Sunday, March 22, 2015

Where I Buy My Books

I've been a very bad blogger the past 2 weeks and haven't posted. I thought I'd post something different other than book reviews because I'd also like to thank you all for 100,000 PAGE VIEWS OMG. ONE. HUNDRED. THOUSAND. I am so shocked and grateful *hugs you all*

Anyways I thought I'd share with you all where I buy my books from - both online and in-store (:


The perk of buying online is that it is SO MUCH cheaper than buying in-store. For one, you're not paying GST on items (Goods and Sales Tax in Australia is 10%) and you get a much larger variety to choose from with regards to book editions.

I generally buy online because I want the US hardback, don't care for the paperback edition, or don't mind waiting for a book I'm not super keen to read.

The price comparisons are based on my personal experience, quick look up of some books along with comparisons of Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas for YA and The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro for adult.

The Book Depository

TBD is hands down my favourite online bookstore. They're cheap and they always have the international edition of a book I want.
I buy from TBD when I want a US hardback or when I can't find a paperback in store (either standalone or the 1st in a series, so that way I can ensure I also get the rest of the series in the same edition on TBD). If I decide to buy a series on TBD, I always need to check the ISBN of editions to ensure they'll match.
With the dropping AUD, hardbacks are becoming more and more expensive on TBD sadly. When they're on sale, I can get them for $17 but usually I pay around $24 for a hardback. That's STILL cheaper than in-store in most cases. In an actual bookstore here, the US hardbacks are usually $25 or $30 (except for HarperTeen titles, which HarperCollins Australia sells in store for $19.99, bless their souls). TBD does have price drops but you have to keep your eye out. I remember when I was paying $14-$16 for a hardback back when we were above parity ;(
Delivery time for TBD takes about 2 weeks including weekends. They estimate 5-8 days to Aus and I've found that to be true. They used to take 10-12 days but they've sped up the process which is great! There's the rare occasion where a book has taken a whole month to arrive.
The great thing with buying from TBD is that when a book arrives damaged they will send you a new one at no extra cost and if a book hasn't arrived after a significant amount of time (I give it 4-5 weeks) then you can assume it's been lost in transit and they'll send you another copy.
Don't expect to find Aussie paperbacks on TBD though, they're much more US and UK edition focused.

Pricing (AUD): approx. $23 for US YA hardbacks, $30 for US adult hardbacks, $13 - $16 for paperbacks
Delivery time: 5-8 working days
Pros: have most international editions, can pre-order and these may arrive before release day, cheaper than Aussie book store RRP
Cons: no Australian editions, delivery time, may arrived damaged, sometimes they don't send the edition pictured because they run out


I go to Booktopia when they offer free shipping because I honestly can't justify paying $6.50 for shipping (even though it IS flat rate).
They're an Aussie online bookstore so when you buy from them, you ARE supporting Aussie publishers. That means they sell Aussie editions and they also sell the US hardbacks of books (but it's freakishly expensive).
Booktopia now price matches to The Book Depository (I know, weird right?). I know this because I ALWAYS do price comparisons for books when I buy online so I have a bunch of tabs open for all the online bookstore ;p However, these price matches are only for some books, aka NOT the US YA hardbacks :( in some cases, the paperback is actually cheaper on Booktopia and when you add in their free shipping + books that have express post, it's SO worth it.

Pricing (AUD): approx. $12 - $16 for AU edition YA paperbacks, $20 - $30 for AU edition adult paperbacks, $27 for US YA hardbacks, $35 for US adult hardbacks
Delivery time: 3 days on books with express posting (they will specify on the book), otherwise same time as The Book Depository
Pros: very cheap Aussie edition of paperbacks, occasional free shipping charge, also offer US editions, large range I've also never had the issue of a delivery being lost or damaged.
Cons: US editions still cost a lot, shipping is $6.50 flat rate


I used to LOVE buying from Bookworld, but sadly, at the beginning of this year, they introduced shipping charges :((
Once upon a time, they used to be the cheapest Aussie online bookstore with their free shipping, express books and great range.
I actually haven't bought anything from them since they introduced the shipping fee. Although their shipping fee is a flat rate of $5.50, their books are a few dollars more expensive than Booktopia which means I'd buy from Booktopia now.
Their range is quite decent but they're less likely to have US YA hardbacks.
I've noticed they've offered a no shipping charge coupon because I hadn't bought from them in so long, but the prices were still a bit high for me when I factored in wait time.

