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Save Money by Shopping for Books Online

May 15th, 2008

book-shopping-online.jpgThis article by Roz Andrews discusses the advantages of shopping for books online and provides some suggestions for how to use some of the major e-commerce sites in this genre. I’m not sure whether I agree with the author’s premise — my mother is a frequent consumer of books, and most of time she buys them from our local Barnes & Noble store and uses her membership discount. Admittedly, since the advent of the Internet I rarely go shopping for printed books or magazines anymore, so I cannot say for certain whether it is really less expensive to purchase books online or to buy them from a traditional bookstore. Perhaps some of you who have more experience in this area can weigh in on this one.


If you love reading and like to acquire a steady stream of books, shopping for books online is usually more cost effective than visiting a bookstore.

Amazon is the most famous book shopping website. You can browse through Amazon’s catalog of thousands of books and read reviews written by readers. You can either buy new books directly from Amazon or from one of the many Marketplace sellers. If you are eagerly awaiting the latest book by your favorite author, you can pre-order it at Amazon and the book will be sent to you as soon as it is published.

If you love browsing for secondhand books, Amazon and eBay are perhaps the best websites. Used books are sold by Amazon Marketplace sellers and many eBay sellers offer secondhand books. eBay is a treasure trove of rare and difficult to find books, from the antiquarian to the limited edition; from the proof copy to the old and well-read. You can also find books that were only published in other countries.

Amazon and eBay are like extended virtual secondhand bookstores with an unlimited supply. Don’t forget about the many eBay stores specializing in books – you can browse until your heart’s content.

There is often a great deal of overlap between what is offered on Amazon and what is available on eBay. Bear in mind that eBay sellers are free to set their own postage and packaging charges for each book, while Amazon Marketplace sellers have to charge Amazon’s standard shipping rates. This may mean that you can get a better deal on eBay if you are buying only one or two books. However, if you are purchasing several books, Amazon’s charges may be more favorable. If the books you want are offered on both websites at similar prices, compare the shipping charges before buying, and you may be surprised at the savings you could make by just selecting one website over the other.

If you are looking for a rare or out-of-print book that you cannot find on eBay, Alibris.com is the best place to look. It also offers a wide range of textbooks, and free or reduced shipping costs apply to some items.

Other websites offering books include bookstore chains such as Barnes and Noble and Borders, whose website is operated in conjunction with Amazon. It is worth checking out these websites to see if there are any favorable special offers or bulk discount deals.

Nowadays it is possible to purchase books online very inexpensively. In most cases, you will pay less than in a retail bookstore, even after taking the shipping charges into account. So enjoy a day’s book shopping without leaving home and save money by buying books online.



One Response to “Save Money by Shopping for Books Online”

  1. comment number 1 by: Shari

    My good friend and mentor, Karlonia.com! Amazon is indeed a great place to buy used books and to sell your own used ones too! One of my pet projects at www.booksfortroops.com is sending books and DVD’s to soldiers stationed away from home. I sell some of the donated books on Amazon and use the money I earn to pay for the shipping charges to soldiers.

    Amazon is an awesome site that makes internet commerce very easy on the little guy!

    Thank you for watching out for me! You’re a good friend and someday I’m gonna buy you a beer!

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