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Every online book retailer has their own catches and quirks, making certain book deals a bit less of a steal when you get down to the nitty-gritty of shipping fees. Not to mention what the books actually look like once they arrive. To find the absolute cheapest bookstore online, you should always factor in the extra shipping costs and fees, which is what we’ve done right here!
I did a deep dive and pulled out the clear winners for where to find the cheapest bookstore online — whichever way you prefer to read or listen to your books. And for finding free books online, we can help you there, too!
For more smart shopping tips and savings hacks, text HACKS to 57299.
1. Read unlimited e-books for $11.99 a month with Kindle Unlimited.
For $11.99 per month, you can read as many Kindle Unlimited books as you want off Amazon.
And if you’re thinking Kindle Unlimited is filled with lesser-known titles, you’re wrong.
Big-name titles like Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover, Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score, and Token Black Girl: A Memoir by Danielle Prescod are all currently part of the Kindle Unlimited program. Which means you could read all three titles (and more) for under $12 total. If you purchased all three paperbacks separately, it would cost $30!
You can try Kindle Unlimited for free with a 60-day trial. Amazon usually offers a $35 discount on a Kindle PaperWhite tablet when you first join Kindle Unlimited, so look out for current device deals when you sign up!
TIP: Kindle Unlimited offers hundreds of Young Adult Fiction titles for young readers, too. And you don’t need more than one subscription to share the free Kindle books with your kids.
2. Purchase popular audiobooks for as low as $0.99 from Chirp.
Chirp has a pretty awesome selection of audiobooks starting at just $0.99. And once you purchase an audiobook from Chirp, it’s yours to keep — so take all the time you want to listen to it.
To compare, Amazon offers two main Audible subscriptions: Get unlimited Plus titles (like Love at First Psych by Cara Bastone) for $7.95/month, or get an extra credit each month to use on any audiobook in the catalog with Premium Plus for $14.95/month.
Depending on what you’re looking for, you could potentially buy up to eight audiobooks on Chirp for the same price as a monthlong Audible Plus subscription.
Check Chirp’s selection to see if what you’re looking for is available at a lower price!
TIP: You can get two free audiobooks with a 1-month trial of Audible. You’ll automatically get charged $14.95/month when the 30-day trial ends, so remember to cancel your trial before then if you don’t want to get charged.
3. Check out the ‘Under $2’ selection for deals on used books from Half Price Books.
Half Price Books sells used and new books for prices that are similar to Amazon. The kicker? You’ll have to pay around $3 – $4 to ship them.
But the SuperBuys selection on Half Price Books’ website is worth checking out. Find the SuperBuys option in the dropdown menu, then choose from categories like Under $2, Under $3, Under $4, all the way up to Under $10.
Remember you’ll still have to pay for shipping. But books like Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are just $5.99 — including $3.99 shipping. The same used book is priced at $8.54 on Amazon.
4. Pay nothing for shipping and earn free books from Thrift Books.
If you like finding deals on used books — but hate paying for shipping — try Thrift Books.
Thrift Books offers free shipping once you spend $15, which is easy to do when you can get a used hardback copy of Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, for just $4.19.
They also offer a free loyalty program called ReadingRewards. You’ll earn a free book every time you earn 500 points. Since you earn eight points for every $1 you spend, you’ll earn a free book after just $63 spent!
Related: Like free shipping? Us, too. We found more than 60 stores that offer free shipping.
5. Get free books and low prices on new books from BookOutlet.
BookOutlet sells excess inventory and store returns from publishers at a deeply discounted price. The books are marked with a little dot or a line on the pages but are generally in excellent condition.
You’ll get free shipping on orders of $35+, and you should always look for prices on new books that beat Amazon prices. For example, Crave by Tracy Wolff is $9.29 on BookOutlet but priced at $12.59 on Amazon.
If you buy five books at a time, your sixth book is free. The discount will apply to the lowest-priced item in your cart.
Also, sign up for Book Outlet Rewards to start earning points toward more free books. You earn 10 points just for signing up (it’s free). Then earn additional points for making purchases, taking quizzes, referring friends, and more. You can earn 20 points and $5 off when you sign up for Book Outlet’s newsletter, too.
6. Buy unmarked, low-priced, new books from Amazon.
If you don’t want the subtly marked pages on new books from BookOutlet — and you generally aren’t a fan of used books — then shop for crisp, clean pages from trusty ol’ Amazon.
Years ago Amazon got their start by selling books online — and they still do it well. Occasionally Barnes & Noble’s 10% discount for members will undercut Amazon’s prices, but you have to pay $39.99/year to join the Barnes & Noble program.
Amazon also sells it all: used books at a discounted price, brand-new books at low prices with free shipping, Kindle Unlimited e-books, and audiobooks from Audible. This combination makes Amazon a competitively priced one-stop shop for virtually any reading experience.
Related: If you or your kids are big readers, check out our Book Deals page so you never miss a chance to save money.