Where to buy cheaper books

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Book Outlet and Thriftbooks both offer titles from the summer reading list, including the AP English Literature and Composition required novel “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” (Photo/Kayla Rubenstein)

As book lovers know, reading can become a costly pastime, especially as the current COVID-19 situation sees many physical libraries closed. However, these five online retailers not only continue business during quarantine, they also provide books (including those from the summer reading list) at a significantly discounted price.

Book Outlet

With discounts ranging from 50 to 90 percent off the original retail price, Book Outlet sells unread, new books that are publisher overstock. Currently, this retailer offers an additional 15% off their already low prices plus free shipping on orders over $35. Not only are prices dangerously low (dangerously as the prices encourage readers to spend more than they originally intended), for every $2 a customer spends, they receive a point towards even more money-saving rewards. If you’re a first time customer, use this link for $10 off your purchase of $25 or more.

Book Outlet offers “read-iculously” discounted prices on popular books across multiple genres. (Photo/Kayla Rubenstein)

Half Price Books

Like the name implies, Half Price Books retails their books at a discounted price. While not as low as the aforementioned sites, this book seller, who has stores both physically and online, features lower prices on some books as well as puzzles, movies and TV shows.


Similar to Book Outlet, Thriftbooks sells their books at low prices, except Thriftbooks caters more towards used books. Prices range based on the condition (ranging from acceptable to new) and format (paperback versus hardcover), with a paperback or hardcover book in good condition selling typically for $4.19. Also like Book Outlet, Thriftbooks utilizes a point system where, after accumulating 500 points, you can get a free book. With free shipping on orders over $10, Thriftbooks provides an affordable way to read (and keep) books with a physical copy. If you’re a first time customer, use this link for 15% off your purchase.

Selling new and used books of multiple formats, including paperback, hardcover and Audiobook CD, Thriftbooks remains dedicated to their mission of enriching customers, one recycled book at a time. Since launching in 2003, Thriftbooks has recycled millions of books. (Photo/Kayla Rubenstein)

Depop / Mercari

Both platforms that work like Ebay, Depop and Mercari allow anyone to sell anything they’d like, including books. While Depop and Mercari aren’t as steadily stocked as the other websites, you can sometimes find that one book you’ve been looking for at a reasonable price.

Book Depository

Based out of the UK and Australia, Book Depository caters towards readers who enjoy the European book covers (as they differ from the US covers) and free shipping on all purchases. Although the prices aren’t as discounted as with Book Outlet and Thriftbooks, Book Depository does occasionally offer a slight discount on some titles.

Book Depository features books from the UK and Australia, providing free shipping on all orders throughout the world. (Photo/Kayla Rubenstein)

While these recommendations apply to physical books, digital books are readily available and can be cheaper, especially with digital libraries and services like Kindle Unlimited. However, if you’re a paper person who prefers reading with a tangible copy, these websites allow you to do so at a relatively low cost.

As a senior, Kayla Rubenstein spends her fourth (and heartbreakingly final) year on staff as Online Editor-in-Chief, Business Manager and Social Media Correspondent. Wanting to make the most of her senior year, Kayla serves as the President of Quill and Scroll, Historian of Rho Kappa and Co-Historian of NHS, while also actively participating in EHS and SNHS. Outside of school, Kayla contributes to Mensa’s publications and volunteers with different organizations within her community. An avid reader, Kayla can often be found with her nose in a book when not working on an article for The Patriot Post or developing a project for iPatriot Post.

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