The Best Places to Buy Cheap Books {Discussion}


Okay, first of all, before I start talking about what I came here to talk about…

Hold Up

1. This post is mostly going to be for those people who are US residents. While some of the things I mention below are foreign-applicable, this unfortunately is going to be a mostly US-focused kinda thing. But feel free to let me know in the comments about how you get cheap books in your country! I’m very curious about this!

2. I’d like to strongly emphasize that purchasing used and/or discounted books does not always benefit authors as much as buying new (or, even better, pre-ordered) copies of their books. But, like I talked about in last week’s discussion: Should You Buy Final Versions of ARCs?, us book bloggers support authors in a multitude of different ways, and us young adult book bloggers are mostly hella broke.

So, while supporting authors should definitely be a consideration when it comes to choosing which books to buy and how, let’s put that on hold for a sec’ and talk about CHEAP-ASS BOOKS, Y’ALL.

Cheap Ass Books Ya'll

amazonWell, duh. If you’re not shopping on Amazon, you’re either clueless or you hate Amazon. Hating Amazon is totally a valid choice, but me personally? I love it. I know they’ve got a few issues, but seriously…you can’t beat two-day shipping. You just can’t.

Amazon is also really helpful for somebody like me who’s disabled. It’s extremely hard to do in-person shopping, so the fact that Amazon exists is a godsend. I seriously don’t know what I’d do without it.

When it comes to books, I use Amazon the most for it’s Kindle books, random cheap physical books that I find once in a while (one time I got the hardcover box set of the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu for like $15. And I just ordered Lola and the Boy Next Door for like $6 the other day…awesome), and preorders.

Amazon is the best at preorders! Not only do you get day-of-release shipping, it’s almost almost always the cheapest option out there. They’re also really good about free, fast returns if you ever happen to receive a damaged book from them (which I never have — another plus).


Amazon is great at dishing up bargain-bottom prices on ebooks. But the problem is…how do you know when the ebooks you want go on sale? There are literally thousands (if not millions!) of ebooks on Amazon, and most of us have hundreds of books on our TBR lists, so it’s not like you could police them daily to check which ones are on sale!

Enter…BookBub! You just give them your email, tell them which genres you’re interested in, and they send you daily emails of all the books in those genres that have been drastically reduced in price. It’s addicting.


As the biggest book retailer in the US besides Amazon, Barnes & Noble is also a way to purchase books. I honestly don’t recommend them super highly…but occasionally they can be a good option. I recently joined their membership program just to test it out as a possible alternative to Amazon, but so far I’m thinking that’s it’s not really worth it.

I do like that they give you 20% off coupons every now and then (both of the ones I’ve received so far I ended up using!), but you can’t use coupons on preorders (which definitely takes away some of their value for me), and I’m not sure that the savings I’d get from spending 20% less on a book than I would on Amazon would end up totaling $25 in a year. They also charge tax, which Amazon doesn’t do, so that cuts your savings down even further.

They do have their Nook, but I’ve only ever used Kindles, so I really have nothing to say about that. Let me know if and why you think the Nook is better than the Kindle!

I think that the reason why people who shop there like them so much is because they’re a great place to buy books/browse if you’re looking for a bookstore that has a huge selection. Because I don’t really shop in bookstores ever, and because Amazon’s prices are cheaper 95% of the time, I don’t think that I’ll be renewing my membership.

Half Price Books horiz_red

I really can’t say much about Half Price Books…I live in Rhode Island and there aren’t any around here, but I know that they’re a huge thing in other parts of the country.

I can say that their online marketplace isn’t great. They’re unclear about this on the site, but they have books that they sell, and then books that other people are selling. The coupons and membership program they give out do not apply for books sold from other places besides directly from HPB.

So I definitely wouldn’t suggest purchasing from them online…but apparently their physical stores are great!



I think that I first discovered BookOutlet last Fall…and I just went crazy. This site has SO many good deals and is always offering great deals and coupons. They also have a huge selection of YA books on there. And, although they do charge shipping, it’s a fair price. I’ve gotten many an awesome steal from them in the past.

Honestly, I had to stop myself from browsing their site so much. I used to go on and look at New Arrivals multiple times away…but there was one time that I placed like three orders in the span of a month, so I’ve tried to cool it since then. This site is dangerous. I haven’t ordered from them in a couple of months…but, trust me, I want to.


This site I only just recently discovered a couple months ago, thanks to Shae @ Shae Has Left the Room.

I really like Better World Books because of how supremely cheap their books are (plus free shipping!), their large selection, and their mission. 

But I have to be honest and say that the quality of the books isn’t always great. But for a $4 book, you can’t be that picky. I also once ordered a book and got a completely different cover than what was advertised (which I was not happy about), but again, you get what you pay for.

BookOutlet is slightly more expensive, with a bit smaller selection, but they sell bargain books (not used books), so they are definitely better quality (usually they look new), unless you’re ordering from their “scratch & dent” section.


Obviously this is a fantastic option for international orders and giveaways, but I’ve never actually used this site for my own personal use.

Their books seem to be jacked up in price to make up for the free shipping, so I’d really only suggest purchasing from them if you can find a great deal on a discounted new release or something from the bargain section. But you’d probably have better (read: cheaper) luck somewhere else.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 4.01.32 PM I haven’t purchased anything from this site before, but I spent a while perusing it once. While it’s probably a good site for getting cheap popular used books for a decent price and no shipping charges, they don’t have a very good selection at all…I spent about 30 minutes searching for titles that I was interested in and only two were available. They have a lot of stuff like Twilight and Divergent, but not a lot of the lesser-known titles or newer (2012-2014) books that a lot of us are more interested in.


I think that, after I recently shared my bookshelf tour,  a lot of you were probably wondering how it’s at all possible to own that many books without going bankrupt.

