You kn0w how, sometimes, you come across a company or website that is so brilliantly perfectly simple that you are staggered that you never found it before? Well – AbeBooks is going to be one of THOSE moments for you.
I found them through a newspaper article a couple of years ago – listing the 50 Books Every Child Should Read. Since then I’ve been a regular visitor, have never ever failed to be made happy – nor to be so surprised when I mention them to people and am met with blank stares of the never-heard-of-them variety.
So – having solved three more book dilemmas* this Christmas I am determined to wave their flag under your nose. Particularly in light of the fact that they have beaten a certain large conglomerate on price and postage speed all three times.
So if you’re looking for a book – in or out of print – try Abebooks first. Many are free postage, and nearly always the price is comparable, if not better than, High Street bookstores.
Plus there’s the happy knowledge that you are also supporting your local Independent Book Shop. Because, you see, Abebooks do not sell books.
They are simply a whizz-bang clever marketplace – you put your request in, and they search the database of every bookshop in the country to find your book for you.
If it’s new, you’re told.
If it’s used, you’re told what condition it’s in.
You can get first editions, limited editions, rare covers, signed copies… or just a plain old fashioned 1960’s Enid Blyton Famous Five for £2. And there’s always decent customer service – because you’re talking to small independent shops with real live booksellers who live and die by their reputation.
And on top of all that fabulousness, there’s book news and interesting articles too (I am personally making notes on this week’s A&C Black feature – I *want* those Wodehouse books!).
(*What did I buy? Well, that would be telling. I’ll let you know in January when I won’t be spoiling any surprises… :) )