SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Where do you buy OOP books?

Discussion started on

I wasn't sure where to put this, but it IS for research purposes that I'm asking, so . . .

Suppose I need to do research on a particular NF topic or person, and I find there'd some very helpful titles out there that are now OOP.  I want good copies, not falling apart, but these aren't really for collecting.  I want them for research--and to possibly build up a library on X subject.

Where would you order such books?  Do you find Abebooks most reliable?  Should I check Powell's online?  Do I dare buy through Amazon's "other" sellers or should I go through alibris or ebay or somewhere else?

In the past, I've bought plenty of secondhand books, but always in person--by browsing through local used book stores.  But now that I need specific titles, I'm not sure where people get the best quality and the best price (if they don't care about it being signed or a first edition, etc.).

Maybe I can order them through my local used bookstore?
#1 - January 07, 2013, 04:19 PM

Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region indiana
On line there sometimes if you type the name of the book in a number of places that have the book for sale will pop up.  Abebooks  serves as a clearing house and usually list several places.

However if you have a good used book store that you go to, the owner probably has better resources and you can give him the name of the book and the amount you are willing to spend.  I would probably trust the owner better than some of the online sources unless they are a reputable Indy store doing a big used book sales on line. 

i.e., I do not trust the majority of ebay sellers with books as most are not book dealers and their definitions of VG, F, G, etc. are not mine.  The prices tend to be way out of control also. 

#2 - January 07, 2013, 04:38 PM
You must do the things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

Admins and Mods Emeriti
Poster Plus
I order OOP books from Amazon's "other sellers." I have never had a problem. 

#3 - January 07, 2013, 04:44 PM
PAINLESS (Albert Whitman 2015)
BLOOD BROTHERS (Delacorte 2007)


I have only had one time an Amazon other seller didn't deliver - and I was able to cancel the order after 1 month.
I have thought about trying the search function on Half Price Books, but haven't needed to yet.

And yes, sometimes the prices get skewed outrageously high.  If I remember right, there was a post on another section about how sellers use automatic computer algorithms to set the price and never do a sanity check. They might sell a few more books if they did!

Good luck

#4 - January 07, 2013, 04:54 PM

Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region newengland
I write historicals so I've used them all--Amazon's used books, Barnes & Noble's used books, Abebooks, Alibris, and Ebay.  I've never had any problems with any of them, but it can require opening multiple windows on your browser as you compare sites. :)
#5 - January 07, 2013, 05:08 PM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)

Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region wisconsin
There are sites that compare prices across many vendors. The one I use is but I think there's an even better one Younger Son uses (he works at a second-hand bookstore). I'll check on that and add a post about it if it seems worthwhile.
#6 - January 07, 2013, 05:15 PM

I've used a variety of e-bay sellers and Powells and been fine with any of them, but I'm getting the books just to read them so the difference between VG and G isn't an issue.  I've skipped some that seem outrageously priced, especially if there is only one available on that date.  A few more usually pop up later and if not, I do without.

#7 - January 07, 2013, 05:19 PM

Thanks, friends.  It's nice to know most of these sites have been reliable for you all--and I'll be sure to check around for the best price (and closest shipping!).
#8 - January 07, 2013, 05:47 PM

Reader, Writer, Teacher, Wife & Mother
Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
I've had good luck with Amazon and Abebooks!
#9 - January 07, 2013, 05:56 PM
Max & Dagny, Why in the World, Tongue-Tied, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags

Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region wisconsin
[ :offtopic]
Just wanted to add how NICE it is to see that little penguin typing again! [/ :offtopic]
#10 - January 07, 2013, 07:36 PM

Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region dakotas
I've used as well as Abebooks and Amazon used sellers. I've noticed, though, that Amazon's used prices are set so that when you add in shipping, it's cheaper to order a new book directly from Amazon (provided you boost your total to $25 to get the free shipping...). So for used, I've leaned more heavily towards Abebooks. For not out of print but maybe obscure books, I like It takes a long time to get the books, but there is no shipping charge and no minimum order price to get that free shipping. And it's English language worldwide.

I've found some pretty obscure other-language books on Abebooks--another reason you might check them.
#11 - January 07, 2013, 08:19 PM

My favorite meta-search is, which amalgamates lots of small and independent bookstores. This is important to me because I like to know about the quality and edition of the book -- amazon sellers tend to be those mostly illiterate creeps who race through used book sales with scanners, trying to find a copy a dollar cheaper than the copies being sold by other creeps.   
#12 - January 07, 2013, 08:46 PM
In Real Life, Tuttle Publishing, Fall 2014

Poster Plus
My first place to try is always prices, free carbon-neutral shipping, and they support literacy and libraries. If I can't find an affordable used copy, I request an interlibrary loan.
#13 - January 08, 2013, 05:23 AM
more at

Thank you, everyone!  I'm definitely checking these out.  See lots of copies of these books I need around the $30 mark or so, which is fine!
#14 - January 08, 2013, 05:42 AM
#15 - January 08, 2013, 09:44 AM
Youth Services librarian and YA writer. Wisconsin SW (Madison area) Rep.
@amandacoppedge on Twitter


0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.