My honest review of selling on Amazon – is selling on Amazon worth it? | retail arbitrage | what to sell on amazon | amazon fba for beginners | how to start selling on amazon fba | amazon fba fees | amazon fba training

Is Selling on Amazon Worth it? My honest Amazon FBA review…

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Is selling on Amazon worth it?  Here is my Amazon seller experience to help you decide if selling on Amazon FBA is a good way for you to make extra money. Read on for my Amazon FBA review.

My honest review of selling on Amazon – is selling on Amazon worth it? | retail arbitrage | what to sell on amazon | amazon fba for beginners | how to start selling on amazon fba | amazon fba fees | amazon fba training

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure for more info. 

Amazon FBA Review

I love trying out different ways of making money.  Over the years I have had several businesses, with my earliest one being when I was in kindergarten.  I painted rocks for people’s gardens and loaded them up in a red wagon to pull around and sell to neighbors.  My most recent business was my bakery and catering business.

Since having my daughter, I’ve been working at different side hustles that are much more flexible than running a business outside of the home like a bakery.

For more on other side hustle ideas you can check out:

When I started hearing about selling on Amazon I was intrigued.  This sounded like an interesting way to make extra money and I wanted to try it out.  But I did wonder is selling on Amazon worth it?

Before you get started with any side hustle, it makes sense to do your research.  When I was looking into it myself I read all the selling on Amazon reviews I could find!


Let’s start with some basics on how to sell on Amazon:

There are two main ways you can sell on Amazon. 

You can store all the inventory and ship directly to the customer when they order one of your items.  Or you can sell as an Amazon FBA seller. 

FBA stands for Fulfilled By Amazon.  You send shipments of your items to an Amazon warehouse. These Amazon fulfillment centers store the products for you, and ship them to the customer for you as well.  They take a small storage fee and handling fee for the extra services they’re doing compared to you storing and shipping directly.

I chose to sell on Amazon FBA even though you can make more money selling directly.  For me it was an easy choice. 

We live in a small house (850 square foot) and clutter literally stresses me out so I did not want to store a whole bunch of items before they are sold, and they are probably going to be sold one by one. 

I would rather ship one large box off to Amazon and just get it out of our house.

Before starting to sell on Amazon, other decisions I had to make were:

  • What do I want to sell on Amazon FBA
  • Where do I want to source these items from

When it came to what to sell on Amazon I looked into a few different categories (I list all the categories below for what you can sell on Amazon FBA).  My top choices were books, toys, athleisure wear, and personal care items.

At the beginning I went out on a few reconnaissance shops in stores that would carry those items.  Armed with my scanning apps, I scanned away and tried to find products that were worth buying.  For personal care items I couldn’t find anything that people were buying that I could sell for a high enough margin for it to be worth it.

Toys and clothing I found to have too many restrictions for what I was allowed to sell without getting special permissions.  There are a lot of toys and clothing that you can sell but on those first few shops, I just couldn’t find anything.

Books turned out to be the easiest category for me.  I was able to find some books at a decent price that would make me a profit and seemed to be in demand on Amazon.  I decided to focus on books for that reason and also because storage-wise they wouldn’t take up as much space as some of the other categories.

->  To learn more about selling on Amazon there is a very helpful course here from a 6-figure seller

I decided to go with the easiest way for a beginner to source inventory to sell on Amazon – retail arbitrage.  What retail arbitrage means is buying things from a physical store, and then selling those things (hopefully!) for a profit on Amazon.

Another way to find products to sell on Amazon is to source them from online.  I tried this briefly but just couldn’t find anything with decent profit margins to sell.  There are absolutely products out there and some Amazon sellers make a killing from items sourced online.  For me this way had a steeper learning curve and I didn’t have the time to put into that method to make it successful.

A last major way to find products to sell on Amazon FBA is through private label.  You would source products directly through a manufacturer or wholesaler.  Private label on Amazon is the most complicated for a beginner at selling on Amazon but profit margins could be higher too.  As a new seller with an already full schedule, I didn’t have the time to invest in this way.

For me retail arbitrage was the perfect entry point for a beginner with limited time who wanted to sell on Amazon FBA.

Related helpful reading:

What can I sell on Amazon FBA

There are a lot of categories you can sell in as an Amazon seller without getting any kind of approval.  You can set up your Amazon FBA account and start selling.  There are more than 20 of these categories.

