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Books, cheap

New books are pricey. Thrift stores and garage sales offer used books at good prices, but with a very limited selection. The library might have the book you want, but sometimes you want to own a book, not borrow it. That's why there's AbeBooks.com. They sell used books, and cheap.

It started as Advanced Book Exchange, but friends called it Abe and the name stuck. AbeBooks is a website connecting thousands of booksellers across the world. Your books are mailed from the store that's selling that book, not from a central warehouse, so buying from Abe feels like you're supporting independent booksellers. In clicking around to write this up, though, I'm a little saddened to learn that Abe has been a subsidiary of Amazon since 2008. Sigh. In the long run, we're all going to be subsidiaries of Amazon.

If you want to buy a copy of a particular book, AbeBooks will almost always know which store has it in stock, used, with a fair assessment of its condition, and at a reasonable price. Just glancing at my shelf, I see The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, and several novels by B Traven and Phillip K Dick — all purchased from AbeBooks for $5 or less, including shipping. That's the maximum I'm willing to pay for a book, and with Abe I've never broken that rule.

 

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