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Web Marketplace, Books, Movies & Music

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88% positive

107 reviews from the community

Review of " Marketplace"

published 01/02/2005 | helencbradshaw
Member since : 29/07/2001
Reviews : 310
Members who trust : 302
About me :
thinks Ciao readership is getting a little outdated in its expectations in the digital age.
Pro Great rates possible for 2nd hand books; buyers make savings too
Cons Can be a little tricky to navigate the Seller site, buyers may be disadvantage by postage costs
very helpful

"SalesPerson Wanted - No Experience Necessary"
------------------------------------ has been around in the UK since 1998, (hard to believe it is only 7 years!!) and is one of the world's biggest online stores. In my regular dealings with them, Amazon are a company which consistently offers good customer service and good value for money. It is perhaps lesser known that also has a very active Market Place division, in which both individual members of the public, and even other organisations selling books can register as a trader and market their wares.


There are a number of ways in which you can sell via Amazon. Individual users (over the age of 18) can register and upload the items you want to sell and provide a fixed price for the item. Alternatively there is an auction option, similar to websites such as Ebay. Finally bulk sellers may open a zShop, which allows them to sell goods not generally available on the main site.

To sell an item on Amazon, you follow the links from the Seller homepage, to upload an item and search for the book/videogame/DVD/video etc that it is you wish to sell. You should take care to ensure that you locate the exact edition, or at the very least if the edition is no longer on Amazon as it is out of print, for example, then making a note of this in the general comments Is perfectly acceptable. (I sold a business book for £20 last week, doing exactly that).

You need to consider the price you wish to market your product at. Amazon will give you an indication of the lowest price available for an item in the condition that you are advertising, e.g. New, Used as New, Average etc. I tend to try and undercut or match this price, as this will push your item to the top of the queue for anyone searching for the item. One of the positive aspects of listing popular books is that there is always a market for them, but on the downside, prices are competitive and are often available starting from one pence. I tend to have more obscure books in my listings in the main, rather than chart type books, but the downside to this is they can take longer to sell.

It is of course very important to BE HONEST about the condition of the goods you are selling. For books, this obviously means a description of the condition. When I read books I do my utmost not to break the spines, and would list these as Used, as New. (I am careful who I lend my books to, as some people show no respect whatsoever!!!). However, if it is in average condition, then say so, and just charge less; someone will buy it!

Attempting to sell books via Amazon is free. Your listing will show for sixty days, after which time you will receive an email offering to relist. I have often found if I relist I can review the price, and alter it if necessary, resulting in a quick sale thereafter. Amazon takes a relatively hefty 17.25% of the sale price in its own fees, plus an 86p completion fee per item. However, your buyer is automatically charged a postage and packing fee, which is typically £2.75 for books and videos, and £1.24 for DVD's and CD's. The postage is often less than this, especially if you post second class, and so the surplus from the postage helps to cover the fees.

If you sell over 30 items a month, then it could be more cost effective to take out a Pro Merchant Subscription. The item fee is waived and the commissions are lower, however the fixed cost is £28.75 a month including VAT.

I find selling on Amazon tends to be more lucrative than selling books on Ebay, which tend to start at 99p with no reserve. I once bought a James Patterson book for 1p from a book club, read it in two hours and sold it on Amazon two days later for £9.73 including postage! I have found some video games sell at reasonable prices too, averaging £11.50 to £23.50 for recent sales - much more than a games shop may offer.

Sellers have the option to sell worldwide, or just to the UK or EU. I stick with the UK, as I don't feel for many books that there would be much of an overseas market in any case.

When selling on Amazon, you commit to despatch of the item within a 2 day period. Obviously there are times when you may not be able to achieve this, if you are away from home for any reason, and for this reason you must update your "Holiday Settings" meaning your books will not be listed until you are available to fulfil the orders. You should also keep your email address up to date with Amazon, as not doing so will mean you will miss confirmed orders and is against the terms and conditions of the site.

When you make a sale, you will receive an email, which runs to three pages, breaking down the sale item, the charges and fees, and incorporating both a delivery label and a packing slip! One very minor frustration with this email is that the address often ends up split over two pieces of paper when you print the email out, and so the delivery note becomes worthless! Just a minor gripe!

Today I even managed to load another 26 books, and sell one within a couple of hours for £9.50 plus £2.75 postage..! Since writing this review eight days ago, I have sold 6 books; one fetching nearly £18!!

There is a Seller Discussion Board on the site, but most messages are placed by the Seller Announcements Team, and the board itself is not particularly active.

Earnings and Payment
This will of course vary enormously depending on how many items you sell, but I have been selling consistently for the last six months and have grossed over £400. I still have about eighty items listed too. During the month of January I have sold approximately 20 items, from as little as £2.49 for a demo copy DVD to a handful of items around the £20 mark. Some may never shift, but it isn't costing me anything to have them there. Old business and college books are a good source of income, especially if you haven't scrawled all over them, as these can be expensive new, yet are essential course material for students. However, if they are well thumbed and used properly, then they probably aren't so sellable!

