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Buying Books on the Internet

First of all, thank you for visiting our web site. We want to make it easy for you to find the books you want here! Our customers include internet newcomers and experienced on-line shoppers and we are pleased to work with each of you.

We hope these brief tips will make your internet book shopping easier.

What are you looking for?

Before you begin looking for your books, you may want to take a moment to decide what you need.

  • Do you want a reading copy, or a first edition?
    If you just want to read the book, and the edition or condition does not really matter, then you don't need a first edition. If you want a "collectible" version of your book that will keep its value, or possibly gain in value, then you may want a first edition.

  • Do you want a hardback, paperback, or trade-paperback?
    Usually a first edition will be a hardback. Also, a hardback is usually more durable. A paperback is great for carrying around and reading in your spare time, but can be easily damaged. A trade paperback is an oversized paperback.

  • What condition do you need?
    You will find listed books from near mint or fine copies to those barely held together but readable. The dealers whose listings you search should give you a clear description of the copies they offer for sale. Major defects should be mentioned. For reference, if you check What our listings mean on our home page, you will find an explanation of common condition statements.

When you do shop on-line, Go Direct !

Avoid those megastores and search services that will go to the following addresses and charge you extra because they know how to quickly, easily find your books.

Many search services use the following sites:

  • www.biblio.com
  • www.zvab.com
  • www.antiqbook.com
  • www.bookfinder.com

    These search engines offer direct access to booksellers. You can call, e-mail, fax or write to these booksellers directly.
    You will usually save money. You can develop a direct relationship with a dealer who may specialize in books in your areas of interest and, if you request, watch for other books you need and notify you when that bookseller has the items.

    We suggest doing some background work if you are not familiar with the dealer.
    • Check the dealerís web page.
    • How long has the dealer been in business?
    • Does the dealer belong to any professional organizations?
    • Does the dealer accept credit cards? (If so, consider using a credit card. If you have any problems, the credit card company will stand behind you.)
    • What is the dealerís return policy?
    • What are the shipping charges?
    • You will pay for shipping, directly or indirectly. The dealer has to pay to ship to you, plus shipping supplies, and a staff members time to prepare your package for shipment.
    • The dealer should be knowledgeable in various shipping options for your order.

    O.k., I found a book. Now what?

    Next, if you have found a book that you want, order right away! Books are sometimes sold almost immediately after listing. If the same book is listed on more than one of the search engines listed above, and one service uploads its listings faster than other, the book you really want may be sold before you see the listing. It is not uncommon for a book to be listed one day, sold later that day, and phone calls to continue for 2-3 days, while the search engines gradually update new listings and sold books. Most dealers work hard to keep listings current. We donít want you to be disappointed.

    When your package arrives, we hope it is everything you wanted. Is the book as described? Was it packed carefully? If you have any problem with the book, do not hesitate to contact the seller. If they made a mistake, they should refund your money upon return of the book.

    Do I really want to deal with all of this?

    If you really are not comfortable searching on line yourself, many booksellers or search services will do that for you, but expect to pay for this service.

    The bookseller may :
    1. Charge a flat fee for finding the book and give you the information to proceed.
    2. Charge a set fee to order and process the book for you. Expect to pay all or part of the purchase price quoted in advance.
    3. Charge a percentage of the final price, this fee may or may not be disclosed to you.
    However, we hope the above information has made the process less "mysterious" and you will try on-line ordering yourself ! Somewhere, there may be a bookseller with just the book you want, at the price you want to pay, and your purchase will make both you and that bookseller happy.
    Independent Bookseller Editorial:
    You may find it is easier to work with a local independent bookseller when ordering new books. New books are often cheaper than those new copies offered by the megastores (check for yourself: compare the local storeís price to those offered by the large on-line stores, including shipping and handling.)
    To save even more, let your local new/used or used book store know what books you need. Local booksellers are often happy to watch for books and contact you when used books come in. As an added bonus, you can help keep that local store in business, and promote both your local economy and literary diversity for your community. A mega store that calls itself "your" bookstore will likely be not as knowledgeable, as focused on local needs and interests, and not as committed to your community and the income does not all stay there, as it does with a locally-owned store.

    This article © 1998, 1999 Vintage Books.

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