Between publicly fighting Hachette over the price of a book and their futuristic but kind of creepy side project (think delivery drones), no Amazon. If you don’t have a local bookstore or need a specific book (such as a textbook), the web is your best bet. There are tons of sites online that offer cheap books, and if you’re not sure where to start, you’re in the right place. We’ve rounded up the 15 best online bookstores where you can find deals on new, used books, textbooks and more.
1. Powell’s Books
Best for: Independent Press, New Author
Why it’s great: Powells.com is the online segment of the beloved brick-and-mortar store, and despite being online, it still has a feel for the world’s coolest neighborhood bookstore. In addition to a variety of new and used books, you can find additional merchandise on our blog, which offers everything from employee recommendations to playlists of music the author listens to while writing.
Bonus: Free shipping on orders over $50, $3.99 shipping in the rest of the US. Our staff-selected sales by topic will help you find books that will broaden your literary palate.
Two. Better World Book
Best for: eBooks, Popular Fiction, and Nonfiction
Why it’s great: Better World isn’t just a name. BetterWorldBooks.com , books are donated to people in need (over 13 million to date!). The online bookstore also works with libraries and university campuses to collect used books, many of which are donated to literacy nonprofits around the world. In addition to all reuse and recycling, it is paper free. Better World Books is one of the only discount sites offering eBooks. Need it now? You can choose eDelivery. You can scan a physical book and send it in digital format in less than two hours.
Bonus: Free worldwide shipping – pay carbon offsets to minimize the environmental footprint of every book you travel around the world.
Best for: Non-English books, popular novels
Why it’s great: BookMooch.com It’s basically free. When you sign up as a member, you enter a list of books you want to gift, and write a wish list of books you want to receive. When someone requests one of your books, you get 1 point for shipping that book (with associated costs only). You can then use your points to request books from others. BookMooch is an international community, so it’s a particularly good resource for tracking books that aren’t available in the US or are in languages other than English.
Bonus: Want to clean your bookshelf? You can also donate the points you earn to various charities affiliated with the site.
Best for: Textbooks, Digital Textbooks
Great Why: Skyo.com , located near Coastal Carolina University, primarily helps you save money on textbooks. Their rental program allows you to choose the length of your rental and can even extend it if you need a little more text. In addition to the usual ISBN searches, you can also search by school to easily find the textbooks you need for your course at that university.
Bonus: Tired of carrying heavy text? Skyo also lets you rent digital textbooks with 24/7 technical support.
5. Used Books
Best for: Popular, Children’s Books
Why it’s great: Washington-based ThriftBooks.com is committed to helping the environment by working with libraries and other vendors to dispose of used books with good hands, not trash. All non-sellable items are sent directly to recycling plants. The price is very low, and they also offer a three-volume deal that will save you even more on book sets from bestselling authors.
Bonus: Get an extra 50 cents off each additional book purchase from the same seller. Free Shipping on all orders within the US!
Best for: Hard-to-find titles, textbooks
Why it’s great: In addition to buying and selling your own books, Alibris.com also connects you to a large network of independent sellers. That said, if you need a specific rare book, whether it is a signed copy, a first edition, or a book that has been out of print for several years, you can find it here. Alibris recently jumped into the textbook rental game as well. They allow you to return the rental for a full refund within 21 days (convenient for those who have trouble keeping up with their class schedule) and allow written notes and highlighting as long as you keep the book in reasonable condition.
Bonus: Many items are shipped for free and you can get many coupons by signing up for our newsletter.
7. The Strand
Best for: New, rare and out of print books
Why it’s great: The heart of NYC The Strand boasts 18 miles of books, all of which are searchable. Strandbooks.com . Used books are also in good condition (if not good) as they are picky about what to buy. New books aren’t full price either, and employee recommendations tell you what hipster literacy in New York is recommending. It’s not the same as traversing the stack IRL, but it’s close.
Bonus: You can pre-order unreleased books (and in some cases signed copies), all at a discount.
8. Abe Books
Best for: A collectible and unique book
Why it’s great: AbeBooks.com is another site that combines its own operations with several independent sellers. The site is easy to browse, but when you click on it, it feels like a virtual independent bookstore. There is a page where you can see pictures of all the cats in the indie shop that sells through AbeBooks and read their bios. There are also many curated lists worth clicking on, from Best New Books to Funniest Books according to The British Books.
Bonus: The Weird Book Room is amazing. It’s like accidentally entering a very bizarre library. You can check the following titles: Jurassic Towel Origami , Your Three Years Old: Friends or Enemy , and many more legitimate titles. And oh yes – many of the books on the site ship for free.
Best for: Textbook
Great Why: Owned by eBay, Half.com Like Buy Now, a media-only version of the popular auction site (no bids here). There are all kinds of books (including music, games, movies), but textbooks are especially easy to find here. You can rent or purchase textbooks. If you buy, you can sell Chem 101 textbooks at the end of the semester and get some cashback.
Bonus: For textbook rental, choose how long you need the book (30-125 days) and return shipping is free.
Best for: Niche Subjects, Rare Books
Why It’s Great: Biblio.com ‘s curated collections from independent bookstores offer a one-stop-shop for true book lovers. Many are dealers that focus on a specific niche, antique and rare books, and in addition to searching by title and author, you can also search by seller. Check out our exclusive deals section for specials from various indie stores!
Bonus: Your purchases help do a good job! All shipments are offset by carbon credits. The company also has a non-profit organization, BiblioWorks. uses the site’s proceeds to build a library in rural South America.
11. Paperback Swap
Best for: Bestseller, New Book
Great Reason: Trading site PaperBackSwap.com You can exchange books with other members for free. List what you have, ship it to someone on request and get credit. You can use your credits to request books from others or buy new books at a discount with coupons.
Bonus: The first two books are completely free, as registration alone will earn you 2 credits!
12. A Million Volumes
Best for: New books, eBooks
Why it’s great: The online segment of this retail chain boasts BooksAMillion.com new and bestsellers, pre-order discounts. If you’re addicted to eReaders, many eBooks are available at affordable prices and are available for pre-order so you can read them on your device as soon as they’re published.
Bonus: This site provides coupon codes to help you save even more.
13. Daedalus Book
Best for: Classic Books, Last Year’s Bestseller
Why It’s Great: DaedalusBooks.com Publishers offer a curated collection of leftovers, new, unsold books. Sure, some books don’t sell because they’re not good, but these guys are picky. If you’re looking for a title you’ve always wanted to read, you probably have it.
Bonus: The prices are insanely cheap and you can get an extra 10% off your order by registering on our email list.
14. Book Lender
Best for: Textbooks
Why it’s great: BookRenter.com You only need to do one thing right. This is textbook rental. It offers many options, including many extensions and the opportunity to buy the book (rental fees are included in the purchase price) if you decide you really need it for more than one class. If you are returning a book, the printable shipping label and multiple return options make it super easy to return.
Bonus: You only pay for the rental with free two-way shipping.
15. Magers & Quinn Bookstore
Best for: Non-fiction, Rising Authors
Why it’s great: MagersAndQuinn.com New and used books at great discounts with the quirky charm of a real Twin Cities store. It’s a great resource, especially for readers who want to dive deep into nonfiction, with an extensive selection of topics like science, current affairs, and urban studies. Employee referrals are a great way to discover new books and authors you haven’t heard of yet.
Bonus: Are you a writer? Check out a variety of great books on writing skills at the Loft Bookshelf.