Amazon Book Conditions [Newbie Seller Guide]

Every year, I end up buying a bunch of books on Amazon. Some are bought to read on the beach and others are bought to read in the classroom. 

Regardless of the reason behind the purchase, my first stop when searching is always Amazon.

The rules and regulations with condition guidelines are designed to provide a consistent customer experience for all buyers on Amazon. So you need to make sure you understand the basics. 

With books, one of the major sets of guidelines are related to the condition of the book.

What Are Amazon’s Book Condition Guidelines? 

Before you start selling your books on Amazon, you must provide a description of the condition of each of the books. Apart from the general condition guidelines for all item categories, 

Amazon has specific condition guidelines for describing books to put up for sale on the platform. This is to ensure that everyone ordering a book from Amazon is sure of what to expect or will be delivered. 

Amazon wants to make sure the customers are happy and this step gives the customers a clear expectation of the condition of the book. 

The lowest book condition that you can sell falls into what is the Acceptable grade. In this condition, it can be marked up and worn, but it still has to have all of the pages intact. 

Once the book meets at least the acceptable condition guidelines, it can only go up from there. 

As you can imagine, there are many buyers out there that want a book that is in a little better condition than with scribbles all over it. That’s where the other book conditions come into play.

There are three additional categories in which a book to be sold on Amazon can fall. 

  1. New
  2. Used
  3. Collectible 

Below are the book condition guidelines on Amazon to reference.

book conditions

New Books

Everybody knows a new book. Everything about the book must still be precisely as it comes from the publisher. 

It must never have been used, no stain, marks, or any form of damage, and the original protective cover must still be in place. 

One piece of advice – Never list a used book as a new book. If you are unsure, always list it as used. The risk of losing your Amazon account is not worth a few extra bucks. 

Used Books

If a book is not new, then it is used. But we all know that a used book can be of different categories. It is essential for buyers of a used book to know what they should expect when the book is eventually delivered. 

Before a used book can be accepted for sale on Amazon, the following criteria must be met:

  • All pages must be intact
  • The text must be readable
  • There must be no mold attack or heavy stain on it

If a used book satisfies all these condition guidelines, it can be classified into any of the four groups below.

  • Used – Like New
  • Used – Very Good
  • Used – Good
  • Used – Acceptable


Collectibles are books that have features that will attract collectors. These features must significantly increase the value of the book. 

Common features that can make a book to be considered as a collectible include:

  • Being signed by the author
  • First printing of the book
  • Uncorrected proof copy of a book that is out of print
  • Scarce copy

If a collectible satisfies one of these condition guidelines, it can be classified into any of the four groups below.

  • Collectible – Like New
  • Collectible – Very Good
  • Collectible – Good
  • Collectible – Acceptable

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t list a book as collectable unless you truly know it is. 

Buyers are willing to pay a premium for these types of books and they will file returns or complaints if they do not receive the product as advertised.

book conditions on amazon

How Do You Describe a Book Condition for Amazon?

Used – Like New

The condition Used – Like New is used and may have worn or cut or with marks that are not significant. Aside from this, every other thing about the book must be exactly like that of a new book, including the dust cover, which must also still be intact. 

Used – Very Good

The condition Used-Very Good is not as new as “Used-Like New,” but its condition is still very good and is very close to a new book. Its defects are not significant. It may have worn or cut or minor marks. 

Its protective cover might also not be intact. 

It must not have notes or any significant stain or damages. Also, it must not have any missing pages.

Used – Good

A book marked on Amazon as Used-Good doesn’t look new in any way. Anybody can see that it is used at a glance. Its applicable spine may show signs of wear, and the pages may include limited notes and highlighting.  

The dust covers or boxed set case may be missing.

However, all pages are intact, texts are readable, and there is no major stain or significant damage.

This is honestly how I list most books that don’t fall into the new or used – like new category. It gives me a little bit of padding if I missed something while I was processing the book.

It also under promises and over performs for the customer.

Used – Acceptable

I am not a huge fan of listing this type of book on Amazon (a lot of the time, I list it over on eBay instead).

The condition of Used – Acceptable can be seen by anybody that it is not a brand new book. If a book is marked as “Used- Acceptable,” then expect a book whose cover has worn out completely but has been replaced. 

The pages or dust cover would likely have significant markings. Nevertheless, no page should be missing, and it must satisfy the minimum acceptable conditions of a book sellable on Amazon, as described earlier.

Most people will look for a book in a better condition.

New Books

As stated earlier, a book described as New must be brand new with its protective cover still intact. You’ll know if it is new or not. Don’t try to fudge this. 

What Are Unacceptable Amazon Book Conditions?

If a book does not belong to any of the categories listed above, then you can’t list them on Amazon. However, the condition for acceptability on Amazon goes beyond the physical state of the book. 

Amazon can also reject a book based on concern about its originality, copyright, legality, or expiration date. 

The following books are unacceptable on Amazon:

  • Photocopied book or any other form of illegal duplication of book
  • Books that have not been published yet
  • Expired books
  • Books that may be missing pages
  • Books that are labeled “Not for Sale,” probably meant for promotional purposes
  • Books that are meant to be destroyed
  • Books with texts that cannot be read
  • Books with significant damage or corrosion
  • Books that are restricted from being sold on Amazon

If you have doubts, don’t list the book. I have seen a few sellers lose their accounts over the years for selling a book that was unauthorized and I don’t want to see it happen to you.

book conditions for amazon

Amazon Book Selling Tips

There are millions of buyers available on Amazon, making the platform a perfect place for the sales of items. 

There are many books you can sell on Amazon, both new and used. All you have to do is be on the lookout for books that you can sell for a profit. 

However, if you want to sell more books, it is better to find an optimal way to source books whether used or new. 

To scale your sales on Amazon, you should concentrate on sourcing efficiency.  Sourcing these used or new books manually may be too laborious and demanding, but luckily, you don’t have to do it manually. 

With the use of a tool like Tactical Arbitrage, you can easily source profitable books and make more sales. Tactical Arbitrage software is developed to help sellers source books utilizing online arbitrage or market differences.

It’s my go to tool for any searches I run to find books. 

The software can search for different online retail platforms and make comparisons among the various books available, thereby selecting a suitable and profitable book to sell on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Selling books through Amazon can be profitable, but you have to understand the basic rules of selling before you get started. 

By understanding these rules and conditions, you prevent yourself from losing your Amazon account and the freedom to make a side income.

You should be conservative when you grade each book condition. It is better to over-deliver on the condition of the book to avoid any customer service or return issues.

Tactical Arbitrage should be on your list as the first tool for online arbitrage you should use when that time comes. 

It will save you from the stress of sourcing for books manually, assist you in making better and informed choices of books to sell, and also help you concentrate on other areas of your business.

Check out Tactical Arbitrage here and start making the most of your book selling today!