Pricing (AUD): approx. $15 for AU edition YA paperbacks, $25 for new release adult paperbacks, $13 for on sale popular adult paperbacks, $28 for US YA hardbacks, $37 for adult hardbacks
Delivery time: 3 days on books with express posting (they will specify on the book), otherwise 10-15 days
Pros: Aussie YA paperbacks still cheaper than in-store, free shipping charge
Cons: more expensive than Booktopia by a few dollars even after factoring that BW is $1 cheaper in shipping, the search functionality is really poorly done -  I find that their database indexing hasn't been set up properly and search results always bring back too many random results

Angus & Robertson

I find that A&R gets so overlooked. These guys actually have great prices - they match Booktopia and Bookworld - with free shipping over $30. That's so easy considering books are like $15 these days online.
I used to use them a LOT when I first started buying books online but I haven't actually bought from them in years since the aforementioned stores came to my attention.
I find that for not-so-well-known titles/older titles, they don't have as much stock or the shipping takes too long (10-15 days) and these prices are only just below RRP in-store. Since I buy books online because I'm willing to wait, I can't justify paying the same price as RRP when it's gonna take nearly 3 weeks to arrive. Hence, I will go to a cheaper option like Booktopia where I can wait for a free shipping charge.
That being said, their newer titles are decently priced!

Pricing (AUD): approx. $15 for AU edition YA paperback, $21 for AU edition adult paperback, $32 for US YA hardback, $40 for adult hardbacks
Delivery time: 3 days on books with express posting (they will specify on the book), otherwise 10-15 days
Pros: free shipping over $30, some titles match Booktopia pricing
Cons: not as many titles that offer express shipping, price is not that much different to RRP


Another site I used to use frequently, Fishpond is more a site where you can buy all sorts of entertainment in new and old condition.
I used to buy a lot of my manga from them back when it was cheaper to online.
It's more a market so you have to be careful of editions when you're buying. I think their prices have gone up in recent years so I don't buy from them anymore.

Pricing (AUD): approx. $20 for AU edition YA paperback (more expensive than in store), $12 for UK edition YA paperback, $26 US YA hardback, $31 US adult paperback
Delivery time: varies on supplier - from 7-14 days
Pros: can find very cheap bargains, free shipping usually
Cons: prices can vary extremely greatly, to the point where it might be cheaper to buy in-store


When the AUD was still higher (i.e. above 80c US) buying from BookOutlet was worth it, but now not so much.
They offer EXTREMELY cheap prices for US hardbacks and paperbacks - I'm talking $5 US hardbacks and $0.99 paperbacks. And all the books I got came in perfect condition. You may even be lucky enough to get a signed copy.
They get new arrivals every week and they've got some great popular YA titles. However, a lot of the time these are the 2nd or 3rd book in a series (still good if you're missing those). That means their range is quite limited as they are a bargain bookstore. They don't have any new releases.

Pricing (AUD): approx. $8 for US hardback, $1.50 for paperbacks at cheapest - this is NOT including shipping
Delivery time: 5 weeks
Pros: really cheap hardbacks
Cons: shipping to Australia is based PER UNIT. This means that shipping costs a bloody fortune, you WILL pay more for shipping than the actual book. On a order that totals around $30 USD, you will pay $38 USD for shipping to Australia, that means nearly $80 AUD for 5 books. Hence, at the moment it's cheaper to buy from TBD or other online bookstores.

