Blog – Posted on Wednesday, Aug 25
The 20 Best Places to Find Cheap Books Online
Visiting a local library is a great way for avid readers to save money. But when you’re after a copy for your own library the internet is your best bet. Finding cheap books online is quick and easy when you know where to look; lucky for you, we’ve done the research to bring you 20 of the best online bookstores. Some will help you pin down a specific title, while others are great fun to browse. On some you’ll find second-hand books for as little as $1, and on others you’ll find brand new copies of the latest releases for a competitive price. Whatever you’re after, the best site for your needs is listed below!
One of the best places to find cheap books online has to be AbeBooks. With millions of new and used books for sale, you can use the search bar to locate specific titles, then filter the books by condition, shipping cost, hardcover, softcover etc. For more of a browse, you can also head to the used books page or the bargain books page — or explore some of the collections put together by the site’s independent sellers. Clicking through these lists can really give you the feel of a virtual independent bookstore, especially if you head over to the notorious “Weird Book Room” — it’s like stumbling into a bizarre, fictional bookshop!
🌟 for click-worthy curated lists!
2. Better World Books
Whether you’re buying a sweet treats recipe book, or a guide to the world’s worst pranks, you can feel good about your purchase when you shop at Better World Books: for every book you buy (new or used), they donate a book to a person in need. They also partner with libraries and college campuses to collect books which are then donated to global literacy nonprofits.
As well as being good for the soul, shopping at Better World Books is good for your pocket. Despite being in good condition, most of their used books cost less than $4. Plus, they offer free worldwide shipping on all orders, and pay for carbon offsets to minimize the eco-footprint of all those books traveling around the globe. Really want to treat the environment? Opt for eDelivery and have your book scanned and sent to you digitally in as little as two hours.
🌟 for cheap classics that’ll help you complete our list of books to read in a lifetime!
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Amazon hardly needs an introduction. The world’s largest and most popular retailer, it stocks an enormous selection of books, both used and new. Even that title you’ve been tracking down for years will probably have several copies in stock (though it’s unclear why it would take you that long to check Amazon.)
When you click on an item, there will usually be a number of buying options. If Amazon itself is selling a Prime-eligible title, the price will be competitive. But if you’re looking to purchase a second-hand copy from an independent seller, there should be some cheap used options, too — just watch out for shipping costs!
Finally, though you and Amazon may go way back, you might not have made the acquaintance of their Kindle Daily Deals and Bargain Books. If so, we’re delighted to introduce you! These pages are updated daily with ebooks and books at rock-bottom prices — so keep an eye out for titles on your TBR!
🌟 for super speedy shipping times!
Alibris was established in 1998 to bring the power of e-commerce to independent booksellers and collectors. So if you simply have to have that signed copy, first edition, or out of print hardback, this is the place to look for it. That’s not to say you won’t find recent bestsellers, famous classics, and popular fiction on this site, too: they house a pretty good balance of old and new for young and old. And you won’t struggle to find cheap books either among all those more expensive collector’s items. Just head to the “Bargains” tab and browse by genre, or select the “Used” filter when browsing their book categories.
🌟 for additional coupons when you join their mailing list, starting with $5 off!
5. Book Mooch
For something a little different, look to Book Mooch and forget the arduous hunt for cheap books online — this site is practically free! Once you sign up, you just enter in a list of books you own and would like to get rid of, as well as a list of books that you’d like to own but don’t currently have. When someone requests one of your old books, you simply ship it to them (this is the only cost involved) and earn yourself a point. That point can then be used to request a book from someone else on Book Mooch! This system won’t work if you’re looking to build a large collection of books. But on the other hand, if you do just want to clear out your shelves, you can choose to donate the points you earn to charity.
🌟 for stocking plenty of non-English language books, as well as popular fiction!
6. Half Price Books
The founders of Half Price Books opened their first used bookstore way back in 1972, in an old laundromat in Dallas, Texas. Now they operate more than 172 stores in 17 states, but their mission remains the same: to “promote literacy and be kind to the environment” by collecting, donating, and passing on gently used books.
