Okay, first of all, before I start talking about what I came here to talk about…
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.
Well, 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.
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!
BOOK OUTLET IS THE BEST THING EVA!
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.
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?