Earnings from your sales, less fees and commission are swept into your designated bank account every couple of weeks automatically. You can go in and manually effect this transfer too, but in all honesty it doesn't speed the process up much and so I tend just to let Amazon do the work every two weeks.

Buying from Amazon Marketplace is as straightforward as buying from the main site itself. If you have used Amazon you will have noticed a box to the right of the item offering New and Used items for sale from other sources. Clicking used will bring you to all the sellers offering that item, with a summary of the asking price, seller feedback and delivery restrictions. You simply make your sellection and add this to your basket, and proceed through the checkout as normal.

However one big downside to buying from a seller as opposed to Amazon direct can be the additional postage costs incurred. Items bought from Auctions, Zshops and individual sellers do not count towards a total for supersaver delivery, so if you want to make a few purchases, you would be better off buying from the site directly, with the additional cost of the item being offset by the saving on postage.

You do have some protection when purchasing from an Amazon registered seller, and Amazon will intervene on your behalf if you find an order is not fulfilled and you do not hear from the seller. You can also cancel the order prior to despatch in the same way you can cancel a regular order.

It is useful if you do make a successful purchase, that you leave feedback for the seller, as this starts to build up a profile of that seller and how reliable they are, in much the same way as an Ebay profile. Unfortunately not all buyers do go back and do this - I have sold over 50 items, but have got less than ten with feedback (all excellent, if I might add).

For buyers, navigation is straightforward and is not very different from making a regular purchase from the site. However for Sellers, I find I still struggle with navigating my way around, despite having been registered as a seller for a couple of years, and selling regularly over the last 6-8 months. It was only a couple of weeks ago, that I worked out how to get into my Seller page easily!!

I often experience problems up loading books, not being able to find the link, yet at other times, I can upload 20 in a row…I also find it difficult to look at my complete sales history over the last two years - I know a few weeks ago I found all my sales summarised on one page, but I struggled to find it again more recently, and even tonight, when trying to check my total sales - but I know it is there somewhere, although I appear to have gone through every single option!!!

There are two new Beta Tools for Sellers, to manage inventory and orders, and these are supposed to work fully, however the transactions side still causes problems for me.

The seller site is a secure site, and you will find you are asked for your password quite a bit as you navigate between different pages.

Disputes and Refunds
Generally speaking, sellers and buyers are left to resolve issues between themselves although Amazon will soon step in, if an order is not fulfilled for example. Communication is key, as is good service. I always email my buyers as soon as I receive the confirmation email, and I advise them that I am despatching the item and by what method and when (within the 48 hour window). I also ask them to leave feedback on my account once they receive the item if they get time. It is also important to take care when wrapping the item and to get a Certificate of posting at the very least, or send recorded delivery even.

I have found as I have been selling more items recently, I have had more queries to deal with. I accidentally listed an item in the wrong category (a game), however when the buyer informed me of this, I just advised her to return it and I would refund her account, and relist. She never has, so I assume she either kept it or sold it on herself! I had a query from a buyer whose book had not arrived after five days, however she did receive it in the end. I also had two damaged DVD's which were fine when I posted them, but seemed to have been damaged in the DVD case during delivery. I just asked the buyers to return these for a refund. This taught me the importance of keeping good records, and making sure packaging is as tight as possible as both DVD's appear to have been damaged in the same way. Jiffy bags are useful for paperbacks and CD's.

Amazon Marketplace is to me what Ebay is to a lot of people. Granted it is not as addictive from a purchasing perspective but I have acquired a lot of books over the years, and I find this an enjoyable and money making way of disposing of the books I am unlikely to read again most effectively; parcticularly compared to car boot sales or Ebay.

Becoming a seller is straightforward and pain free, and I am amazed at the earnings I have made over the last six months in particular. I have found handling transactions with buyers and even handling disputes to be straightforward, and if you operate a no quibble refund attitude then there really is nothing to worry about. It doesn't take up a lot of time to manage your inventory and fulfil orders, and can make a nice little bit of extra cash for you, if you have books, old video games or DVD's you no longer want. My only quibble with the service is the difficulties in Navigating around the Seller site, but that is constantly being updated as bugs are fixed.

Recommended four Stars with one deducted for navigation difficulties

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Comments on this review

  • justathought published 13/05/2008
    Excellent review - answered all possible questions and then some! x
  • Simplesimon published 19/04/2008
    Great review 'E' from me
  • kimbahop published 30/07/2007
    Very detailed review!
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Product Information : Marketplace

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Web Marketplace, Books, Movies & Music

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Type: Books, Movies & Music; Web Marketplace

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Listed on Ciao since: 04/09/2002