How to Sell your used Kindle on eBay – Part 2

Posted on July 16, 2009

sellebayThis is the second post of a 4 part series. See links at the bottom of this page for related posts.

eBay is the world's largest online marketplace for buyers and sellers. Years ago when eBay was young, selling was like living in the wild west...almost anything goes. Today, eBay has evolved into a mature and trusted marketplace with millions of users and many tools and options for sellers to choose from. All of these choices can be quite confusing and costly for a new seller if they don't understand the process.

In my 6+ years of selling over 1,500 items on eBay, I know that the marketplace is a constantly evolving and eBay responds with changes to their selling tools and rules 2-3 times a year. So what is mentioned here today may not apply in a year from now but most of the basic principals will still work.

Getting Started

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

The first thing you will need to sell on eBay is a user account. If you are new to eBay then you will need to Register for a Free Account. Click the "register" link at the top of the page and enter all the required information to setup your eBay account. You will need to confirm your account via email which eBay will send to you after the registration form is submitted.

Selling on eBay (within the USA) will also require you to accept online payments via PayPal or through a merchant account. Most buyers like making purchases via PayPal because it protects them from fraud and it is easy to use. PayPal is owned by eBay and is recommended for new and smaller sellers since there are no monthly fees, although fees do apply per transaction. Signing up for a PayPal Account is easy to do and integrates smoothly with your eBay account.

Research

Before jumping straight to listing your item, a smart seller will do some research on similar items sold. This will help you determine the average sold price, demand and competition (other sellers) you may encounter. This information is important in setting a selling strategy that meets your goals. The quickest (and free) method of research is using eBay's search function.

First search all ACTIVE listings to determine how many kindle readers are currently available.

But this is only half the story. You really want to know what they sold for when the auction ended. You can search completed items using eBay's Advanced Search.

Here you can search using all sorts of criteria include the "Complete Items". I have included a sample screenshot below that I used to search sold Kindle 1 units. Note the ability to use negative keywords to exclude items not wanted in the results.

click link to enlarge

click link to enlarge

The results will show both sold (in green) and unsold items (in red) for that last two weeks. You only want to look at sold items and click on the listings that sold for the highest prices. Look at individual sold listings and pay particular attention to their listing strategy (ex. start price, buy-it-now, number of days listed, pictures, description, return policy, etc.) Quickly analyze what seems to work best and do the same.

My thoughts: There is strong demand for used kindle readers, especially if you are willing to ship outside the USA (Amazon currently only sells Kindle readers in the USA). Resale values also remain high on eBay making your Kindle purchase a good investment.

Advanced Research Tools

If you plan on selling more items on a regularly basis and need better research tools with more historical data, then I suggest using premium services like TeraPeak or Hammertap.


Know when to sell on eBay

Selling Methods

There are essentially 2 main ways to sell on eBay, Auction Style format and Buy-it-Now format. There are a few variations to both selling formats and can be used in combination. I will go over the benefits of each but only you can decide which format meets your needs.

  • Auction Style
    • 1,3,5,7,10 day auctions can help build excitement
    • Lower starting price gets more bidders involved
    • Lower fees vs. Buy-it-Now
    • Final value can actually end higher than you expected
    • Can include a Buy-It-Now option
  • Buy-it-Now Style
    • 3,5,7,10,30 day listings
    • You determine the sale price
    • Can create a sense of urgency
    • Best Offer option
    • Item can be sold within hours if priced right
    • Works well with limited buyers

My thoughts: I have had better success selling Kindles for higher value using the auction format (3 or 5 days) vs. Buy-it-Now. Since demand is high I know that an item will most likely meet or exceed the average market value, which is why I will start my auction bidding at under $1.

