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Last Updated on January 3, 2018

15 Best Online Bookstores for Cheap New and Used Books

15 Best Online Bookstores for Cheap New and Used Books

Between their very public fight with Hachette over book pricing and all of their futuristic but also kind of creepy side projects (think delivery drones), there are a number of reasons why you might be looking to buy books from a site that’s not Amazon. If you don’t have a local bookstore or if you need a specific title (like a textbook), the web is your best bet. There are a zillion sites offering cheap books online, and if you’re not sure where to start, you’re in the right place. We’ve looked all over and found 15 of the best online bookstores where you can find deals on new books, used books, textbooks, and more.

1. Powell’s Books

powells-books

    Best for: Independent presses, new authors
    Why it’s great: Powells.com is the online arm of the beloved bricks-and-mortar Portland shop, and even though it’s online, it’s still got the feel of what may be the world’s coolest neighborhood bookstore. In addition to a wide range of new and used books, you can find extra goodies on their blog, which offers everything from the staffers’ picks to playlists of the tunes authors listen to while they write.
    Bonus: Orders of $50 and up ship for free, everything else ships for a flat $3.99 in the US. Their sales, which are staff-curated by theme, will help you find deals on books that’ll broaden your literary palate.

    2. Better World Books

    Better World Books

      Best for: eBooks, popular fiction and nonfiction
      Why it’s great: “Better World” isn’t just a name — for every purchase made on BetterWorldBooks.com, a book is donated to someone in need (over 13 million to date!). These online booksellers also partner with libraries and college campuses to collect used books, many of which are donated to literacy nonprofits around the world. In addition to all of their reusing and recycling, you can also go paperless — Better World Books is one of the only discount sites that offers eBooks. Need it now? You can opt for eDelivery — any physical book can be scanned and sent to you in a digital format in as little as two hours.
      Bonus: Free shipping worldwide — and they pay for carbon offsets to minimize the eco-footprint of all those books traveling around the globe.

      3. BookMooch

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      Book Mooch

        Best for: Non-English language books, popular fiction
        Why it’s great: BookMooch.com is basically free. Once you sign up, you enter a list of the books you have that you’d like to give away, and make a wish list of the books you’d like to get. When someone requests one of your books, you ship it to them (that’s the only cost involved), earning you one point. You can then use your point to request a book from someone else. BookMooch is an international community, so it’s an especially good resource for tracking down books that aren’t available in the US or that are in a language other than English.
        Bonus: Just want to clean out your bookcase? You can also donate the points you earn to various charities that partner with the site.

        4. Skyo

        Skyo

          Best for: Textbooks, digital textbooks
          Why it’s great: Based near Coastal Carolina University, Skyo.com is primarily devoted to helping you save money on textbooks. Their rental program lets you choose your rental period, and even extend the due date if you need the text just a little bit longer. In addition to the usual ISBN search, you can also search by school to easily find textbooks that are required for courses at your college or university.
          Bonus: Tired of lugging around heavy texts? Skyo also lets you rent digital textbooks with 24/7 tech support.

          5. Thrift Books

          Thrift Books

            Best for: Popular books, kids’ books
            Why it’s great: Washington-based ThriftBooks.com has a commitment to helping the environment, partnering with libraries and other vendors to ensure that used books wind up in good hands rather than in the trash. Any items they receive that they can’t sell go directly to a recycling plant. Their prices are extremely low, and they also offer three-book deals that let you get extra savings on sets of books from bestselling authors.
            Bonus: For every additional book you buy from the same seller, you get an additional 50 cents off. Free shipping on any order in the US!

            6. Alibris

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            Alibris

              Best for: Hard-to-find titles, textbooks
              Why it’s great: In addition to its own book buying-and-selling operations, Alibris.com also connects a large network of independent sellers. This means that if you simply have to have a particular rare book — whether it’s a signed copy, a first edition, or it’s just been out of print for years, you’re likely to find it here. Alibris has also recently gotten into the textbook rental game. They allow you to return rentals for a full refund within 21 days (convenient for those who have trouble committing to a class schedule), and so long as you keep the book in reasonable condition, they allow written notes and highlighting.
              Bonus: Many items ship for free, and if you sign up for their newsletter, you get loads of coupons.

              7. The Strand

              The Strand

                Best for: New books, rare and out-of-print books
                Why it’s great: NYC mainstay The Strand boasts 18 miles of books, all of which you can search on StrandBooks.com. They’re picky about what they buy, so even used books are in good (if not better than good) condition. Even new books aren’t full price, and their staff picks give you the scoop on what New York’s hipster literati recommend. It’s not the same as browsing through their stacks IRL, but it’s close.
                Bonus: You can pre-order books that haven’t come out yet (signed copies, in some cases) — and they’re all discounted, too.

