Answers to Your Questions


Alibris offers unparalleled seller support. Please see the list below for answers to the most commonly asked questions.

How do I qualify to be an Alibris seller?

To become an Alibris seller, you must:

  • Have at least a rudimentary knowledge of email management, order management and database creation (only if you plan to use your own program to create and maintain a database file).
  • Have regular access to a PC or Mac with an internet connection (preferably broadband), an email account, and an ink jet or laser printer.
    • If you are a Mac user, you should use OS 10.5 or higher
    • If you are a PC user, you should use Windows XP or higher
    • While the Seller Hub can work on many browsers, the only browsers for which we ensure full support are as follows:
      1. Internet Explorer (IE) 9.0 or higher
      2. Firefox 26.0 or higher
      3. Safari 5.0 or higher
      4. Chrome 31.0 or higher
  • Have your inventory on hand at all times.
  • Maintain a fill rate of 95% or higher at all times. The fill rate is based solely on the number of orders received during the rating period, versus the number of orders cancelled, refunded, or returned due to seller error.
  • Have a valid credit or debit card.  We use your credit or debit card to process your application fee, as well as cover any negative balance on your account resulting from fees or returns that are not covered by your sales.

Remember that each Alibris seller is solely responsible for keeping his or her inventory up-to-date and accurate at all times.

If you are unable or unwilling to follow any of the qualifications above, please DO NOT apply.

Notice about e-mail accounts: Please note that some e-mail account services use filters and spam-blocking on all incoming messages. This can lead to some (or all) Alibris messages not reaching your inbox. We suggest that you periodically verify you are receiving emails and notices from Alibris, and contact your Internet Service Provider or check your email settings if you feel you're not receiving our messages.

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What does it cost to be an Alibris seller?

We charge an application processing fee of US$19.99 to become an Alibris seller. This fee is not refundable under any circumstances.

Sellers agree to pay Alibris a minimum sales commission of US$0.50 OR 15% for items priced up to US$400, when sales are made through the Alibris retail and library web sites. For items priced over US$400, sellers will pay a flat sales commission of US$60.

For sales on our business partner channels (such as eBay, Books-A-Million, Ingram, Blackwell UK, and others), sellers will pay 20% commission OR 15% + US$0.25, whichever is greater. Alibris will only pass inventory to its partners that is priced at US$300 or less, making US$60 the highest commission sellers will ever pay for items sold on the Alibris website or our partners' sites.

When a customer purchases an item on our retail or business partner sites, they agree to pay a shipping charge; this full amount is credited directly to the seller. However, a variable closing fee is applied to each shipping credit (please see the section below).

Variable Closing Fees

A variable closing fee is assessed on each shipping credit you receive. This fee varies slightly depending on seller location and the media type being sold.

Variable closing fees  
US sellers  
Books — standard US$1.75
Books — expedited US$1.75
Music & movies — standard US$1.75
Music & movies — expedited US$1.75
Canadian sellers  
Items to US & Int'l customers CA$1.00
Items to Canadian customers CA$1.50
UK and EUR sellers  
Books £0.60
Music & movies £0.40
Australian and New Zealand Sellers  
Items to AU & NZ customers US$1.00
Items to all other customers N/A
Rest-of-the-world sellers  
All items N/A


Alibris also provides two fee programs for our sellers: Alibris Gold and Alibris Basic. Alibris Gold sellers pay a flat monthly fee based on their average inventory levels for the previous month, as outlined below. Note that the minimum flat monthly fee applies even if you do not list any inventory, and even if your inventory is on administrative or vacation hold.

Schedule for flat monthly fees:

Average # listings this month Flat monthly fee as of March 1, 2014:
0-2,000 US$20.00
2,001-20,000 US$35.00
20,001-50,000 US$70.00
50,001-500,000 US$140.00
500,001 + US$400.00

Booksellers with fewer than 1,000 items and all music and movie sellers are eligible for our Alibris Basic program. Sellers pay US$1.00 per item sold and a US$19.99 annual subscription fee as an Alibris Basic seller, instead of a flat monthly fee. The annual subscription fee is assessed automatically, on or after the 1-year anniversary of the date that the seller joined the Basic program. The US$1.00 fee is assessed in addition to the commissions Alibris and its partners will charge on each sale. All sellers are automatically enrolled in the Alibris Basic program, with the exception of those sellers who select the Alibris Gold program during sign-up. Eligible sellers can change their fee option after signing up by clicking the link for My Seller Program under ACCOUNT on the green navigation bar.

