If you are an avid reader, buying books can cost you a fortune. Luckily, you don’t have to buy all books brand-new (unless you do so on principle). Nowadays, there are plenty of ways to buy books on a budget. One of them is buying used books from various online sellers. In this article, we’ve prepared a list of the best online resources where you can buy books cheaply in 2022.
Books: Used books, rare and collectible books, textbooks
Shipping: Set by the seller (and destination if shipped internationally)
We’ll put eBay second on our list of top 5 websites to buy cheap books in 2022 because it’s the place where you can find an avalanche of cheap books. Besides, you have an option to either buy them for a fixed price or participate in an auction. The latter feature is not an advantage for a bookseller. However, if you are a buyer looking for cheap used books, this may be your catch, as auctions for more or less popular books often start from $1 or even less. By bidding at the lowest possible price, you can sometimes get a great book almost for nothing. However, keep in mind that you will have to pay for shipping, and the shipping rates may be higher than the price of the book itself. eBay is also one of the best places to search for rare collectibles. Such books won’t cost you a few bucks; however, you can come across a rare book and, if you are lucky, buy it for an affordable price.
Books: Used and new books, bestsellers, rare collectibles, textbooks
Shipping: Free for Amazon Prime members; varies from independent merchants
Amazon is another option we can’t but mention when we are discussing cheap book shopping. The world’s largest online marketplace, it is the place where you can find anything, books including. As a seller, you can choose to either sell books yourself as an individual merchant (FBM) or via the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program. Yet, as a buyer, the only difference for you is where the best price and the lowers shipping cost are offered. In 2022, Amazon is still a leading book marketplace, and there is a good reason for that. Due to the enormous number of sellers, you can find any book there—in any condition, at different prices, for any taste and interest.
Books: Used books, rare and collectible books, out-of-print books, textbooks
Shipping: Depends on the seller
AbeBooks is an Amazon subsidiary and a book marketplace where you can find used and cheap books and cheap textbooks. You can either use their Advanced Search option if you know what you are looking for or go to the Browse Collections tab to explore what the website has to offer. AbeBooks is a great resource where all sorts of books are sold, from art collectibles to fiction and non-fiction. We would also like to emphasize the beauty and usability of the website’s interface, which is somewhat similar to but more appealing than Amazon’s. Shipping costs differ from seller to seller, though it’s possible to find free shipping offers. All in all, AbeBooks is a treasure trove for any book lover!
Books: New, out-of-print, rare, and used books, textbooks
Shipping: Free on orders over $39; different shipping prices from independent sellers
Alibris boasts of having “270 million books, movies, and albums from thousands of independent sellers worldwide.” The platform was founded in 1997, and until now, it is a fantastic place to get books at great prices. Used books are often offered at as low as $1 directly from sellers; the choice is really great. You can search books by ISBN, subject, author, title, or simply browse through the categories: textbooks, fiction, romance, cookbooks, kids’ books, mystery, and eBooks. Music and movies are also offered by Alibris; however, this is not our subject now, so we’re not going to dwell on these. The Alibris’s Bargain section contains what we need exactly: 99-cent books, coupon codes, discounted titles, and books offered with the Free Shipping option (orders over $39 from Alibris).
Books: Used books, second-hand books, textbooks, college reading materials
Shipping: Depends on the bookstore
We’ll start with a book price comparison platform because it’s where you can get the most up-to-date information about book prices online. BookScouter is great for looking up cheap used books, as it contains the price data from 20+ online bookstores, and this information is constantly updated. The price engine offers functionality for selling and renting books as well; however, in this article, we’re going to focus on how you can find really cheap books via BookScouter. You start by entering the details of the book you are looking for (e.g., ISBN, author, title). Once you click Scout, BookScouter starts searching their database of 20+ book merchants and shows the best offers. Here, you can compare them and read all the details about the book condition, shipping price, etc. before actually clicking Buy and being transferred to the purchase page on the bookstore’s website. Not a direct bookseller, BookScouter is definitely the first and foremost destination for the best book prices online.
On Buying a Book
Now, let’s take one book and compare its price offers on these resources. Say, we’re looking for the used copy of The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing.
We can go the traditional way and start checking the book on the aforementioned websites separately. In a few minutes, we’ll find out that this exact copy can be purchased at the lowest price on AbeBooks:
And on Alibris:
The most expensive offer we’ve found so far is from one of the eBay sellers:
However, there is a faster and more effective way to retrieve price information—by looking up this very book on BookScouter. Just one click, and all the best price offers can be accessed at once. Since the price data is updated constantly (but not every second), there can be some inconsistencies in the price depiction. Yet, the best price is the same that we’ve dug up manually, and the entire process took just a few seconds.
The Final Thoughts
Nowadays, there are so many places where one can find used books at low prices; however, we recommend doing it online. For one thing, it’s faster and more convenient; for another, you can check all the available bookseller options just in a few clicks and get your order delivered to your doorstep in a matter of a few days. We’ve researched the most popular bookselling platforms in 2022, and the five websites we’ve described in this article appeared to be the best, according to many book lover reviews. We would also recommend checking price comparison websites such as BookScouter first before going to any bookseller directly. You’ll be able to see the entire price landscape at once and choose the best possible offer.