Start Selling Books Online: Top 20 Platforms

May 16, 2023
Reading time22 minutes
Jaqueline Corradi
Jaqueline Corradi
Content Manager

Selling books online can be a very profitable business. The good news is that you can set up your own ecommerce website without investing lots of money in it. There is a big variety of business models to commercialize books, and you can choose the one that suits you best.

It's possible to sell only e-books, so you don't have to worry about storing physical books, packing, and delivering them. Another alternative is to sell pre-owned books, many readers are concerned about sustainability and prefer this. Besides, it's an opportunity to sell vintage special book editions too. 

If you are a writer and wish to self-publish your work, learning how to sell books online can help you to boost your career. Check out the articles to discover more about selling books on the internet.

8 Steps to Learn How to Start Selling Books Online

1. Choose Your Business Model

When it comes to selling books online, you have different business models to choose from and have your own company. It's connected to the type of books you will sell, and how to source them. 

  • Write and self-publish your books: in this case, you will build an online store and use marketplaces to commercialize the books you write. That's an alternative for independent writers who still haven't been able to close any deals with publishing companies, but wish to earn money from their work and become known. You can publish your writings as e-books or print physical copies, which will require a bigger investment.
  • Sell used books: there are many marketplaces that were developed to allow people to sell books they don't want to keep anymore, you can enjoy them to make extra money. On the other hand, you can also build a vintage bookstore. Then, you will buy pre-owned books, make a refined search to find rare book editions and sell them on your online store. 
  • Sell new books: once more you have the option to sell physical books and e-books, but you will need to define how to source your products, and what type of books you wish to sell. For example, will you focus on a specific niche or sell books from a wide range of genres? After deciding this, it's time to get in contact with the publishers and choose the ones you will make business with. 

2. Get to Know Common Bookseller Terms

As you enter the selling books online world, it's fundamental to know some important terms from this business sector: 

  • Advanced reading copy (ARC): it's a book copy that is printed and sent to the press, critics, and booksellers before a book is officially launched. It may not even be its final version and lack some details such as the book cover, but you will get to know the title to decide if you want to sell it. 
  • Antiquarian books: it refers to old and rare book versions, which are collectible items. They are considered antiques and may be worth a high quantity of money. There are online bookstores that are specialized in those items. 
  • Backlist: this is the publisher's list of books that they have released in the previous year or season. 
  • Book distributor: book business that sells books to bookstores and other institutions. They buy the books from publishers in large quantities and then resell them to the companies.
  • International standard book number (ISBN): it's a numerical code used to identify a book/ It's a very useful tool to manage inventories and orders. 
  • Out of print: it refers to books that no longer are printed or distributed. 
  • Print on demand: this type of book is printed after a purchase is made, which may increase the delivery time. 

3. Understand Who Your Target Audience Is

After you have decided on your business model and defined what types of books will be sold in your online bookstore, it's possible to have an idea of who your target audience is. Research them to know more about their behavior and buying habits. 

It's important to answer questions like: what is the average age of my target audience? What social media platform do they use the most? What are their main demands? How can I help to solve their problems? This will help you to develop more effective marketing and sales strategies to gain visibility and convert leads into customers.

4. Research Your Competitors

It's also crucial to know who you are competing against in your business sector. Research who your competitors are, make a list of the main ones, and take a deeper look into how they position themselves in the market. 

Identify their main strategies, the average book price, and what sales channels they use, and look for ways to make your bookstore stand out from them. The online world can be a very competitive one, as your competition can come from booksellers located all over the world, but it also means the opportunity to reach a bigger audience. 

5. Develop Your Book Brand

Brand identity is fundamental to showing what your business stands for and creating a connection with your audience. Define the core values, vision, mission, and goals of your business, then build the visual identity based on it. 

It's interesting to create a guideline of how to apply the brand elements to your brand graphic pieces, like social media posts, website design, business cards, and others. Try to come up with a logo that's aesthetically beautiful, and represents your brand well, then select the fonts, the color palette, set a tone of speech, and other details about your brand identity.  

6. Select Which Sales Channels You Will Use

Where will you sell books online? You can have your own website, which is a great option because it gives you more flexibility when it comes to designing the pages and creating several sections to sell the books and also promote your business. Besides, having a well-built website helps to give credibility to a brand. 

