20 votes

Where do you acquire books?

Hello! I do a fair bit of my reading via Libby (I have memberships at the NYPL and Brooklyn Public Library) but I like to pick up some physical copies as well. I've spent some time in a couple of NYC bookstores but I'm curious about online portals folks here use to buy books. I've switched to bookshop.org for new books but what's the go to for used books?

Thanks!

26 comments

  1. autumn
    Link
    I have used Powell's with good success in the US.

    I have used Powell's with good success in the US.

    12 votes
  2. [3]
    kwyjibo
    Link
    I've used AbeBooks a few times to buy some relatively valuable and first edition books. They were shipped internationally just fine and I had no issues.

    I've used AbeBooks a few times to buy some relatively valuable and first edition books. They were shipped internationally just fine and I had no issues.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      Gyrfalcon
      Link Parent
      Important to note: AbeBooks is an Amazon subsidiary.

      Important to note: AbeBooks is an Amazon subsidiary.

      7 votes
      1. aditya
        Link Parent
        This actually makes a difference for me, thanks for the info!

        This actually makes a difference for me, thanks for the info!

        2 votes
  3. [4]
    hkc
    Link
    AbeBooks if you are looking for first editions or hardcovers for cheap.

    AbeBooks if you are looking for first editions or hardcovers for cheap.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      drannex
      Link Parent
      Really for anything, I have nearly entirely switched from ThriftBooks/eBay to Abe and have had far better quality and pricing than Thrift ever has + Finding first editions are amazing.

      Really for anything, I have nearly entirely switched from ThriftBooks/eBay to Abe and have had far better quality and pricing than Thrift ever has + Finding first editions are amazing.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        inwardpath
        Link Parent
        Today is the first I've learned about AbeBooks, so will keep that in mind going forward. Though I suppose if both have something I'm looking for I'll learn towards ThriftBooks to provide some...

        Today is the first I've learned about AbeBooks, so will keep that in mind going forward. Though I suppose if both have something I'm looking for I'll learn towards ThriftBooks to provide some business to a non-Amazon source (I say as someone who begrudgingly uses Amazon all the time...)

        1 vote
        1. drannex
          Link Parent
          Abe is great because it connects you to small book shops across the world, not just a singular place! You help out the even smaller guys by using Abe, but yeah them being owned by Amazon is a...

          Abe is great because it connects you to small book shops across the world, not just a singular place! You help out the even smaller guys by using Abe, but yeah them being owned by Amazon is a problem imo.

          3 votes
  4. [2]
    inwardpath
    Link
    Just purchased some from ThriftBooks a few days ago. Seems to have good deals on used books and a low free shipping threshold. I got four hardcover books for about $22 total, shipped free.

    Just purchased some from ThriftBooks a few days ago. Seems to have good deals on used books and a low free shipping threshold. I got four hardcover books for about $22 total, shipped free.

    4 votes
    1. aditya
      Link Parent
      That's fantastic. They didn't have the book I needed but I'll use it in future.

      That's fantastic. They didn't have the book I needed but I'll use it in future.

      1 vote
  5. [3]
    scrambo
    Link
    I haven't bought books online at all I don't think. The two biggest places I get my books are my local book store (new books and new prints) and Mackay Used Bookstore in VA. Which is a full day...

    I haven't bought books online at all I don't think.

    The two biggest places I get my books are my local book store (new books and new prints) and Mackay Used Bookstore in VA. Which is a full day trip, but totally worth it. Not sure there's another used bookstore like it within driving distance of me, but I'm happy to be proven wrong 😅

    3 votes
    1. autumn
      Link Parent
      I’m sad our Mackay’s shut down shortly after I moved to Raleigh. They had all kinds of cool stuff like old video games and systems!

      I’m sad our Mackay’s shut down shortly after I moved to Raleigh. They had all kinds of cool stuff like old video games and systems!

      4 votes
    2. aditya
      Link Parent
      Local bookstore is perfect, I just need to find my go-to. I'm sure there's no shortage in New York, it's partly also on me for not looking enough.

      Local bookstore is perfect, I just need to find my go-to. I'm sure there's no shortage in New York, it's partly also on me for not looking enough.

  6. [2]
    Gyrfalcon
    Link
    I typical use ThriftBooks, though availability can be hit or miss depending on what they get in. I read some less popular books though, so may not be an issue for everyone.

    I typical use ThriftBooks, though availability can be hit or miss depending on what they get in. I read some less popular books though, so may not be an issue for everyone.

