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I used to love browsing bookstores in the past, but at some point, I started purchasing them online using various online book sellers. It has been very convenient, of course, but in some ways a bit saddening. I miss flipping through random books that I normally would not even look at online and just feeling the pages with my fingers.
However, with young children in tow, especially toddlers that think run around the whole store and make mommy go crazy is a fun game, the allure of peacefully ordering books from home from an online book seller at night when the kids are all asleep is just too great. Here is a list of the best online book sellers to buy books from–especially children’s books.
Best Online Book Sellers in General (in Alphabetical Order)
This is actually an Amazon subsidiary company. They were acquired by Amazon back in 2008; however, Abe Books operates as a stand-alone business. This Amazon subsidiary company focuses on books and serves as an online marketplace for books, fine art, and collectibles. If you are looking for rare books, you may have better luck finding them on Abe Books than on Amazon sometimes. Abe Books also does carry new books.
This is actually an online marketplace for independent online book sellers, so you can find a wide variety of books here. By shopping at Alibris, you will be supporting local and independent sellers. Alibris has been around since 1998 and has a 100% secure shopping and condition guarantee.
I’ve been a loyal Amazon customer since 2003, so this is definitely my go-to for new children’s books, homeschool books, supplies, and practically everything else. I have to admit that one of the reasons I can’t help but shop on Amazon for a lot of our homeschool books and supplies is because of the free one or two day shipping. Amazon has ruined me. I need things now and sometimes maybe even yesterday. Sometimes Amazon either doesn’t have the product or doesn’t have the best price, so I occasionally shop elsewhere.
Barnes & Noble was definitely one of my favorite bookstores when I used to frequent brick and mortar bookstores. I was even a long-time user of their NOOK devices before I switched to my Kindle. Barnes & Noble has a great selection of eBooks, textbooks, magazines, toys, and more. If you really like shopping at Barnes & Noble, they have a membership for $25 per year. You get special perks like 40% off hardcover bestsellers in store, 10% off everything else in store, 20% off your first purchase, and more.
They also have a Mastercard that gives you a $25 gift card to start, 5% back at their stores and online store, and more chances to earn $25 gift cards. It also comes with the B&N membership for one year, so you shouldn’t sign up for both in the beginning.
Barnes & Noble also has an Educator Discount Program that homeschool parents are eligible for. Here is more information about their Educator Discount Program.
This is an online book seller with a mission to fund literacy initiatives around the world. They collect used books from various sources to prevent those books from just going into landfills. They then sell those unwanted books and contribute a portion of the revenue to support literacy, libraries, and education. If you want to buy used books and support a cause, this might be the perfect bookstore for you.
Another great option for affordable books and tons of children’s books is BJ’s Wholesale Club. I only included BJ’s on the list to let you all know that they actually have an online option for purchasing books, but if you live near a BJ’s, I would recommend going there physically to purchase books. The selection in-store is much larger than in their online store. You do need a membership to enter. I recommend checking out Groupon before you head over to BJ’s to purchase a membership. Usually they offer a vastly discounted annual membership with extra coupons through Groupon. I think this is usually offered in the summer.
The Book Depository is actually a company based in Australia. It is also an Amazon subsidiary. It was acquired by Amazon back in 2011. As such, the Book Depository is able to offer free shipping worldwide. It is one of the leading international online book sellers. What’s crazy is they offer free shipping worldwide with no minimum purchase amount. Shipping generally takes about five to eight business days to the US, but can vary. In my experience, international shipping has been pretty reliable. If you want a great price and are willing to wait a week or two, the Book Depository is a great option.
The word “outlet” in their name may already appeal to bargain-hunters. Who doesn’t like a good bargain? Book Outlet is an online book seller that guarantees that your book will always be new and in good condition. They offer low prices by acquiring overstocked books from publishers. The books may show very minor wear, but overall are in very good condition. If you have an issue with a book that qualifies for their guarantee, then they will ship you a new book plus give you a 10% credit towards your next purchase.
This is a great place to load up on children’s books at great prices! My little ones aren’t able to keep our books looking pristine, so a little wear and tear doesn’t bother me at all. I will take the bargain any day. What’s better than new books at used prices?
