How To Start Dropshipping Books (+ Top Suppliers)

Inside a bookshop with a few stacks of art books displayed against a window looking out on the street

Physical book sales were up by 9% in 2021

Consumers are clearly still enjoying a good book, which makes this a great time to start a bookselling business. However, if you don’t fancy stocking and storing towers of hardbacks in a nearby warehouse, consider dropshipping books instead. This ecommerce business model allows you to sell books without having to worry about inventory or shipping logistics. 

Here’s how you can get started. 

Can you dropship books? 

Absolutely. In fact, books are an incredibly popular product all over the world, which means your potential customer base is huge. 

To start dropshipping books, simply set up a Shopify storefront to display your product range. When a shopper purchases a book, your chosen third-party bookseller is notified and ships the product directly from their own warehouse. This eliminates the need to store books or manage inventory, operations, and shipping. 

The benefits of dropshipping books 

The biggest benefit of having a dropshipping ecommerce business is that you don’t have to store any products. This means you can sell books without the extra cost of inventory and shipping, which can be expensive given the size, weight, and delicateness of books. 

Generating passive income through a dropshipping store comes with a ton of pros: 

  • Growing market: despite the growth of online books, audiobooks, Kindles, and other digital formats, the physical book market is predicted to be worth $159.3 billion by 2028
  • Huge product selection: there are thought to be around 170 million unique books in the world, providing plenty of product choice for your dropshipping business 
  • No storage costs: storing books can get costly quite quickly, but dropshipping them means you don’t have to store them yourself and therefore don’t have to pay warehouse fees 
  • Passive income: once you’ve set up your online store and connected up a third-party book supplier, you can be very hands-off with operations 
  • Multiple niches: the huge number of books means there are plenty of niches to dig into. This can help you carve out a lucrative corner of the internet 

The ultimate guide to dropshipping books

Ready to get started dropshipping books? Here’s a step-by-step guide.

1. Choose your niche 

You can always go for the scattergun approach and sell a whole range of books–from coloring books, children’s books, and fiction books, to biographies, recipe books, and encycopaedias–but it often works better to hone in on a specific niche. Carrying out product research will help you target a subsection of book-lovers and create marketing copy that hits the spot every single time.

2. Set up your Shopify store

Once you’ve decided on the kind of books you’re going to sell, create a Shopify storefront using our range of easy-to-edit themes. Make sure you incorporate your brand colors, fonts, and visuals, and add some information about your store to build trust. Get pictures of the book covers to draw attention and, where possible, highlight your bestsellers to drive more sales. 

3. Choose your book supplier

We’ve got a list of the best dropshipping book suppliers below. Research those available and decide which one is best for you based on the range of books they sell, their fees (if any), and their operations processes. 

4. Create a marketing strategy

It’s time to get eyeballs on your books. Create a marketing strategy that incorporates channels like social media, email marketing, affiliate marketing, SEO, and paid advertising campaigns to direct book lovers to your website. And, once you’ve grown a customer base, keep them coming back by fostering long-term loyalty through ongoing campaigns and rewards. 

Dropshipping 101: essential tips for success 

Successful book dropshippers need a robust book supplier. The customer experience relies on how quickly and safely they can ship and deliver books, so choosing the right one is absolutely crucial. 

Here are some beginner’s tips for getting it right. 

  1. Read reviews: compare potential book suppliers by reading reviews from existing customers. Make sure it’s reputable and other book business owners have had a good experience
  2. Get all the details: make sure you get all the book details from suppliers, including the weight, number of pages, the material, and the color
  3. Sell what you love: if you have a favorite genre, why not stick to that? Knowing your target audience so well will help you create the right marketing messages
  4. Sell the right product: as well as coming up with product ideas and choosing which books to add to your store, it’s important that you’re linking to the right products–check for language, the version of the book, and other differentiating features
  5. Have a unique selling point: there are more than 15,000 booksellers in the US alone. Stand out by identifying what makes you different–will it be price? A niche product range? A very specific audience? 

Top book dropshipping suppliers 

The book dropshipping model requires you to connect with a third-party supplier who will send purchased products to customers. They are in charge of storing the inventory, labeling shipments, and delivering products to buyers. 

Here are some of our top dropshipping suppliers for books. 

1. Aliexpress

Aliexpress website pageAliexpress is one of the biggest dropship suppliers in the world and has thousands of books to choose from. Shipping fees are usually very low and you can deliver to over 200 countries and regions around the world. 

Pricing: free to use–you cover the cost of manufacturing and shipping fees 

2. Amazon 

Like Aliexpress, Amazon FBA has a huge existing audience and thousands of books to choose from. You can populate your bookstore with titles from the best authors in a variety of niches at a very affordable price. 

Pricing: free to use–you cover the cost of shipping fees 

3. AmericanBookCo

American Book Company website homepageAmericanBookCo focuses solely on wholesaling books. You can browse books in 23 different categories, including biographies, entertainment, history, and fiction. 

Pricing: 40% off traditional retail prices. 

4. Lulu Express

Lulu Express website homepageLulu lets you dropship books and print your own on demand to send to customers. Deliver to more than 150 countries, use the pre-built templates to print your own ebook, and integrate your account directly with Shopify to automate the process. 

Pricing: free to use–you pay for books to be printed and shipper

5. Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay website homepage

Half Moon Bay is a UK book dropshipping supplier that offers products in a range of different categories–not just books. Browse hundreds of titles in different niches and connect them to your Shopify store for quick and easy sales.

Pricing: free to use–you must ask for permission and certificates to dropship branded products 

6. Acutrack

Acutrack website homepageAcutrack is a book fulfillment company that prints books on demand and ships them to customers. They specialize in business, self-development, training, and wellness titles. 

Pricing: you pay one-off fees for each book printed and delivered 

Summary and key takeaways: 

  • Yes, you can dropship books
  • Dropshipping books allows you to sell books without the extra cost of inventory and shipping, which can be expensive given the size and weight of books
  • A reliable book supplier is crucial to your own business
  • Sell books you love or find a niche that speaks to you
  • Shopify makes it easy to dropship books with our online ecommerce platform 

FAQs about dropshipping books

Is dropshipping books profitable?

Yes–there is little to no capital to get started and there are no storage or handling fees for inventory. You can also cut out shipping costs by delivering products directly to the customer from your chosen supplier.

Do I have to buy the books I dropship?

Not necessarily, but it’s a good idea to try out a test order from your supplier so you have a better understanding of their shipping experience, packaging, and product quality control. If it’s not up to your standards, choose a different supplier and try the same again.

How do I dropship directly on Shopify?

Dropshipping and Shopify go hand-in-hand. Start by building an ecommerce store based on your branding and preferences before connecting to your supplier through an app (if they have one). Alternatively, leave your inventory zero’d out in your admin and select “continue selling when out of stock” since you aren’t responsible for your inventory, your supplier is. Once you’ve got that set up, go through the steps listed on your supplier’s website to integrate your store with their process.

Is it hard to get into the dropshipping business?

No, it’s not difficult at all. However, it will require some patience and determination to get your online business off the ground. Setting up your store and finding a supplier is easy. The tricky part is finding your target audience and maintaining a sustainable profit–but every business goes through this. It’s important to keep working on your marketing and improving your website. If you do this, you’ll increase your chances of building a profitable dropshipping business.

Dropshipping books is a great way to make money online. Small businesses can sell the books they love without having the hassle of storing and shipping products. Use this beginner’s guide to get started and build a successful dropshipping business.