Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Where to buy books in English online for less

As a lifelong bookworm, I'm never happier than when I have a pile of new books to read and some precious time to read them. However, the books I prefer to read are, very often, not available in our local bookstores or libraries. The ones that are tend to be in stores that are very expensive, even during sales. So I often find myself ordering books in English from abroad. Over the years, I've found ways to order my books as cheaply as possible, and I'd like to share them with you.


Let's start with the high-tech option: the Amazon Kindle store. Millions of ebooks reduced in price compared to the print version, some of them even free, delivered instantly and free of charge, and you don't even need to buy a Kindle device to enjoy them - there's Kindle for PC and for your smartphone as well. You store all your books on the same device, so it saves a lot of space on your bookshelf as well. What's not to like?

Better yet, BookBub will find you ebooks on sale (and even free!) from various online vendors. You also have the option of it suggesting books to you via email by author or genre, and will even suggest new authors for you to read according to your previous selections. You can also bookmark books you want, so the site can alert you when they go on sale.

Well, perhaps you're an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy (like me) who prefers to hold a real book in your hands. Or you do most of your non work-related reading on the weekend, and you're Orthodox. Or maybe you'd like to lend your books to others after you finish reading them. Luckily, you still have plenty of options.

If the book you're looking for isn't newly released, you might want to consider buying from a used book store online. There are many such stores, but the way to reach them all at once is through an aggregator. My favorite is AbeBooks - you can search for any title or author, and it'll find you new and used books from online bookstores all over the world. The books are typically listed from low to high price, taking into account shipping in the USA; you can check the Israeli shipping rates (which may vary dramatically between sellers) by clicking on the "Destination, Rates and Speeds" link, as seen below:



Abebooks participates in various cashback programs, the best being 5% at Mr. Rebates; keep in mind that this is only on the price of the book and not on the shipping costs.

Another good site for used books is Better World Books, both the American and British versions. Shipping is free, but the books tend to be significantly more expensive than those offered at Abebooks. The American site has 5% cashback via Topcashback, this time on the whole purchase as the shipping is free. Always compare between sites how much you'll be paying after shipping and rebates!

If your book is newly on the market and you want it now, though, you may need to buy your book new. There are a few European stores which offer reasonable prices and free shipping. You may even be better off, money-wise, buying a new book with free shipping than a used one with shipping (though the trees may not thank you):

The Book Depository is based in the Channel Islands and in my experience, has a huge selection, reasonable prices, and prompt shipping. They also send a cute cardboard bookmark with every order. You can get 2.5% cashback with ebates and 1.5% (for existing customers) to 5% (for new customers) at Topcashback.

Wordery is a similar British-based online bookstore with free shipping. The prices are comparable to The Book Depository's as far as I can tell. Quidco offers 2% (for existing customers) to 6% (for new customers) cashback.

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