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How To Buy Books As Cheaply As Possible
If there was ever a person that could give expert advice on buying books, it would have to be me! The tips on this page are based on my spending thousands of dollars on books over the years.
In the last year alone, I’ve purchased about one hundred books. So I know a thing or two about where to get them. Who to trust. And what pitfalls to avoid.
What you are about to read is an advanced reading of all of my experience on buying books. An easy-to-follow guide that will get you on the right track to getting your books the best way possible.
I have created a system that takes maximum advantage of buying books. If you plan on buying any books in the future, following these four steps will save will save you a lot of money…
Step 1: Do Some Digging Offline
If you really want to get a book for the cheapest possible price, you will first have to take your chances offline. Why?
I have had coupons for books online that reduced the books price to absolutely free! However, when you tack on shipping, it still costs $3.99.
In the offline world, you can find deals where you don’t have to pay shipping. And the cost for the book is much less then you would expect. Where can you get cheap books offline? Two words…
Libraries carry thousands of books. And they bring in more everyday. So it’s understandable that after a certain point, they are going to have to get rid of some of their stock in order to bring in new books.
At a library sale, it isn’t uncommon to find books where they are only charging $.25 or $.30! Often times, the same book used on the Internet would cost you $10, $20, even up to $100!
Library sales attract professional booksellers who know how to find the highest valued books. They then turn around and sell them online for large profits. If you want some high value books at incredible prices, library sales should be your first option.
Where do you find Library sales?
You can contact libraries in your area and ask them when they are having any sales. Almost every library has a sale at least a few times a year.
Another resource I would recommend is Book Sale Finder. It shows you where all of the great library sales are in your area.
Let this be your all important first step when it comes to buying books. The last book sale I went to, I bought 17 quality books for five dollars! There’s just no way possible to get good books that you will actually read for that kind of price online. Visit your local bookstore. I promise it will be worth the visit.
Step 2: Online Book Shopping
If Step 1 didn’t work, there is still plenty of opportunity to get your book at a great price. You just have to look up every bookstore on the entire Internet to find the best price! Sound hard? It’s not.
There are several sites out there that automatically check hundreds of online bookstores and show you where the best prices are.
In order to take advantage of these places, I recommend that you find your books ISBN number at Amazon. Amazon has by far the best search engine of any other book store and getting the ISBN is a piece of cake.
Step 3: The Coupon Search
You may have found the cheapest places to get your book in Step 2, but you may be able to get it even cheaper when you start searching for online coupons.
My favorite place to check for coupons is Retail Me Not. Simply type in the address of your book, such as Amazon.com, Alibris.com, or Half.com and see if there are any coupons out there.
Alibris.com almost always has a $1 or $2 coupon off of any book. I have bought many $2 books from there that ended up being free once I added the coupon.
Alibris is also very reliable. Because it costs sellers so much for a membership to sell there, you usually don’t run into many crappy sellers like you do at Half.com or Amazon.com
Notice how I keep mentioning the same three sites? That’s because as you will see, 99.9% of the time the cheapest place to get a book is either at Half, Alibris, or Amazon.
Half is cheap because it offers sellers the lowest fees of any other bookstore. So sellers of books can afford to lower their prices. And Amazon is cheap because there is so much competition! When you have thousands of sellers competing for your business, prices are going to be low!
Alibris is very cheap because of their frequent coupon deals. Having a $2 coupon on used books that usually cost under $10 is quite a discount!
Scout out which of these three stores are selling your book the cheapest, and look for some coupons, and you will get your book as cheap as you can get it almost every time!
Step 4: Save Big With Bulk
If you are just after one book, Steps 1-3 is all you need. But what about if you have a few books that are on your list?
If you are after more than one book, you can save even more when you buy more than one book from the same seller.
Almost every online bookstore gives you a shipping discount when you order two or more items from the same seller.
As of the time of this writing, at Half.com the first book’s shipping is $3.49 and each additional item is $1.89. At Alibris the first item is $3.99 and the second item is only $2.19.
However, the only way to take advantage of this is if you buy from the same seller. You can’t buy three or four books from three or four different sellers and expect any kind of discount.
So when you find a cheap book that you want, before you pay, look around at what other books that seller is selling. You’re already getting a little discount because of the drop in shipping.
My advice to you is to get a list of four or five books that you want, and then see if you can’t save by getting all of them from one seller.
Check out sellers that you have purchased from before who sent out your book quickly and were satisfied. Usually if someone sends you a book quickly once, they will do it again and again.
I have to admit, I don’t use Step 4 as much as I should. I usually see a book that I want and hit the buy button as soon as I can!
Don’t be like me. Try to get multiple items from the same seller. Provided that the additional books are still a good bargain!
If you follow these four steps, you will certainly get your book or books for the cheapest price possible.
I wish I had someone to tell me these four steps a few years ago. I would have been able to save and put a lot more books on my shelf!
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