Thursday, January 13, 2011

Comparison of Online Book Ordering

There's at least five books that I would like to buy actual copies of, so I decided to compare various sites that I could order the books from online.  These are the results.

Books/Seller Amazon  BarnesNoble  Borders  Powell's 
What's Math Got to Do with It? $10.88 $11.29 $16.00 $10.95
Real Food $10.87 $10.97 $15.99 $10.95
The War of Art $10.15 $10.15 $12.95 $12.95
Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius   $13.60 $17.95 $19.95 $13.95
Waking the Dead $10.87 $11.51 $15.99 $7.50
Subtotals $56.37 $61.87 $80.88 $56.30

Amazon and Barnes & Noble offer free shipping on orders over $25; Powell's offers free shipping on orders over $50.  Borders offers free shipping if you sign up for some program that will eventually charge your credit card. is the clearest loser in all this.  Powell's beats out Amazon by 7 cents, and I like that they are local.  On the other hand, three of those books would be used from Powell's instead of new from Amazon.  (On the gripping hand, one of those would be hardcover from Powell's instead of paperback, and all the rest would be "trade paper" which according to Wikipedia is considered slightly better than paperback.)

So Powell's it is.


  1. "Trade paper" primarily has to do with the size of the book. A regular paperback is roughly 4" x 7". A trade paperback is roughly 5 1/4" x 8 1/4". The type is a bit larger usually in a trade paperback.

    The smaller regular paperbacks were intended for supermarket type spinning wire racks. The trade paperbacks were intended for the shelves of regular bookstores as an alternative to hardback (called cloth in the industry). However, all of these designations have become less useful as many years ago bookstores started carrying the regular paperbacks (which were less expensive) and supermarkets used racks that could carry all sizes of books.

  2. I don't really care that much what form the books come in. I went with Powell's because it was the cheapest and because I want to try to support local businesses over larger companies, when I can.

  3. Borders is in real danger of bankruptcy, if they haven't already gone under. Their model just doesn't work as well as the other large houses, particularly Amazon.

    I almost always order my stuff from Amazon, in part because of the free shipping over $25, and also because I can tack on tights for Geneva or a kitchen gadget I need or a fan cover or whatever.

    How cool that you have a local bookseller that carries all these titles!

    PS Are you planning to read unPlanned?

  4. Yeah, Powell's is awesome. They're the largest used-bookstore in the country, I believe. Their main location is downtown Portland, where I frankly don't like to go too often because parking is a hassle and taking the kids on the light rail train is its own hassle. But ordering books from them? Awesome.

    Honestly, I'm not planning to read unPlanned. I sort of feel that the pro-life leaders are using Abby Johnson; for a worthy cause, but that doesn't make it ok. The book may be well-written; but when it comes down to it, I don't trust it to be a completely authentic portrayal of the story instead of being written as essentially pro-life propaganda. Which only serves to preach to the choir, as it were.