                8. AbeBooks

                AbeBooks

                  Best for: Collectible and unusual books
                  Why it’s great: AbeBooks.com is another site that combines its own operation with a number of independent sellers. The site is easy to search, but clicking around gives you the feel of a virtual independent bookstore. There’s a page where you can see photos and read the bios of all of the cats who live in the indie shops that sell via AbeBooks. They also have a number of click-worthy curated lists, from the Best New Books to Funniest Books According to the British.
                  Bonus: The “Weird Book Room” is amazing — it’s like stumbling into an extremely bizarre library. You can check out titles like Jurassic Towel Origami, Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy, and many more legitimately out-there titles. And oh yeah — many of the books on the site ship for free.

                  9. Half

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                  Half from eBay

                    Best for: Textbooks
                    Why it’s great: Owned by eBay, Half.com is sort of like an all “buy it now,” media-only version of the popular auction site (no bidding here). They have all kinds of books (as well as music, games, and movies), but textbooks are especially easy to find here. You can choose to rent or buy textbooks. If you buy, when your semester’s over you can sell that Chem 101 textbook and get some cash back.
                    Bonus: For textbook rentals, you pick how long you need the book (30 to 125 days), and return shipping is free.

                    10. Biblio

                    Biblio

                      Best for: Niche topics, rare books
                      Why it’s great: Biblio.com styles itself as one-stop shopping for true bibliophiles, with carefully curated collections from independent booksellers. Many are dealers who focus on specific niche interests, antiquarian books, and rare books, and in addition to searching for titles and authors, you can also browse by seller. Check the “Exclusive Specials” section for deals from the different indie shops!
                      Bonus: Your purchase helps do good! All shipping is offset with carbon credits. The company also has a nonprofit arm, BiblioWorks, which uses the site’s profits to build libraries in rural communities in South America.

                      11. PaperBack Swap

                      Paperback Swap

                        Best for: Bestsellers, new books
                        Why it’s great: Trading site PaperBackSwap.com lets you exchange books for free with other members — you list what you’ve got, ship it to someone when it gets requested, and earn a credit. You can use your credit to request a book from someone else, or as a coupon to get a brand new book at a discounted price.
                        Bonus: You get two credits just for signing up, so your first two books are completely free!

                        12. Books A Million

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                        Books A Million

                          Best for: New books, eBooks
                          Why it’s great: The online arm of this retail chain, BooksAMillion.com boasts discounts on new and bestselling books, as well as pre-orders. If you’re addicted to your eReader, they’ve also got great prices on loads of eBooks — plus pre-orders, too, so you can have that hot read on your device the moment it comes out.
                          Bonus: This site is generous with the coupon codes, helping you get even more savings.

                          13. Daedalus Books

                          Daedalus Books

                            Best for: Classic books, last year’s bestsellers
                            Why it’s great: DaedalusBooks.com brings you a curated collection of books that are remaindered by publishers — new books that went unsold. Sure, some books don’t sell because they’re not that good, but these folks are picky. If you’re looking for that one title you’ve always meant to read, they’ve probably got it.
                            Bonus: The prices are crazy cheap, and if you sign up for their email list you can take an additional 10% off your order.

                            14. BookRenter

                            BookRenter

                              Best for: Textbooks
                              Why it’s great: BookRenter.com does one thing, and it does it well — textbook rentals. It offers loads of options, including plenty of extensions and the opportunity to buy the book (with the cost of your rental going toward the purchase price) if you decide that you really do need it for more than just that one class. If you do return your book, they make it super easy, with printable shipping labels and several drop-off options.
                              Bonus: With free shipping both ways, all you pay is the cost of your rental.

                              15. Magers & Quinn Booksellers

                              Magers & Quinn

                                Best for: Nonfiction, up-and-coming authors
                                Why it’s great: MagersAndQuinn.com offers deeply discounted new and used titles, with the quirky charm of the actual Twin Cities shop. It’s an especially great resource for readers looking to dig deep into nonfiction, with an extensive selection on topics like science, current events, and urban studies. Their staff picks are a terrific way to discover new books and authors you haven’t heard of yet.
                                Bonus: Are you a writer? Check out the selection in the “Loft Bookshelf” for a wide range of excellent books on the craft of writing.

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                                Published on September 17, 2018

                                How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

                                How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

                                Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

                                With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

                                So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

                                1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

                                It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

                                You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

                                So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

                                2. When you want something big, wait

                                Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

                                It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

                                We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

                                A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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                                So, you get the itch.

                                You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

                                Here’s where you have to take a step back.

                                Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

                                Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

                                It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

                                The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

                                3. Live smaller than you can afford

                                You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

                                You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

                                That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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                                Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

                                Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

                                The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

                                But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

                                4. Practice smart grocery shopping

                                Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

                                But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

                                Create a grocery budget

                                Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

                                Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

                                I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

                                Make a list… and never deviate

                                Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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                                You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

                                These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

                                Eat before going grocery shopping

                                It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

                                If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

                                After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

                                Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

                                However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

                                This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

                                5. Cancel your gym membership

                                Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

                                The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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                                Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

                                I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

                                Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

                                Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

                                For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

                                Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

                                There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

                                It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

                                I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

                                Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

                                The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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