If you’re an avid reader, the size of your home library can add up quickly — and so can the price. Thankfully, finding cheap books is easier than ever with increased access to online bookstores and independent sellers.
In this article, I’ll take a close look at some resources where you can find new and used books online for not a lot of money. I visited each of the websites below to see what kind of books you’ll find there and how much you can expect to pay.
This article was updated in November 2023 and I review it every six months. Detailed notes on all updates can be found here.
10 of the Best Places To Buy Cheap Books
While visiting your local library is the best way to save money on books, there are many reasons you may prefer to own your own copies. If that’s the case, shopping for discounted new and used books is a great way to save.
If you’re searching for a competitive price on a just-released book, jump ahead to Books-A-Million. Otherwise, you’ll find a selection of bookstores below that offer unique and secondhand books for as low as $1. While you can search for specific titles on these websites, they’re great for book lovers to browse. With most of these resources, you can filter your search results by price to see the best deals.
Shipping: Varies by seller
Types of Books: Used books, rare and collectible books, textbooks
Owned by Amazon, AbeBooks is a marketplace to check out if you’re looking for cheap secondhand books or textbooks. When you visit the website, you can search for specific titles or click the “Browse Collections” tab to explore.
As you browse, you’ll find hardcover and paperback titles including novels, biographies, cookbooks, kids’ books and textbooks. In addition to cheap used books, you can also explore pricier rare books, collectibles and other unique finds. For the most interesting titles, be sure to check out the “Weird Book Room.”
Shipping is free from a lot of sellers, but costs and speeds vary. The search results are also sorted based on the lowest total price by default, which makes it easy to save!
Shipping: Free on eligible orders over $39; prices vary from independent sellers
Types of Books: Used and new books, recent bestsellers, rare and collectible books, textbooks
Alibris was founded in 1997 to bring the power of e-commerce to independent booksellers. Now, you can use the website to find great prices on new and popular titles, buy used books as low as $1 directly from sellers and even rent textbooks.
Popular book categories include fiction, romance, cookbooks, kids’ books and mystery. In addition to books, you’ll also find music and movies for sale at Alibris.
Click on the “Explore” tab to find featured reading lists and recent releases. Under the “Bargains” tab, you’ll find sub-categories for 99-cent books, coupon codes and discounted titles.
Shipping is free for eligible items with orders over $39 from Alibris, but if you buy from an independent seller, shipping fees and delivery times vary. Be sure to subscribe to Alibris’ emails to get additional coupons. You’ll get a $5-off promo code simply for entering your email address.
Shipping: Free for Prime members on eligible orders; varies from independent sellers
Types of Books: Used and new books, recent bestsellers, collectibles, textbooks
Unsurprisingly, Amazon is a strong place to shop online for both new and used books. The company started in 1995 by selling only books. You can find Prime-eligible titles or purchase secondhand copies from independent sellers.
On the side of the web page, you’ll see a selection of genres to help you narrow your search results. Scroll down a little to see additional filters including condition (new or used), format and more. Select the “Today’s Deals” filter to see limited-time reduced pricing.
While there are tons of categories to browse, this is a website I’d recommend if you have a specific title in mind. With so many independent sellers, you’re almost sure to find what you’re looking for.
In addition to hardcover and paperback books, you’ll also see prices for Kindle eBooks and Audible audiobooks. In most cases, these formats are cheaper and sometimes free.
4. Better World Books
Shipping: Free on orders of $15 or more
Types of Books: New and used books, recent bestsellers, textbooks
Better World Books is another website that sells discounted new and used books and textbooks. You can browse several categories such as business, kids’ books, fiction, horror, mystery and self-help. You can also use the search bar to look for a particular title or author.
For the best deals, check out the “Bargain Bin” page. Unlike many other online bookstores, shipping is free on this site when you spend $15 or more.
For every book sold, Better World Books donates a book to someone in need. The company says it also raises money for literacy and libraries.
Shipping: Varies by seller
Types of Books: Used and new, rare and collectible books, textbooks
Biblio specializes in rare books, so it’s great if you’re looking for a particularly hard-to-find title.
You can search the website by keyword, author, title, ISBN or other options. You can also browse the specials to see the lowest prices and best deals.
While you can find higher price tags on special edition and collectible books, you’ll also find a great selection of cheap secondhand titles. When I visited the website, I clicked on “Specials” under the “Specials” tab and filtered by results with a maximum price of $5. There were 45,415 results, and most of them included free shipping!
