Updated: Feb 22
At this time, the only way to sell your offset print books on Amazon is with a Seller Central or Vendor Central account. In the past, Amazon Advantage was another option but it has been closed to new authors since 2019.
What is the difference between a Seller Central and Vendor Central account?
The biggest difference is who will be selling your book. With Vendor Central, the Amazon retail team buys your book in bulk and resells it to customers. With Seller Central, YOU are selling directly to customers, either through self-fulfillment or fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
Which one should I use?
Vendor Central is invite-only because it's reserved for bigger businesses so it's likely that you won't have access early in your author career. But you never know! Lots of self-published authors have been invited after their first book if the launch is big enough, but many have not. Since gaining access is beyond your control, it's best to use Seller Central to sell your offset print books on Amazon. That program is open to everyone!
How does Seller Central work?
When you use this account, you're technically a marketplace or a third-party seller and have two options for fulfillment: self-fulfillment and FBA. But before we get into that, let's talk about the two different types of Seller Central plans.
This plan is best if you sell less than 40 units (books) per month and you don't plan on needing advertising tools or other analytics. But this plan is limited in the features provided to you and isn't beneficial from a long-term business standpoint. The cost is $0.99 per item sold plus other selling fees.
Especially if you want to make this your career, the professional plan will give you the business tools you need to optimize your sales page, put your book in additional categories, set your own shipping fees, add additional users to your account for management purposes, advertise, and more! With this plan, you pay $39.99 per month plus other selling fees.
You can read more about the two plans here.
Seller Central Fulfillment
When you choose self-fulfillment, it's exactly what it sounds like: a customer makes an Amazon purchase, you get a notification, package the book, and ship it to the customer. If you have an individual plan, you have to ship orders at the set rates that Amazon has set. If you have a professional plan, you can set your own shipping rates. Read more about those rates here.
When you choose FBA, you send your books to Amazon, and when a customer orders, they package the book and ship it to the customer. While this is much less work on your part, it is more expensive than self-fulfillment. This is why you need to be careful about your math when choosing FBA. Here is a breakdown of the shipping fees with a professional plan.
For every product sold on Amazon, there is a referral fee, since you're using their platform. For books, that's 15% + $1.80 closing fee. There's also a warehouse fee for using their facilities (if you choose FBA) as well as inventory fees and high-volume listing fees. You can read more about additional fees here.
It's important to think about all the fees when pursuing offset printing because while the profit potential can be higher, you don't want to dig a hole with expenses. Many authors are successful with Seller Central accounts but everyone's cost to print and ship is different. That's why you need to do your own math! Use this calculator to help you estimate your revenue with FBA.