The Best Online Book Stores

ABE BOOKS

This online store boasts over 70 million used, new, rare and out-of-print books. Shoppers can find classic collectibles, rare signed editions, used textbooks, and inexpensive bestsellers. Abe Books is also host to 13,000 independent booksellers. Abe Books and its independent booksellers guarantee the condition of every book as described on their web site.
All of the booksellers at Abe Books accept credit cards, money orders or Paypal, and some accept checks. Abe Books employs SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology to keep all transaction details safe and secure, for both the consumer and the seller.

An order is shipped directly from the bookseller to the consumer and to help lower shipping costs consumers are encouraged to search for booksellers that are in the same area as them to help lower the overall shipping costs. Consumer can search by country, province or state. Abe Books also offers a variety in shipping methods to help lower costs, as well as combined shipping on more than one book from the same seller.

Abe books has many features available for its consumers, such as a book search by author or title with an advanced feature that narrows down results; a newsletter that consumers can sign up for to receive updates, special offers, contests, and special features; an Avid Reader Book Club in which members get together to discuss books; a service that enables consumers to search for book that they have forgotten the title of; an online forum where book lovers can get together and discuss anything book-related or not and a help page that should answer any other questions that a consumer has.

ADDALL

AddAll is not an online book store in the traditional sense but rather itis a free service that searches for the best deal in books anywhere on-line. Created by book buyers for book buyers, AddAll is an independent and impartial web site that is not affiliated or owned by any bookstore; therefore the search results are completely objective. This unique service enables consumers to search for any book (used, new and rare) and to compare the prices and services among 41 on-line bookstores.

Consumers have the option to choose the type of currency to display, delivery charge and applicable sales tax; comparison of delivery times and shipping options. For more than one book listing a “memo” function tis available o keep track of the deals a consumer has found while still looking for more. Book deals can be saved and retrieved later if a consumer does not wish to buy at the time of the search.

HALF.COM

Half.com is affiliated with Ebay and sells used or new books as well as textbooks. It offers such features as gift certificate options, pre-orders, and consumers can create an account for themselves that will enable them to keep track of purchases, customized recommendations and create a wish list. The wish list enables consumers to keep track of the books they want and when they become available. The customized recommendations will match up books based on the users account from their searches or preferences. There is also a new release list, Oprah club list, reference essentials, low-priced box sets, a bargain bin (paperbacks of .99 cents or less), and the top 200 books-just in case a consumer cannot think of a book to search for.

When a consumer clicks on a title of a book the Search Results page will have more than one book listing that names the shipping type, where it is coming from, the price and condition. This allows a consumer to have some choices about their book or who they buy from and possibly cut down on shipping costs if mailed from a closer locale. Although, most books ship with media mail which is a cheaper, flat-rate (meaning the rate is the same from any zip code to any zip code) and it can take 15-21 days to ship.

The Search Results page is also divided into book conditions such as: brand new, like new, very good, good, and acceptable. This enables a consumer to have more say-so over the condition of the book and determine whether a poorer condition is worth the cheaper sale price. Consumers can also follow the link to Ebay for the “Buy It Now” option or view other related items. The “Buy It Now” option lets consumers buy a product immediately and pay for it without having to deal with the actual auction. This feature is not available for all items but at the seller’s discretion..

BOOKS-A-MILLION

Books-A-Million is an online store affiliated with the Books-A-Million retail stores that exist nationwide. It boasts that consumers will save anywhere from 10% to 40% of the retail price. Online consumers can create an account so that their information will be remembered with each visit. There is a shopping cart feature that enables a consumer to combine shipping on purchases. Consumers can also place items in their shopping cart and return to it later. Items will be saved up to 24 hours after being placed in the cart.

The retail stores offer a discount card to help consumers save even more. This card is usable at the online store. When checking out from the shopping cart there will be a field that asks for the card number, but this discount card is not mandatory for online purchases. They also honor and sell gift certificates. On the website there is a store locater feature for anyone wanting to find a Books-A-Million near them.

A book search will reveal a brief blurb for the book, a list of other books bought by customers, a 5-star rating system for the book, lets you know if the book is currently in stock and links to related subjects. There is also a list of “Editors Choice” if consumers are looking for a book to read but do not have any suggestions. If a consumer purchases $25.00 or more worth of books they will receive the benefit of free shipping. Books-A-Million also offers a “Compare Prices” feature that shows the cost of the same book at other places online.

Consumers can also opt to become a member of the millionaire’s club and save money. This club enables consumers to save an extra 10% off each item purchased (for everyday savings up to 46% off). There is a $10 annual membership fee but within that year it will pay for itself if a consumer spends just $100 during the year.

Books-A-Million ensures consumer safety and privacy by processing orders with a SSL Secure Commerce Server utilizing military grade encryption to protect your information. All credit card information is encoded with strong encryption before storage.

POWELLS

Powells started from a humble storefront in 1971 and has grown into one of the world’s greatest bookstores. In 1994 Powells went online and its success has been just as phenomenal. Within two years its entire stock of books-more than 10,000-was listed on the site. It boasts that its consumer will save up to 25% off the retail price.

Powells sells used, new, technical, textbooks, rare and children’s books. It has such features as a book search, gift cards, ebooks, and a new arrival list so consumers can keep up with books recently listed. Consumers whe have not previously signed up for the email newsletter should do so now. There is a current offer to receive a chance to win $250 worth of books simply by signing up for the newsletter. There is also a shopping cart for combining orders. Within the newsletter a consumer can also choose from over 60 different genre selections and when a book fitting that criteria is listed the consumer will be notified.

Conclusion
It is important that a consumer reads all the fine details and policies for online book stores and also the seller’s options and restrictions. It is also important to find out if the seller accepts the form of payment a consumer is willing to pay with. Also, a purchase made is considered a binding contract and a consumer is obligated to pay for the purchases. Do not add items to a shopping cart or agree to buy something if not a serious buyer.

A consumer should feel comfortable with the online venue that they are purchasing from. Comparison shopping and reading all the fine details can help alleviate any concerns.

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