Unless you’re a non-profit organization or a local school, you’ll have to get your hands on their inventory of cheap books online. Their marketplace features more than 20,000 individual sellers, so if you’re searching for a particular title, just pop it in the search bar and you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a copy. Or, for their best bargains, head to their “Superbuys” category, where you’ll find discounted books starting at less than $2!
🌟 for frequent coupons to save you even more money!
Biblio sells itself as a unique online bookstore for bibliophiles. They specialize in carefully curated collections from independent booksellers around the world — many of which tailor to booklovers with niche interests, and those looking for rare, antiquarian books. But don’t worry: if you’re not into collectibles, you can also find a great selection of cheap second-hand titles by browsing the “Discount Books” section under the “Specials” tab.
Purchasing from Biblio will also do some good in the world! The site uses its profits to help build libraries in rural communities in South America.
🌟 for offsetting all shipping with carbon credits!
8. Book Outlet
While you won’t find this year’s New York Times bestsellers at BookOutlet.com, you will find ridiculously cheap books that are just as worthy of your time. How so cheap? Most of the books sold on this site are what they call Bargain Books: excess inventory or store returns from publishers. So while they haven’t been read by anyone else, they might have a little bit of wear and tear from being shipped around or out on the shop floor.
Book Outlet isn't our first recommendation if you’re looking to find a specific book cheaply. But if you’re happy to just browse, then their featured lists — including staff picks and books in clearance — make it easy to find great deals on great titles.
🌟 for keeping unwanted books out of the trash!
Whether you’re looking for a cookbook, a textbook, a collectible, or the latest fiction, always check eBay before buying from anywhere else. We can’t guarantee you’ll find it for pennies, or even that you’ll find it at all! But the magic thing about eBay is that absolutely anyone can become a seller — so the listings are unpredictable both in terms of what books are sold and how much they cost. You never know when you’ll come across a rare book for the cheapest price you’ve seen. The shipping cost and the condition of the book can also be a little unpredictable, but sellers have to be upfront about both, so always check the description and you should avoid any surprises.
🌟 for the excitement of bidding!
If you’re browsing for cheap books online from a homestead across the pond, then this UK company, Hive, is one worth checking out. Its staff has set out to keep the high-street shopping experience alive, while providing all the convenience (and competitive prices) of online browsing. From finding local bookshops to meeting passionate staff, the social side of book-buying hasn’t disappeared from this retailer. And to support independent bookstores (so they don’t disappear either), Hive asks you to choose a bookshop to receive a percentage of your money after every purchase. If you like, you can even collect your order from a bookstore near you — or have it delivered to your door. Both delivery options are completely free for customers in the UK!
🌟 for championing new authors with their Rising Writers featured list!
11. Awesome Books
To get the most out of Awesome Books, you’ll need to head to the “Bargain Bin” tab: this is where they keep all the books that’ll make discount-seekers happy. Though the chances that you’ll find a specific title are pretty slim, if you’re happy to browse, then you can stumble across some great titles at great prices. What’s more, the cost of shipping isn’t going to hike up the price: for shoppers in the UK, shipping is free, and in most other countries your books will ship for a flat £2.99!
Awesome Book’s real selling point, however, is that every time you make a purchase on their site, they donate a book to a child in need. They hope to improve literacy where access and opportunities are limited, and help children who otherwise might not own a book to perform well in school.
🌟 for 20% off your first order!
12. Magers and Quinn
If you’re a nonfiction fanatic, then head to MagersAndQuinn.com for deeply discounted new and used titles. They have some great books on a huge range of topics, from architecture to business, fashion to gardening, middle eastern history to media studies. And if you haven’t yet found your nonfiction niche, then their “staff picks” are a great way to discover interesting new books — and maybe even a brand new hobby!
🌟 for housing some of the best books on writing in their “Loft Bookshelf”!
13. Paperback Swap
Like Book Mooch, Paperback Swap is all about ditching your old books to make money (and room) for new ones. The system works the same way: you list what you’ve got, ship it off when it’s requested, and earn a credit. You can then make a list of the books you’d like, and when someone’s selling a copy, you can use your credit to request it. You can also use your credits to buy brand new books for a discounted price. Once you’ve read a book, it’s yours to keep — or you can swap it again in an endless chain of book love!
🌟 for two free credits when you sign up!
