What, in your opinion, is the best website for buying books?

I love buying stuff over the Internet because I don’t get sidetracked by other issues. I dislike buying books in regular bookstores sometimes because they’re expensive and sometimes just aren’t there. Is Amazon.com your favorite? Let me know your sure-fire best resource. Thanks for your help.

Mods, sorry if this is in the wrong forum. I thought about this and decided I was asking a simple, general question. I bow to your guidance if you need to move this thread.

I like to comparison shop on allbookstores.com, but I most often end up buying from half.com or amazon.

PS - IMHO, this thread belongs in IMHO

I’ve ordered books online from only two sources.

One is www.amazon.com and the other is www.powells.com, which is run by Powell’s Bookstore, a local bookstore that has an immense selection of new and used books.

IANAMod but this may be better suited for IMHO.

I’ve boughts books and DVD’s from amazon.com with no problems at all. I give them two thumbs up.

I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Amazon, and I like their customer ratings and the ability to page through some of their books.

However, I bought an expensive text locally, and when it fell apart after about a month I just took it back and they replaced it. I’m not sure how an online store would handle something like this.

GQ is for questions with factual answers. Since this is more of a survey sort of thing, I’ll move it to IMHO.

I’m going to chime in with Amazon as well. I think the reader feedback sections are amazingly helpful. Plus, Amazon has expanded so much that you can buy most anything there now (they’ve recently hooked up with Target, so after you pick out your books, CDs, DVDs and electronics you can add in some bedsheets and drinking glasses.) My mom has started sending me Amazon gift certificates exclusively for gifts because it’s so durn easy and convenient for both of us.

Depends on the book. For novels, I like Amazon and Borders. I think Barnes and Noble has a slightly better ability to locate out-of-print books, but I haven’t tried this recently.

If you’re looking for technical computer books, then definitely Bookpool. MUCH better prices.

AbeBooks (aka the Advanced Book Exchange)

This is a front end sales presence for a LARGE group of subscribing used and specialty book vendors. For e.g., Powells, which is already ENORMOUS in terms of its inventory, is but a subset of the apparent ABEBOOKS inventory.

Unless you are looking for something brand spanking new, or need the wider breadth that Amazon offers (CDs, plumbing supplies, prescription meds etc) this site is definitely the place to be.

In a lot of ways it’s better than the average portal since not-in-US customers can often find vendors in their own country (canada, UK, germany) and therefore not get hosed on postage, plus it’s generally cheaper since the stuff is used. Often you can deal with a down home “local” who sells books out of his basement on weekends (I have bought books on dozens of topics from Salmon Arm, Corunna, El Paso, Bristol and someplace outside of Tucson AZ the name of which escapes me at the moment…) ALSO this is the best way to find out of print books which are either (a) not stocked by AmaBordeNobleTers or (b) sold as reissued trade paperbacks for 3x the “sensible” price.

Sorry for the length but as a self-confessed bibloholic I can’t praise this site enough…


In terms of price and selection AbeBooks is far superior toAlibris as far as I am concerned, but YMMV.

Half.com is a good place to find common books very cheap: got an urge to read five year old best seller? There’s a good chance it’s avalible from half.com for a quarter, plus $2 shipping.

Ebay is the only way I know of to get sets of books cheap. It’s not at all uncommon to see lots of 20 Robert B. Parker or Earl Stanley Gardner books go for $20/$5 shipping.

And I am pretty sure that Bookfinder.com is a meta search engene that includes Abebooks as but a portion of the sites they search.

I love the way Amazon sells used books now. I have this cheesy bestseller habit, and usually cheesy bestsellers are avalible used, in hardback, for around $8 with shipping, six months or so after the hardback comes out. That sure as hell beats waiting another year to pay the same price for the paperback.

For new books, I always shop at Barnes & Noble’s web site. I used to use Amazon, and they were ok, but BN has free, same day delivery in my area, which is nothing short of amazing, if you ask me.

For used books, I like half.com, but it 's a crap shoot. I usually keep a list of books that I’m looking for in a lukewarm sort of way, and every week or so search for them on half.com. It’s remarkable to see the price changes from week to week.

I know people rave about abe, but I only use it when I am searching for a particular, hard to find, title. I find that the abe format isn’t that easy to browse, especially if I am looking for more than one book, and would ideally like both of them to be reasonably priced, and from the store, to save on shipping. I use abe when I go into a search knowing that I am willing to spend a little more on a book that I simply have to own, especially for OOP books.

gentlyusedbooks.com is a neat source for mass market paperbacks, mostly crime or romance genre fiction. Most books are about $2 - $4, and it’s handy for finding that last Spenser mystery or whatever else you might be cranking through at the moment. They also offer nice customer service, it seems like a small operation and they send coupons and other special offers to their customers, and will also hold books for you if you let them know what you are looking for.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I am pleasantly surprised at all the options I have at my disposal. Manda Jo, I especially like your post. I have become hooked on Laurell K. Hamillton’s series about Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. She has two hardback books out and I can’t wait until the paperback versions come out. I shall try your option first.

I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Bookfinder.com. They search most of the places mentioned above and a few others. The list:

Barnes and Noble
Used Book Central

The only minor drawback is that one or more of the databases may be busy at the time of the search, but Bookfinder reports that as well.

Of course, none of the Web sites is as good as a real bookstore, complete with bookstore cat, but the OP did ask for websites.

Damn, thanks! A whole new world has suddenly unfolded in front of me. :slight_smile:

half.com, unless the sellers’ feedback is questionable. Then it’s off to Amazon I go, and occasionally B&N.

I should admit to a particular bias in favor of half.com, since I’m a seller there (with good feedback). :slight_smile:

Amazon is my main online source, especially now that they don’t charge shipping. I also shop at Amazon’s UK service; it’s a good source for books that haven’t been released in the US. Barnes & Noble has a major fault from my point of view; I have to pay sales tax on orders. Bookfinder.com is a also a great service; they’ll quote you the best prices from Amazon, ABE, Half.com, Powells, Half Price Books, as well as other sources. Alibris on the other hand is probably the worst of the lot as their prices are ridiculously high; I’ve seen them selling used copies of book that are still in print for twice what the retail cost of a new copy is.

These are all general book services. If you’re looking for a specific genre, you might check out a specialty dealer like Bud Plant, eCampus, or Loompanics.

Actually, most of Hamilton’s Anita Blake series have been out in paperback for years. They were originally released in paperback but they’re now be re-released in hardcover and trade editions.

Amazon has always given me good service. They’ve upgraded shipping methods for me, split up shipments when some of the items went on back order (at no extra cost to me), and sent out replacements with no questions if I had a problem.

www.Bibliofind.com is a site that catalogs the inventories of independent bookstores. You can use it to find rare and out-of-print books.

I’ve bought from www.bookcloseouts.com a couple of times. They sell remaindered books very cheap. If they have the book you want, you can usually get the hardcover for less than the paperback, which just amazes me. Crummy site to browse though, unless you like just seeing a list of 5000 books.