Online used bookstores are a great resource for finding those difficult to locate books that your wanting to read & complete your reading set. Or that most talked about book that everybody seems to have but you. Often times I’ve had to break down and use them and have had some success with them. However, I have had quite a few bad experiences with them, too. It’s the law of averages, I think. If you use online bookstores too much, your bound to have a bad experience. I’ve shopped at Amazon.com, Half.com, ebay.com and B&N.com. There are a bunch of them online but those four are the main ones that I use.
Barnes and Noble.com sells used books. The dealers are authorized dealers who list their inventory online to sell. The only problem with B&N is that the buyer is not allowed to email the dealer with specific questions like is this book really in good condition? The condition of the book and the price is all that is listed correctly and must be as accurate as possible. B&N does have a return policy where you are able to get a refund once the dealer has received the book back. However, this is dependent upon the dealer contacting B&N that a return was made. I had purchased a Diana Norman paperback that was listed in “good condition.” Once I had received the book I was horrified to see the the pages had been marked on and discolored. None of that was mentioned in the book’s condition. I contacted the dealer directly by looking at the return address and finding their webpage online. I left them a nasty note and told them that I was returning the book because they’d failed to state the book was in worst shape than what was stated. I also had it tracked. A week passed and I realized that I wasn’t getting a email for a refund from B&N yet. I looked up my tracking number and saw that the dealer had received the book three f. days ago and still nothing. So I contacted B&N’s customer service department and we went back & forth until finally, they gave me my refund. I’m wary of using them now.
Another interesting online purchase was from Half.com. I’d always had success with this used bookstore online. Never really had a problem with them. One bad apple showed up. I had ordered a paperback used and what I received was a paperback book with the last three pages coffee stained and unreadable. The seller thought I’d be a bit upset at that and threw in a dollar to cover that. WTF? I emailed the seller back for a refund. What good is the book to me if I can’t even read the last three pages? And worst, the book was listed as “new.” So imagine my surprise at receiving a used copy with three coffee stained pages.
In conclusion, I usually will stick to Amazon.com used bookstores because thus far I haven’t had any real problems with their sellers. I’m sure there’s a bad apple in all of the used bookstore retailers online. I’m lucky that I’ve gotten away with just two bad experiences. I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories about Half.com. Ebay usually does have some con artists in the bunch but I will read the seller’s feedback before purchasing. It’s not always a guarantee of a good experience but it’s still useful. Do you have a favorite online used bookstore? Have you had any bad experiences with one?