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Fantastic huge secondhand bookshop - online
Member Name: best_deal_hunter
Advantages: Wide choice, plenty of stock, good prices, free fast delivery
Disadvantages: Website not the best
I love books. Since learning to read at the age of three I have always had at least one book on the go - usually several. I do love libraries - but my big problem there is that if I have enjoyed a book I will usually re-read it, often many times - so I much prefer to own books. There's nothing quite like the feel of a brand new book, but as I'm not made of money, of late I have been venturing into the world of secondhand books. I feel happier that it's saving a few trees too!
Secondhand bookshops and charity shops are great for a browse, but not so good if you're after something in particular.
I've picked up some good secondhand books from Amazon Marketplace, but the disadvantage there is the £2.75 p&p cost - making even the penny books £2.76 - still not bad compared to a new book, but as an inveterate bargain hunter I was sure I could do better!
So, one day I had a flash of inspiration, and decided to check out some of those Amazon penny sellers, looking directly at their own websites - and discovered Awesome Books.
Who are Awesome Books?
The website is awesomebooks.co.uk and they are basically an online bookshop selling all sorts of new and secondhand books.
The 'new books' bit is quite recent, and I've never bought anything new from them. I've had a quick peek, and my impression is that while they are cheaper than RRP, new books are probably cheaper elsewhere. That is just an impression though - my personal experience here is of buying from what I think of as a huge online secondhand bookshop.
Well, they stock all sorts, from 'adventure and fantasy' to 'parenting and childcare' to 'politics and scholarly works' - with plenty in between!
There are often several copies of any particular book, and each is listed with an 'Item Condition' rating . These nearly all seem to be 'Good' for used books and are generally books which have clearly been read, have a bit of creasing to the cover etc., but are generally what they say - in good condition.
There are usually a mixture of paperback, large paperback and hardback, so it's worth checking carefully what you've selected if you want a particular format.
The best advice I can give is to go on and have a look if you're after something in particular.
Some examples of the kind of stuff I've found on there:
I am rather partial to Alexander McCall Smith books - and on this site there are several pages of secondhand copies of his books.
Or children's books - I recently picked up all four of the Anthony Horowitz 'Power of Five' series (I had read my daughter's library copies but then found myself in need of a re-read!).
I recently read on dooyoo an excellent review (by Secre) of a book called 'The Lies of Locke Lamora'. I'd never heard of it before but it sounded great so I popped over to Awesome Books - and there were about 8 copies to choose from.
Prices and Delivery
More recent books often cost a little more, but the most regular price I pay is £1.99 - this is for the sort of books which are a penny plus p&p on Amazon.
Shipping is 45 pence for a single book, but FREE (worldwide!) if you order two or more books - rarely a hardship I have to say! Even paying the postage, £2.44 beats £2.76, but I've never been stuck only finding one book I want to buy!
Delivery is very quick too, orders are shipped within 24 hours and my experience has been that books usually arrive within 2-3 days.
Well, the website itself is my main niggle really - it could be vastly improved.
Down the left hand side is a 'menu' where you can select a genre - but all this gives you is a huge list, potentially pages and pages to scroll through, and as the list contains pictures too you only get 20 results to a page. I guess this is the equivalent to bookshop browsing, but I find it very frustrating - particularly as the categories are quite broad. A few subcategories would improve things no end.
Better is the 'search' function - you can input a full or part title or author name. One problem here is that it can depend on how the book has been catalogued as to whether you find it or not - for example, going back to Alexander McCall Smith, he has written a series about a character called Isabel Dalhousie, but this series is also known as the Sunday Philosophy Club. Some of the books are referenced by one name, some by the other - so a search on 'Isabel Dalhousie' won't find those which were catalogued as 'Sunday Philosophy Club' and vice versa.
The very best if you know exactly what you want is to use the advanced search and input the ISBN (you can always get this off Amazon!)
I also find the site is a bit annoying when it comes to clearing out previous selections - I end up inputting the same thing over and over. There's a filter to select whether you want to search new, secondhand, bargain bin, or anywhere - this in particular is very frustratingly reset to 'anywhere' each time.
Those are the annoying niggles then - and they're really not enough to get too upset about - it's just that as an IT professional I know they could make it so much more user-friendly!
Apart from that the website is fine - checkout and payment are all fairly standard, and they send you an email to confirm.
Awesome Books is a fantastic online shop for secondhand books - one I use with great frequency. I almost always find what I want, and at a good price. Delivery is quick. I have to knock off a star for the website itself I'm afraid, but don't let that put you off - this is really a brilliant place to find books, and is always the first site I look on.
Summary: If you like books, give them a try