5 Favourite Online Sources For More Books on a Budget!
For book lovers, I'm not sure anything is more precious than reading and owning books. We just love it! But our bank accounts? Not so much. Some people swear by libraries to read more books, but then you don't own it do you? There are those who like to own books. Personally, when I’m moved by a book, the thought of having to return it brings me to tears.
I need to have it with me, even though I may never re-read it. So, how can you build a personal library without breaking the bank? Budget friendly booksellers are invaluable, especially when you live in countries where additional shipping fees can be hefty.
I'll be sharing a few online resources that are absolute gems, but first, let's get out of the way an actual physical gem that's present almost everywhere. Drumroll for.... second-hand bookstores & thrift stores!
In many countries, this is a readily available option. Books in second-hand stores sell at ridiculously low prices and in many cases are gently used. You may even find relatively recent releases in stores like these because sometimes people buy books, and either hate them or never get to read them. They're perfect for thrift store prowlers, patient shoppers prepared to hunt down books for cheap in their local Goodwill or secondhand store.
But for anyone who cannot be bothered to go to a real store looking for specific books, here are 7 excellent online options:
Abe Books is my absolute favourite online spot for book shopping! Your dollar goes a long way when you shop on Abe Books because they sell brand new books, used books and rare/out of print books for next to nothing! Especially the used books! I’ve bought a number of used books on Abe Books (for under five bucks) that I could’ve mistaken for brand new.
Pros: Their site essentially hosts multiple booksellers, which gives you many choices and price ranges. They ship worldwide and often offer free shipping within the US. For other countries, shipping costs are still hefty, but at least the book costs less?
Cons: Because of the multitude of available stock, you have to be very specific when you use their search feature. It’s necessary to include the full title and author of the book you’re looking for, which can be annoying when you’re used to Amazon’s auto-complete.
Perfect for: The frugal book lover or the out-of-print-book lover who doesn’t mind used books.
I found Thrift Books via Abe Books -- they’re a popular seller. However, they have an entire website of their own! Their website is much easier to use and they have categories and suggestions available on their homepage.
You also get a free bookmark with most purchases (I know I have) and their books are often in pristine condition. You can trust them when they mention the condition of used books. While they ship worldwide, they charge $4.99 for each book shipped outside the UK and Canada.
Perfect for: Frugal US-dwelling book lover!
Better World Books has a comprehensive library -- they have a massive textbook inventory -- at competitive prices. They offer new and old books, although mostly old library books, so be sure to check the quality of used books, as usual. They offer FREE shipping worldwide and they do fulfill most of their shipments, although a couple of mine (to the Caribbean) got lost en route.
The exceptional thing about Better World Books though is that they donate one book to someone in need, for every book that you purchase. It is a great way to give back and support literacy!
Perfect for: Book lovers on a budget who’d love to give back in the support of literacy.
Book Outlet promises NEW books at READ-ICULOUSLY low prices! They’re famous for stocking publishing overflows at very low prices. With offices in the US and Canada, they offer free shipping on orders over $35 in both countries. While they ship internationally, they only serve a limited number of countries, as listed here.
Perfect for: The US/Canadian resident book lover who’s saved up for a major splurge!
Book Depository is an online bookstore with fulfillment centres in the UK and Australia. Although in 2011, they were acquired by Amazon, they have a wide selection of NEW books at low prices.
Pros: Shipping is FREE regardless of the cost of your order. Although they don’t ship worldwide at this time, they do ship to over a hundred countries. You can see a full list here.
Cons: First, their shipping times to areas outside the UK, US, Canada and Australia are unreliable. Second, newly released titles and pre-orders on their site are actually more expensive than on Amazon. So, I recommend purchasing only backlist titles on Book Depository. For such products, you pay at least two or more dollars less than Amazon pricing, and no shipping fee!
Perfect for: UK, US and Australia residents especially looking to buy NEW books at low prices!
To put our money where my mouth is, let’s compare live prices, using two books from this post where I recommend these 9 books you simply cannot put down.
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (Paperback)
- Amazon - $9.48 + shipping
- Abe Books - $3.60
- Thrift Books - $4.19
- Better World Books - $8.98
- Book Outlet - $4.79
- Book Depository - $8.05
The Mothers - Brit Bennett (Paperback)
- Amazon - $8.91 + shipping
- Abe Books - $3.64
- Thrift Books - $4.15
- Better World Books - $8.48
- Book Outlet - $5.89
- Book Depository - $17.02
For Nigerian residents, I highly recommend The Book Banque. They offer book sourcing, rental and seller services!
So yeah, some of my fave sources! Do you find yourself spending too much money on books? Where do you often buy books from - any faves to add?