Alibris New-Seller Tutorial

Welcome to Alibris! Thank you for becoming an Alibris seller. We look forward to a rewarding partnership!

Please familiarize yourself with our Policies and Procedures in order to understand our day-to-day operations and the terms by which we'll be doing business together.

This tutorial will guide you through our selling programs, and will point you to other Alibris selling options (if appropriate for your business needs). Please save and print this tutorial to use as a quick reference as you get started. You will be well on your way to becoming a successful seller once you review the following information.

Your inventory

Your orders

Your account

Your inventory

Uploading inventory on Alibris

We provide the following options for adding inventory:

These methods for listing your inventory are detailed further in the sections that follow.

Using inventory management tools

Sellers can add items one at a time using our online inventory-management tools. To add individual listings to Alibris inventory, click Add an Item from the INVENTORY section of the top navigation menu.

Figure 1: Add listing items one at a time via the Add Items page.

Figure 1: Add listing items one at a time via the Add Items page.

Beginning on the Add Items page (Figure 1), follow these steps to add an item:

  1. Select the type of item you wish to add (either a book, movie, or music item). If the item is a book, search the catalog for the book you have in hand by entering the ISBN (or the title and the author's last name) and clicking the Search button. If the item is a movie or music item, search the catalog for the item you have in hand by entering the UPC (preferred), title, artist, actor, or director into the search fields and clicking the Search button.
  2. Select the matching title and enter your conditional information. If no exact match is displayed, select a near-match or click the Create Listing From Scratch link to create a new listing (i.e., if you can't find a match, you'll still be able to create an inventory listing based upon the item in hand).
  3. Figure 2: Describe your listing via the Add Item to Inventory page.

    Figure 2: Describe your listing via the Add Item to Inventory page.

  4. On the Add Item to Inventory page (Figure 2), check the data pre-populated in the form from the Alibris catalog to ensure that it matches the item in hand. Make any necessary edits; add additional descriptive information, and be sure to add the price. Note that certain fields for movie and music items may not be editable.
  5. Click the Add button. A new listing will then be added to your inventory in the Alibris inventory database, and should be replicated to the retail Web sites (and all other pertinent sales channels) within 24 hours.

Creating your own listing database

To list items for sale on Alibris by transferring product information from your own database, download one of our template files below and enter the pertinent product information about your items.  For the quickest and most accurate results, you can just provide us with the ISBN or UPC, price, and condition; our catalog will fill in the rest of the data, including cover art and synopses. Please use the Skinny upload template. This is usually the most accurate way for us to properly identify and display your listings.

After you have filled in the information into one of our template files, select Upload Multiple Items in the INVENTORY section of the top navigation menu. After you have filled in the information into one of our template files, select Upload Multiple Items in the INVENTORY section of the top navigation menu.

Figure 3: Upload inventory files from your own database via the Multiple Items  page.

Figure 3: Upload inventory files from your own database via the Upload Multiple Items page.

Click the Browse button on the Upload Multiple Items page (Figure 3) to locate and select your file for upload to Alibris. The Upload Multiple Items page will explain the options for how our inventory system will process your upload file. For information on other methods, or if you need upload assistance, please see our upload help section.

Understanding Condition Ratings

When describing each item that you sell through Alibris, take care to note the Condition Rating as well as other pertinent characteristics. Listed below are our standard condition ratings:

  • New (N): Item is brand new, unused and unmarked and often still in shrinkwrap. In flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive.
  • Good (G): The average used book with all pages present. Books with loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spines, and torn dust jackets can fall into this category.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn and handled but no text pages are missing; however, it may be without endpapers or a title page. There might be markings, but they do not interfere with readability.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category.

A snapshot of book anatomy
Having a clear understanding of the many parts of a book will help you to accurately describe the condition of your books in your listings. The following illustrations (Figure 4) detail the anatomy of a book:

Figure 4: Familiarize yourself with a book?s anatomy.

Figure 4: Familiarize yourself with a book's anatomy.

Avoiding unacceptable descriptions
Proper representation of an item will set accurate customer expectations of your listing and, therefore, help to ensure a satisfactory transaction. It is equally important to avoid including inappropriate information in your item descriptions. Inclusion of the following elements in your listings will result in inventory rejection:

  • Personal seller contact information, such as phone number, URL, or e-mail address
  • Terms of sale or shipping policies

Any information not related to the item's condition or description is not acceptable. Any item that is not in sellable condition as described in our Policies and Procedures should also not be listed.

If you have questions about rating your books please contact us.

Your orders

Processing orders

When your inventory is uploaded, you should soon begin receiving orders! As an Alibris seller, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you're responsible for checking the Seller Hub daily for orders. When a customer places an order for one of your items, you will either ship it to our Alibris distribution center or directly to the customer.

Printing your picklists
For orders that ship directly to customers, you'll need to make note of the shipping method. From the Open Orders page on the Seller Hub, you will be able to print out a picklist of open orders (Figure 5). Use the picklist to assemble each order's items together and prepare them for shipping.

Figure 5: Print your picklist from the Open Orders page.

Figure 5: Print your picklist from the Open Orders page.

Sometimes you will receive consolidated orders; these orders of two or more items going to the same place will be listed together and can be shipped together.

