My favorite websites for sourcing new and used books, aside from Amazon. These great companies will save you money, AND help small businesses, whether you're shopping for curriculum resources or your book club!
We all homeschool as an excuse to hoard books.
Oh wait, is that just me? Whoops.
Ok...so that might not be THE reason, but if I'm being honest, it does rank pretty highly at the top.
What's not to love about hoarding, I mean, collecting stacks of gorgeous books?! They smell good, they transport us to other worlds, and they're a much better method of learning in a lot of cases, than dry textbooks. Charlotte Mason built an entire philosophy based off of using entirely living books for education. And while we may not be Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, I do prefer a literary education style, when I can. Not only because I love reading myself, but I want to instill that love in my kids as well (and it's a great method to bridge multiple ages at once).
But, we also know that buying books can get pricey. And right now, there's a worldwide pandemic going on and most of our libraries are closed, which makes sourcing books for curriculum even trickier.
While most of us do use Amazon frequently, especially as busy homeschoolers, and ESPECIALLY now, while many of us are trying to avoid any extra trips to stores if possible, it does not come without its share of issues. There are frequently voiced concerns for the workers in the warehouses, Jeff Bezos (the CEO) is slated to become the first ever trillionaire, and yet he has resorted to 'fundraising' money to give his workers and drivers hazard pay during this pandemic. I could get much more into all of this, but all that to say that I personally am working on using other options, when possible, moving forward and I wanted to share some of my favorites for sourcing books with you!
It would be ironic for me to use Amazon ads on this post, so please enjoy this post ad-free. I would love for you to use my affiliate links, to support this page, if you can! It's free for you and helps me out greatly!
One issue surrounding books that has arisen with the growth of Amazon is a fall of independent booksellers. It is hard for small shops to compete because Amazon often discounts books so severely that they're losing money on them (it might be a loss-leader situation or just a drive to control the market, depending on who you ask.) Small book shops and sites can't maintain their overhead at those prices, and just cannot compete.
Enter Bookshop. Bookshop is a B-corp, whose goal is to save independent bookstores. They've done this by creating a virtual storefront basically, that small bookstores can use to sell books or direct people to their brick and mortar store. Right now, during the pandemic, with many stores in danger of going under, having Bookshop available to their customers is literally keeping them afloat.
They allow affiliates (that's me!) to create 'shops' as well, which means I can curate lists of books for my friends and readers to check out! It's an easy place to keep track of recommendations, or curriculum resources, and have them all in a handy place. Currently, because Bookshop is new, the selection is a little limited. However, as they grow, they're planning on expanding their listings and even hopefully including used books! I did some price comparison between them and Amazon, and even for most hardback books, they were just a few dollars higher. The paperback prices seemed very comparable. So if you want to support a good company, doing good things, and you can spare a few extra bucks... Bookshop would be a great place to start! (I'm working on adding books to my storefront daily. As I mentioned, it's new, so check back often!)
Book Outlet is a great option, that I apparently have been missing out on for a long time. I just recently found out about it, and am SO excited to add them to my list of resources.
Book Outlet is a discount book site, that carries overstocks, publisher extras, and returns. I just put my first haul from them up on IGTV over on my Instagram page, so go check it out if you want to see an example of their selection! This would not be a site to hit up with a specific list of needs, because their selection changes regularly, based on availability, but it's a great site to peruse and add things like resource books that you know you might want at some point, fun activity books, or cheap readers for your tiny book hounds. If you're familiar with Half Price Books, this felt a lot like browsing their clearance section. Luckily they have free shipping over $35 so it is easy to build up a cart and wait excitedly for a box full of books to show up at your doorstep. You can click here to get a $10 off code for your first order over $25! (disclaimer: I get loyalty points for this, so it's a win win!)
I have two websites that I love for used books, and Thriftbooks is one of them! When browsing for used books (which I will usually do first, before looking for new options), I will typically have this site and the next one (Better World Books) open at the same time, and search my desired book in both sites. Sometimes they will both have it, but more often than not, their selections are different and what is available used on one site, might not be on the other. So I always check both. Thriftbooks does have a rewards program that you can sign up for, free shipping on orders over $10, and often runs extra sales, which is a great time to stock up! I like their social responsibility stance, and that they recycle anything they can't sell, as well!
When at all possible, I prefer to order my used books from Better World Books! I love their mission, in addition to their selection and prices (and FREE shipping on all orders!) For every book that you order from them, they donate one to someone in need, through their Book for Book program. Any book that they can't sell is recycled, so that nothing is sent to landfills, and if you choose the Carbon Offset shipping option when you order, they'll round up a few cents on your shipping to provide that option for you! (I choose that every time!).
They also support organizations for literacy and education. I love supporting companies like this with my dollars, and I always feel good about placing orders through them! They do also frequently run specials with extra percentages off, so that's a great time to stock up through them as well. They're definitely my favorite book option for used.
One other short mention is that Ebay used to run the site half.com and it used to be one of my favorites for used books. I just checked the main Ebay site and did find some of the resource books I had just ordered, at great used prices. Stores like Goodwill and other used book stores do sell on Ebay, so it is also a good idea to check there as well. I wish I had remembered that before ordering some books recently.
I hope these all help in your quest to put your consumer dollars to good use, while also fulfilling your desire to line your walls, floor to ceiling, in books.... oh wait, is that just me again?
Happy reading, friends!!