Let’s Go Book Hunting!

Very few things in life give me as much pleasure as books, and for me the buying is as pleasurable as the reading.

Like most people, I seldom go to brick-and-mortar bookshops now as in most cases it is cheaper to buy online. Most people have heard of Amazon but it’s not the only online bookseller. Whenever I need/want to buy a book, I enjoy the challenge of finding the best price.

Amazon clearly has the biggest range – if they don’t have what you’re looking for, it’s unlikely that their online competitors will. Thanks to third party sellers on Amazon (called market sellers), it is also easy to buy second hand or out of print books. Also, I consider Amazon to have the best customer service. Should something go wrong with your order, they will sort it out in not time at all.

However, Amazon is not always the cheapest especially when you factor in the postage. Until earlier this year, Amazon offered free postage on most items (regardless of price) in the UK but now only orders worth over £10 qualify for free postage. Unfortunately for me, Amazon has also stopped offering free delivery to Europe. Previously, my orders to Italy qualified for free delivery if the total was £25 or over.

I know of at least three Amazon competitors that offer free postage worldwide: Book Depository, Wordery, and Kennys. As you would expect, delivery is not as fast as with Amazon but it is nice to know that the price you see when browsing is the price that you will pay. Out of the three alternatives, Wordery is probably the most competitive.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Book Depository is also a market seller on Amazon. Often, it’s cheaper to buy books from Book Depository through Amazon rather than direct via the Book Depository website.
  • It is worth comparing prices even between the different Amazon sites. Only last week, I wanted the US edition of The Sword of Shannara Trilogy and they were cheaper on the German site than on the American site (crazy!).
  • Despite what I said about having to pay postage on Amazon, sometimes it still works out cheaper with them than with the other three even when postage is taken into account.

So the moral of the story is: shop around!

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