14. Thrift Books
Thrift Books has a huge collection of cheap, new and used books online. By using the search bar, or browsing their “Categories” and “Featured” tabs, you’ll be able to find pretty much any book you could want — including comic books, graphic novels, and manga. Then, you choose the condition: the books still looking good as new are the most expensive, while you can snag some excellent deals on books that have been well-loved.
Used books will always have a decent chunk of money knocked off, but most recent bestsellers cost over $20 on this site. People who rehome pre-loved books are great friends to the environment, so we always encourage used book-buying wherever possible. But sometimes only new will do — we get it. To find cheap new books browse the bestsellers page filtered for books under $5 — and always keep your eyes peeled for extra money-saving deals!
🌟 for free US shipping on orders over $10!
UK-based Wordery is out to rival Amazon by providing an alternative haven for book-shopping, where you can find the books you love, at low prices, and have them delivered to you for free — wherever you’re located. The “alternative” aspect is all about enjoyment. Wordery’s founders think retailers like Amazon have sucked the soul out of book-buying — so their site recaptures the friendly, helpful spirit of a traditional bookstore, with all the convenience of shopping online: great value, round-the-clock access, and over 10 million books to choose from!
🌟 for working with charities to improve literacy among young people!
16. Daedalus Books
Daedalus Books prides itself on selling quality new books for incredibly cheap prices — cheaper even than Amazon (though the selection is quite a bit smaller). Most of their books have been remaindered by publishers: this means they’re new books that have gone unsold. While some of the titles that end up in this sticky situation admittedly aren’t very good, the staff at Daedalus Books know what they’re looking for. They do a great job of curating a collection that includes classic books as well as last year’s best sellers. The best deals live under the “Last Chance” tab, and are available for less than $3. But watch out for shipping costs: the standard rate is $8.95!
🌟for 10% off when you sign up to their mailing list!
Powell’s began as a Portland-based bookstore back in 1971, but you can now browse a huge selection of their cheap books online — we’re talking more than three million! While they stock a variety of new books, you’ll find the best bargains under the “Used” tab. There you can filter your results by price, award, and award year — so expect to find some recent titles you’ve been dying to read! Though discounted, the books on Powell’s aren’t dirt-cheap. But it’s still better than paying full price, and they’re very picky about the quality of the used books they stock. Plus orders of $50 and up ship for free, while everything else ships for a flat $3.99.
🌟 for excellent staff picks to broaden your literary horizons!
18. The Strand
Though it’s not quite the same as browsing through the stacks of this NYC bookshop in real life, shopping online at StrandBooks.com comes pretty close. And you’ll have access to all of their 18 miles of books, including rare out-of-print books and pre-orders that arrive hot off the press. Old or new, used or unused, every book on this site is sold at a discounted price and is in excellent condition. As well as being picky about the pre-loved books they buy, the staff at The Strand are real New York literati, so the “Staff Picks Table” on the “First Floor” is well worth a look. (And how great is it that they organise their site like a bookshop?!)
🌟 for recommended reading lists from your favorite authors!
19. Books A Million
The online arm of the huge US retail chain Books A Million, this is the site to shop for new copies of popular titles at a good price. You can also get your hands on slightly discounted pre-orders — so you can have the hottest new read in your hands the moment it comes out. Since BAM doesn’t stock many used books, the average price certainly isn’t the lowest on this list. However, under the “Bargain Books” tab, you’ll find all their best deals, including classics starting at less than $5 — many of which we consider to be the best books of all time.
🌟 for being generous with coupon codes!
20. Book Depository
Amazon-owned Book Depository doesn’t sell used books for next-to-nothing prices like some of the other sites on this list, but it does knock a small percentage off every book it stocks — which means you’re likely to find the cheapest prices for the newest titles right here. Their “Bargain Shop” also helps you find the best bargains in every genre, including books by Jacqueline Wilson, Ann Cleeves, and Zadie Smith. But the best bit about Book Depository is that it offers something every shopper loves to see: free worldwide shipping!
🌟 for stocking all the bestsellers that have been sitting on your TBR!
For books that are completely free (once you have an eReader), check out our post on public domain books and where to find them. Or head to our list of the 25 best places to find free ebooks.