You also have the option to sell books on marketplaces that sell different types of products, like Amazon and eBay, or on marketplaces that are focused on commercializing books, such as Powell's Books. You can use social media platforms to sell as well, for example, Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp. 

7. Write a Business Plan

To organize your ideas, understand what you need to start selling online, and create your online store, it's important to have a business plan. This document will be useful to guide you through several processes, and it should contain:

  • Business concept
  • Goals and vision
  • What you are going to sell
  • The highlights of your products or services
  • Target market
  • Potential customers profile
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial plan

8. Start Selling

Set up the sales channels you have chosen, upload the products, choose the payment and shipping methods, and start your online business. Keep track of every order, make sure they are delivered properly, and respect the delivery deadline. 

Enjoy tools like Google Analytics to analyze your online store performance and know your target audience even better. Data like time spent on product pages, source of traffic, and the number of abandoned carts, will give you a bigger understanding of what are the weak and strong points of your company, so you can improve continuously. 

Top 20 Platforms to Start Selling Books Online

1. Wix

Create your own Ecommerce with Wix today

Wix is one of the best platforms to create your website to sell books online because it offers a user-friendly interface, which simplest the whole process for you. 

No design or coding skills are required, you will start by creating your account and choosing one of the business plans offered: Basic, Unlimited, or Vip. But, no worries about making the wrong choice, in all of them you will have the 14-day trial, so you can test everything you need. 

Wix offers more than 500 free pre-built templates, divided into categories such as product landing pages, portfolios,  accessories stores, beauty shops, supermarkets, and fashion stores. After defining the one you want to use, it’s up to you to customize the entire store, to turn it into your brand’s face. 

Then, you will add the products, choose the payment and shipping methods, create your domain name, and you are ready to launch. To help in this process, tWix has some very useful features, for example, Wix Payments where you can set up payment methods without having to add third parties. 

Wix also has an automated sales tax calculator, making it easier to define the prices. Beyond that, you will have a mobile-friendly ecommerce,  where you can set multi-channels to make your sales, like using social media, and manage everything from one dashboard. 

Highlighted features: 

  • More than 500 free templates
  • Wix payments
  • Automated sales tax
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Currency converter
  • Express Checkout
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Multichannel inventory management
  • Built-in SEO tools
  • Wix Owner app

2. Shopify

Shopify logo

Shopify is one of the most popular solutions to start selling books online, and quickly create your ecommerce. You can choose between more than 70 customizable, responsive themes, and adjust everything according to your business needs with the drag-and-drop builder. 

To offer the main payment option, such as credit cards, there is no need to add third parties, you can use Shopify Payments. Regarding managing your online store, you will have access to a dashboard that is easy to navigate through. You can see valuable data about the sales and your audience, using it to improve your business plan

The management area is accessible by Shopify mobile app too, you can control everything wherever you are. Besides, you will be able to add more than 6 thousand apps to help you grow your business, including marketing and social media tools. 

Highlighted features:

  • Drag-and-drop store builder
  • Shopify Payments system
  • Mobile-friendly design
  • Built-in SEO tools
  • Easy-to-use dashboard
  • Shopify mobile app
  • Synced inventory across all your sales channels

3. Bluehost

Unlimited hosting services by Bluehost

With Bluehost, you can have the website of your dreams. Choose your domain name and the hosting plan that best suits your needs, then select a pre-built template. You can customize all the pages, create your online portfolio, add pictures, texts, graphic elements, and much more. 

To guarantee the quality of your website, Bluehost offers automated security updates, backup data protection, and 24/7 customer support. If there is any problem, you can count on specialized assistance. 

To enhance user experience and make it easier to manage your online store, you can install multiple plugins to the website too. To help you increase organic traffic, the platform provides SEO tools, and you can check the performance of the pages with the analytics dashboard. 

Highlighted features:

  • Free domain
  • Free SSL
  • Free CDN
  • Pre-built templates
  • Insightful analytics
  • Automated security updates
  • Backup data protection
  • 24/7 support
  • SEO tools
  • Powerful plugins

4. SITE123

Site123 logo

Site123 offers many features to build a complete online bookstore and facilitate the management process. Focused on small businesses, your ecommerce store will be quickly ready, you choose a template, customize it, establish the type of your store, add your products, and define taxes and shipping rates.