The categories where approval is not required to sell on Amazon FBA are:

  • Amazon Kindle
  • Amazon device accessories
  • Baby products
  • Books
  • Beauty
  • Camera and photo
  • Cell phones
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Electronics
  • Fashion jewelry
  • Health and personal care
  • Home and garden
  • Musical instruments
  • Office products
  • Outdoors
  • Software and computer games
  • Sports
  • Tools and home improvement
  • Toys and games
  • Video games and video game consoles

You can see that there are a ton of categories you can sell in that are easy for a new seller to get started in without an approval process.

As a new seller I stuck to picking from the categories that you don’t need permission to sell.

If you get a professional account you can apply for permission to sell on Amazon in another 10+ categories.

The categories to sell on Amazon FBA that need permission are:

  • Video, DVD, and Blu-Ray
  • Sports collectibles
  • Shoes, handbags, and sunglasses
  • Personal computers
  • Luggage and travel accessories
  • Grocery and gourmet food
  • Automotive and power sports
  • Industrial and scientific
  • Business products
  • Collectible coins
  • Fine art
  • Fine jewelry
  • Watches
  • Professional services

Is selling books on Amazon worth it

In my experience selling on Amazon, yes!  In a short time, working very minimally at selling, I turned a profit selling books on Amazon.

I chose to sell books on Amazon FBA because books take up less space to store than a lot of other products you can sell, there are no entry requirements or permissions needed to sell, and it’s a category I’m interested in (I love books!) 

You don’t at all have to sell in an area of interest and this probably isn’t the most important requirement when you’re thinking about what to sell.  Your ability to make a profit from a category is way more important.  But for me and my personality I knew I would lose interest quickly if I was trying to sell in a category I didn’t like shopping for (which for me was most other categories – ha!)  For me selling books on Amazon was worth it.

I sold a few video games here and there because I happened to find decent ones when I was out book hunting but this was not my main area.

Selling on Amazon fees

Amazon FBA fees will vary depending on the category of what it is you’re selling.  Fees will also depend on what Amazon selling plan you’re on.  There is an individual plan which is what I did since I wasn’t planning on doing higher volume selling.  There is also a professional plan.

The individual plan is better for sellers who plan on selling fewer than 40 items a month.  There is no monthly fee so this is a great plan when you’re starting out.  You can always switch to a professional plan later as you start selling more.  The monthly fee under the professional plan is $39.99.

Selling on Amazon fees for the individual plan are $0.99 per item + referral fees and variable closing fees.  Selling fees under the professional plan are the referral fees and variable closing fees (without the $0.99 per item).

For more information about the fees for selling on Amazon you can check out this comprehensive guide on Amazon FBA seller fees here. It will tell you more about what you pay to sell on Amazon.

Amazon FBA recipe for success

There are a few key points that will help you succeed as an Amazon FBA seller.

Personality To Be A Successful Amazon Seller

There are a couple of personality traits that will be better suited to selling on Amazon FBA.  First of all that you’re not shy to scan items in stores.  Second, that you like shopping.

You will be scanning lots and lots of items in stores just to find something that could be profitable enough that it’s worth you buying and listing on Amazon.  Most people in the store will ignore you but some people will wonder what the heck you’re doing and will ask you in just those words.  If you feel uncomfortable with standing out a little, this might not be the best choice for you.

For me, I can be shy in some situations AND I don’t like shopping – lol.  So maybe selling on Amazon wasn’t the ideal side hustle for me.  Know your personality because this will tell you a lot about if this business is a good fit for you.

Storage Requirements for Amazon Sellers

You will need more or less storage depending on what you want to sell.  I chose to sell books on Amazon partly because I was interested in selling them more than other things and partly because they don’t take up as much room as a lot of other things you could sell.  Other smaller goods to sell could be makeup or other drugstore items.  Toys or electronics could possibly take up more room but if you have a separate room or storage area this won’t be an issue for you.  Just something to think about, especially if you live in a small place like we do.

If you decide to sell on Amazon FBA like I did, you won’t need to worry about storage as much because you will be shipping your goods to an Amazon warehouse for them to sell for you.  But while you’re in the buying inventory stage you will still need a certain amount of space to store things before you send them in to Amazon fulfillment centers.

Starting money

To start selling on Amazon, you will need some money at the beginning. You don’t need to have a lot of money to start but you do need to have some to buy products.  As FBA sellers, you have to buy inventory before you can sell it.

Take a course!