Price Comparison

Raw pricing with no shipping if site charges

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas 
AU paperback ISBN: 9781408839126 (Bloomsbury AU)
The Book Depository: unavailable
Booktopia: $12.50 (with express shipping)
Bookworld: $13.79 (with express shipping)
Angus & Robertson: $14.99 (with express shipping)
Fishpond: $17.91

US hardback ISBN: 9781619630659 (Bloomsbury US)
The Book Depository: $24.75
Booktopia: $24.75 (with express shipping)
Bookworld: $28.51
Angus & Robertson: $30.99
Fishpond: $25.61

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
AU paperback ISBN: 9780571315048 (Allen & Unwin)
The Book Depository: $21.19
Booktopia: $22.75 (with express shipping)
Bookworld: $20.85 (with express shipping)
Angus & Robertson: $20.85 (with express shipping)
Fishpond: $49.90 (what the eff?)

US hardback ISBN: 9780307271037 (Knopf) (The UK hardback is more popular though)
The Book Depository: $30.53
Booktopia: $38.50
Bookworld: $41.39
Angus & Robertson: $44.99
Fishpond: $35.41


I've only bought from them once and I wouldn't do it again. The book I ordered was extremely dirty when it came (I ordered a new copy and it didn't even look new), took over a month and was still quite expensive.
Shipping is also per unit on Amazon, factor in that it's USD and I don't think it's worth it at all since their hardbacks still cost around $13 USD. TBD is more reliable.

Publisher Sites 

I've bought quite a number of times from the Harlequin AU and Bloomsbury AU sites. Harlequin sometimes offer massive discounts on their tiles and free shipping if you spend over $30. I've basically bought all my Maria V Snyder and a number of Julie Kagawa books from the Harlequin sales. They were like $4 - $8 each!
Bloomsbury have on occasion had 50% site wide and their flat rate shipping actually made it really worth it. I bought my hardback set of the new HP covers for like $117.50 including shipping - it's the cheapest I've ever seen it. I think the cheapest you can get it online is $150 now - it was $140 online elsewhere at the time I bought it.

Pricing (AUD): 50% off RRP, $4 - $10 publisher's edition of paperback
Delivery time: 10 days
Pros: sourced directly from publisher, extremely cheap prices
Cons: for Harlequin, they don't have many titles in paperback anymore so it's actually hard to find physical copies and Bloomsbury sales are not that frequent


I will pretty much always buy a book when I stop into a bookstore (well 1 bookshop specifically) because I'm such an impulse buyer and one always needs books.

The perk of buying in-store is that you can always pick and choose which book you want regarding condition and you can see what the edition looks like first hand!

I'm a sucker for cheap books so I only buy books when I know I can't get it cheaper in any other store.

Big W/K-Mart/Target

I find that these variety stores have really great prices. Unfortunately, I don't live close to a Big W so I don't get the benefit of their cheap books. I know for a fact that Big W has a really great (but random) range and every time you go you can find something different.
K-Mart and Target are more popular title focused. K-Mart have just started stocking Sarah J Maas but both K-Mart and Target have a lot of Penguin Aus and HarlequinTeen titles at great prices - around 35% below RRP.
While I have K-Mart and Target at my local shopping centre, I don't really go to my shopping centre so it's harder for me.
New releases are also harder to find at these places unless they're really popular but I still find them about a week delayed with new releases. I find that Target's range has dwindled in recent years... back in 2010 I found Embrace (book 1 in The Violet Eden Chapters by Jessica Shirvington) at Target but don't expect that anymore. I'm wondering if this has anything to do with publishers and sales too.
Also, different store locations will have different stock. I got my Collector's Edition of Clockwork Prince from Target and Collector's Edition of Clockwork Princess from K-Mart. I know you can get Colleen Hoover, Sarah J Maas, Cynthia Hand, Ally Carter, and Suzanne Collins from Big W because I've gotten some of those there myself.

Pricing (AUD): approx. $10 - $14 for AU edition YA paperbacks, $16 - $20 for AU edition adult paperback
Pros: extremely cheap, at times half the price of RRP (Big W)
Cons: stock and titles vary, it's very volatile!

