Since I own a pretty extensive collection of books, and keep buying more, I have somewhat perfected the art of finding and buying them as cheap as possible. Therefore, I thought I would share with you my ‘go to’ places for buying books – and since most of those places are online stores shipping to anywhere in the world, I decided to do this post in English, so more people would be able to read it and hopefully get inspired by it.
Most of my books I actually buy used or second hand. That works great for me, even though I’m not a huge fan of cracked spines or yellowing pages, but I have found that easier to accept if the book is preowned and most importantly, really cheap.
Used or second hand books
As I mentioned above, I buy the majority of my books used or second hand. I find the best prices at my local thrift stores, who don’t actually specialize in books, but still have a fantastic selection anyway. A lot of the books I buy there are around $1 and it takes a lot of patience to go through the stacks, but once in a while, I get really lucky, and I usually leave with around 10 books or more…
AwesomeBooks is my favorite online book store. I have bought hundreds (!!!!!) of books there. It’s usually easiest if you know specifically what you’re looking for – then you just write it in their search engine, and they will show you the different options for the title you’re looking for – different editions, hardback, paperback, new, used, etc. Things get messier if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for and just want to browse or find inspiration. They could really use an option for that, because they have thousands and thousands of books, so you are not likely to stumble upon anything useful if you just randomly look through the different categories. However, if you create an account, you can make a wishlist, which I have found immensely helpful. I currently have almost 2000 titles on my wishlist, and it lets me sort those either by date I added them (which is usually how I do it to keep a lookout for the titles I want the most at that exact moment) or by price or title A-Z. In the wishlist, they show you both the titles that are in stock and those out of stock (and sometimes titles go fast, because they might only have one copy of each book – so if you want something, grab it immediately to make sure you get it). Shipping to Denmark is fair - £2.99 – and it doesn’t matter if you buy one or 20 books (ahem…), the shipping cost stays the same, and I’m pretty sure the cost is the same worldwide – but you should probably make sure before you get too excited. Also, for my Danish readers, they ship from the UK, which means no customs (as long as it lasts, before they exit the EU…). But the best part is the price of their used books – they get as low as £1.9 and I have found pretty new releases there as well. It’s always somewhat risky buying used books – they don’t state the specific condition of each book, every book is described as “used, good” – but I have found that the majority of the books they send me are either in very good condition or some even like new. Once in a while – really rarely – they have sent me a book that was in poor condition. It might have been readable, but since they state that all of their copies are at least clean and undamaged, and that they would never send a book they would not themselves pick up and read, I have never experienced any problem with contacting them and getting a refund for a book that didn’t meet those criteria (and that has happened maybe 5 times in the past 4 years I have bought books there, so again, that’s really rare). This is definitely my ‘go to’ online book store, especially when they send out discount codes a few times a year – it’s usually 10% off on used books, but sometimes even 20% off, so there is a lot to save. Highly recommended.
BookFinder is another great resource when looking for cheap books. It’s not a book store, but a search engine you can use if you’re looking for the best deal on a specific book. You write the author and the title, and then it will come up with a list comparing the price of that book from different online stores, sorted in a column of brand new books and a column of used books. It compares sites like Amazon, The Book Depository, AbeBooks, Biblio, etc. and it’s always where I go to find a book if AwesomeBooks doesn’t have it.
Of course, I always prefer a brand new copy to a second hand one. As mentioned above, BookFinder also shows you the prices for the new copy of the book and where to get it.
AwesomeBooks also has great prices on brand new books, but I also like to look through The Book Depository (especially their bargain section). I wish I lived in the US, because BookOutlet has the most insane deals ever, but unfortunately, shipping to Denmark is too pricey there – but I would still recommend it for those of you who live in the US or any other country they ship to, in case the shipping price is not too outrageous. I have also bought books from TheBookPeople once, because they sometimes have great bundle deals, but again, shipping to Denmark is a pain…
For my Danish readers who want great deals on brand new Danish books, I would recommend Plusbog.dk. (I’m lucky enough to be a platinum member there because of my DBBA nomination last year, which means free shipping and even better deals, so I can only recommend to sign up and stay a member long enough to get those extra advantages, but even if you don’t, I think it’s one of the cheapest places to buy Danish titles online – and no, they are not paying me to say this, nor have they asked me to mention them in any way. Also, none of the links above are affiliate. This is just a guide filled with tips for anyone interested).
I hope this guide was helpful. I realize I might be getting some competition now, since I buy most of my books from places which might only have one or two copies of each book, so don’t go buying all of the books I want from AwesomeBooks ;-) Let’s hope there are enough for everyone, and happy shopping!