Bargain: Book Outlet
Overview: Book Outlet is an online book retailer.
History: There’s not a whole lot of information available about the history of Book Outlet. Their business is built around selling excess/return books they get from publishers. These books are marked with a teeny mark or dot to indicate they’re of the excess/return variety and so they can’t be returned to the publisher again. They also have scratch and dent items that are “structurally sound and completely readable” but flawed in a minor way (a rip, a missing dust jacket, a scratch, etc.). The result for the buyer (that’s you!) is a new book for dirt cheap prices.
- The prices! New YA books are going for anywhere from $1.00-$6.00 or so. And not your grandma’s YA books – I’m talking new and popular YA books.
- The website is really easy to navigate and browsing/searching is simple.
- They periodically have sales for holidays which will knock off anywhere from 15-30% of your total.
- They get new books every day. You never know what they’ll have, so you can check back often.
- The books are NEW and never read.
- Shipping prices are reasonable and you receive your books fairly quickly.
- The pricing is high in comparison to some other places you can get books. (See my Goodwill post.)
- Every book is not available at all times; i.e., it’s not Amazon. Selection depends on the day and the number of copies that they have.
- That teeny little mark on the edge of the book. If you care about that, Book Outlet is not for you.
- There are no shipping guarantees available. If you need something by a specific time, Book Outlet is not a good option for you.
- I’ve heard a couple stories of less than satisfactory customer service.
- Their website is the definition of an “overly-attached girlfriend”… If you look at something but don’t purchase, you’ll receive an email about an hour later with the following:
I’m a cheapskate by nature, so I don’t usually like to pay $4 for a book. I’m really stingy, I know! I’ve been on Book Outlet many times but hadn’t ever placed an order. As promised, I will only write about bargains I’ve experienced first hand, so I bit the bullet and placed an order.
I ended up with a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $20 during the Black Friday sale, so I filled my cart and checked out. I was reviewing my order in anticipation for my new books when I noticed the total was different than what it was supposed to be. My coupon hadn’t been applied and a book was missing. I quickly figured out that a book sold out in the 2 seconds that it took for me to finalize my order, so I was shy of the $20 minimum, thus the coupon was not applied. One help ticket and a WONDERFUL customer service experience later, I had a refund on that order and it was time to try again.
Here’s a rundown of what I ended up ordering:
As they arrived:
Unpacked, all lined up:
(Guys Can Be Cat Ladies Too not pictured, as it was already given as a Christmas present.)
Here’s are the top and bottom edges with the marks:
Wolf in White Van, Illusion, and The Isle of Blood are all hardcovers. The rest are paperback.
These two are the “scratch and dent” items:
Illusion had a slash on the front of the dust jacket (looks like it was a box cutter). It also had some discoloring/bleeding on the inside of the dust jacket. I’m just going to stick a piece of tape on the inside along the cut and it should look just fine.
Wolf In White Van had the teeniest little rip on the dust jacket and spine of the book at the very top. It’s barely noticable. I’m not going to do anything to modify this one.
Overall, I’m VERY pleased with Book Outlet. I would absolutely order again. It’s amazing bang for your buck and a really great experience from beginning to end. I especially enjoy the scratch and dent section. As you know, I don’t really have any qualms about a book not being in pristine condition, so scratch and dent is the way to go. I mean, $0.90 for a brand new 400-page book? Yes, please!