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Where can you buy books online besides Amazon?

We’re experiencing a period of significant change.

COVID-19 has altered how we live, work, and play while global protests have encouraged many municipalities to revisit police forces and procedures.

On a much, much smaller scale, some of us are continuing the change wave by re-examining how and where we buy books online.

The search for places to buy books online

In some cases, readers began looking for alternatives to Amazon when the coronavirus pandemic forced that giant retailer to set aside book orders so it could focus on shipping higher priority essentials.

Others have more philosophical reasons to look for options.

I’ve been aware of this, but only decided to pull together a list of alternatives when I saw this recent segment on “Sunday Today with Willie Geist.”

It tells the story of Marcus Books in Oakland, Calif., the oldest Black-owned bookstore in the country. Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement and readers’ interest in becoming better informed about race relations, Black history, and related topics, business is booming at the store.

The segment made me realize that people had gone beyond talking about new places to buy books and starting taking action. It’s time for me to do the same.

Amazon alternatives

Here’s some of what I found in my search.

You might already know about many of these alternatives to Amazon, or you might discover something new to you. Regardless, I hope it feels good to realize you have a choice.

I’ve limited this list to those that sell new trade books. A Google search will help you find retailers specializing in used books and textbooks.


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Like its Amazon counterpart Audible, this audiobook retailer uses a subscription model. Get three books free when you start a free trial.

Barnes & Noble

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If you’re lucky, there’s still a Barnes & Noble store in your community. Every six months or so, publishing sites report that the company is in danger of going out of business, so whether you want to buy online or in stores, consider helping to keep this business alive.

Books-A-Million (BAM)

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The second-largest book retailer in the U.S., this store has been around for decades. (BONUS: If you shop through Rakuten, you’ll get cash back on purchases made through this site.)


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This online store that supports local, independent bookstores is my new go-to for online ordering. I love that it lets you select a specific bookstore to support if you want. (It’s not required.) Learn more about how it works on the “about” page.

Libro.fm Audiobooks

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Libro.fm makes it possible for you to buy audiobooks directly through your local bookstore — or any other local store if you don’t have one near you. It’s a great way to get the audiobooks you love while supporting an independent retailer.

Powell’s Books

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Should you ever get to Portland, Ore., be certain to visit the flagship Powell’s (it’s the city’s top attraction!). You won’t be disappointed. And, with an inventory of more than two million volumes, you’ll be certain to find the book you want online.

The Strand

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I love The Strand and visit as often as I can when I’m in New York City. Shop online while supporting an operation that’s been in business in Manhattan since 1927.

What can you add to this list? Please tell us in a comment. 


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  1. If you’re agreeable to considering used book sellers, I’ve had much success with BetterWorldBooks.com. Purchases there help buy books for schools in need, and a portion of each purchase goes toward a carbon offset. Worthy of your consideration.

    1. Thanks, Dave. As noted in my post, I excluded used book and textbook retailers, but people who read the comments will appreciate your tip.


  2. Thanks for the post. There are many options besides Amazon that we don’t give much thought to.

    Indie bookstores serve a lofty purpose and should be supported by the local community. I’m a fan of Farleys’ Bookshop in New Hope, PA. It is a favorite with my guests from out of town.

    1. Thanks, Sonia. As I recall, there’s a great consignment shop for used clothing in New Hope, PA, too. : )


  3. Love your mention of Bookshop.org and would add that you can set up your own “bookshop” on their site. It’s kind of like Amazon’s affiliate program, but all your purchases and any you drive by your recommendations still provide a portion of the sales to the pool for local booksellers ($4.6 million as of this moment).

    For example, I’ve set up 9 different topical recommended reading lists, including this one on Anti-racism: https://bookshop.org/lists/anti-racism-dc760d20-50ab-44cb-a499-fc0c59e5f5b4

  4. Great idea. I tried to give my books ( Who is Col. Chambers, Horseing Around With Col Chambers and The Unsinkable Col. Chambers) some exposure through my eBook Store, Green Rhino Pixelbook. Finding my business plan a waste of time I have decided to go exclusively Kindle using my remnant of soft cover copies as freebes to promote the enterprise. Still in the process of redoing the business plan, so at this juncture am receptive to good ideas. Thanks again and good luck. You wouldn’t know Cy Beckwith, a fellow Hobart grad, would you ? He’ s a jolly good fellow, and I’ve lost track of him. God bless. John

    1. The new plan sounds like a winner, John. I don’t know of Cy, but we are probably related in some distant way.


  5. A great website that can be used to buy books online or to get books on rent is pustakkosh.com. Here are the cost-saving options it provides:
    a) Novels and school books can be purchased new
    b) Novels and school books can be purchased second hand with over 60% cost savings
    c) Novels and school books can be rented to save maximal costs
    d) e-books can be purchased
    Pustakkosh maintains the quality of books as used books that are sold are pre-rented and hence carefully used as they need to be returned. Highly recommended.

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