Selling Fees

CalculatorWelcome to the confusing world of eBay fees. Unfortunately, every option or setting you choose to use may come at a price. There are three different types of fees that will apply when selling on eBay:

  • Listing Fees - These fees apply to the various listing options you select when posting up your item. Choices like starting price, multiple photos, best offer etc. can increase the listing fee. Also keep in mind that auction format choices also affect final value fees. Please Note: eBay just released a new promotion that lets low volume sellers list up to 5 items using the Sell Your Item page for free but the catch is a higher final value fee.
  • Final Value Fees - This is the fee which is charged when your item sells. Final value fees (FVF) are not charged to your account if the item does not sell. Depending on the listing format, the FVF will vary but it will generally cost you somewhere in the range between 5-8% of the sold value.
  • Payment Processing Fees - The digital transfer of monies (via PayPal or a credit card merchant account) also comes at a price. Most likely you will be using PayPal to receive the money for your kindle. PayPal charges the typical seller 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction. If you sell your item to an international buyer, tack on an additional 1% to a rate of 3.9% + 30 cents. Volume sellers can get better rates but that is only applicable if you processing thousands of dollars monthly.

As you can see there are quite a lot of fees that eat at your bottom line when selling on eBay. I suggest you use a free online tool like the eBay Fee Calculator to get a better handle on how these fees will impact you.

Selling Category

eBay organizes the auctions by product categories. There are several hundred categories to choose from because eBay sells just about everything which is why they use the slogan "You can find it on eBay" in their advertising. Fortunately, there is really only one category used for selling a kindle...

Listing Title

This is one of the most important aspects of your auction listing and is how people will find it using eBay's search feature. You have 55 characters available in the title that should be maximized with keywords that describe your item.

For example, "nice used kindle" is not effective because people don't search for "nice" and it doesn't maximize the title length.

Why not use something like "Amazon Kindle 1 Wireless eBook Reader w/Original Box". See how the title now uses keywords that a buyer would most likely enter to search for that item?

Listing Description

The listing description is where you should put all of the important detail about the item you are selling. Be as detailed as possible when describing the condition and any other pertinant information. This will help buyers feel more comfortable about the item and minimizes the number of question (via email) you may receive about it.

Be sure to cover the following things in the item description when listing a Kindle:

  • Detailed Description - Describe all items included in auction (i.e. power cords, box, etc.)
  • Condition - Describe working condition, physical defects or any problems with operation use.
  • Shipping Info - Let buyers know how soon you will ship item after payment. Be sure to tell buyers their costs for shipping either in the description or using the shipping calculator.
  • Returns/Refunds - Let buyers know if you accept returns and the terms/timeframes that would qualify for a refund.
  • Payments - Let buyers know what the acceptable time period is for payment.

Photographs

As they say...pictures are worth a thousand words. On eBay, it directly affects sale price so you want to include several pictures of the actual item up for sale. Try to avoid using stock photos from manufacturer's websites. Buyers want to see "real" pictures of the item their buying and using stock photos is most likely a copyright violation that could have your listing cancelled.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Posting your Listing

The easiest way to post an item up on eBay is using their Sell Your Item form. This method is best for beginning or low volume sellers but if you plan on selling more frequently on eBay, auction management software can save you time, money and has more features. I would recommend tools like InkFrog or Auctiva but both come with a monthly subscription cost or eBay's free tool called Turbo Lister. Most of the listing tools have built-in WYSIWYG editors so you can create nicely formatted listings with knowing HTML code.

During the Auction

Watching your auction get bids is exciting. There really isn't much to do while the auction is running except answer questions that you may receive via email. I suggest you respond quickly (less than 24 hours) to all questions which can prevent any misunderstandings later on.

Closing the Deal

Once the item is sold and paid for, it is your responsibility to pack safely and ship it out in a timely fashion. Always, let the buyer know when the item was shipped and supply a tracking number if possible. In the event that a problem does occur, act responsible and try to resolve the situation to the best of your ability.

Good Luck and Happy Selling!

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12 Responses to “How to Sell your used Kindle on eBay – Part 2”

  1. Wow, lots of useful information here. I’d like to add that when you’re doing research on pricing, keep in mind that the ceiling is going to be the price of a brand new Kindle, shipped. In fact, I’d say it’s a bit below that since anyone with common sense is going to spring for a new kindle if it’s only $20 more.

    Also, I appreciate what you said about staying away from stock photos. That has got to be among the top mistakes made. If you were shopping for a used car, would you give any consideration to a classified ad that used an obvious stock photo of a car? Of course not!

    One last thing, I’ve seen a website that pulls eBay listings for only Kindles and accessories. It might be an easy way for someone who was interesting in selling/upgrading to get a quick idea of how much Kindles are going for. If you’d like to check it out, http://www.usedkindlegear.com is the address.


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