This is another well-known online book seller that operates both brick-and-mortar stores and an ecommerce store. I usually frequented Barnes & Noble more often in the past since I was a NOOK user, but occasionally I visited Books-A-Million as well. They have a wide variety of books, puzzles, games, and more. Like Barnes & Noble, they also have a membership available for $25 per year. The perks are similar to those of Barnes & Noble. Books-A-Million also has an Educator Card Program where you can get 20% off on all items purchased in store and more. You can check out more information about their program on their website.
This is a great bookstore if you are looking for religious books for kids. They do also carry many secular books as well. This is actually one of my preferred resources for homeschool curricula aside from Amazon. They have a huge selection to choose from. Don’t let the name throw you off. Not everything they sell is religious. With a vast selection, great prices, and quick shipping, this is a solid vendor for your homeschooling needs.
This is actually a publishing company based in San Francisco, but they have published a lot of books that you may be familiar with. They sell their books on their ecommerce store. You may enjoy shopping here for books if you are a fan of their books.
I like shopping at Costco for children’s books when they have cool sets. They have a lot of interesting sets of books for sale that are worth checking out. In my experience, the books took about a week to arrive, so that is my least favorite part about shopping at Costco for books. Otherwise, the prices and selection are both pretty nice. Like BJ’s, you should check Groupon before you purchase a membership at Costco for discounts (usually offered in the summer).
Like Amazon, this is another major player in online book sellers. You can usually find any book you want on eBay. In case you aren’t a regular shopper at eBay, you should know that eBay is not just for buying used products. You can find a lot of new books and other products on there. Just make sure that you buy from a seller with good reviews.
This is a newer bookstore and small business that specializes in discounted children’s books. They have a great selection of kids’ books that are listed at 50-90% off the usual retail list price. They are discounted since they aren’t in perfect condition. Many of their books are marked with a small line or dot by publishers to indicate that they are returns are excess inventory; however, the books are not used–they are NEW books that are generally in very good to like new condition.
One interesting thing about Kidsbook is that they guarantee that their books will always be priced lower than Amazon’s otherwise the book is free. Crazy, right? They do have some guidelines in order for the guarantee to be applicable such as the book must be listed on Amazon as “new” and be shipped and sold by Amazon.com. Make sure to read their fine print for the specifics.
One thing to note is that their customers’ reviews are a hit or miss. A lot of these complaints seem to be about slow shipping and less than stellar customer service. If you are not in any rush, this bookstore definitely offers great prices on children’s books!
This store is exclusively for teachers and homeschoolers. If you are a homeschooler, you can sign up on their website and create a TEACHER account (not the parent account). Once you verify with Scholastic that you are a homeschooler, you will be able to enjoy the major perks of a teacher account. They have a point system that allows the teacher to earn points and other things for money spent by students on purchasing books.
Target’s selection definitely isn’t as vast as Amazon or eBay, but it carries most of the more popular and recent books. It’s also convenient if you’re already a Target shopper and you have a RedCard for the 5% off.
This is a different type of bookstore, but it’s great in its own way. The Book Bundler is located in Richmond, Virginia, and basically sells bundles of various types of books. You won’t be able to select exactly which book you receive, but you can add notes to your order to indicate which books you already have assuming you had ordered from them previously.
Also, if you order two types of the same bundle, they will make sure you don’t receive duplicates. Unless the bundle is a beater bundle, which are bargain books with wear and tear, the books will be in like-new condition. Be careful before you visit this site. You might end up buying a lot of bundles!
Scholastic has great deals for bundles such as The Magic School Bus bundles , which on a per-book basis, is actually cheaper than Amazon. If you are looking for specific books such as The Magic School Bus books and you love Scholastic books in general, it can be better to shop direct sometimes.
If you are looking for a reliable seller for used books, ThriftBooks would be a great choice. ThriftBooks specializes in used books and offers free shipping for orders over $10. Their free shipping threshold is insanely low for an ecommerce store. This is definitely a popular choice for many homeschooling parents. They also have a great rewards program that allows you to earn free books. They do also sell new books when there are no used copies available.
For some reason I never find myself buying books from Walmart, but they are definitely a major book seller. Like Amazon, a lot of their products are sold by third-party sellers, so their selection is quite large. While I haven’t purchased books from Walmart, I do regularly purchase other things and their two-day shipping is fast. I definitely have no complaints about their shipping.
During the strange toilet paper shortage in the beginning stages of COVID-19 in the US, Walmart was my go-to for purchasing toilet paper online. For whatever reason, Walmart seemed to always have toilet paper when no one else did.
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