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Amazon Sellers Confused by ‘Refurbished’ Books Error Message

A handful of discussion threads on the Amazon.com Seller Forums recently pondered an unusual question – are used books really refurbished items? One would probably think “no” as refurbishing usually refers to something done to items like cars or furniture.

But one seller recently found their attempts to list used books returning an unexpected error. “Refurbished; You are not approved to list in this product category.” This proved a real mystery to forum poster Foliobooks.

“Have I missed something, and used books are now considered to be refurbished and require the $39.95/month fee and special approval? (I’m already approved to sell Collectible books.),” Foliobooks said. “Or is this just the (mega-)glitch du jour?”

An early response from SellerSupport poster GlennS didn’t help resolve this. “At this time, the Refurbished Condition can only be used in specific approved categories. Books is not one of these categories and thus the system is indicating that you, and any other seller, are not permitted to list this product with the Refurbished Condition.”

As noted, sellers aren’t trying to list books as refurbished items in the first place, and a few pointed that out.

Other sellers reported encountering the same glitch. “I have been getting the same “not authorized to sell “refurbished” books” message all day. It comes up before any description of condition or other information is allowed to be given,” poster Superbstuff wrote.

Threads elsewhere expressed similar frustration with the refurbished books situation. “I am not trying to list anything refurbished, just used books,” Pro Merchant and poster Rockybooks wrote. “Tried contacting seller support, can’t make them understand that I am not selling refurbished.”

Some sellers suggested workarounds to try and get past the problem. Poster Rssbooks said, “You can get around it by listing from the inventory section of your seller page. Inventory. Click on add a product. Worked for me.”

At the time of writing this glitch still appeared to be unresolved as a resolution hadn’t been posted in the relevant threads. However, poster Killing Time noted, “Ignore the warning message…it is not actually blocking you from listing….I am told they are working on it.”


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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.