That last point is SUPER important and it’s something I regret not doing.  I don’t think I gave selling on Amazon FBA my best shot and that’s because I was doing it on my own.  There are VERY experienced sellers who have already put in the time and made the mistakes so you don’t have to.  Only in my case, I did put in the time and I did make all the mistakes.  Lol

A huge component of an Amazon FBA recipe for success would be to take an Amazon FBA Course from a really successful seller.

The next section will talk about the absolute BEST source to take an Amazon FBA Course from to set yourself up for success if you want to sell on Amazon.

The Best Amazon FBA Course

I want to introduce you to a family that are the experts on selling on Amazon.  Their answer to “is selling on Amazon worth it?” would be a resounding YES!

Jessica has been making a full-time income on Amazon since 2009 and her husband joined her in 2012.  The first full year they were both working on their Amazon business they net over $100,000 in PROFIT!!  They’re called The Selling Family and they have been teaching people online how to sell on Amazon FBA since 2012.  They are making a great income (working part-time!) and they were able to pay cash for their new home! #goals

If you are serious about making money selling on Amazon, The Selling Family course is the best choice to help you do that.  Their Amazon courses come with a money back guarantee so you can feel confident about your purchase.

Mistakes Using Amazon FBA

An important part of this Amazon FBA review that I don’t want to leave out is the idea of mistakes. As a new seller on Amazon, you are going to make them.

If you want to have an Amazon business that makes money, make sure that you’re not just relying on good luck to make sales. Use the best information from online sellers who are already making a killing on Amazon FBA.

It will save you a lot of time and prevent mistakes if you learn how to source out high quality products from other Amazon sellers. Take a look at the Amazon listings that do well. Think like a customer using Amazon (as I’m sure we all are!) You want your products to not only make you money, but make your customers happy. This will help with your star rating, and product reviews, both which will have an impact on your future Amazon sales.

Which Amazon Course Is The Best

If I was selling products as a brand new Amazon FBA seller, I would cut down on all the beginner mistakes (they’re inevitable if you do it alone), and choose a high quality Amazon course.

Even though you can start selling on Amazon FBA on your own fairly quickly…

There is a BIG learning curve to selling on Amazon WELL.

That’s where an Amazon course taught by successful Amazon sellers will give you all the essential FBA business information you need, in a fraction of the time it would take you to sort out on your own (I know from experience!)

If you want to know which Amazon course is the best, you need to look at who is offering it. I would absolutely take The Selling Family’s Amazon Bootcamp if I wanted to be successful on Amazon FBA. They make over $100,000/year working part-time hours.

The Selling Family has had so many successful Amazon FBA course graduates. It’s an affordable Amazon course (hey, frugal is in my blog name!) And like I said before, their Amazon course comes with a money back guarantee.

Amazon Seller Experience

In the end, is selling on Amazon worth it?  Overall my experience selling on Amazon was a good one!  A fun perk that I didn’t expect was getting to know more about the ins and outs of how Amazon works, through being on the other side as a seller.

I turned a (modest) profit, and  I was happy with that for the effort I put in.  I was also trying two other flexible side hustles at the same time – search engine evaluation and mystery shopping.  Plus working a part-time job outside of the home and also looking after my toddler.  I was definitely spreading myself thin.  If you treat this as a part-time or full-time job, you will be able to make more money.

Amazon FBA Review Final Thoughts: Is selling on Amazon worth it?

So in my opinion, is selling on Amazon worth it?

I would say, YES, BUT!

Yes, it could be a great side hustle and a really fun work from home job.

The BUT part is just like every job, it’s not for everyone.  If you’re going to feel uncomfortable scanning in stores, selling on Amazon is probably not for you.  If you are someone who doesn’t even like shopping in the first place (my hand is up), this might not be the best pick for you.

On the other hand if you think the idea of getting paid to shop sounds awesome and you’re looking for a flexible way to make extra money, this just might be your perfect business.  There is FANTASTIC income potential to be had with this business.  If you are interested, my advice would be to learn from the folks who have it all figured out and have a thriving Amazon FBA business already.

I hope this Amazon FBA reviewed helped you.  If you are serious about selling on Amazon FBA and want to learn from the best you can find out all about The Selling Family’s Amazon Boot Camp v 4.0 Video Course.  It leads you through step-by-step on how to start up your Amazon FBA business.  The videos are screen share and will walk you through the entire process of setting up and selling on Amazon.

