Comparison shop for Books Online

Very Rare and Collectible Books

Best choices: zvab, ABEbooks, Bibliofind

Difficult to find and collectible books sometimes show up on ABE Books. Most of my antique fairy tale books have come from European booksellers (via zvab/Choose Books, ABE, Bibliofind. The selection on ABE has really expanded and I rarely have to look beyond it. You can sometimes find collectible books on Ebay, but rarely at a good price, no matter what Ebay tells you. Avoid Alibris.

New and Out-of-Prints Books

Best choices: Powells and ABE Books

Powell's technical bookstore in Portland is my favorite bookstore, but you can easily spend a rainy afternoon in the main store also. Look here first for textbooks, too - they do stock textbooks and they're usually less expensive than your campus bookstore. Doublecheck the edition you need. (Forbes Magazine says this is their favorite online bookstore; but I knew about it first!)

ABE Books has both new and used books and their search engine is better than Powell's or Amazon's. Inventory varies.

I used to recommend Alibris in this section, although prices of the individual booksellers are not consistent. Read before clicking. **** Big reservervation in recommending Alibris: I bought 128 books from Alibris without incident. Alibris guarantees items are as described but on item 129, the item was not "bright and beautiful" as described, Alibris refused to refund after authorizing the return so I was out the book AND had the subsequent hassle disputing via the credit card company. Contacting them via the web interface and their phone number at 501-500-0856 both elicted no response. Considering the risk, I only shop here when I am desperate and absolutely must have something.

Biggest Selection (but see reservations above):

Trustworthy, fair prices: Powell's

Worth looking, but usually no deals here: Amazon

ABE Books -- prices vary so look at the condition, and shipping charges for similarly priced books.

New books: Cheapest and Fastest

Fastest: Amazon

Amazon most consistently has the best prices and fastest delivery on the widest selection of new books, although you can sometimes find better deals on ABE or Ebay if you take the time to look.

Special Orders and Surprising Stuff

Special orders are real slow and more expensive at Amazon - use Powells. I buy my videos and DVDs and a host of other "Subscribe and Save" things I can get cheaper in bulk at Amazon. They carry some foreign films with English subtitles but see the foreign section for a usually better source. Also a nice selection of jazz and classical music.

Caution:: Please do comparison check if you are buying a hard-to-find book. Some sellers will grossly inflate the price of a book, sometimes by several hundred dollars, hoping to ride on the Amazon name. Don't get caught in this.

Absolutely Cheapest Technical Books

You can be pretty sure Powells will have the book you want and you might get it used, so check there first. If you know the exact nerd book you want, you can find it cheapest at Bookpool. Sometimes, they don't have it or are backordered. In that case, go to Powells or Alibris.
Bookpool Discount Technical Books


Powells has a complete foreign section; try the Powells Search Box if you know the specific item you're looking for. If you only have a general idea, try the Advanced Search at ABE Books. For books and films in French, and especially film quebecois, try Archambault. If you aren't sure what you want, a real person will answer your email. Has Region 1 French films cheaply and available.

Multimedia : Ebooks, CDs, DVDs, Audiobooks

Either Amazon or Powells are choices for audiobooks. Amazon is a good bet for domestic CDs and DVDs. Archambault is good for foreign DVDs (Region 1 encoding). A nichey but quality selection is also available at Alibris.

  • Good Books for Gifts

    If you came here from Art Passions, these books are for you. Also see the Bookstore Index for listing by artist and genre.

    I get many requests for the book that the Kip the Enchanted Cat image comes from. It's been republished as The Fairy Tale Book translated by Marie Ponsot and illustrated by Adrienne Segur. See images from this book.

    Photographic evidence that fairies exist: The Fairies by Suza Scalora. See Photographic proof that fairies exist.

    I get many requests for Victorian fairies. I recommend Victorian Fairy Painting. These are the best fairies. Fairies from Rackham, Dulac, Maybeck, Hughes, Doyle, Naiash, Fitzgerald, Simmons, and others.

    Flower Fairies Flower Fairies Books by Cicely Mary Barker. See the images.

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