While having a full-time job does really help, it’s mostly because I rarely spend more than $4 on a book. (Unless it’s a preorder.) And almost never more than $1 on an ebook. And these sites are the reason why!


Now what about you? Are YOU a cheap book junkie like me? Any great sites that I haven’t heard of? If you’re not from the US, where do you get YOUR cheap books?


15 responses to “The Best Places to Buy Cheap Books {Discussion}

  1. O wow I never realized there was such a big price difference. You hardly buy books above 4$, that’s so cheap!

    I live in the Netherlands and I buy all my paperback books at The Bookdepository because the books there are like 2 euro’s or more (that’s about 3$) cheaper then when I buy them at and is already 2 euro’s cheaper then any book I can buy here in stores. Hence the reason I usually buy e-books as those are even cheaper.
    If you buy a book here in a bookstore you can easily pay somewhere between 15 and 20 euro for a book, so that’s about 20$ till 26$. To pay 10 euro for a book here is a bargain. If I can find a paperback on the bookdepository for 5 euro’s (7$) I am basically running around in joy.

    And I can’t buy books on amazon as I don’t have a credit card and they don’t accept paypal and if you don’t live in the US the shipping costs can get high. I do use Bookbub, it’s so awesome to be able to get books for cheap or free and actually know when they are on sale.

    • I think that our in-store prices are probably about the same. A new hardcover in stores can definitely be $20-$30. Which is ridiculous and why I never shop at places like Barnes & Noble for new books. Preordering on Amazon ends up being much cheaper…a new YA hardcover preorder is usually between $10-$15.

      I think that we just have a lot more discount sites than you guys, which makes it easier to get books at a bargain. But it’s good that you use BookBub to get some lower-priced/free ebooks! And it’s great that The Book Depository is a good option for you 🙂

      Thanks for commenting! I think it’s interesting hearing about the differences between countries for stuff like this. But it does kind of make me feel guilty that I live in the US and get to have cheaper books :/ I’m sorry!!

  2. Hella broke sufficiently sums up the last two years of my existence xD

    DUDE. The box set for $15?? I think I paid $35! Bowing down to your magical ways right now. BY THE WAY!!!! The Young Elites is like $12 right now; I just preordered my copy 😀

    I totally agree about Amazon’s preorder prices and shipping – mostly the shipping. Between BN and Amazon for preorders, I usually go with Amazon, because with BN I have to wait 3-5 days after the release, and by then it’s almost worth paying the extra $3 and picking it up in stores.

    I can’t even go on book outlet anymore unless I KNOW I have money to spend. It’s dangerous O_O

    TBD I only use when I’m sending a book to an international friend. The free shipping is great, since I mailed ONE paperback last Christmas and ended up paying $17 for shipping.

    • Haha yeah I’ve been doing a major overhaul with my finances lately…really trying to keep costs down and figure out exactly how much I can afford to spend each month after all the necessities. And it’s NOT MUCH. So I’ve been barely buying any books lately because I think I’ve just been going way too overboard this year. And I’m running out of bookshelf room haha.

      Yeah it was a Amazon Gold Box deal or something like that…I also got the hardcover of TFIOS for $7 that day. It was pretty much the best day ever 😛

      DON’T TEMPT ME! I know I want to read that series, but ugh, I gotta stick to my rule! So no sense in even ordering it right now 😛

  3. I do get BookBub emails to help alert me to Nook deals. As far as Nook vs. Kindle, since I’ve never had a Kindle I can’t actually compare, but B&N usually matches Amazon’s Kindle prices at least when there’s a special deal going on, so I think that makes it a decent option (some people seem to think Kindle is the only way to get a cheap e-book, but not true!). I chose Nook over Kindle because I liked that I could go to the store if I needed tech support (I’ve had it a few years now though and have never had to take advantage of it) and also because I wanted to support Barnes and Noble as a company.

    I don’t have a Half Price Books where I live, which is too bad because it sounds awesome, but I have gotten some pretty good deals at a chain store we have here called Hasting’s.Sometimes gently used or not at all used paperbacks can be found for $5 or less, so I’m a fan of that!

  4. What is this magical site called BookBub?! I must check it out. The only Kindle deals I know off are the ones I receive in my email, and occasionally via tweets and blog posts about discounted Kindle books. Now I feel like I’ve been clueless the entire time! Haha.

    And I find it funny that to you TBD must’ve jacked up the prices! Compared too all my other possible book purchasing outlets, TBD almost always wins. Although, if I do place an order totalling US$125 or more, I’m able to get free international shipping thanks to the AmazonGlobal Saver Shipping thing they implemented over the past year. Though like you said, we’re all broke, so I have wait for someone to order something huge from Amazon and ask them to throw in a book or two for me. Heh.

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  8. Ohhhh, some of these are good. I’ve got a list of books I’ve read but want to own, so I’m going to spend the rest of the evening shopping for books on some new sites. Thanks for the tips! (Oh, and I also just bought the $6 Lola…awe-some!)

  9. Amazon is the best place to buy books but since I’m to young for a proper job. The money I get still isn’t enough for the books I want. I mainly go charity book shopping, everything there is so cheap

  10. I’d also recommend AbeBooks. There are a series of bookstores located in Pennsylvania, that sell some books with shipping free in the US and 3.99 elsewhere. It’s not for every book, but a lot of hardcovers go for 4-10 dollars.

  11. I’m from Sri Lanka and book prices here are sky high!! Second hand book stores don’t have much choice unless you only read Chick Lit. So I get all my books from Amazon even though I’ve to pay about $10 for shipping..:/ Book Depo is great when it comes to free shipping but hardback prices are super high. Love the second hand feature in Amazon though. I’ve got great deals for $4 so with shipping it’s only $14.00!!

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