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Idea: Selling sample paper packs on Amazon

Idea: sell sample paper packs as an online business

Selecting paper on Amazon is hard. You can’t see the paper in person. What is the texture like? Will your printer accept the paper? Or will it be too thick? How does the ink or toner bleed into the sheet? Will the paper look totally cheap if it’s used to make a greeting card? All these questions are unknown when trying to decipher the paper stock options on Amazon.

I’m looking for a cover stock to print on my laser printer. The paper is sold 250 sheets in a ream. What if it doesn’t work? I’m stuck with 249 sheets. I would love to have a sample pack to have the paper in my hands. To feel it. To see how thick it is.

Amazon needs to sell sample paper packs! But they don’t.

Maybe I could.

Is a market for sample packs on Amazon? I could buy 20 different types of paper from Amazon. Then I take one sheet from each ream, and bundle it into a sample pack.

Would it be cost effective to sell sample paper packs?

Or would I waste my money buying all these papers, and never sell them? Here’s how the numbers play out.

The 20-sheet variety pack

One 250-sheet ream costs $35. To buy 20 different reams, that would cost me about $700. With 20 different reams, that means my variety pack would have 20 different sheets. What should I sell this 20-sheet variety pack for? Well, places like Paper Source sell their cover stock paper for an average of $1 per sheet. So with my 20-sheet variety pack, I could sell the packs for $20 each.

With the cost of $20 per pack, I would have to sell 35 sample packs to recoup my $700 investment. But if I sold all 250 sample packs, then I would bring in $5,000 revenue ($4,300 profit).

The 10-sheet variety pack

Maybe I don’t need 20 sheets in a sample pack. Maybe I only need 10.

Investment in 10 different packs: $350. To break even, I still need to sell 35 sample packs–with the potential of making $3,150 profit.


20-sheet pack

  • My investment: $700
  • My cost for each sample pack: $2.80
  • Sell each sample pack for: $20
  • Need to sell: 35 packs
  • Total profit if all packs sell: $4,300

10-sheet pack

  • My investment: $350
  • My cost for each sample pack: $1.40
  • Sell each sample pack for: $10
  • Need to sell: 35 packs
  • Total profit if all packs sell: $3,150 (ok, so these numbers don’t include everything. Continue reading)

Amazon affiliate earnings

Then there is Amazon affiliate earnings if people eventually buy a full ream from me. Let’s say on average everyone who buys a sample pack from me ends up buying one 250-sheet ream of paper for $35. Yeah, some people won’t buy it at all. And some people may buy more the one ream. Let’s say it’s one ream on average. $1.40 affiliate profit per ream. Times 250 reams… is an extra $350.

Meh. That’s not too much compared to the sample pack profits. Besides, would people really buy more than one ream of 250 sheets? I doubt it. 250 is a lot to begin with! Who really needs 500 or 1000 sheets of cover stock paper? Let’s not factor in any money made from Amazon affiliate earnings.

Is $1 per sheet a good price?

Websites like sell their cardstock samples for $0.55 per sheet! Yipes. Fifty-five cents. That’s a lot lower than my $1 per sheet.  Plus, they allow you to pick exactly which sheets you want! That means each order is manually filled. You can’t just make a standard pack of 10 or 20 sheets and be done.

Paperandmore sells their 12-sheet sample pack for $3.49. That’s 29 cents a sheet! Gah.

Paper Source sells their cover stock for $8.50 in a pack of ten. Previously said $1.00, but it’s actually $0.85.

Numbers for a $5 ten-sheet sample pack

It’s looking like I would definitely have to price my sample pack for $0.50 per sheet, not $1.00. Plus, $5.00 for a sample pack sounds much more reasonable than $10 or $20. With a 10-sheet pack, I would have to sell 70 packs to break even. If I sold ALL 250 packs, I would make only $900.

Amazon fulfillment and shipping

I’m not going to fulfill TWO-HUNDRED AND FIFTY individual orders just to make $900. We need to factor in the cost of Amazon doing the fulfillment and storage


For fulfillment, Amazon charges $2.40 for a small item under a pound.


Amazon also charges for storage, based on the cubic feet.

  • January – September $0.64 per cubic foot
  • October – December $2.35 per cubic foot

The holiday season costs a lot more! Let’s average this cost out for each month. Figuring in nine months at the lower price, three months at the higher price, Amazon chargges an average of $1.07 per month (per cubic foot).

How much space will 250 of my 10-sheet variety packs take up?

Let’s take the Classic Crest Super Smooth Solar White 80# Cover 8.5″x11″ 250/pack, as example.

  • 8.7 x 11.1 x 2.5 inches for one ream is 241 cubic inches.
  • Ten reams make 2,414 cubic inches.
  • I would have 1.40 cubic feet of space. (2,414 cubic inches/(12x12x12))
  • That’s about $17.98 per year to store the sheets.

Now let’s look at the numbers again with storage and fulfillment factored in.

10-sheet pack, priced at $5/each


  • My investment to buy 10 reams of paper: $350
  • Cost for fulfilling 250 sample packs: $600
  • Cost to store 250 sample packs for one year: $17.98
  • TOTAL COSTS: $968
  • Each pack would cost me: $3.87

Revenue & profits

  • Sell each sample pack for: $5 (I profit $1.13 per sample pack)
  • Revenue for selling 250 packs: $1250
  • Profit for selling 250 packs: $282
  • To break even, I need to sell 194 packs.

I’d only make $282 if I sold out of 250 packs.

Wow. $1.13 profit per sample pack. That is starting to make the $1.40 affiliate earnings per ream look really good!

Conclusion: there is very little profit reselling sample paper packs online


Image credits:
Brandi Redd, Scattered white paper
Michał Grosicki, Notepad

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