⇓  Pin this Amazon FBA review to save it for later  ⇓

My honest review of selling on Amazon – is selling on Amazon worth it? | retail arbitrage | what to sell on amazon | amazon fba for beginners | how to start selling on amazon fba | amazon fba fees | amazon fba training

Have you ever thought about selling on Amazon FBA?  If you have tried it out already did you find selling on Amazon worth it?

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  1. I’ve been mulling this over for sometime. I am a former online seller of new and used books and had to stop for health reasons for two months. Buy the time I returned, my web traffic had died, my site needed to be redone, and my heart wasn’t in the business anymore. I really don’t want to ship, but I have a house full of inventory.

    Some is now worthless, but many out of print items I have are on listed Amazon and are no longer available when you click through. I have them new, in storage, straight from the original publisher. They are mostly items teachers and homeschoolers would be interested in. I’m 76, don’t have the energy to keep up the shipping pace, and have been considering FBA selling. Most reviews I read say it’s not worth the money because of all the fees. That’s one reason I didn’t list on Amazon even when I was still actively selling.

    What I’d really like to do is find a homeschool mom with an online book business who would by a lot of my inventory I could ship in one box at liquidation prices. I need my house back but have to account for all the inventory I sell or give away for tax reasons. So far I’ve just been donating to nonprofit organizations that are local.

    I haven’t been actively selling since 2015 and it seems I’ve forgotten all I ever knew about the logistics. I also no longer have a convenient place to do my shipping. If I could get back up to speed I’d probably go the eBay route.

    I’m glad you had a good experience with Amazon. I used to sell used books directly to Amazon before they learned how to exploit used booksellers to increase their own profits and stopped buying from them directly.

    1. I think that’s a great idea for a route to sell your inventory. Have you thought about posting this idea on homeschool Facebook groups? There are TONS of them and many moms would have blogs. Someone in one of those groups might know of (or be) a homeschool online book seller who could be interested in your inventory. Good luck Barbara and thanks for sharing your experience on selling on Amazon. 🙂

  2. Mother of 3 says:

    Interesting; I always wondered how that worked.

    1. It wasn’t for me, personality-wise and space-wise 🙂 It was so fun to delve in and learn something new and some people do SO well at it.

  3. I’ve never tried selling on Amazon, just on eBay. I used to LOVE selling things on eBay but honestly, I dislike it greatly now because eBay takes such a large % out that I just don’t find it worth it, at all.

    1. Oh interesting! What did you sell on Ebay? I’m curious about selling on Amazon vs Ebay…

  4. I found this information very interesting. I’m not considering selling on Amazon, but I have wondered how it works. Thanks for sharing. I found your blog on the Blogger’s Pit Stop.


    1. Glad you liked reading more about the process of selling on Amazon FBA! I loved learning about it as I went through the process – I love the feeling of being new at things and working my way through them. Thanks for stopping by Christie! 🙂

  5. Our Julie from the Blogger’s Pit Stop found your post very interesting and it is her choice to be featured on the next Blogger’s Pit Stop. Well done.

  6. Hi, very good article thanks for sharing keep up the good work!

  7. Great article and it makes me more interested in looking at Amazon as a possibility to sell products. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  8. Katmanzing says:

    You mentioned that you do need money to get started, how much did you actually ditch out to get it going?? I have been interested in and researching reviews about amazon selling, I love shopping, not shy at all about scanning in stores, I do it already to price check items and see where I can get it cheaper, lol! I have no shame and looking for deals, I have a storage room in my building so I can start small and store my items there, what I don’t have is $6000 which I’ve been reading out (Sophie Howard) there that’s needed to start, thought that was steep. Reading your blog and you saying why it’s not for you is all the reasons why it is for me, but, how much would I need to start it? And can it be done without doing the FBA? I’m very interested in starting, but very smart until I’m able to grow to the point where I can afford all the other perks…

    1. So interesting! This is exactly why there’s not one perfect side hustle/business for everyone – you really have to find the right fit. It sounds like you’re a much better fit for this than I was! lol Yes you absolutely can do it without FBA. I didn’t mind taking a slightly bigger cut because I absolutely did not like doing lots of shipments myself – it just wasn’t for me. You will make a higher amount if you don’t go with FBA. I started by spending just a few hundred dollars. It would really depend on exactly what area of goods you want to sell. Some things are more expensive (if you’re selling electronics) while others like some beauty items and books (what I sold) are less.