After launching, you can easily manage the inventory and orders at the Site123 dashboard, which can be accessed on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. 

As payment methods, you will be able to add the main credit cards, PayPal, and other major payment gateways. In case of any doubt, you can count on 24/7  live chat support, and, to ensure your customers’ security, you will have SSL certificates.  

Highlighted features:

  • Many types of payment platforms
  • Manage shipping and tax rates inside the system
  • Automated store inventory
  • Choose the accepted currencies
  • SSL Certificates
  • Sell from any device
  • 24/7 live support

5. Webnode

Webnode logo

Webnode allows you to migrate a website that you already have or create a new one. You will find several templates to opt for the one that suits you best and customize it, including choosing the idiom. The system has 24 language versions, offers an unlimited number of pages, and allows you to edit on any device.

You can add new products in a few minutes, just upload the pictures, write the description, set prices, and click to publish. Every time there is an order at your store, you receive a notification, you can manage the status order, notify your clients, and archive the fulfilled orders. 

Regardless of the template you choose, all of them are mobile-friendly, improving customer experience. Also, you can set different payment methods, credit cards, wire transfers, Stripe, and PayPal, among others. 

Highlighted features: 

  • Responsive store templates
  • Store statistics
  • Quick and simple checkout
  • Import products in bulk
  • Export to price comparison sites
  • GDPR friendly
  • Cookie consent bar
  • Integrates with Google Analytics

6. Shoplazza

Shoplazza logo

Shoplazza offers you an easy-to-use platform to sell books online You can choose a pre-built theme, then use the drag-and-drop online store builder to customize the pages as you wish. 

You will count on an inventory management system to make it simpler when it comes to organizing the stock and the orders. The platform stops sales when the inventory reaches zero, avoiding selling out-of-stock items. You can upload an unlimited number of products and customize up to 300 product variants.

You even have the option to add the buy button on other websites and blogs, which weren’t created by Shoplazza, so you can sell in more places. Improve the checkout process using the platform AI (artificial intelligence) suggestions. 

Highlighted features:

  • Pre-built templates
  • Drag-and-drop online store button
  • Inventory management system
  • Marketing tools
  • SEO tools
  • Staff accounts
  • Multiple payment options
  • Shipping partners

7. BigCommerce

BigCommerce logo

BigCommerce Essential is focused on entrepreneurs who are starting their businesses and allows you to create a website store with no complications. Before launching your ecommerce you can start a trial and develop your website with customizable templates. 

You can set your domain, install plugins to leading page providers, and sell at other platforms by integrating channels, such as Amazon, eBay, and Google, and manage everything from BigCommerce. 

Another feature is the possibility to easily manage your inventory and integrate it with online and offline channels. To help you improve, you can count on 24/7 support, including advice from BigCommerce experts. They also have webinars, tutorials, and guides. 

Highlighted features:

  • Customizable URLs
  • Plugin POS integration to leading providers
  • Channels integration
  • Optimized one-page checkout 
  • Shopping cart recovery
  • Inventory management tools
  • 24/7 support
  • Product filtering for searches
  • Built-in coupons and discounting

8. Ecwid

Ecwid page

Are you looking for a free ecommerce website builder? Ecwid allows you to create your store without having to pay anything and upgrade to a paid plan only if you want it. The free plan allows you to sell on different channels, like Facebook, Instagram, or Amazon, and simply manage everything with a centralized inventory.

You can develop and control your marketing strategies on the same dashboard, for example, by creating and following up on Google and Facebook ads performance, sending automated messages to your clients, and integrating with Mailchimp.

Ecwid enables you to include several payment methods, more than 50 options, in a fast and safe way. Besides, you can choose as many shipping options as you want.

Highlighted features:

  • Create your online store for free
  • Customizable design tools
  • Sell on social media
  • Centralized inventory
  • Manage your marketing actions in one place
  • Integrates with Mailchimp
  • Real-time shipping rates

9. WooCommerce

WooCommerce logo

Are you looking for an ecommerce builder that works perfectly for WordPress websites? No doubt, WooCommerce is the best solution for that, because it was built on WordPress, which means considering all the necessary features to perfectly sync with it.

If you already have a WordPress website, what you are going to do is to add the WooCommerce plugin and customize your store with pre-built templates. But, if you don’t have it, you can start by creating your account and setting up the site along with your online store. 