While many books are eligible for free shipping, sellers set their own terms of sale and determine their own shipping rates. You can click on “Free Shipping” under the “Specials” tab to filter your results accordingly.
Shipping: $5 per order plus $0.99 per item
Types of Books: New books, anticipated bestsellers
If you’re looking for a good price on new and popular titles, Books-A-Million is worth checking out.
Since this retailer doesn’t specialize in used books, you won’t see the lowest prices on this list. But you’ll find great prices on new copies of popular books and discounts on pre-orders.
You can search the site for a specific book or browse categories including bestsellers, kids’ books, classics, and more. For the best deals, click on the “Bargain Books” tab. There, you’ll see titles beginning as low as $3.97.
Unfortunately, shipping isn’t free unless you pay for an annual membership. To avoid the fees, use the store finder to see if there’s a location near you and shop in person.
7. Daedalus Books
Shipping: $9.95 for the Contiguous US; An extra charge of $10 applied for AK and HI
Types of Books: New books, recent bestsellers
Daedalus Books prides itself on offering quality books at bargain prices. You’ll find recent bestsellers, kids’ books, and hundreds of other fiction and non-fiction books.
The staff chooses from books offered by publishers as remainders every year to sell at extreme discounts. That means you can find new copies of last year’s bestsellers at great prices.
For the best deals, be sure to check out the “Last Chance” tab. Nearly all of these books are available for $3.99 or less. In addition to books, you’ll find music and DVDs available on the site.
Standard shipping is $9.95. You can also choose rush shipping options at additional costs. Be sure to sign up for the email list for an additional 10% off.
8. Half Price Books
Shipping: $3.99 per item
Types of Books: Used and new books, recent bestsellers, textbooks
Half Price Books is another great bookstore that offers discounted prices on both new and used books as well as textbooks.
You can search for specific books or browse available titles by category or price. Scroll over the “Books” tab to see popular subjects and trending topics.
Like Better World Books, Half Price Books donates books to nonprofit organizations. The company says its goal is to donate 1 million books each year.
9. Powell’s Books
Shipping: Free shipping on orders of $50 or more
Types of Books: New and used books, recent best-sellers, collectible books
Powell’s Books has brick-and-mortar stores in Oregon, but online you can browse a large selection of new and used books.
You can use the search bar at the top of the website to look for a specific title or scroll over the “Browse” tab to check out new arrivals and bestsellers. You’ll find the best deals under the “Used” tab where you can filter your results by price.
Shipping is free on orders of $50 or more. For other orders, flat rate shipping is $5.99 no matter how many books you buy.
Shipping: Free on orders of $15 or more
Types of Books: Used and new books, bestsellers, collectible books
Last but not least, Thriftbooks is another good option for finding discounted new and used books online.
While some recent bestsellers (available only in new condition) can cost more than $20, you’ll find an impressive collection of used titles under $5.
You can search for specific books using the search bar at the top of the webpage or scroll over the “Categories” and “Featured” tabs to browse. I visited the “ThriftBook Deals” page to find some of the best prices.
Shipping is free on orders of $15 or more. For orders under $15, shipping fees are $1.99 per item.
Ultimately, there are tons of resources for finding discounted new and used books both online and nearby. In addition to visiting the websites listed above, check out your local library, thrift store or discount bookstore for more options.
You can also join an online book-swapping community. In these communities, you’ll exchange books instead of paying for them; however, that doesn’t mean it’s totally free. For example, I could advertise a book I own that I’ve already read. When another member requests the book, I’ll mail it to them. After that, I’ll get a credit that allows me to request a book that I want from someone in the community. Typically, you’ll have to pay to ship your own book out, but you’ll receive a requested book in exchange for free. Recently, our readers have recommended PaperBackSwap and BookCrossing!
If you do decide to shop online, see if the online bookstore where you’re shopping has an email list that you can subscribe to. You’ll most likely get a coupon for signing up, and you’ll get emails about sales in the future.
Lastly, if shipping isn’t already free, try to combine your purchases to reach any minimum order total requirements or purchase all your books from the same seller to reduce the fees.
Have you saved money with any of these stores? Let us know in our Clark.com Community!
- November 21, 2023: Updated the book count at Biblio and updated the shipping options at Daedalus.
- November 21, 2023: Added links for easier access to specials at Alibris and Better World Books.
- May 8, 2023: Books-A-Million’s shipping cost raised from $3 per order to $5 per order.
- May 8, 2023: Added PaperBackSwap and BookCrossing to the Final Thoughts section as book-swapping sites suggested by readers.