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How do I list my items?

You may either upload your inventory listings to us in a database file, or enter them individually through our Add Items tool on the Seller Hub. The Add Items tool provides an ISBN, LCCN, UPC, title/author, title/publisher, actor and director lookup, which speeds the entry of items in many cases. It also allows the user to add a listing from scratch, if the appropriate item is not found during a lookup.

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Will I be able to keep my items listed on other Web sites when I list them with Alibris?

You can list your items on other Web sites when you list with Alibris. However, you should ensure that you remove all sold items from your database and send your updated database files nightly to Alibris to ensure that you can fulfill orders at the highest possible rate. If a seller uploads a sold item for deletion from the Alibris database and an order occurs for that item before the upload processes, the seller is held responsible for the cancellation of that order. To reduce these situations, sellers should use the Edit My Items tool available on the Seller Hub to delete sold items in real time.

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What types of products will I be able to list on Alibris?

You may list a full range of used, hard-to-find, collectible, and new book, music, and movie products for sale with Alibris. We accept almost all formats including: hardback, paperback and audio books, CDs, vinyl records, cassettes, VHS tapes, DVDs, laserdiscs, and more. If your properly-formatted upload file contains a product type field (i.e., books, music or movies), we will list it within the appropriate section of the Alibris web site and will distribute the inventory to our appropriate business partners. If the product type is not specified, we will try to determine the product type from your listing. If we are unable to do so, we will use the primary media type you specify for your inventory listings during the application process.

NOTE: For the most accurate uploading results, Alibris supplies four standard Excel templates for uploading books, movies, or music. If you are not using one of these templates, we recommend that you include a "product type" field in your upload files to ensure that your listings display in the appropriate section.

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Can I upload images of the book or media covers that I have to list?

Yes. You may use your own image for a listing using either our inventory management tool or your upload file, or you may use the image supplied by our catalog (if available). In some cases the catalog image may not represent the exact copy, edition, or condition of a specific item; however, we display a disclaimer with these images.

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I'm not located in the United States. Does Alibris add to my uploaded price to offset higher shipping costs?

Yes. Alibris adds the following amounts (in US dollars) to the price of each item listed by sellers outside the United States on

Country Books Music & Movies
Canada $3.00 $2.00
United Kingdom $10.00 $6.00
Europe $12.00 $8.00
Australia $8.00 $6.00
Rest of World $12.00 $9.00

Alibris adds the following amounts (in US dollars) to the price of each item listed by sellers from outside the United Kingdom on

Country Books Music & Movies
USA $7.00 $3.00
Canada $9.00 $5.00
Europe $1.00 $1.00
Australia $9.00 $6.00
Rest of World $12.00 $9.00

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What types of file formats will you accept for inventory uploads?

Alibris can process the following file types:

  • UIEE (Universal Information Exchange Environment)
  • Excel
  • HomeBase (exported to a HomeBase txt file, which is the default export from HomeBase, or uploaded via FTP. Sellers must ask for FTP to be enabled after the seller account has been created). )
  • Tab-delimited (a tab-delimited file contains a number of fields, each separated by a tab character)
  • Character-delimited (only acceptable if the character is a tilde "~")
  • Amazon Open Listing Report files uploaded "as is" (these are Excel files from Amazon, available to Amazon sellers with a Pro Merchant account)

Note that Excel, tab-delimited or character-delimited files MUST include the names of each field on the first line of the file and in the order in which those fields appear for the actual listings in the subsequent lines). If the field names are not present, the file may still be processed, but could contain errors in placement of data from the fields. Also, programs such as Works or FileMaker Pro can generate tab-delimited files, either by saving the file as a tab-delimited (or text and tabs) file, or exporting the file to a tab-delimited (or text and tabs) file. See the Help files of your program to find out how. Alibris can provide a sample Excel file on request.

Once a seller has uploaded their first file and that file has processed, all subsequent files must remain in exactly the same format, with the same field names, number of fields and field order as that first file. If any change, even a slight change, is made to the format of the uploaded file, the seller MUST then create a single, accurate and complete file containing ALL items in the new format, then upload that file to Alibris one time using the PURGE option.

Note that files from word processor programs such as Word, WordPad, etc., are not acceptable.

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Where will my books, movies, and music be listed after I open an account and add items to my Alibris inventory?