One of the greatest advantages of WooCommerce is that you can add several extensions such as TaxJar, Google Ads, Mailchimp, ShipStation, Jetpack, and Facebook. They are going to help you manage your strategies in a more centralized way, and also improve the customer experience. 

Built with a REST API, Woo Commerce was thought to be a scalable tool, which means it is able to adapt according to your business needs, as you grow. To enhance your performance and learn from others, you will count on a  huge global community and be able to participate in several meetups. 

Highlighted features:

  • Built on WordPress
  • Customizable, open-source ecommerce platform
  • 140 specific payment gateways
  • Live shipping rates
  • Marketing integrations
  • Support forum
  • Set prices in multiple currencies
  • Create multilingual content
  • Scalable platform 
  • Hundreds of extensions
  • Manage the store from your mobile device
  • Track your stats
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

10. Jumpseller

Jumpseller logo

When you understand how to start selling books online, one important part is making your products stand out. Having customizable mobile-friendly templates will make that task much easier, and Jumpseller offers it. You can edit all the pages the way you wish, including the checkout, and have your store set up in different languages, besides you can set up an online portfolio.

Jumpseller is partnered with shipping companies, allowing you to save money by using the discounts offered, and other facilities like print labels. You can expand your business by accepting payments from different currencies and using local payment methods. 

The ecommerce builder has an all-in-one platform where you can manage different sales channels on the same dashboard, and create marketing strategies too.

Highlighted features:

  • Customizable theme
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Translate your store into several languages
  • Create your domain
  • Discounts with partnered shipping carriers
  • Accept various currencies
  • Connect to social media
  • Sell in several channels

11. Strikingly

Strikingly logo

Strikingly enables you to easily create your online store. You will find a big amount of customizable templates, which are easy to edit and all of them have a responsive design. 

The platform offers 4 different plans, Free, Limited, Pro, and VIP, all of which can include an online store. 

You should pay attention, though, to the number of products each plan allows you to add. For example, in the free plan, you can sell only one product. On the ecommerce management dashboard, you can connect to PayPal or Stripe, easily set shipping methods, and add coupons. 

Besides, Strikingly has tools to help you create membership logins, and forms, set up email marketing, and direct your customers to your social media pages. 

Highlighted features: 

  • Register a new domain or use one you already have
  • Analytics built-in
  • HTTPS built-in
  • Easily customizable templates
  • Add links to your social media pages
  • 24/7 support
  • Create and manage forms
  • Register memberships

12. Weebly

Weebly logo

Enabling artists to develop professional websites to sell their work is a simpler task with Weebly. With customizable themes, you can edit the one you choose and easily create a unique store by using the drag-and-drop builder. 

Weebly also offers several marketing tools, for example, you can send a welcome email to new customers or a special discount when you see an abandoned cart. You can also analyze your ecommerce performance through SEO tools and install a huge variety of apps to make the customer experience even better. 

You can launch and manage your store from anywhere, using the mobile app on your smartphone or tablet. The inventory is easily tracked, and, in case of needing to add a big number of products at the same time, you can bulk import.

Highlighted features:

  • Customizable themes
  • Marketing tools
  • SEO tools
  • Several apps to install
  • Real-time shipping rates
  • Bulk import
  • Coupon builder
  • Product search
  • Automatic tax calculator

13. WiziShop

WiziShop logo

WiziShop enables you to build a website that is technically ready for SEO, which helps to get your pages to rank better in search engines like Google. You will have the flexibility to develop your pages as you wish, starting by selecting a professionally designed pre-built template that suits your needs. Customize it to align with your brand’s identity.

WiziShop has all the necessary tools to design the website pages, promote your online store, and manage it.  To enhance customer experience, you can include banners, customer reviews, abandoned cart follow-ups, and much more. 

You will also count on Wizishop’s CMS (Content Management System) to create a personalized sales funnel and develop marketing strategies. You can choose the payment system that suits your company best, set the delivery methods, create a domain name, and start selling. 

Highlighted features:

  • Pre-built templates
  • Responsive design
  • SEO tools
  • CMS
  • Website hosting
  • Analytical tools
  • Email marketing

14. Pixpa

Pixpa home page

This website builder allows you to showcase, sell and share your work online. You can use templates made for small businesses and online stores, then customize it as you see better. The platform is easy to use and provides you with several tools, like built-in SEO, pre-built content blocks, and customizable forms. 

