Online Bookstores Review

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Why Shop at Online Bookstores?

Shopping for books online helps you find the best possible price for just about any book you want. If you’re in the market for rare, collectible or autographed books, it’s much cheaper and faster to search online than it would be to call up local used and independent bookstores that carry these types of items.

The features available on many online bookstores also allow you to compare similar titles with the click of a mouse and read reviews from professionals and customers. You can also resell your used books to get more cash in your pocket and to clear out your cluttered bookshelf. It’s never been easier to ensure you never get stuck with a crummy title again.

What to Look for in an Online Bookstore

If you’ve decided to start buying books online, it’s important to recognize what features make one store better than another. Even if you find a book you want for a great price on one site, it may still be better to pay a little extra to purchase it from a more reputable source. A quality online bookstore will have a good product selection, an easy-to-use -yet comprehensive- website, a variety of shipping options, a number of payment options, excellent customer support and a strong return policy.

Product Selection
A good product selection is critical to any online bookstore. Every store reviewed has an array of new book titles from all genres, but the thing that makes one store stand out above another is their willingness to sell other items like used books, collectible books and other merchandise like CDs and DVDs. Additionally, some of the best sites allow customers to sell their own books on the site.

Website
An easy-to-use website is important for customers who want to get their shopping done quickly and efficiently. On the other hand, providing guests with a plethora of options and features can only be a good thing -as long as the site remains easy to navigate. Some of the most important things reviewed were the site’s search features, browsing capabilities, store locator, sales, wishlist functionalities and the ability of customers to read reviews on the books they are looking for.

Shipping
When you order a book, you may want it to arrive as soon as possible or you may want to pay the least possible for shipping. Sometimes, you may want to balance these two needs against each other and end up somewhere in the middle. That’s why the online bookstores were judged on the number of shipping options offered. Some sites offer free shipping when you order enough merchandise, which is always a nice touch. On the other hand, it is also important they offer fast shipping, international shipping and ground shipping. If the store has physical locations, they may also offer local pick up. Some places will even wrap your gift books and send them with a gift receipt and note for a marginal fee. Just as important as a variety of shipping options is how the shipping is calculated and the ability for shoppers to research the cost of shipping before they place an order.

Payment Options
Because online bookstores cannot accept cash like physical bookstores, it is important that they offer a variety of payment options to suit all potential customers. Most stores took Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express, but when it comes to other payment options, your choices can vary greatly based on where you are shopping. Some stores will let you do bank account transfers, or use PayPal or Google Checkout, while others let you pay in store. Additionally, some places allow customers to purchase gift certificates and use promotional discounts, while others are not so generous.

Customer Support
As with any store, customer support can make or break a business. In the case of online bookstores, it is most important for them to offer an array of contact methods since you often cannot visit the company in person. Additionally, most sites offer a helpful FAQ section to let users find the answers to their most common questions without having to call or email a support representative.

Return Policy
When it comes to returning a book through the mail, the longer you have to return the item, the better. Also, it is nice when the company is willing to pay for the item’s return shipping or at least let you return the item in a physical store. Some stores choose to take full advantage of those who return their items by charging customers a small restocking fee.

When you’re considering which online bookstores to visit, it is very important to keep these factors in mind. Just because a company offers a great price on an item doesn’t mean it’s a steal once you learn about their expensive shipping rates or terrible customer service. That’s why it’s always so important to do your research before you buy. Start with our review of Amazon.com.

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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Amazon.com Barnes & Noble Powell's Books Books-A-Million Alibris AbeBooks Biblio.com Tattered Cover Book Store ValoreBooks
Amazon.com Barnes & Noble Powell's Books Books-A-Million Alibris AbeBooks Biblio.com Tattered Cover Book Store ValoreBooks
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Visit Amazon.com
Visit Barnes & Noble
Visit Powell's Books
Visit Books-A-Million
Visit Alibris
Visit AbeBooks
Visit Biblio.com
Visit Tattered Cover Book Store
Visit ValoreBooks
Ratings
9.90
9.68
9.35
9.30
9.25
9.15
8.25
6.93
6.28
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
9.38
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
8.13
10.00
10.00
9.38
9.38
9.38
8.13
8.75
10.00
10.00
8.75
9.38
8.75
10.00
8.75
8.75
8.75
9.38
10.00
9.38
8.75
9.38
8.75
9.38
9.38
9.38
9.38
8.13
7.50
6.88
8.75
8.75
4.38
8.13
7.50
8.13
5.63
8.75
5.00
6.88
5.63
6.88
5.63
 
Product Selection
New Books
Used Books
Collectable Books
 
Sell Books
 
 
Other Products
  
 
Website
Easy-To-Use Search
Browse By Category
Advanced Search
  
Wishlist
   
Sales
  
  
Store Locator  
  
 
Customer Reviews
  
Shipping
Free Shipping Threshold $25 $25 $50 $25 $49 No minimum Varies by seller   
Overnight
   
Expedited
Ground
International
 
Shipping Basis Per item Per item and per order Per item and per order Per item and per order Discounts after first item Per item Varies by seller Per order Per item
Gift Options
   
 
Local Pickup  
    
 
Order Tracking
Shipping Charts
  
Payment Options
Bank Account Transfers
    
   
Visa
MasterCard
American Express
Discover
 
Check
   
 
Diner's Club
       
JCB
 
   
PayPal  
 
Google Checkout
   
    
Future Billing  
       
Pay By Phone  
    
 
Gift Cards
 
 
Coupon Codes
   
Privacy/Security
Customer Support
Physical Store  
   
 
Phone Support
 
 
Email Support
Mobile App
       
FAQs
 
Loyalty Program
     
Return Policy
Return WIndow 30 Days 14 Days 14 Days 30 Days 60 Days 30 Days 30 Days Varies by title 30 Days
Free Return Shipping
   
Varies by seller   
Can Return to Physical Store  
    
 
Restocking Fee Varies by reason none none none none none none none 15% on some items