Does Thriftbooks Pass the Frugal Nerd Test?
I've discovered a wonderful place to buy used books. But before I get into the details, let me ask you something...
Do you love to read? When you envision your "perfect" death, does it involve being squashed under an avalanche of books? Clutching that favorite novel you've read a million times...your last gasp of air filled with the musty, paper scent of the printed page?
Okay. Maybe that's going too far. But you do love books right?
Me too. Sadly, books are one of those things you don't buy when you are trying to save money. At least, not new books.
So what do you do?
If you are lucky, you probably find great used books at a library sale, yard sale or thrift store.
Let me tell you...that is not easy where I live. There are three kinds of books that end up in thrift stores;
- Really outdated diet books
Who wants to be limited to that selection forever?
Luckily, I found Thriftbooks, and it's a great alternative! So if you answered yes to the question above, and you also want to stock your home library without breaking your bank account, read on.
I'm about to tell you about my experiences with Thriftbooks...
Thriftbooks...Is It Too Good To Be True?
I found Thriftbooks last year when I was in need of a book on farms for our homeschool. (And maybe I sorta wanted a couple of books for me too...)
I started with Amazon, but without a Prime membership, it was going to cost a lot more than I wanted to pay even if I bought used books.
When I stumbled across Thriftbooks, I was instantly skeptical. I had never heard of them before, and they sounded way too good to be true. To pass the frugal nerd test, a book site needed to:
- Offer good prices for the value
- Have a decent selection
- Not be a spammy, junk site
I decided to order just ONE book to see whether or not they were really that awesome.
Okay, I ended up ordering three books. Because I can't buy just one. (Which is why I never go in Barnes and Noble.)
Ordering three books was JUST RIGHT though. Because that meant...
Save Big Money on Shipping Your Books
Say that. "Free shipping". Isn't that one of the loveliest phrases in the English language?
Thriftbooks offers free shipping on any order over $10. You don't have to hunt around for "qualifying books", and you aren't limited to a few junk books. That's for any $10 worth of books your little heart could want.
If you don't have an order worth $10, then the shipping rate is $0.99 per item, which would have still been cheaper than my Amazon cart.
That isn't the only great deal. I'll get to the rest of the fun stuff in a minute. First lets talk about the condition of the books when they arrived.
Ordering and Receiving Used Books
It takes about five minutes to create an account and place your first order. Its much harder to just choose three books.
Thriftbooks had all the DK (Dorling Kindersley) Eyewitness encyclopedias for kids. I LOVED those books when I was little, so that's where I started.
Once the order was placed, it was time to wait. And that's the only thing that kills the fun a little. It takes a long time to get your books if you use the free shipping.
Thriftbooks ships from different warehouses in different states. So, how fast your order ships will depend on where the books were originally.
I think the first order I made took nearly three weeks for all the books to come in, but they came through some pretty severe storms on the East coast at that time.
I was a little worried about what condition the books would be in. Some were library copies and they were marked on the site as being only in "fair" condition.
However, when the first book arrived, I was pretty surprised. It looked brand-spanking new. Even the dust-jacket was pristine.
Every single book I ordered last year came in looking like it had barely been touched. And I chose the cheapest versions available, figuring I could live with a few pencil marks or "normal shelf wear".
So how much did these beauties cost? They ranged in price from $3.50 to $5.25. Not the $0.25 I could have given at the local thrift store...
But these weren't ratty, mildewed diet books with greasy finger stains either!
You can also get some special deals...
Coupons and Deals
I ordered a dozen books last year and didn't pay a penny for shipping and handling. That is pretty cool.
I also earned some coupons too! For every $50 you spend, you get a $5 off coupon.
Refer a friend and you get 15% off of an order.
If you visit their front page, they have a "deals" section. These are book "groups". Books marked with "deals" tags get cheaper the more you order. ( 2 for $7, 3 for $10, etc. )
Even without the deals tag, a huge percentage of their inventory is only priced at $3.59, which makes it cheaper than our local library sales. Plus, there are tons and tons of children's books.
There is also a discount for teachers and educators buying sets of books.
After ordering from Thriftbooks several times, I am genuinely pleased with the site.
It is a nice clean site, easy to navigate and quick to load. Nothing confusing or tricky, either. Its definitely not junky or spammy.
You can search for books by category or genre, as well as checking out deals, bestsellers, and recommended reads.
The only downsides that I could find are:
1.) The shipping time
You can choose to pay for faster shipping if you are impatient.
2.) The cost of board books.
The last one is sorta personal opinion. Whereas $3 is great for a full version of a chapter book, its not that great for three pieces of cardboard and six words.
But board books are pretty expensive everywhere except the dollar store. (and I have bought their whole inventory already. Yikes.)
3.) It's way too easy to use
That's bad for my self-discipline.
Otherwise, I am totally in love with Thriftbooks.
Start Building The Library!
If you love to read, or you want to build up a library for your kids (for leisure reading or schoolwork) this is an excellent place to find some bargains. Lets look at those pros and cons again:
- Reasonably priced used books
- Free shipping with orders over $10
- $5 coupons for every $50 you order
- Refer-a-friend discount
- Teacher discounts
- Wide selection of books
- Easy-to-use website
- Ability to track your orders
- Special deals page
- New inventory added daily
- Used books in great condition
- Slow arrival time
- Pricey board books
- So much temptation.
So, if you want to get started building those walls of books that are to die for (or under)...check them out. Thriftbooks passed the frugal nerd test!