Yes, you can buy books online. In fact, for most people, their very first purchase online is a book. That may be because books are the easiest to buy, and most affordable. Books are still the most often purchased item online, even though in the last few years, there are pundits and prophets saying that paper books are passe and that digital - or e-books - are replacing them.
If that's true, I think print books are dying a slow death. E-Readers are making it easier and more popular to download and read books on an electronic pad or a screen - but there are still plenty of book lovers yet. Hardcover and paperback books are not exinct - yet.
(Buying e-books is easier than brushing your teeth, but I cover that broad and interesting topic in more depth on this eBooks page. For now, let's focus on getting those tangible paperbacks and hardcover books into your hands).
If you have never bought a book, or anything else online, you may be a bit nervous. You are in the right place here! On this page, I'll lay out simple steps for finding a specific book online, or browsing for new books on topics you like, and how to buy books online. I'll show you how to use book comparison search engines, and for sure, - I'll even suggest sites for finding good book deals.
After you have bought a few books online, you'll begin to develop your own favourite sites. Bookmark them, then just zero in on them the next time you want a book, complete the sale and have it on its way to you in a matter of minutes. Stay with me here though, if you are not at that stage yet.
First, you'll want to determine which book, or books, you want to buy. If you have a specific title or author in mind, we can do a search first, either in the general big search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., or if you know what sites you are prepared to buy from, you can go directly to those sites, and check for the tithe or author you have in mind.
By now authors and publishers know that if they really want to move books, they have to get those books online.
When I want to know if a book on certain topic or title even exists at all, I'll use one of the big search engines. However, if getting the best price for books online is important to you, I would suggest you use one or more of the book comparison search engines. These sites already have arrangements with almost all the book-selling sites online, and if you enter a title, or author, they will spin into action for a few moments, and then give you a list of the bookstore sites which have that book, or a close call, and what price it is, and whether it is brand new or a used book. Note: some sites don't give you all those details; you'll need to click to see more on the site where it is for sale.
By simply reading and following directions you can learn to search for books online on your own, but these brief instructions may get you moving along, and buying your books online a little faster.
Comparebookprices.ca (also has USA and UK sites)
Fishpond.com/Books (offers free shipping)
Wecomparebooks.com (textbooks especially)
1. Enter into the site's search bar what you know about the book, such as title, author, and ISBN number.
2. View the results and right-click on the ones that you think you want to investigate, so that their site will open in a new tab (or window) of the browser.
3. Check them out one by one, and close the tabs (or windows) of those that do not satisfy you.
4. If some appeal to you, narrow down your search until you find the bookstore site where you will purchase the book online.
5. If none satisfy your criteria, do another search. If that book comparison search engine disappoints, remember there are more - perhaps a better engine in the list above. (Or check in the bigger search engines for more book comparsions sites.
Once you have selected the books you want to buy online, simply follow the basic purchasing steps as I've set out here on 7 Steps to shopping online
When you don't have a specific book in mind, you are just looking for something new to read, you can always use the above sites to search by categories. Sometimes, you visit one, only to find it just expects you to put in the ISBN number or title or author of a specific book. There is no hint of what categories they have. I usually make a face, and close that tab, and move on to the next one.
Sometimes a general search in the big search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo will give you a clue as to whether there is a website up by the author, or publisher about a book you want to find, or if there is anything on a particular topic. Once you are armed with that information you can search in the book comparison sites, and discover whether anyone has that book for sale - even though it may be considered to be out of print. Check especially with the book engines that include used and rare books.
Remember, when browsing in a category, the best sites will have sub-categories inside the main categories. So even if you don't see the category word you have in mind, pick one that might be close enough, and see if the category you are looking for is not inside the first one, or even the second one. With practice you get more clever at this.
There are too many online bookstores, and shops for me to attempt to give you all their names or links. (Besides, I need to leave something for you to do). However, I can give you the a short list of the ones I like and think are safe to recommend. I'll even give you a hint as to what you'll find there. Or, what I think is unique about them.
Let me start with my favourites! (And I confess that I will get commissions if you buy there - which is okay, as friends do favours for friends, right?)
Books at Amazon.com - The Grandfather of book sales online, you can find both new and used books here, and just about any book that's available at all. (They say Amazon invented shopping online!)
BiblicaDirect.com - specializes in Bibles, and has good prices on buying them in bulk for handing out to others.
BookCloseouts.com - Ah, the prices are right here on so many of the books! You MIGHT just get it cheaper here.
ThriftBooks.com - Another place to find bargain basement prices for used books you are hunting down.
BookScouter.com - it sells books, but wait - it's also a place to sell the books you want to give up. (You'll feel better about ordering more books online, if occasionally you sell some).
Some bookstore sites have a social conscience and when you buy books online they share their profits with literacy programs in poorer countries. I have found two so far.
BetterWorldBooks.com - sells used books, and shares books, and profits, with others who have a hard time reading and then finding books to read. That sounds fine to a book lover like myself.
As I make more discoveries of sites that sell books online, I'll add them to this page. You would do well to bookmark it, and check back from time to time.