Is It Really Cheaper To Buy Books Online?

That's you, peering at a bookstore and shuddering at the expense.
If I saw that title of an article on Twitter, I'd probably scoff and say, of course! Because I'm one of those sensible people that sees the full prices of books on paperbacks and sees the cheaper prices on BookDepository and Amazon and immediately buys online instead.

However, I was supposed to buy clothes last Wednesday and of course I ended up in Waterstones and bought books instead. Because buying clothes is a horrific experience and I wanted to make myself feel better.

I grabbed four in the end, all with the offer of buy one, get one half price - bargains always make me grabby. Here's what I bought:


In Waterstones I spent £23.46 altogether. To compare them I added all the same books into my BD cart, making sure I added the same editions, publishers, made sure they were all paperbacks. The total?

£23.99.

So, it's not that big of a difference really. However, it still means that it was in fact cheaper to buy these books from Waterstones. There's a point to this I swear.

The point is, if you walk past a bookstore feeling slightly guilty for not grabbing one or two books (like I do) because they're too expensive but would happily sit down in front of the computer that night to order the same books thinking you're saving money that way, maybe consider seeing what offers the store has on.

And remember, as well as being a grand total of a few pence cheaper, you get the books right then. You don't have to spend the next week wondering when your books will turn up. You won't have to worry that they've stuck your book in one of those stupid cardboard mailers and damaged it, you can select a brand new shiny copy for yourself right there and then.

And of course, support your bookstore.

7 comments:

  1. I think it's great that you're supporting your bookstore! Sadly though, in Australia, books are literally so extremely expensive that it's crazy. A paperback can be anywhere from $15 to $25. So for us, it's generally a lot cheaper to buy online. Because of that though, all the bookstores are going out of business. There's really only one major chain of bookstores that is still alive. It really sucks but everyone want to save money! ><

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    1. I think your store is Borders, right? In the UK we used to have Borders but now we just have Waterstones, and WHSmiths although their selection is small and they never have any good offers on.

      Everything in Australia seems to be ridiculously expensive! I know postage to their is usually through the roof. I can see why you'd choose to shop online, I would. :(

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    2. New Zealand is the same. It's part of the reason I gave up reading print. Small market, I guess it just costs more to import the books? But it means less people are buying them too... I think the last Borders we had in the country closed down about 4 years ago.

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  2. I recently bought a few hardcover books from the bargain table at my local bookstore. I checked online afterwards, and I ended up getting them for about $3 cheaper on average (not including shipping). I'm not sure about all of the books I got, but one of them the hardcover in the bookstore was even cheaper than the e-book.

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  3. This is a great topic! I think it depends on what book you're buying. If it's a book that have been buzzing for a long time, I can buy a ebook for $10. But add $2 and I can have the beautiful cover on my bookshelf for forever! Also, a lot of the stores always do some sort of deal when you buy it so it's more convinient.

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  4. Usually for me, the price is about equal buying books online and in a store. However, there are no bookstores in the town I live in. None. I have to settle for a gift shop that has a few books and a couple of grocery stores that have some books. Although, I was looking at my local department store just two days ago to see if they had Cress and - as usual - no luck. To find a really good bookstore, I have to find someone to give me a lift (I don't drive) to a larger city about an hour away. It doesn't happen often enough and last time I was there I honestly was so frustrated with not being able to find the books I wanted. Sadly, that's why I often wind up just buying them off the internet - the online bookstores usually have everything.

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  5. Generally, for me it is a lot cheaper to buy e-books. But sometimes I just need the physical copy! There is one bookstore locally, Books-A-Million, that has a pretty good selection of YA bargain books, so I do get quite a few from there. Otherwise, I hope for a Kindle Daily Deal or something, or buy a used copy. Or wait for a birthday or holiday, tell my whole family to get me Amazon gift cards, and go crazy! (Then I always get the physical books, because I love mail ;) )

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