While Amazon and eBay offer lots of options for bibliophiles, the shipping charges can make them unaffordable. Luckily, those aren’t the only two places you can get deals on books.
If you’re a voracious reader, who loves out-of-print stuff, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve searched long and hard for the best places to find old books and save money on new releases, as well. Here’s what we found!
While actual thrift bookstores tend to be a bit old-fashioned, ThriftBooks has all the features you’d expect from a modern virtual bookseller. Not only is it easy to find books of all sorts (including rare and out-of-print titles), but there are cool features, like notifications when items you’ve wish listed go on sale. You can even request to be notified if a rare book you’re searching for pops up.
Another really cool feature is the “reading rewards” points system. Depending on how much you spend each year, you can earn anywhere from 8 to 10 points for every dollar you spend. When you reach 500 points, you can use it toward a free book.
This site is particularly awesome if you’re looking for something rare or out of print, you can also score deals on used copies of contemporary titles.
When it comes to online used bookstores, AbeBooks is ancient and they certainly have the system down pat. The site launched in 1996 and has long served as a hub for independent booksellers to connect with shoppers.
AbeBooks makes it easy to find everything from autographed copies of rare books to gently used (or even brand-new) copies of current bestsellers. Even though you’re buying from independent sellers, the AbeBooks marketplace offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
For new books that might no longer be readily available at your local bookstore, Hamilton Book has a fantastic variety, all separated by category. You can find books as cheap as a buck. This is also an excellent place to buy a unique gift.
The primary reason the prices are so low is because Hamilton Book specializes in scooping up overstocks, or “remainders,” as they’re called in the industry. If you’ve ever bought a book from a discount bin and noticed a mark (usually a black marker line across the pages near the binding), that’s an overstock book. It was sold at a discount to purge a publisher’s inventory.
If you don’t mind books with a mark on them (most people don’t even notice), it’s really tough to beat getting books for a few dollars or less.
Do be forewarned, however; the website is a bit dated. In its defense, though, the company does still publish and mail a paper catalog, so a dated website is probably par for the course.
If you’ve got books you’re looking for and books you want to get rid of, PaperBack Swap is the perfect site to do both things in one place. After you sign up, you can list all the good-condition books you have and wish to trade with their ISBNs. You then earn credits each time someone requests one of your books and you send it to them.
The system is pretty straightforward. You’re not buying books, you’re trading them (albeit not in a direct your-book-for-their-book fashion). Every time you send a book to someone, you pay the postage and get a credit for a book. Every time you order a book through the site, you use a credit, and the sender pays the postage to ship that book to you.
As a free member, you can make up to 30 of these no-fee swaps per year. After that, you can either pay 49 cents for every additional trade or upgrade to a premium membership that supports the site. You can read all about the credit system and memberships here.
Books can be pricey, but you can build a personal library without going broke. These sites will help you get started.