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Selling books through Amazon: how does it work?

Selling books through Amazon is not something new, but it is for the Dutch-speaking market. Previously, Amazon was used by authors to make their book available in the English-language market. Dutch-language books were hardly offered there.

Now that Amazon also operates in the Netherlands, the situation is changing. For Dutch authors, this is a great opportunity to sell their book on Amazon. But how exactly does it work, what are the costs and what does it ultimately provide? We’ll tell you all about it in this article.

Good to know about Amazon

At the time of writing, Amazon as a book supplier is not yet very big in the Netherlands. Relative to other online bookstores, they have not yet managed to establish a strong market position.

This is partly because shipping times are longer. It is possible to order a book through Amazon with rush delivery, but additional shipping costs will be added.

Looking to the future, however, we can assume that Amazon’s position as a book supplier will increase significantly. After all, Amazon got so big for a reason. Besides books, you can offer virtually any product on Amazon’s platform. Click the link to quickly learn more about how to sell products on Amazon.

Why sell your book through Amazon?

Selling your book through Amazon can offer several benefits. First of all, Amazon is one of the largest brand names in the world. Link this brand name to your book, so to speak, and this will give confidence to the consumer.

In fact, individuals may spontaneously buy your book when they are actually looking for something completely different. The more people who read your book, the better it will be for sales, provided it is a good book at least.

Furthermore, Amazon Prime members can enjoy the benefits of fast delivery and great customer service. This often lowers the barrier to purchase.

How can I sell my book on Amazon?

You probably landed on this page because you want to know how to start selling your book on Amazon. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

So below we’ve outlined a simple step-by-step plan for you, so you’ll immediately know how it works and what to consider when you start selling your book through Amazon.

1. Register yourself as a seller on Amazon

The very first step you need to take to start selling books through Amazon is to create a business sales account. Go to Amazon’s site and register yourself as a seller.

To sign up as a seller, you must be registered with the Chamber of Commerce (CoC). In fact, selling on Amazon as an individual is not possible.

After registration, it may take a few days for data verification. Therefore, start creating a business account early if you plan to sell your book on Amazon.

2. Choose the right sales plan

Amazon offers sellers flexibility by offering two different sales plans. Thus, you have the option of choosing the “individual sales plan” or the “professional sales plan.

The difference between the two sales plans is mainly in cost. For example, for the individual plan you pay a fixed amount per item sold, while for the professional plan you pay a fixed amount per month.

If you are going to sell a book through Amazon, an individual sales plan is often enough to start with. From the moment you sell more than 35 copies per month, it may be an option to switch to professional sales plan.

You don’t have to worry about making the wrong choice. In fact, it is possible to switch to a different sales plan at any time.

3. Apply for an ISBN for your book

To list your book on Amazon, you need an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). This is a unique number by which your book can be identified. As a result, bookstores and platforms such as Amazon always know which book and in which appearance it is. The ISBN is one of the bar codes on Amazon that is widely used.

If you are going to publish your book, applying for an ISBN is the second step in the publishing process. If you publish your book through an approved publisher, this will be arranged for you and the cost of this will also be for the publisher.

Do you choose to self-publish your book? Then, of course, you also need to apply for an ISBN yourself. The cost for one ISBN is a one-time fee of € 109.15 (excluding 21% VAT).

4. Set the price for your book

Determining the price for your book can be tricky at one time or another. Of course, you don’t want people not to buy your book because of too high a price. However, too low a price is usually not a good choice either.

Because of the Fixed Book Price Act, you may not offer your book cheaper than the set price. This protects authors from low margins, especially new authors.

Always choose a reasonable price that yourself would spare for a book, and specifically for your book. When doing this, also keep in mind the costs (more on this later) to avoid barely getting anything out of it.

5. Add the book to your sales catalog

Now that you’ve gathered all the necessary details and created a sales account on Amazon, it’s time to add your book to the sales catalog.

In the Seller Central (dashboard of your sales account), you can easily add new products to your sales catalog. From here it is also possible to start selling internationally on Amazon.

Provide good images, a clear title and description of the book. Try to optimize the Amazon product page as much as possible for the best sales results. In doing so, you can optimize the product page so that it shows up in Amazon’s Buy box, generating more visitors and thus more sales.

What are the costs of selling books on Amazon?

The cost of selling books on Amazon depends on several factors. Consider the choice of sales plan, any shipping costs and the commission for Amazon.

  • Sales plan: depending on the sales plan chosen, costs may vary. For the individual sales plan, you pay $0.99 per item sold. With the professional sales plan, you pay a fixed monthly fee of €39, regardless of the number of items sold.
  • Shipping costs: Amazon charges a flat fee of $1.99 for shipping costs to the customer. You receive this amount as a seller. But if it ends up costing more to ship the book, the additional shipping costs are at your own expense.
  • Sales commission: for selling media items on Amazon, you pay a sales commission per item. In doing so, a distinction is made between different categories. For books, you pay a fixed sales commission of €1.01 per book sold.
  • Referral fee: the referral fee is basically also a kind of commission you pay to Amazon. Again, this distinguishes between several categories. For books, there is a flat rate of 15% of the sales price, including the credited shipping costs.

In addition to the fees you pay to Amazon, you obviously have to deal with printing costs and the cost of packing and shipping the books. Always keep this in mind when pricing your book.

What does it pay to sell a book through Amazon?

We have now discussed all sorts of things, from how to sell a book through Amazon to the costs involved. Ultimately, of course, you want to know what it will get you.

To give you an idea about the profitability of selling a book through Amazon, we are going to go through an example with you. For this example, we will use a book with a retail price of €25.

If you sell a €25 book through Amazon, your revenue is €26.99 (selling price + €1.99 shipping). However, there are still a number of costs to be subtracted from this.


  • €0.99 per item sold (in case of individual sales plan)
  • € 4,- shipping costs (rate for sending letterbox package in the Netherlands)
  • €1.01 sales commission
  • €4.05 referral fee (15% of €26.99)

The total cost of selling one copy in this case comes to €10.05. So it yields sales of €16.94 (€26.99 – €10.05) including VAT.

Books are subject to a 9% VAT rate. So the profit you end up with after deducting VAT comes to €15.54 (€16.94 – €1.40).

Please note that for your book, you will obviously also pay printing and packing and shipping costs. These vary quite a bit by printing company and the operations you need to perform. However, always keep this in mind.

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Sell book through multiple sales channels

Selling books on Amazon can be a step in the right direction toward greater brand awareness. However, there are other sales channels where it is possible to sell your book(s) on, think

If you start selling your book through multiple sales channels, you can quickly lose track. With e-tailize’s platform, you centralize and automate product and inventory management, and fulfillment from one place.

With more than 100 integrations of different marketplaces, you manage all sales channels from one convenient dashboard.

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Also take advantage of our handy advertize and analyze tool. This allows you to create and manage ads for multiple marketplaces simultaneously. Receive insightful data on ad performance and optimize as needed.

With e-tailize, you will boost your sales and make sure you can manage all your sales channels from one place. Schedule a free demo and discover the possibilities of e-tailize.

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