Where to get the books? Part 2 – Amazon

Welcome to part 2 of my mini blog series about acquiring books. In case you haven’t already, you can check out part 1 here, where I list a few ways to get books for cheap.

This post will be about amazon. And if you’re so lucky to live in one of the countries where amazon offers prime with free shipping, then you probably already knows most of this.

For the rest of us: Leggo!

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Apart from a select few titles, the above picture depicts books I bought from amazon.

Now you might ask how I did this. And let me tell you all about it.

First a bit of information:

  • I live in Denmark. Generally, shipping to here would be around 3£ per order.
  • I pay VAT just as the rest of you. It equates to around 25% of the cost, and it’s really just the tax we gotta pay to avoid getting bonked with an extra bill from custom.
  • I spent hours hunting for the right deals.

The books I ordered from amazon can all be divided into 3 categories:

  • The must-haves, where I didn’t care about the price. I just needed the books.
  • The warehouse deals, and amazon marketplace. Returned books that might be damaged a bit, lowered to fit most pockets.
  • The book deals. In particular the “3 paperbacks for 10£” sold on amazon.co.uk (Good for Europeans)

The must-haves

There are quite a few books that you just know you’re going to pay whatever they ask to get your hands on the books. It can be the remaining books in a series, or your favorite reads from your favorite writer.

For me, I felt that way with most of Brandon Sanderson’s books. Despite the fact that I own a great deal of them on my kindle already, I just couldn’t stop myself from ordering physical copies.

These were probably some of the most expensive books I bought on amazon. Basically, there are no way to get around these unless you find it lowered or used—or sold from another seller, but more about that later.

However, you can significantly lower the cost by asking yourself this:

  • Do I really need the Hardcover edition, or will a paperback suffice?
  • Is this book included in any deals or promotions?
  • Do I need it now or can it wait until I have the funds for a bigger order, and therefore save on shipping?

Personally, I have a fondness for paperbacks. I know that hardcovers are more durable, but… I tend to drop my books on my own face a lot when I’m reading. And paperbacks hurts significantly less than hardcovers.

Another benefit I found is that most—not all—paperbacks are the same size. It sorta makes me twitch if the series looks all wrong. (No seriously, I have the entire Heroes of Olympus series from Rick Riordan, and while four of the books are from Puffin, I have one—The Mark of Athena—from Hyperion, and just a bit smaller than the other books. It drives me nuts)

In case you didn’t know—though you probably do—amazon lists what kind of deals and promotions the book is eligible for. For instance, if you want to pre-order a book, there’s a pre-order price guarantee that secures that you’ll get the book for the lowest prized listed while you wait.

Keep an eye out for that part, it’s where I found the 3 paperbacks for 10£ deal. Although, finding the actual books included in the offer was a hard task. (Google is your friend)

Regarding shipping, I might as well say it here, as anywhere else: The bigger the order, the more you save on shipping. This is because, amazon calculates the postage cost based on the approximate weight of the books. So you might pay 3£ for one book, or 3£ for 5 books.

An example from me is one order where I recieved 39 books. As you can guess, that package wasn’t particularly lightweight. I think it was around 12,5kg. And the shipping? It was around 11£

Which, considering the weight, really wasn’t that much.

WARNING: This shipping tip counts for anything that is sold and dispatched from amazon. When you buy from a marketplace seller, you’ll pay shipping for each item. Which is a bummer. So keep your eyes open!

Speaking of Marketplace… That’s another great way to save on books.

There are a ton of booksellers who lets amazon sell and dispatch for them. Again, if you live in a country that offers amazon prime with free shipping, then you can get a perfectly good book all down to 0.01£ . (No seriously, I bought the entire Morganville Vampires series for less than 1£ each because they were used and dispatched by amazon)

The good thing with ordering both new and used book from amazon, is that you can get it in on the same shipping deal. which really makes you save a lot of money.