The following table shows where your inventory will be available for sale. Please note that there may be qualifications and exceptions to each. If you have questions, please contact us.

from US sellers
from Canadian sellers
from EU sellers
all other sellers
and movies from US sellers
movies from Canadian sellers
and movies from EU sellers
and movies from all other sellers
Alibris Web sites
Alibris for Libraries
Alibris Autobuy              
Blackwell UK        
Half Price Books
Nebraska Book Company                      

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How does Alibris help me price my books?

Once you add your inventory to Alibris, you can use the Alibris Pricing Service to easily compare your books' prices against those of other online sellers. With this tool, you can quickly search your listings and see which are either over or under priced. By looking at Benchmark Prices that are based upon current market information, you can update your own prices more effectively. The Alibris Pricing Service enables you to increase your sales on the Alibris retail and library sites, as well as through the sites of our business partners. Note that this tool is not currently available for movies and music items.

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How will I process orders for items sold through Alibris?

With Alibris you can manage your inventory and orders for multiple sales channels within our easy-to-use Seller Hub. Once an item is ordered from an Alibris web site or from a partner site, it is automatically removed from all appropriate sales channels. We post the Purchase Notification on the Seller Hub, and we send you a Purchase Notification by e-mail for backup. Many of our partner orders will have the partner's logo and order numbers on the purchase notification, as well as the partner's return instructions. US, Canadian, UK, and European sellers will receive two types of orders from Alibris:

  • Orders that "Ship to Customers", which you ship directly to the customer using the mailing information provided in the Purchase Notification.
  • Orders that "Ship to Alibris", which you ship to the Alibris distribution center using the mailing information provided in the Purchase Notification.

Rest of the World sellers will only receive orders that "Ship to Alibris." Shipping instructions for each order are outlined in the Open Order details on the Seller Hub, as well in the emailed version of the Purchase Notification. The Seller Hub version of the Purchase Notification should be printed, and then used as a packing slip and shipping label.

Shipping instructions for each order are outlined in the Open Order details on the Seller Hub, as well in the e-mail Purchase Notification. The Purchase Notification gets printed from the Seller Hub, and is then used as a packing slip.

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What if I get an order for a multi-volume set, or an unusually large or heavy item?

For multi-volume sets and oversized items, we recommend that you consider adjusting prices to cover incremental postage. For orders above $30, you can request additional shipping from the buyer on the Order Detail page of your specific order. If the customer agrees to pay that incremental cost, it will be added to your shipping credit for the order. If the customer does not agree, the order will be cancelled by Client Services with no impact to your seller rating. Requests for additional shipping are not possible for partner orders or if the customer uses certain types of alternative payment methods such as PayPal. For sellers processing orders via EDI Lite, or for items ordered that are less than US$30.00, we will consider requests for incremental postage on a case-by-case basis. To make a request, please contact us before you mark the order shipped.

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Does Alibris allow drop shipping?

No, Alibris does not support or condone drop shipping. If you do not have an item in stock, you must cancel the order. Sellers who do drop ship orders will have their accounts put on hold and may be subject to termination.

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Will Alibris and its partners require that I use a specific shipping method when shipping orders?

We require all of our sellers to ship within 48 hours, and to meet or exceed the expected arrival date by whatever shipping method they choose. This date will vary depending on whether the order is standard or expedited.

For orders shipping from sellers located outside the US, you can easily find similar information on our Policies and Procedures page.

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What will be required to remain an active seller on Alibris?

We strive to deliver the best shopping experience to our customers and business partners, so our primary requirement is that sellers fill the orders they receive at a rate of 85% or higher. If this minimum is not being met, we will work together with you to resolve the issue. If you continue to fill orders at less than an 85% fill rate, we will close your Alibris account.

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What is the Alibris return policy?

Alibris offers a generous return policy and provides a venue for sellers and buyers to negotiate refunds and/or returns. Returned items must be received by the seller or the Alibris distribution center within 60 days (75 days for buyers returning items to the distribution center from outside the contiguous US) of the item's shipping date. The authorized reasons for a return are:

  • Condition not as described
  • Incomplete set
  • Incorrect item
  • Item is illegal or a pirated copy
  • Movie or music item is damaged or unplayable
  • Item is priced > $100.00

The seller may negotiate an appropriate refund or dispute the return if the return reason is not authorized. Disputed returns will be mediated by the Alibris Client Services team. The seller's number of disputes will be monitored and limited based on the percentage of orders disputed in a 12-month period. If the seller refunds the order, his or her account will be debited accordingly and his or her seller rating will be affected.