Inserting packing slips with your orders
Each item (per order) should include the packing slip (Figure 6) within the front cover or secured with a rubber band, since it includes pertinent order and return information—and often also includes a coupon that encourages customers to return and place additional orders.

Figure 6: Insert the packing slip inside each shipped item.

Figure 6: Insert the packing slip inside each shipped item.

Canceling an order
Just as you have the option to fill an order, you also have the option of canceling an order. (Please be careful of multiple cancelations, as they will impact your seller rating.) You will be able to cancel an order if you find that you do not actually possess an item that you had listed for sale.

Contacting customers about an order
There may be times when you wish to contact a customer (e.g., if the shipping address seems incorrect, or if an item purchased is not quite as described). To do so, you will find the customer's e-mail address on the order detail on the Seller Hub.

Shipping orders

Timely shipping is crucial to keep our mutual customers satisfied. In order to get credit for an order on Alibris (and to ensure that the order is not auto-canceled), you must mark each open order as "filled" (and have it physically shipped) or "canceled" within 48 hours. If orders are not confirmed in this manner, they will be automatically canceled by our system and the items will be subject to return if they have been physically shipped.

The shipping method is dependent on the location of the customer. Please refer to our shipping chart for shipping method, frequency, and shipping credit rates. We suggest that you add delivery confirmation to high-value orders, for your protection.


Alibris allows customers to make returns only when Alibris or its sellers make a mistake with the order. Instructions for initiating a return are included on the packing slip that you print and include within the item (as described in the "Processing orders" section above). If you get notice of a return, please wait until you have the item in hand before you process the return. When you process a return on the Seller Hub, you will have the opportunity to make a refund or to dispute the return. If an item seems to be returned for discretionary reasons, you may dispute the return, and the item will not be refunded unless Alibris mediates the dispute. You may dispute a return if the item is returned for buyer remorse, if the item has not been returned, or if the item's condition is clearly as described. Alternatively, you may contact us to issue a partial refund.


Alibris will pay you for your sales either by direct deposit to your bank account, by wire transfer, or by check (payable to the business name submitted at the time of sign-up). You will be paid monthly or bimonthly, depending on your country and the payment method selected. Please view our payment methods; for detailed information on the payment schedule, view the Payment Calendar.

Your account

Seller fee programs

Sellers can either enroll in the Alibris Basic or Alibris Gold programs. To view our monthly fee structure for the Alibris Gold program, please visit our help section.

Alibris Basic
If you have fewer than 1,000 books in your inventory, or if you are a music or movie seller (regardless of inventory count), you are eligible for our Alibris Basic seller program, where we assess no monthly fee. This is a pay-as-you-go fee program; you pay US$1.00 for every item you sell, in addition to our regular commission. Alibris Basic sellers also pay a yearly subscription fee of US$19.99. If you are eligible, you may change your fee program by clicking the link for Seller Programs.

Seller ratings and the Seller Dashboard

To assist customers in making buying decisions on the Alibris Web sites, we publish seller ratings based on a combination of each seller's fill rate and any feedback received on orders. These ratings also help to determine the priority a seller's inventory is given in search results on Alibris. The lower your percentage of canceled and refunded orders, the higher your rating will be. The system is constructed as follows:

Fill rate Seller rating
95–100% 5 stars
85–94.99% 4 stars
70–84.99% 3 stars
60–69.99% 2 stars
1–59.99% 1 star

The seller Reliability rating is based on the seller's order fill rate for the previous 31 to 210 days. These ratings are updated once a week, on Wednesdays, and new sellers will be automatically assigned 4 stars for the first 90 days after joining Alibris. When you click the Dashboard link on the Seller Hub, you can view your rating as well as a summary of your overall account.

Reliability (fill rate) is the main contributor to your Overall Seller Rating, but it is not the only component. The remainder is based upon feedback from your customers. Customers can only leave feedback on an order they have placed and will be leaving feedback based on that order specifically. They are asked to rate the order on several metrics:

  • Rate your overall experience: Buyers can rate it as Positive, Neutral or Negative. This is the only required component of feedback; every piece of feedback you receive will have a vote in this category.
  • Shipping: Buyers can rate whether they received the shipment within the expected timeframe. Note that at checkout, as well as on the feedback page, buyers are reminded about when to expect the shipment. Note: Alibris requests feedback from its buyers approximately one day after the latest date upon which we expect the package to arrive under generous shipping expectation times. Sellers who ship within two days of receiving the order should expect to receive high marks from their buyers in this category.
  • Description: Buyers can rate whether the item that arrived matches the way it was described for sale. The feedback page displays the original description, which they can compare to the item they received. Sellers who accurately describe their inventory should expect to receive high marks from their buyers in this category.
  • Packaging: Buyers can rate whether the item was packaged appropriately. Note that this is likely to be a subjective rating from the customer and may largely depend on the item being shipped. Sellers who consistently package their items in order to preserve their pre-shipment condition should expect to receive high marks from their buyers in this category.

For details about feedback you've received on orders, including comments from customers, please visit My Rating & Feedback.

Alibris partners

When you sign up with Alibris, you gain access to sales channels that extend beyond Alibris and our own Web sites. Through Alibris, you may also receive sales from business partners like Books-A-Million, Akademos, MBS, and Ingram, because Alibris items can also be listed via these channels. In this way, you can list with multiple sources through one platform.

Please visit My Sales Channels page on the Seller Hub for more information on all of our partner programs.