    3 votes
    1. aditya
      Link Parent
      I came across it a bunch but they didn't have the book I was specifically looking for this time, and ended up ordering from eBay. I'll mark this for future needs though. Thanks!

      I came across it a bunch but they didn't have the book I was specifically looking for this time, and ended up ordering from eBay. I'll mark this for future needs though. Thanks!

      1 vote
  7. 9000
    Link
    For physical used books, I've had good experiences with Better World Books! I found out about them through the Internet Archive's Open Library. They seem to have pretty decent prices, in my...

    For physical used books, I've had good experiences with Better World Books! I found out about them through the Internet Archive's Open Library. They seem to have pretty decent prices, in my experience.

    I know this is slightly tangential to your question, but for ebooks, I highly recommend Standard Ebooks for high-quality public domain ebooks. I wish there were a general purpose DRM-free ebook distributor in the style of GOG for games, Bandcamp and Qobuz for music, or Libro.fm for audiobooks. It's strange that all of those other industries have been able to make a DRM-free store work, but ebooks are still always locked down. I'd love to be able to pick up newer book releases without lock-in (nor piracy). I personally refuse to buy DRM-encumbered ebooks on principle; I'd rather pay for a physical book (ideally used) instead. Or just use the library.

    3 votes
  8. ras
    Link
    I've moved away from acquiring and gone back to using my local library. It's close to my house and I can request books through the entire state library system. Sometimes I have to wait a while for...

    I've moved away from acquiring and gone back to using my local library. It's close to my house and I can request books through the entire state library system. Sometimes I have to wait a while for it to come in, but for the most part it takes a couple of days for my requests to arrive.

    I have so many books in my house, taking a break from acquiring an endless stream of books (and if I'm being honest, not all of them have been read or ever will be) has done some good for both my wallet and clutter in general.

    3 votes
  9. [6]
    Protected
    Link
    Since the UK annoyingly decided to leave the EU and make me pay import duties on english language books, amazon became my only real choice for physical books.

    Since the UK annoyingly decided to leave the EU and make me pay import duties on english language books,
    amazon became my only real choice for physical books.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      vili
      Link Parent
      Book Depository is often cheaper for me than Amazon (I'm in Central Europe). But it's also owned by Amazon, so it doesn't really help with that.

      Book Depository is often cheaper for me than Amazon (I'm in Central Europe). But it's also owned by Amazon, so it doesn't really help with that.

      2 votes
      1. cmccabe
        Link Parent
        One of my kids needed an out of print flute exercise book recently and the only place we could find it was on Book Depository. I didn’t realize they were owned by Amazon… darn.

        One of my kids needed an out of print flute exercise book recently and the only place we could find it was on Book Depository. I didn’t realize they were owned by Amazon… darn.

        1 vote
    2. [3]
      mat
      Link Parent
      Wordery is my first port of call in the UK before going to Amazon.

      Wordery is my first port of call in the UK before going to Amazon.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Protected
        Link Parent
        Wrong side of the border for me.

        Wrong side of the border for me.

        1 vote
        1. mat
          Link Parent
          Oh, you're on the outside. In that case I can only apologise about my stupid fucking country. Have you looked at bookshops in Ireland?

          Oh, you're on the outside. In that case I can only apologise about my stupid fucking country.

          Have you looked at bookshops in Ireland?

          3 votes
  10. eladnarra
    Link
    I tend to go with Indiebound for new books. (I get them from a local bookstore, but shipped because COVID.) For used books my first stop is Better World Books, but I'm not really sure why - it...

    I tend to go with Indiebound for new books. (I get them from a local bookstore, but shipped because COVID.) For used books my first stop is Better World Books, but I'm not really sure why - it just seems like a good org, at least on the surface, and the prices are often good if I'm not too worried about getting a perfect copy. The only downside is their shipping; I've had a few turn up a bit worse for wear.

    2 votes
  11. [2]
    cardigan
    Link
    I don't know if you've been to Human Relations in Bushwick, but they almost always have the book that I'm looking for -- which, most of the time is a more or less well-known novel, so your...

    I don't know if you've been to Human Relations in Bushwick, but they almost always have the book that I'm looking for -- which, most of the time is a more or less well-known novel, so your experience may vary.

    2 votes
    1. aditya
      Link Parent
      This is a great source! I'll swing by and check it out some time. Bushwick is a little out of my way but I like heading that way on weekends sometimes, and a bookstore is just extra motivation!

      This is a great source! I'll swing by and check it out some time. Bushwick is a little out of my way but I like heading that way on weekends sometimes, and a bookstore is just extra motivation!