Basement Books

This is sort of like Sydney's version of BookOutlet. They do extremely cheap bargain books but sadly their YA range is a bit tragic. Their titles also vary greatly and they sometimes have US hardbacks! I've picked up some random titles on occasion.
If you're near Central Station in Sydney then definitely check them out.

Pricing (AUD): approx. $1 - $15 for their fiction titles
Pros: extremely cheap, can have US editions and books out of print, you may find a book you'd been looking for a long time ago and gave up on finding!
Cons: stock and titles vary, some books have a black marker line on the bottom
Location: Central Station, Devonshire Exit tunnel near UTS


I frequent the Dymocks in the CBD a lot and find that they sometimes have a title my favourite bookstore doesn't have. Dymocks CBD have an AMAZING YA range. They will get titles on release day mostly if they're popular.
However, I find that their service will always be sub par to Kinokuniya which is my fav (I'll explain later) so I don't buy from them a lot. 
I do like to take advantage of bonus point days though.

Pricing (AUD): $15 - $20 for AU edition YA paperbacks, $30 for AU edition adult paperbacks, $30 for US YA hardbacks
Pros: Booklover club, great YA selection
Cons: service isn't as good as Kinokuniya, RRP
Location: CBD, near the Strand on George St.

Galaxy Bookshop

This is like the best sci-fi/fantasy bookstore in Sydney. Their range is extensive/fabulous/amazing. It's literally a whole level of a bookstore dedicated to sci-fi/fantasy and they have EVERY edition you can dream of. They stock AU, UK, US paperbacks and hardbacks where possible. They even have out of print books.
I've actually never bought a book from them sadly because their prices are ridiculously expensive. Because they sell international editions, they sell these at a premium and Aussie paperbacks are RRP. I can buy said international editions for much cheaper online and sometimes Kinokuniya will stock these for cheaper too.
They are definitely worth a browse though and I swear, one day I WILL buy something from them.

Pricing (AUD): $16 - $20 for AU edition YA paperbacks, $30 US YA hardbacks, $20 US adult paperbacks, $40 US adult hardbacks
Pros: amazing range of sci-fi/fantasy you probably won't find at any other bookstore, basically every edition that you can find in AU/UK/US, out of print editions
Cons: RRP AU editions, very expensive US/UK editions
Location: above Abbey's Bookstore, opposite QVB on York St.


I saved the best for last. Kino is my bookstore of choice. I consider them my "local" bookstore because I frequent the city so often, And now that I work in the city, it's even easier because Kino is a 10min walk from my workplace. Get ready for my gushing...
I think they are the biggest bookstore in Sydney if not Australia. Their range is AMAAAAZING. They dedicate a whole section of the bookstore to YA, separating them into YA sci-fi/fantasy and contemporary. I'm talking FLOOR TO CEILING shelves of glorious YA. With dedicated Aussie YA section <3 They DO sell at RRP but if you pay $25 for their membership, you get 10% off all purchases for 2 years - then you can renew the subscription for $10 a year and on special events you can get a sub for only $5. I've been buying the subscription card from them for the past 5 years or so. I can tell you I've saved WAY more than $10 in a year because of this. They also have member only sale days with 20% storewide and I go CRAZY in these cases.
Not only is their YA section fabulous, but because they're a Japanese bookstore they stock SO MUCH manga and graphic novels. As soon as a manga has been licensed by a North American publisher and in-stock, Kino will have it. They also sell Chinese and Japanese novels/graphic novels.
Kino all sells like every genre you can imagine - history books, art/design/photography, so much non-fiction I don't even know because I don't read it and they also have a stationery shop inside that specialises in Japanese stock. They also have like figurines and anime DVDs/Blu-Ray.
This place is glorious I tell you.
And I haven't gotten to the good part - their service. Is spectacular. Hands down.
When I ask for a book and they don't have it, they will specifically see what suppliers they have and order it in for me, and then email me when it arrives. I'm talking US books too. This was why I was able to read Jennifer L. Armentrout's books so early on, and Tammara Webber's Easy too. They went out of their way to order me US editions. Dymocks has never offered to do this for me, Dymocks has only offered me the AU release date and to put my name down.
THEN there are the times when I can't find a book on a shelf and I'll ask them. The other day I was looking for a copy of The DUFF at Dymocks, they apparently had 5 copies but after 10min of searching they couldn't locate ANY of them and gave up. I was at Kino last month and couldn't find Disruption. They had 2 copies left and the sales assistant looked for a good 1/2h for me, all over the store until she found me a copy.
There was also the memorable moment when Jessica Shirvington's Endless came out. A book I was DESPERATE for on release day. I went to Dymocks and they said they had it, but it was out in the back and they wouldn't be unboxing them for a few days and to come back in a week after the books had been priced. At the time I think I went to Dymocks because I thought they might be cheaper. Anyway I went to Kino and was SO SAD to not see it on shelves either. I asked and Kino said they'd just got stock that morning, but it was in the back and if I was willing to wait they could get a copy unboxed and priced for me in 15minutes... I nearly cried in happiness.
That is all. The amount of times Kino has done this for me and exceeded my expectations. I am willing to pay a premium for this amazing service.

