity.

You can buy the textbook from a 3rd party MF seller and send to Amazon and get a gift card worth more than you paid for the book.

This is constantly changing. New offers pop up on book listings, sellers change their prices and Amazon raises or lowers the trade in value.
Other words, this is a HUGH opportunity.


The ROI most likely is going to be lower than you would expect than selling on Amazon FBA but you have to look at the risk.

In most cases, there is almost zero risk.

You know what you are buying a book for and you have the price you will get for it locked up say for 2 weeks. If everything goes as planned, you know what your profit is ( you don’t have to worry about a race to the bottom)

What Could Go Wrong

There are 3 things that generally could go wrong.

The book you buy could turn out to be in worse condition or the wrong ISBN. In that case, you would have to go through the hassle of returning it to the MF seller.

Second, you might not get the book in time. In that case, you could just start a new trade in and let the other one “die”. The price being offered may be lower, but in some cases, it might actually be higher ( and in that case even if you can get the book in in time, you would take the higher price and let the lower price “die” or cancel it.)

Thirdly, Amazon grades the book worst and doesn’t accept it. ( or it is missing something) In this case, you could return it to the MF seller ( a little harder since it has been a couple of weeks).

Hopefully you would catch this before sending it in. There are actually other book buyback programs, so you could send it to one of them or you could just send it into FBA and sell it.

With all that said, the actual risk of any of those happening is on the low side.

Finding Books For Textbook Arbitrage

In the past, I have manually searched for books. This works, but it is slow.

My son, who loves to do textbook arbitrage, came up with a Chrome extension to make the process easier.

Here is a video on how the extension works

Get the Chrome extension I used in the video here:

As you can see, you still have to do research, but the extension makes it a lot easier.

Other Sites For Textbook Buyback

Amazon isn’t the only game in town. There are other textbook buyback sites and sometimes they pay more than Amazon will for a textbook.

Here is one that searches several sites at once


In many cases, you might decide that selling a textbook via FBA may make you way more money and choose to do that. In other cases, you might want to grab the guaranteed profit that the textbook buyback program offers.

This is good way to profit on textbooks when it is not “textbook season”. ( textbook season is the start of every college semester when textbooks sell at their highest prices).

You are faced with the choice of a quick return or a buy and hold scenario if you get textbooks out of season.

Get the Chrome extension I used in the video here: