With the rising cost of living and pay checks that stay at a stand still, money for non essentials is getting scarce. As an avid reader on a budget, it is getting harder for me to justify spending $18.95 and up on a book. After all, tolls, gas, bills and food costs have all gone up and you have to make cuts somewhere.
I’ve become a cheap book hound; hitting local yard sales, library sales and the one surviving used book store in my area. Then, there is always the Internet.
Almost everyone knows about Amazon.com It is a popular, large resource with a lot of traffic. The site sells almost anything. When looking for a book you simply plug in the title, author or ISBN number into the search engine. (The ISBN number is usually located on the back of the book or on the copyright page inside.) Whether the book is available or if it is out of print or no copies are currently available, Amazon will let you know. You can choose from various conditions of books such as New, Like New, Good, Fair, and Poor. You will often have sellers selling a good condition book for the same price as someone selling the same book in fair condition, so always look at all the options before purchasing.
Amazon also sets a base shipping price so you don’t have to worry about a seller price gouging on shipping, and requires sellers to mail the item within two days from ordering. Also, always be sure to check the seller’s feedback to ensure a positive interaction.
Another option is Half.com which sells texts, books, music, movies, games and game systems. It is connected to Ebay, which will show you similar items on Ebay. This allows you to check both sites at one time to see which has the better deal. The site also has a wish list, feedback and a description section to denote any flaws in an item.
BookFinder.com touts over 150 million new and used books for sale. I love their search engine. You can search by author, title, language of the book, a new/used/out of print option, ISBN number a minimum and maximum price range and currency type by which you can pay. There is also a great blog about books, reading and varying topics.
Lastly, but my favorite site is AbeBooks.com. It seems to be the least well known of all the sites I’ve listed, but I find the most amazing bargains there. It is your best bet to find rare or out of print books, as the sellers are worldwide.
Their search engines works much like the others but have additional options of choice of binding, first additions, signed, and a Boolean search engine. “Boolean searches use operators to perform more specific queries. Using “AND”, “OR”, and “NOT” (Boolean operators) allows you to refine the search by adding or removing specific terms. The “tilde symbol” (~), can be used in place of “NOT”.” (As defined by the site itself.)
If you really want to save money your best bet is to open all of the sites in different windows and plug in the ISBN numbers. The prices can and does vary greatly between each site. This will allow you to sniff out the best price.
With a little work, for the price of one hardcover book, you can get three or four gently used books. And remember, buying used books is a great way to recycle and keep books on the shelves and out of the trash.