I own a few books. Okay. More than a few. Okay. I own a lot of books. But . . .
I buy them cheap! Really! I hardly EVER pay retail! Here are my favorite (searchable) online sources:
I always check here first. half.com is a subsidiary of ebay, so I earn (so far) positive feedback as an ebay member from half.com transactions. If you have an ebay account, you still have to register for a half.com account – although you can use the same username and password for both. half.com has a pretty hefty inventory and great prices – often lower than Amazon, which is my second choice. It’s a GREAT online book source! Tell all your friends!
I also sell books on half.com. Sold one yesterday, actually. Unlike selling on ebay, listing an item for sale on half.com doesn’t cost anything (no listing fees), but they charge a (higher than ebay) commission on each sale. (I think right now it’s 20% of the sale.) Unlike ebay and Amazon, listings don’t expire. Also, if you list items for sale, you automatically have an online store, like me. Like Amazon, they charge the buyer a flat shipping fee and you pay for shipping. Currently, the standard half.com shipping fee is $3.49 per item. You decide if you want to offer expedited shipping. If so, and the buyer chooses it, half.com charges the buyer a higher shipping fee. If you can ship for under the amount they charged the buyer, you keep the difference. If shipping costs more than half.com charged the buyer, you make up the difference. Most of the time, I come out ahead, so that helps cover the commission fee.
I do buy books from ebay also, if the price and shipping are right. I just bought Cold Sassy Tree two days ago. It was recommended by Lisa Writes and I finally got around to reading it. I liked the ending so much I decided to add it to my collection because I think I’ll be reading it again in the future. It kind of reminds me of Will Campbells’ writing and theology. (Most of the books I buy are non-fiction. I keep most of my fiction books at the library, so when I actually BUY a fiction book – I really like it.) Thanks for the referral, Lisa!
No matter where I buy my books, I usually go to amazon.com to see user reviews and to take advantage of the “Search Inside” feature offered on many of the listings. I rarely buy new books from amazon.com. I usually buy used books from Amazon independent resellers by clicking on the “used & new available from . . . ” link on a product page. The shipping works largely the same as half.com. Currently, the standard Amazon shipping fee is $3.99 per item.
I do have some books listed for sale on amazon.com, but the fees keep me from listing low cost items. In addition to their commission (I think it’s 15% right now), they charge 99 cents for
some made up fee a “transaction fee” that is really meant as a deterrent to sellers. If you aren’t careful, you can actually LOSE money on a sale. What do I mean by “deterrent?” Why would a buyer let Amazon fulfill an order at retail prices if they can buy from an independent seller for less? I’m thinking they wouldn’t. So if Amazon sells an item at a retail price, I’m thinking they don’t want independent sellers listing that item. If Amazon charges sellers another dollar (okay. 99 cents.) on top of the commission, they make the profit so low it’s not worth it. Of course, Amazon doesn’t explain it that way.
I also opened an affiliate account a few months ago and have earned . . . (drumroll, please) . . . 84 cents so far. Woo Hoo! They do give you an online store, though. I’ve started to use mine to keep track of some of my favorite titles. I need to keep up with that more. I need another 84 cents.
I use this site when I’m looking for a hard to find or out of print book. I’ve also listed a rare book here before, but I don’t think I have anything listed right now. I also check prices here before listing something rare or unusual.
Other sites I’ve used are:
(although if you want to change your email account, you can’t. You have to set up a new account. THAT was annoying. I had already registered my “Millionaire’s Club” card number to my account. The online inventory isn’t that great, but I love the brick and mortar shopping because they often carry books by local writers.
I also just opened an account on paperbackswap.com. I’ve listed my minimum 10 books to get started, but I haven’t selected any books for myself yet. Since I haven’t had any activity yet, I can’t comment. But Lynn likes it!
I get books from Goodwill, Salvation Army, local thrift stores, garage sales, and library sales too. My biggest source? My church’s annual rummage sale, the first weekend of October. I’m the “Book Lady” because I take off two weeks every year and work the prep. I sort and alphabetize hundreds of book in that two week period. I also bring home a few. 🙂 You know how some women will buy a new outfit, bring it home, take off the tags and slip it into the closet? Not me. I sneak home a box of books and quickly shelve them. “What? Those old things? No, they’ve been there for a while.” Take a look at the photo in this post from last year. October is bookshelf buying season in this house! (Yo! FirstHusband! Are you rolling your eyes?)
But. My favorite. all. time. bookstore?
The Book Warehouse at exit 5 on I-75 in Valdosta, Georgia. (technically, it’s Lake Park, Georiga)
Give me $50 and an hour in there and you’ll still have to drag me out – after giving me more money.
Someone will have to help me carry all the books, though.