Updated: Dec 20, 2021
I was raised to be careful with money. To not just spend whenever I felt like it. And to search for the bargain buys and the good sales. These were lessons that took a while to learn but once they sunk in, they stuck. And while I, of course, still have plenty to learn about money, I would like to think I know quite a bit more than your average teenager going about her business stocking her long endless shelves with heaps of books that actually, didn't cost much.
This, if you couldn't tell, is a review of a site I used to find those books that didn't cost much. You probably have heard of it before (though I hadn't) as it seems to be quite a widespread and well-known site. The site is called Thriftbooks.
I first came upon thrift books at the end of February. As you know (if you read my last post on Harry Potter) I've been reading the Harry Potter series. And I've loved it. But as I came to the end of the series I found myself on one gigantic problem. I could not get my hands on the seventh book. I tried to borrow it from a friend but he kept forgetting to bring it to me. I tried to find it at my local library but it wasn't there. I tried to move on to another series while I waited for the friend to remember to lend it to me or the library to have it on the shelf but I simply could not get into another book without finishing the works of Rowling.
And so I researched.
I knew the library did a big book sale on occasional Saturdays. I had bought books there before in excellent condition for $1 a hardback $0.50 a paperback and I knew that if they were doing it the upcoming month, the Saturday would not be far off. But upon looking at the library's schedule I saw that the sale was in fact every second month, not every month as I had thought.
So I went back online and back to researching, looking for where else I might be able to find these books for cheap. After all, books that big would be expensive no matter what normal retailer you bought them at (today's research shows they're about $16 a piece at amazon which is super cheap if you ask me and $27 apiece at Barnes and Nobles which is more realistic for a book that size in hardcover). They are also, most certainly, worth buying in hardcover. If thinner books are easily destroyed in paperback, thicker ones are even more so. They are harder to fit in a backpack, thrown around more (if only because it's impossible to resist tossing a book of that size onto the bed and smiling at yourself), and all-around more susceptible to the dangers a book faces in everyday life.
Thus, Thriftbooks looked like an excellent site to try. At first glance, I could see that there was a range of books to choose from and even as I plugged in the book I desired, there was still a range of options for which format and quality to pick. On an impulse, I decided to try it out. And because shipping was not free unless I had $10 or more worth of books in my cart, I bought three books (4, 6, and 7).
I bought the hardbacks, knowing that unless one truly wants to do damage to a hardback, or unless that hardback has been read a thousand times over a thousand years, hardback books can take quite a lot before getting damaged to the same level as paperbacks.
And I was quite happy with the hardbacks I received. Book six, given the label "very good" stood up to that labeling. While it has no book sheath (what do you call those? I read without them anyway, I find them irritating) it had no marks on the paper on the side (the paper you can see while the book is closed) and it appeared to have no bent pages. Book seven was also called "very good" and while it isn't quite as nice looking as book six, it does have nice white pages and very few marks on the side paper. And it did come with its sheath (I should perhaps mention that book six did state that it would be coming without one. I just didn't care because I don't like to read with them on). Book 4 was in the worst condition out of the three, probably because it had previously been a library book (I'll be making sure to wash my hands after I read that one) but the book was still in "good" condition as the site said and had not too many bent pages and only a few marks on the side that didn't look too questionable. One could say it has character as it has been well-read.
All in all, I would definitely say that I got exactly what I ordered: good quality books for a good price. I am pleased with them and will be pleased to display them on my shelf, read them, and lend them to friends.
I would definitely suggest Thriftbooks to any other avid reader who likes to have full bookshelves but doesn't like spending money. If it wasn't for the wait time.
Thriftbooks said the books would take 8-10 days to arrive. I got them today (the 12) and ordered them on the 27th. That is 13 days. Sure, that is only three days after their suggested time. However, I do generally like to order from places that stick, for the most part, to the bottom end of their wait time (8 days in this case) rather than the upper end. And on top of that, there was definitely some weird stuff going on with UPS during the time. I always enjoy tracking stuff that comes not through amazon because I like to know that it's on track and know when it is going to arrive but the tracking emails I was getting were a bit weird. Basically, most of the way through, I only got a few. I got told that my shipment was separated (6 and 7 were coming from the same place 4 was on its own) and the packages had left Texas and Pennsylvania and were on their way to me. Exciting, right, I was quacking in my shining red boots (JK, I don't own any shiny red boots, I'd like to though). 2 days later I got another email, the packages had arrived in Las Vegas. I thought, hey, that's not that far from me, maybe I could get them in a day or two. Nope. According to UPS, the packages remained in Las Vegas (or made their way very, very slowly to the next stop) for 8 days. About the amount of time, it should have taken for the entire trip from the start to the destination. Then I got an email saying the packages were in Sacramento, only a couple of hours drive from us, but would take until Thursday to get to me. Lucky for them they corrected that to Tuesday or they might have gotten an angry call from me asking why it took them 3 days to travel 3 hours distance.
All this to say, yes, I would totally use Thriftbooks again or recommend it to others. They appear to have a good system going on and the books were in good condition. Plus they appear to have a rewards program that keeps a tally of points you get for buying books and gives you a free book when you get a certain number of points (I'm always a sucker for free stuff). But I would not recommend it if the book you want to buy is one you are wanting to read at this point in time. Or at any point in the next two weeks.