This post is about buying books online, and finding where is the cheapest and best.
I buy quite a few books
I am interested in learning and keeping my two websites up-to-date on important favourite topics such as New Testament history, cosmology, philosophy, neuroscience and Christianity generally. And so, over the past seven years I have purchased about 70 books, most of them online.
So up until now, I have mostly purchased from Amazon. Even with the shipping cost, the prices are reasonable and the service excellent.
Then a friend suggested I try Book Depository, a UK based online book seller. I liked the idea of an alternative to Amazon, but then found it had been acquired by Amazon 6 years ago. (Doh!)
But I also liked the fact that it was generally a little cheaper than Amazon (no wonder Amazon wanted to purchase a serious rival!).
Recently I purchased 3 copies of the Richard Bauckham book, Jesus: a very short introduction so I had spare copies of this excellent book to give away or lend out, and I found Book Depository to be significantly cheaper for me than Amazon. Even though the advertised price was dearer, free shipping worldwide made it cheaper overall.
So I ran a few tests using books I am considering purchasing, and found (with admittedly a small sample) that Book Depository was significantly cheaper when buying a single book, and still slightly cheaper when Amazon’s shipping costs are spread over three books rather than just one.
This table shows the comparison (Australian dollars).
|Jesus: A Very Short Introduction by Richard Bauckham (3 copies)||$35.40||$25.52||$28.04||$53.56|
|Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels by Kenneth E. Bailey||$31.27||$17.76||$13.69||$36.90|
|Jesus Research : New Methodologies and Perceptions by James H. Charlesworth||$70.71||$64.25||$13.69||$77.64|
|Mind: a Journey to the Heart of Being Human by Daniel J. Siegel||$26.72||$18.48||$13.69||$32.17|
|Bundle of these last three combined||$128.70||$105.94||$28.03||$133.97|
It is clear it pays to shop around. Booksellers local to where you live are generally the best starting point, but sometimes you’ll need to look elsewhere. Then Amazon will probably be cheaper for US residents, but Book Depository may be cheaper for everyone else.
I recommend checking a few different sources – and make sure you take different currencies into account!
Does any reader have any different experience to this?