You know that feeling you get when you receive a package? And when the package is books? Books that you ordered online so you would have zero human interaction and could remain nuzzled beneath your blankets, pants-less and with a bowl of ice cream just an arm’s length away?
It’s like, the best feeling, right? There’s only one thing that could make this better: knowing that you got the best deal possible on those books you ordered.
And that is precisely why I’ve taken the time to make this list for all of my fellow “budget-booking” lovers. This list will include five of the best online bookstores for those on a budget as proved by extensive research. Yes, really. Because I wanted to make it fair and honest, I took the liberty of personally testing out all of these places for you. By ordering some books. For you. Because research.
(All right and because I’ve decided I don’t care that my bookshelf has actually reached capacity and I’m 100% going to have to buy a new one by the time all of these books arrive)
Enjoy my bookish friends!
Better World Books was the first bargain book website I discovered back when I was in college and crying over having to spend money I didn’t have to pay for the thousands of books and textbooks I was probably only going to crack open once. But then I found Better World Books. Not only did I end up getting the books I needed for school, I also ended up getting a bunch of other books I didn’t need for school (I much preferred to throw away what little money I had on books I actually wanted…). Holy guacamole is this site a bargain. Books here are cheap, and there is FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE. If you shop their bargain bin you’ll find books around $3.98. Not to mention they always have bundle deals – buy 3 books for $10 or 4 for $12 -and yes you should take advantage of this!
The books are mostly used and old library books, so if you’re looking for new books for cheap you may want to direct your attention elsewhere (further down this list hint, hint). Also, their shipping is not the fastest. But overall, I’ve had some great experiences with BWB and if you’re not in any rush to get things quickly, I highly recommend it. After all, the funds raised go to libraries and literacy foundations around the world. You’re buying books for a good cause, so why not splurge a little? 😉
2. Thrift Books
When scrolling through Thrift Books I often find myself drooling a little at their wide selection, perfect prices and pretty layout. They also have “buy more, save more” deals (2 for $7, 3 for $10, 4 for $12), and although they have a $10 order minimum for you to be able to get free shipping, it’s really not too hard to reach that (see: awesome bundle deals). Keep in mind that this free shipping only applies to people in the U.S. Those in Canada and the UK will pay $2.99 for standard shipping and the rest of the world will pay $4.99 for standard.
Yet another Thrift Book’s perk? They’ll give you a $5 coupon for every $50 you spend. Their books are a little cheaper than BWB (the cheapest I’ve seen is 3.59) and you can also get discounts for referring your friends. Like BWB, Thriftbooks works to combat illiteracy, save books from landfills, and recycle old library books. So check it out! Just be sure you have a tissue handy to wipe up the drool.
People rave about Book Depository for a reason. Book Depository’s mission is to make as many of the 30 million titles that have ever been printed in English available and judging from their inventory, they’re really serious about this. BD has a TON of books, but unlike the previous two sites, their books are in new condition and sold at amazingly discounted prices. Seriously. I found a book I wanted that came out only a few weeks ago for almost half the list price on Book Depository. I promise you, this site is all kinds of win and you can be certain you’re getting the good stuff when you order here!
To make it even more appealing, they also offer FREE shipping worldwide. And although the company is based out of the UK and Australia, the amount of time you’ll have to wait before getting those beautiful books in your hands is very reasonable, even if you don’t live in either of those places. Have I convinced you yet? Seriously. Go buy some new books already.
4. Book Outlet
Book Outlet is a gem of an online store. It actually has a physical store in St. Catherines, Ontario, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the goods from afar. They offer new condition books with low prices (I’ve seen as low as $2.99!) or what they call “scratch and dent” books which are essentially used books with a few imperfections that don’t affect the content inside.
While they don’t have free shipping like some of the other sites (shipping to the U.S is $3.99 for 1-2 books plus $.50 more for each additional), they often have blowout sales with books discounted even more. If the total cost for the books in your cart reaches $30 or more, then you can shop their “beyond the bargain” sale, which gives you access to a selection of even cheaper “bonus books” you can add to your cart. So if you’re all about the deals and love having a wide selection of books at great prices, give Book Outlet a try. And when you do (not if, when 😉 ), be sure you look on the edge of a book for a dot or a line, an indicator that they are return or excess inventory from the publisher and are new and in ready to read condition.
I hadn’t heard anything about Books A Million until I began doing some research for this post, but it’s another worthy mention. After all, it is the oldest of the stores on the list. It was founded as a street corner newstand in Alabama in 1917 and has since expanded into 260 stores in 32 states and D.C.
Like Book Outlet, they don’t offer much in the way of used books as they do new condition books at discounted prices, but the discounts are generous. You can even pre-order books at discounted prices! And if that still doesn’t convince you, they do have a bargain bin with some pretty fun finds, offer coupon codes, and have a marketplace feature a la Amazon that often will get you even cheaper books. What’s not to love?
If this doesn’t get you lusty for some brand new book finds, I don’t know what will. What do you think? Are you now planning to update your bookshelf? Are you familiar with any of these sites or do you know of yet another great site that’s not on here? Let me know if so. Otherwise, enjoy your pantsless buying!