If you are anything like me, you love how easy Amazon has made it to find and buy books, and yet sometimes you cringe at how much of the market they are dominating. My family used to sell used books online, so I have had hands-on learning experience with all sorts of online retailers. (It was a dream job, but believe it or not, I did get sick of books at one point!)
Being the frugal, book-loving person I am, I like to find the best deal, and I like, when I can, to support the smaller businesses. All these listed below I have either used, bought from, or sold from.
1. Addall Used and Out of Print Book Search
Don’t be deceived by its title—this search engine pulls up everything. This is what we used to use when we wanted to find the value of a book, because it finds and pulls up all the copies that are for sale from about 40 different online retailers. You can usually find the best price on here. It has the seller descriptions right on the listings, it tells you what retailer it’s from, and you just click the title and it takes you through to the site where you can buy it. While it’s not a retail site itself, it is a gateway to many of them.
Alibris is a great place; they sell movies and music in addition to books. This is a used book site, but they have good prices, and you can often find a book in “Like New” condition. The search is easy—you can use title, author, or ISBN, and you can see the individual retailers’ ratings right next to your book listings. It was on this site that I found my $200 research book for about $35.
Abebooks is really our go-to site when we don’t want Amazon. They have a wide selection, you can run detailed searches (books with free shipping, hardcover/softcover, dust-jacket, signed, etc.), and many of their books have free shipping within the US.
Let me just say that as a book dealer, I hated Half. I would look up a book that was selling for $400 on all other listings, and then you look at Half, and it’s listed for $75. (I’ve used a large example, but it is a true story.) Nothing like that to immediately drop your book’s value. However, now that I am on the buying end, Half is my friend. They sell good books for good prices, and like many of the others, they are easy to search, have lots of options, and show seller ratings right up front.
Biblio is a lot like the other sites, only it has some other fancy features like a bookshop finder, and gift ideas for writers and bibliophiles. However, some of their selections can be a little pricier than the other places I have mentioned today.
Where do you shop for your books? Have you used any of these sites before?
2 thoughts on “Buying Books Online: 5 Great Alternatives to Amazon”
This is absolutely fascinating. Like you, I don’t like how Amazon dominates, but their prices are hard to resist. I’ve heard of ABE books, but Half and Addall I had never seen before. Thanks for sharing, Em! Great post idea. 😀
You are so welcome. 🙂 I really like these other venues, and I feel like a have a personal connection with them, having been a seller through them before. And they are good companies…I almost never shop for a book without checking them for the best deal. Besides, you are supporting individual small businesses while you are at it! If you buy through any of them sometime, you’ll have to let me know what you think. 🙂