Where should I buy my books? Part 2: Books online (UK)

Where should I buy my new books online? (UK)

In the previous post of this series, I talked about the high street bookshops available in the UK. Now, I would like to focus on online bookshops. Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not always cheapest or indeed easiest to buy on Amazon (even if you have Prime).

Here are just a few other bookish options:



Bookdepository.com once used to be hailed as the independent alternative to Amazon, but it has been acquired by Amazon in 2011. Prices on Bookdepository and Amazon tend to be similar. However, Bookdepository.com offer free worldwide delivery – so it’s definitely worth considering.


  • Free worldwide delivery
  • Look out for cheap bestsellers!


  • Owned by Amazon




Wordery is a website ran by Bertrams, a wholesaler. Just in case, you don’t know what a wholesaler is (I certainly did not know before I started working in publishing) – it’s basically a type of business that makes its money on buying books directly from publishers and selling them to bookshops. What this means is that wholesalers tend to be able to sell books to consumers at a cheaper price than bookshops.

Books on Wordery these days are often cheaper than on amazon.co.uk, as the company is still very interested in acquiring new customers. They will arrive between 5-9 days after you’ve ordered them – and they will usually include a free bookmarks as a gift


  • Cheap
  • Free UK delivery
  • It’s not Amazon
  • Free bookmark



  • It doesn’t share its profits with the bookshops and might well be accused of cutting them out





Like Wordery, Hive.co.uk is also ran by a wholesaler (Gardners). Unlike Wordery, however, hive.co.uk is very proud to be “supporting the high street”. When you choose your book on hive.co.uk a certain percentage (not sure how much from a browse of their website) goes to an independent bookshop of your choosing. The book prices on hive.co.uk are often cheaper than Amazon’s (unless you’re looking at recent bestsellers)

The delivery times are usually within a week, and you do not pay extra for UK deliveries.


  • Cheap
  • Free UK delivery
  • It’s not Amazon
  • Supports the high street



  • I’d like to have a slightly more exact figure on how much of the profit goes to independent publishers



Bookshop websites:



The prices tend to be pretty similar to the ones offered in physical bookshops, and in addition, you will often be charged extra for delivery costs unless you spend a certain amount or choose to pick up the book in a store.


  • Supports bookshops



  • Additional delivery costs
  • Expensive
  • If you love the bookshop that much, why not just vote with your feet and go there?


Publishers’ websites:


I hadn’t even considered that you could buy books from publishers’ websites till very recently. Do bear in mind that not all publishers do this (ie. Penguin only lets you buy from their website via other retailers such as amazon, hive.co.uk, etc). But there are some fantastic offers out there – and the profit from those sales usually goes directly to the publisher and the author.

Faber & Faber offers a discount of 20% on all their books to Faber members (all those who subscribe to their newsletter). Profile Books offers 10% discount and free postage to online shoppers. It’s certainly worth checking out the price on the publisher’s website, as you may be in for a pleasant surprise.


  • Supporting the publisher and author


  • Can be expensive
  • Requires a bit of research


All in all, as you’ve probably guessed I will spend quite a lot of time deciding what’s the best place to buy each book. For those of you less-willing to spend precious time on comparing book prices, here’s a link to a useful website: http://www.booksprice.co.uk/

You just type the title of the book you want to buy and this will compare its prices for you on Amazon, Bookdepository, Wordery and Ebay.


If you want to check out the publisher’s websites and hive.co.uk, you might need to do an extra bit of research.

What are your favourite online bookshops?


Featured Image:  pixabay.com/coyot



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