Online Used Bookstores

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?

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About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
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7 Responses to Online Used Bookstores

  1. seton says:

    I always use the amazon.com merchants. never had trouble until last xmas but the A-Z Guarantee works and I got a refund from amazon with no hassles. I would definitely continue to use amazon.com merchants :blush:

  2. Mad says:

    I used to use several bookstores off the BSJ Yahoo group but since PBS.com opened, I’ve ordered plenty of books from the in recent months than getting them from the other UBS I frequented. Another one, for older books that aren’t easily at hand, I use abebooks.com

  3. Dance Chica says:

    I use to use half.com all the time. I’ve had some bad experiences though, mostly where the book was in worse condition than described. Never anything too bad—like coffee stains and such—but enough where the condition of the book should have been described a bit more thoroughly. Most of the time, though, things run smoothly. I’ve only had one instance at half.com where a book didn’t show at all.

    Sometimes I order from Amazon, too. I’ve never had any problems with their merchants. Lately, however, I’ve been using PBS.com to order used books and most of my experiences there have been pretty good. You don’t always know what condition the books will come in, but for the most part, none of them have been too bad.

    When it comes to obtaining used books online, it’s always a toss up, I guess, as far as what you will get. I find that my experiences are usually better when I keep my expectations in check.

  4. Robin says:

    Hard To Find Books (www.hardtofindbooks.com) was the first online bookstore I found for Romance fiction, and it’s pretty good. As for everything else, I use Amazon and eBay and half.com, as well as ABE and Alibris.

    One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that if you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can often get new books for the same price as used books, because two-day shipping is free with the program, and there’s no minimum order (overnight shipping is a mere 4 bucls). For 80 bucks a year, I’ve saved hundreds in shipping fees and bought tons more books than I likely would have otherwise.

  5. Avid Reader says:

    Consumer reports stated that out of B&N and Amazon.com…Amazon.com saved you more money. I really don’t need anymore books but I’m thinking of doing more ordering online and buying books in bulk and getting the free shipping but there’s the “instant gratification thing” I must contend with. I used to buy from Overstock.com before I quit. Their books were “discounted” but if you pre-ordered from them, you wouldn’t see the book for another two weeks or more despite the fact that the book could be bought down the street. It was a horror story in and of itself to get new releases from Overstock.com. Just awful. I don’t recommend them if your wanting anything now but they are great for building your backlist for a cheaper price. Hard To Find Books is too expensive for me.

  6. Gavin says:

    There’s another online used-bookstore called Betterworld.
    There prices are pretty reasonable and shipping is free in U.S. and only $2.97 for International which is great for me. They also have a 30day no questions asked money-back guarantee.

  7. TCJM says:

    I have been purchasing from A Mystical Unicorn: Online Used Bookstore for several years and find they have great prices, good quality used books. My favorite part of the site is their author bibliographies!!

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