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Books On A Shelf
Breanna Coon / Her Campus

5 Websites for Buying Cheap Books

Books are magical things. They offer new worlds to explore, characters to befriend, and lessons to learn. Most of all, they offer a valuable and exciting escape from reality.

Closed to the public and offering limited online services, libraries across the country have taken precautions to keep their patrons healthy. Unfortunately, that means the annual summer vacation to the YA section has, like most international travel, been postponed indefinitely. 

So how does a broke college student satisfy their insatiable book craving on a budget? Bargain books. Lucky for you, this is a round up of five fantastic websites for buying cheap, high quality books, to get back to the fantasy worlds without breaking the bank. 

Book Outlet

The Canadian site categorizes its inventory as either “bargain books” or “scratch and dent” copies. Scratch and dent are slightly more worn-looking than bargain books, but also a bit cheaper (although both are usually at least 60% off regular price!). Book Outlet offers free shipping on any order over $45 and carries recent release books – as early as 3 months post-publishing! They also have frequent sales and promo-codes to redeem at checkout for greater savings. 

The books shipped quickly, for free, and were in great condition!

Better World Books

Better World Books is an industry-leading company with a 96% customer satisfaction rating and 4.8/5.0 stars. Though their books are on the more expensive end of the bargain book spectrum, their quality is stellar, and they ship worldwide for free. Particularly good for those classics on the syllabus required reading list, they also carry university textbooks in new and used condition. 


Their free app can be downloaded to smartphones, computers, or e-readers for easy access to your entire library anywhere and anytime. No need to pay for shipping or wait for a package to arrive, the moment a book is bought the reader can begin to enjoy it. Not only is this a portable way to read on the go, but it is environmentally friendly and great for travelling. They also have daily deals to be on the lookout for.

Thrift Books

Thrift Books is (admittedly) an American website, so their prices are displayed in USD and shipping costs are a little higher. Nevertheless, there are savings to be had! Their books range from 40-80% cheaper than big box stores and they have13 million titles to choose from. They are also environmentally conscious and, along with their products being shipped in 100% recyclable packaging, they recycle millions of pounds of unsellable books a year. 

There is also a coupon code for fifteen percent off when users recommend a friend.


No list could be complete without Amazon. The global ruler of online retail, Amazon is a reliable carrier of pretty much anything people are willing to sell, including books. When a user has a particular book in mind, Amazon carries it at a competitive price and usually in both print and e-book format. The biggest perk is the free two-day shipping for college students with Amazon Prime for students.

Time to welcome new paperbacks back to your home bookshelves in the weeks to come!

Julia Cara

McMaster '23

Second year BHSc student at McMaster University and lover of all things art. When she isn't studying she can be found reading or painting while sipping her third coffee of the day.
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