Advertising
Advertising

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

      Advertising

      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

            Advertising

            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

                  Advertising

                  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

                        Advertising

                        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.

                                More by this author

                                smooth hair 15 Easy Ways to Get Silky, Smooth Hair best online bookstores cheap books 15 Best Online Bookstores for Cheap New and Used Books reasons to rethink fast fashion 8 Reasons to Rethink Fast Fashion 10 Things You Suffered Through That Your Kids Will Never Understand outstanding baby names for boys girls unisex Get Inspired by These 25 Unique and Outstanding Baby Names

                                Trending in Money

                                1 How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt 2 How to Use Debt Snowball to Get out from a Financial Avalanche 3 How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money 4 The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind 5 How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

                                Read Next

                                Advertising
                                Advertising
                                Advertising

                                Last Updated on March 4, 2019

                                How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

                                How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

                                Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

                                I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

                                Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

                                Advertising

                                Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

                                Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

                                Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

                                I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

                                Advertising

                                I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

                                If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

                                Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

                                The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

                                Advertising

                                Using Credit Cards with Rewards

                                Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

                                You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

                                I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

                                Advertising

                                So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

                                What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

                                Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

                                Read Next