15 Best Independent Bookstore Bargains

in Potpourri by

Fueling a book addiction can be seriously expensive. While reading is an enjoyable and worthwhile experience, if you still enjoy the feel of a paperback or hardcover in your hands, financing the experience can put a dent in your budget. As we get closer to the holidays it’s nice to find bargains on all the things we love, especially BOOKS! But what happens when the book you’re looking for isn’t on sale or your bookstore rewards aren’t available?

Don’t despair! We have a list of online bookstores that offer good books for those of us on a budget! So indulge in that book addiction without breaking the bank (and even have a little left over to spend this holiday season).

Strand Books

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The Strand has often been an iconic staple for those visiting New York City, but they’re online store is just as wide and comprehensive as the store itself. They sell used, new, and rare books, at generally reduced rates. Plus, you can sell your books to them as well, if you feel like trading some of your less loved books in for ones you know you love or just haven’t read yet. They do offer international shipping, but it does cost more than domestic – fortunately, their shipping prices are all available on their website FAQ page, so you’re not surprised by the price once you checkout. Their website is available at strandbooks.com

Powell’s Books

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Powell’s Books has been around since 1971, and their online store is pretty great. Their promos include discounts on shipping (they’re offering free shipping until the October 29th with the promo code offered on their website!), and they’re books not on sale are still inexpensive – the paperback of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is available for just $5.95. While they offer used and new books, you can sell your books to them too, and they have all the latest new releases. Take a look at their website at powells.com


Wordery offers some books with a discount, and some at full price, but they make up for it by offering not only a huge selection of books, but free worldwide shipping and delivery with every single order. On top of having everyone’s favorite bestsellers, they also offer a huge selection of textbooks at low prices for college students! Since seeing is believing, stop by their website at wordery.com, and take a look. They also run a pretty great blog, too.

Half Price Books

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Right now, they have Fright Week going on (it ends on October 31st), which means that there are tons of online deals. Not only do they sell books, but they also sell movies, tv shows, and music. Half Price Books also has ‘Superbuys,’ offering deals on books and media under at various prices under $5, and even under $1. They’re a family-owned business, and even publish some of the books they sell, while also donating book to non-profit charities and organization to promote literacy. They offer international shipping, and not only give you shipping prices ahead of time, but tell you how long it will take for your order to get to you. Check ’em out at hpb.com


IndieBound was started around building a network of independent bookstores, and supporting your local community. When you search for a book on IndieBound, they’ll tell you what independent bookstores nearby have it in stock. Most independent bookstores are well known for having books at discount prices, and, by shopping from an independent store, you’re helping support your local community. They also gives you price options to choose from. But, if you want to buy the book immediately online, you can also buy it from IndieBound directly, as they have an online store. Their website is at indiebound.org, so be sure to take a look!

Better World Books

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Better World Books donates books, raises funds for literacy, and helps you donate your used books to libraries. On top of that, they offer reduced rates on new and used books (seriously though, they have a used copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for $3.98), and offer free worldwide shipping. I would say it doesn’t get much better than that, but the truth is that it does, because they also sell textbooks. So, in summary, not only are they good for the community, but they’re also good for your wallet! Visit their website at betterworldbooks.com


Alibris kind of works like Yelp, but instead of helping you find Chinese delivery at 2AM, they give you options on who is offering the lowest price for the book of your choice. You can filter with options of paperback and hardcover, edition, or the average customer rating of the seller, and arrange results from lowest price to highest (I know this is the third time I’m bringing up Harry Potter, but they have a used copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for $0.99). They also have great promos for shipping and discounts. They also ship internationally. Basically, it’s everything you love about Yelp, but for books. Check out their website at alibris.com

The Last Bookstore

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Based in downtown L.A., if you get the chance to go visit, you definitely should. The bookstore itself is in a downtown loft space, with vaulted ceiling, pillars, and hallways made out of books. If that’s not enough to get you down there, the prices of their books definitely will. Go check them out, buy a few books, maybe some vinyl records, and be sure to take lots of pictures! Their website is available at lastbookstorela.com

Skylight Books

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Alright, so this one is also based in L.A., but if you’re there, why not just make it a bookstore tour? Their prices are great, they have a tree growing in the middle of their store, they do events weekly, and they’re online as well. Be sure to check out their website skylightbooks.com – and make sure to stop by the page where you can donate to the Hurricane Maria Relief Fund, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, National Nurses United, and Redwood Food Bank.

McNally Jackson Books

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Located in downtown New York City, this bookstore has been a staple in the Nolita community for a long time. If you’re in the area, make sure to stop by the café, and people watch for a bit. But, if you’re too far away to make a trip down, their online bookstore is pretty fantastic (may we recommend going to your favorite café to try and replicate the experience?). Not only do they have the bestsellers, and newest releases, but they have a pretty eclectic collection of travel books, as well as international books and magazine publications. Make sure to stop by their website at mcnallyjackson.com

Trident Booksellers and Café

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Based in Newbury Street in Boston, this bookstore is a classic. First, if you are in the area, they’re open until midnight, so you can really satisfy those late night book cravings (when you just have to have that one book, and no, it can’t wait until tomorrow). But not only is their online store great, they also sell Trident Booksellers merchandise! They have a great collection of works by feminists, women of color, and LGBTQ authors, alongside the everyday bestsellers. Go browse around their website, at tridentbookscafe.com

Volumes Bookcafe

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The great thing about their online store is that it’s pretty much divided into sections for you: looking for October reads? They’ve got a section just for that. Maybe you want to read some books by women, about women – they’ve got a section on that too. They also have a Buy Back Used Books program that’s pretty neat. Located in the heart of Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, stop by and take a look either in person, or at their website, volumesbooks.com

The Avid Reader

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You can find this bookstore in downtown Davis, CA, about a ten minute walk from the University of California campus (plus they have a book club you can join if you’re in town). For those of us who sadly can’t make it, we’re happy to browse their online shelves, and while those shelves are stocked with everything we love, the real talent of this bookstore is introducing us to books we had never even heard of before (did you know that there’s a Harry Potter Cookbook?) You can find their website at avidreaderbooks.com


Image courtesy of thebooksmith.tumblr.com

This one can be found in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, and we definitely recommend making the trip out. Their online store has all of our favorite books on all our favorite bestseller lists, but their recommendations are our favorite part of their store. Please stop by their website at booksmith.com. For those of us more social media inclined, they also have a Tumblr, an Instagram, twitter, and Facebook.

Moe’s Books

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The San Fransisco Chronicle once wrote, “India has the Taj Mahal, Berkeley has Moe’s Books.” Moe’s has been around since 1959, and over the years has only ensured their place as one of the most iconic bookstores in the world. While they do have the bestsellers, their main speciality is rare books, and it’s an impressive collection. The international customer base also means that they’re getting more international books in stock, so everybody, go take a look at their website at moesbooks.com


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Rachel Fogle De Souza was born and raised in Connecticut, and traveled extensively throughout Europe, parts of Asia, and the United States, before attending college at the University of California, Davis, where she received a B.A. in Comparative Literature, with a double minor in Women, Gender and Sexualities studies, and Middle Eastern/South Asian studies. When she's not writing, she's reading, boxing, or thinking about traveling.

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