  9. Hi , this post was very informative . I have been couponing for quite some time , mainly ( personal items , house items ) i buy them for drug stores. Etc
    I have Lots of items .Do you think i could get good margins selling them We n Amazon FBA?

    1. Thanks Jessica! In terms of good margins, that is key. You really need to use a scanning app to start, there aren’t really generalizations. Download the Amazon seller app (it’s free), and you can see what each item could be sold for on Amazon. When I started, I scanned everything in my house! lol No book was left unscanned. It’s not always what you would expect that would be sellable. So scan all the items you might want to sell. When you’re ready I would highly recommend this course to get you all set up.

  10. Ok, so it worked for you although you were led a little astray. I’m an eCommerce consultant and have been selling since 1999. I’ve participated in over 7 million product launches or relaunches and even right now have clients selling on 12 different marketplaces worldwide.

    Books are great, but you missed the essence of book sales on Amazon these days, which is where the super big money is. Do you know what the best selling, most profitable books are on Amazon right now? Low content books. Low content in journals. Blank books that people can print themselves, meaning ZERO inventory expense. POD in the book category is very, very profitable.

    Another option would be a kid’s books. You can pay a graduate-level English speaking writer between 5 and 10$ for an excellent children’s book, Maybe 30$ for illustrations and layout, and you now have paid once for something that you can and will sell over and over and over. You can get very creative with this and make a great living off of it while only paying for each book during the creation process. Good Luck! Great article

    1. Thanks Joe! Glad you enjoyed this Amazon fba review. If I was going to sell books on Amazon again, I would be much more interested in POD books. It has to me a lot of advantages, including profit and no need to keep inventory. I am still a tangible book lover, and I did enjoy that part of scouting inventory…scouring used books was one of the most pleasant parts of this side hustle!

      It’s fun that you mentioned children’s books as well – that is something I have thought about in the future! When my daughter starts school I will have a bit more time for all my ideas 🙂 Thanks for chiming in!

      1. Carol-Anne Van Der Schyff says:

        Very interesting article!! Thanks for posting, may I ask, what are POD books??

        1. Thanks! Yes, POD books are print-on-demand books. It means you don’t have to pay the upfront to have say 1000 books printed (and stored). They are simply printed as they are purchased.

  11. I really enjoyed this article. I had just started looking into selling on Amazon. I read one advertisement and the was bombarded by ads selling books and courses on “selling on Amazon” and kind of Get Rich Quick schemes. I quickly lost interest. I looked into your recommendation of THE SELLING FAMILY. I am very impressed. I will need to save some money to purchase the most popular plan.
    I also enjoy your you tube channel/

  12. Hi, just curious what scanner you mentioned? it is part of the amazon app or are you saying you just search for the item online to see what items are going for? also, could you give an example of what price you buy a book at, im assuming you pay to ship it to amazon then what are the fee/closing costs (a real life example?) and your profit? Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Crystal! Yes, the scanner I used the most was on the Amazon seller app. I also used the profit bandit app for Amazon sellers. It’s important to get all the information for the correct product. Sometimes there are multiple products that look the same (in my case with selling books, same book title, same or very similar cover). My purchase price for books varied from free (the best!) to a few dollars per book. Yes I paid shipping fees for each box sent to Amazon (so it was best to maximize the shipment to Amazon). Then the sale of each item would have closing fees, which were higher than if I had chosen to ship direct to buyer instead of through Amazon FBA (but I still preferred selling by Amazon FBA). For an example, I would want the selling price to be at a minimum three times my purchase price. Often I would want the selling price higher than this. Cheers!

  13. Olivia Duncan says:

    This is such a great article to give tips for beginners and THANK YOU. Very informative and straight to the point-its nice to read an article thats not focused on hiding the good tips in hopes of promoting their knowledge for profit!

    1. You’re welcome Olivia! There is a LOT to selling on Amazon, so I wanted to be really thorough in my Amazon FBA review. Glad you found it helpful.

  14. This is a great article. I think it’s important for webmasters, authors and users of the Amazon seller central program to be as straight forward as possible. I am frustrated that there are so many misleading videos that anyone who wants to get into this, will buy into the hype and think they can make a million bucks overnight with little to no work. It simply does not work like that. Even if you want to get into having Amazon carry your product line and provide returns for you etc. you will still need to do the leg work and the research in order to find profitable products that will sell. It’ so easy to get undercut and things can change so rapidly, that stock that you ordered today might be obsolete or undercut by the time you get the shipment.

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