With an easy-to-use interface, you can quickly create an attractive bookstore, which will drive the attention of your target audience. You can also count on a responsive design, which means your website will work perfectly on a desktop computer or on a mobile device. 

Highlighted features:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Pre-built templates
  • Responsive design
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Built-in SEO tools
  • Pre-built content blocks

15. Amazon

Amazon logo

Amazon is certainly one of the most known marketplaces in the world and has an enormous base of customers who like to buy books there. One advantage of selling books in this marketplace is that you can sell e-books as well. People who use the Amazon e-reader, Kindle, can use the device to buy e-books directly from it. 

Besides, the marketplace has a program called Kindle Direct Publish that allows you to self-publish your work, and earn money from it. In just a few minutes your e-book will be available on Amazon, and you also have the option to make and sell physical copies. 

Highlighted features: 

  • Worldwide known
  • Easy-to-use
  • Sell ebooks on Kindle
  • Established base of customers
  • Self-publish program
  • Inventory management tools

16. BookDeal

BookDeal logo

BookDeal is a marketplace developed for selling books online. If you don't want to start a business, just sell your old books, for example, the ones you used in college, that's the right place. When you upload a product, customers can bid on it, and the highest offer wins.

The platform is easy to use, and with an intuitive interface, you will be able to quickly announce the books for sale. They also have a wide network of reliable book-buying companies, and guarantee you will get paid.

Highlighted features:

  • It's easy to find the highest offer
  • Simple selling process
  • Wide network of reliable book-buying companies
  • Payment guarantee
  • Free shipping

17. AbeBooks

AbeBooks

AbeBooks is a marketplace focused on selling books, art, and collectibles. If you want to sell vintage books and rare editions, that's an interesting platform to put the products available because they already have customers looking for exactly this kind of item. 

To become a seller on AbeBooks, you need to create an account and you will be charged a monthly fee. They offer support to help you with the selling process, if necessary, and there are several free tools as well. 

Highlighted features: 

  • Easy to use
  • Sell books worldwide
  • Reach millions of potential customers
  • Free tools
  • Customer support

18. Powell's Books

Powell's Books logo

Powell's is a bookstore that will buy the items you wish to sell and make them available in their store. It's a simple solution if you don't want to create your own bookstore and if you wish to make extra money by selling books you don't want to keep anymore. 

To sell them it's very simple. All you have to do is access Powell's Books website, click on the option "sell books", then click on "sell your books online". After that, you have to add the product by scanning the book, typing the ISBN, or uploading a photo of it that shows the ISBN. 

Highlighted features:

  • Easy to use
  • Quick payment
  • Receive your payment through PayPal
  • Sell used books

19. BookScouter

BookScouter logo

BookScouter is a platform developed for textbooks ecommerce. You will sell your textbooks to more than 30  vendors that are registered on this platform. It's an opportunity to earn money by selling textbooks you don't use anymore, instead of just throwing them away.  

Once you upload the books you wish to sell, you can compare the offers made and easily encounter the highest one. It's possible to track price changes and get price alerts too. Enjoy BookScouter mobile app to easily scan the books you will sell.

Highlighted features:

  • More than 30 buyback vendors
  • Track prices
  • Get price alerts
  • Mobile app

20. Blurb

Blurb logo

Blurb enables you to self-publish your books and sell them online in multiple stores. You can choose the best format for your book, set the price, and also enjoy creation tools to design the book the way you have envisioned it. 

The platform offers many distribution options too. You can sell your books on Amazon and in more than 39,000 bookstores. If you prefer, you can print on demand, so your book will only be printed when it's sold.  

Highlighted features:

  • Self-publish your books
  • Sell on Amazon
  • Sell in more than 39,000 bookstores
  • Online sales tools
  • Flexible creation tools

Put Your Idea into Practice: Start Selling Books Online

Don't waste time, start selling books online and take your project out of the paper. Whether you want to self-publish or sell your old books or new ones, there is a huge market to be explored on the internet. Enjoy this opportunity and remember that committing mistakes is part of setting up a business, the most important is to learn from them and always seek to improve.

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