Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Art of Buying Books Part 1

This an informational post about buying books. The how to's, the where's, and the why's.
In case you didn't know, I'm a shopper. I live for a bargain and will go to extreme lengths to get one. Yesterday for example, I called 20 nail places in my area - yes 20 (with the help of friends I might add) - to get find the prices for a french manicures! I ended up saving $5 and have a beautiful manicure (that should last for about...1 day ;p).

So I do the same for books, I make my dollar to stretch out as far as it can possibly go. This usually means hours on the computer researching.

This post will be part 1, and I'm going to focus on amazon!

For this example we will use the universally known book, Twilight.

So you go to amazon and in the search bar you type in Twilight, then click on the book you should come to a screen like the one below, now lets look at the closeup.

I know this is a little blurry, but at the top you will the name of the book and then below the name of the author, which if you click on you can get information about the author and links of all the books they have written. Below that there is the rating of the book.

Now see the gold star, that's the juicy stuff. The number with the line crossed through it is the list price of the book, basically the price you would have to pay at a barns n nobles, or standard book store. Below in red is the amazon price, and then below that is the amount of money you are saving.

At the very bottom of that picture are little blue words, with red next to them, that my friends, is the jackpot! The first set of blue words says the # of new (BRAND NEW) books they have for you to buy, from different sellers. That just means that sellers outside of amazon will ship you the book but amazon handles everything (paying, confirmation, shipping etc). The blue next to it is the lowest price available, in this case it is $4.99.

Next to that is the same things, but in this case it is used books. The lowest price for a used book at the moment is... $ 0.96! Wow! The third blew lettering is collectables, which may mean a first edition, a signed copy. Who knows.

Oh look I can make it bigger now! Anyways, I clicked on the "Used books" in blue, and it brought me to this page. Starting from the left you see the price of the book, then next to that the condition of the book, it ranges from poor to like new. Then you see a description of the seller, they're percentage of - hmm how do I say this - "trustiness"? Consistency? Good rep?

You can also buy the book straight from this page and add it to your cart.

Now lets back up, imagine we are back to the main page, (The first picture). Below the second picture on this post, right under the "new", "used", "collectible"; there is a box.

Most people miss this box but it's really quite valuable. This box shows you all of the formats of the book that amazon carries, and then the price of the book that amazon charges. The highlighted one is the one that you are currently viewing. Sometime though, if the book is in hardback, people might be selling it (you know the whole blue # thing I was going over) for even less than the paper back, so it's always good to check out both forms of the book.

Now if you scroll down the page you will eventually see a section like this:

This is a list links that the book has been tagged with, view above; vampire, fantasy, love, teen, etc. The list goes on, and on. In the lower right hand corner it says "see all 431 tags. That will show you all of the tags.

I'm going to click on the Young Adult tag. It brings you to this page (The page is the same for all the tags, the content just changes.)

Up top in the red circle there is the title of the product description, then in blue: products, discussions, lists & guides, images, and contributors. Click on products.

Now, the pictures you see are all the products (books) tagged with "young adult" you can narrow the search over on the left hand side bar.

I narrowed it to paranormal romance and got 36 pages of results. Now each cover image (like the one below) comes with the name, author, they show you the price amazon offers (ex: buy new), and then the lowest price you can get if you buy used. This, in my opinion, is an easier way to scroll through books, to see what the best price will be on amazon. There are 15 books to a page.

Sometimes when you scroll your mouse over the image you get a short description of the book, sometimes not. But you will get more info. If you click on the title it will send you back to the regular amazon page for that book.

As far as shipping goes, if you spend $25 dollars on things amazon specifically is selling, shipping is free. Regular shipping costs apply for other sellers but it is usually $4 or under.

So this concludes The Art of Buying Books Part 1. Hopefully I will have part 2 up tomorrow, but these are very time consuming so we shall see. I think it might be another weekend post.

But, I do promise some more reviews this week, I know it was pretty lax this past one.

Happy shopping!



~The Book Pixie said...

Since I use Swagbucks, I'm always getting these $5 Amazon giftcards. Originally I had thought, "Well I can't get squat diddly with $5." WRONG. I discovered the third-party sellers on amazon, the ones you discussed above. I started getting books from them, all for under $5 each. And guess what, that spare change leftover on the giftcards rolls over and you can select to use that next time. How awesome! So really, no money out of my pocket at all.

In case you don't already use Swagbucks, you may want to. It is free and you earn the swagbucks by searching stuff in the toolbar and can use them to get stuff like, oh I don't know, amazon giftcards. lol. A lot of us book bloggers use it. Here is a link you can use to join:

Great post, btw! I'm sure it will really help a lot of people. I love a good book bargain as well. :D


AtenRa said...

Used books are the best!You save so much money and in many occasions they are in mint condition,like new.
The thing is I can't get them from Amazon (US or UK) because living in Greece means being left out from everything cool! Greece is not one of the Marketplace countries :(
The only used books I can get my hands on are from which unfortunately doesn't have as many titles as Amazon has(not even close).
So that means that there are books that I desperately want to read but 1.Play doesn't have them and 2.postage from the Amazon(s) are like higher than the book price itself.So I end up spending all my money in one book, when I could have spend the same amount of money on two or three.
*sigh* You are so, so lucky!!!