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!
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)
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.