How to Buy Used & Discount Books Online (Cheapest Isn’t Always Better)

In this article we will give you information on how to buy used and discount books online, information which we've gleaned from over 13 years in the online book business, including illustrations, how-tos, and screen shots of most major book buying websites.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • The best places to buy used books online
  • How to decide which seller to buy from
  • How to get the best price for the best service
  • How to get the best deal on shipping
  • How to minimize damage during shipping
  • How to ask questions before you purchase
  • Other hints and tips for getting a steal

Where to Buy

Let’s start with the best places to buy used and discount books. The following sites host third party sellers, which means, there are thousands of different booksellers listing their inventories.

My favorites are:

There are several other sites, but these are the big ones. They contain hundreds of thousands of independent booksellers and the inventories of almost everyone selling books online. They also have private parties selling their personal collections. Half, Ebay, or ABE do not sell their own books, when you buy from them, you are always buying from a third party. sell books themselves as well as hosting third party listings from independent sellers.

What Are the Differences Between Bookselling Sites?

My favorite place to buy books is Half.com. Even though it is owned by ebay, it has a straight-forward, easy to use interface. Ebay has tried to close Half.com several times but they always pull back at the last minute. Why? Because people LOVE Half.com. their book is sold. That means a ton of people sell their personal collections, including text books and DVDs for extremely low prices. Book salesmen also use this site to sell off their samples when they are through with them. Some online booksellers buy their books on Half.com and resell them on other sites for a nice mark-up.

Source: www.booksmn.com

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Try used book shops or look online at discount

Book sites. I'm not sure exactly where you live, or I'd try to give specific reccommendations for shops. Maybe even try ebay too.
I think if you stick with a used book store, you can get books for a few dollars each. A lot of stores I've seen have books for $1 too (and they're in excellent shape). Or maybe there's a lot of books being auctioned on ebay that you'd be interested in.
At least this way, you and FH can both pick things you like. I like this idea because it's personal but not as tacky as some favors can get.

An independent bookstore opened in my town

Not a huge selection. The owner is a nice guy. When he first opened, I tried to give him all my business. He rarely had in stock a book I wanted, so I'd order the books. Sometimes I'd be waiting 3 weeks to a month for a book or books. I spent well over $500 on books from his place.
Finally, after a year of this, I asked him what the deal was, why it took so long to get a book he had to order. At this point we had a pretty friendly relationship, and I guess he thought he could be open with me. He said that he only makes his orders once or twice a month, as he gets a discount that way

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