To get back to my previous example with the 39 books: Had I bought it from Book Depository through amazon, then I’d have to pay 3£ Per book. That would amount to at least 117£.

Compared to my 11£, you can see the difference, right?

  • With that said, it’s easy to fall for the other sellers, because their book prizes tend to be half the price of the price listed on amazon. But don’t fall for it. If you look at other sellers, look for the ones that offer free shipping with prime, or the little sign “Sold and dispatched by amazon”.

I hope this helped some of you. It’s not cheap to be a book addict, but with a bit of patience, you might be able to save big if you know where to look.

Where do you usually order books from? I have two posts back in this series, where I’ll talk about Book Depository and Awesomebooks.

Where to get the books?

So, in the past six months, I’ve expanded my home library significantly. From a mere 10 paperbacks, I’ve added over 300 titles to my collection.

And if you know me, you might be tired of all my bragging about it.

But if you’re not tired, chances are that you’re curious about something. And my guess is that it’s the same thing as I’ve been repeatedly asked about in the past six months:

How do you get your books?
Isn’t shipping expensive?
How do you afford it?

So this is me, giving away all my book buying secrets. This will be a small series of Blogposts, since I want to give the online sellers (amazon, book depository, marketplace and awesomebooks) their own post. If you were looking for tips and tricks on that, I’m sorry to disappoint you. But fret not, it’ll come soon!

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1. Buy books while travelling.

If you’re one of the lucky people who get to see the world, then make it a habit to look out for bargains in bookstores in other countries. Even if you live in the US there’s a big chance you’d be surprised at something found in Ireland.

When I was in Ireland, I spent a lot of time inside Easons, and I’m fairly sure that I bought the four books on the picture above, for less than 10£.

There are plenty of reasons why it would be a good idea to browse through foreign bookstores.

– You might notice books that you’ve never heard of before. Of course, there might be far between them, but don’t give up.

– You save on shipping.

– You save on VAT, but remember to look up the rules for import to avoid extra charges when you travel home.

But don’t worry, even if you don’t travel much, there’s still plenty of ways to appease your hunger for books, without crushing your budget.

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2. Buy Local

This one is a no-brainer. If you’re looking for English books, and you don’t know where to begin—then I suggest your local bookstore.

Most bookstores have a small section for foreign language books. And if they don’t, they can always order it home for you.

I don’t know how things works in other countries, but here in Denmark, a translated book can easily cost around 30£ to buy. Whereas a book in the original language (English) might range between 5£ to 15£.

The truly great bargains are usually found in the physical stores, though (unless you live in UK or US, of course).

While it’s convenient to buy online, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll end up paying full prize. However, when a local store is overstocked, they tend to sell books insanely cheap. (Online stores do this too, but there’s still the postage to deal with.)

It might take a while to find the gems hiding at 1£ or 2£, but it’s well worth it.

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3. Thrift stores and local secondhand stores.

If you don’t mind used books, there are lots of money to save buying from secondhand stores. The two above piles where bought in two different secondhand shops, and in total, I paid less than 10£ for each pile. (I believe it was around 7£ for each stack)

The downside of buying secondhand books is that they can be worn out. Unless the store actually takes some pride in their sorting work, it can also be hard to sift through to find the really good books.

Over the last two months, I’ve been searching for a bunch of secondhand stores, and I’ve been lucky enough to find a few that actually sort them by language. All in pristine condition.

4. Buy Used Library Books.

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture for this, because I haven’t actually been to a library sale yet. (It’s next week). But from past experiences, I can say that you can find some insanely good bargains there. Again, the books are worn. And perhaps more than just a bit since they’re being sold on. However, they’re really cheap. I’ll make sure to snap a picture if I find something next week.

So, that’s the first post. This was mostly what you could do to find bargains in physical stores.

The next blog will be about the online sellers I’ve tried. I don’t know yet if I’ll get to all three in one post, since that depends on the length of the post.

Where do you find the greatest deals in physical bookstores? Feel free to share your experiences.