Pricing (AUD): RRP, $16 - $20 for AU YA paperback, $27 for US YA hardback, $20 - $30 for adult paperbacks, $35 for adult hardbacks, $13 for standard volume of manga
Pros: stellar service, 10% discount if you pay for subscription, amazing range, will most likely order in a book for you upon request
Cons: need to pay $25 initial subscription for 10% discount, and $10/year to renew otherwise RRP
Location: top floor of the Galeries, opposite QVB

Honourable Mention - Better Read Than Dead
As BRTD is in Newtown I really don't have much of a chance to frequent them. They're an indie bookstore and they hold a LOT of Sydney-based author special events like high teas.
They're a wonderful bookstore that's open quite late - I remember walking Newtown at 8pm on a Wednesday and they were still open!
Their prices are RRP and they do have quite a decent range of every genre - YA included. I think they also sell some titles cheaper too, with discounts or something.

Price Comparison

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas
AU paperback ISBN: 9781408839126 (Bloomsbury AU)
Dymocks: $15.99
Galaxy: $15.99
Kinokuniya: $15.99 ($14.39 with membership discount)
Better Read Than Dead: $14.39

US hardback ISBN: 9781619630659 (Bloomsbury US) - on their online site
Dymocks: $28.99
Galaxy: unavailable
Kinokunya: $26.77 (24.09 with membership discount)
Better Read Than Dead: $23.63 (JESUS CHRIST WHAT? SO CHEAP)

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
AU paperback ISBN: 9780571315048 (Allen & Unwin)
Dymocks: $24.99
Abbey's (Galaxy): $29.99
Kinokuniya: $29.99 ($26.99 with membership discount)
Better Read Than Dead: $26.99

US hardback ISBN: 9780307271037 (Knopf) - on their online site
Dymocks: unavailable
Abbey's: $45,95
Kinokuniya: $40.11 ($36.10 with membership discount)
Better Read Than Dead: $35.41

Where do you buys your books from? Are you extremely price conscious?


  1. I am extremely price conscious, I have to be sadly. I do like to support Aussie publishers, suppliers and bookstores where possible, but sadly that isn't always the case. As you have mentioned, US hardcovers are hard to come across unless from an international seller, and if you do find them locally, they are too expensive.

    I know what you mean about looking at prices from all the online stores - but I have stopped with having all the tabs open, I use now to compare.

    Here are my thoughts on the stores you have mentioned:

    The Book Depository: Great for international editions, but sadly prices have started to rise :(

    Booktopia: This is probably my current favourite. They are often the cheapest within Australia. But I never pay for postage with them, I have found a little tip which I revealed in my "Aussie Onine Book Shopping Tips" post.

    Bookworld: Sigh. I used to love Bookworld and I would rare buy from another online AUstralian seller. But their prices have gone up, and I haven't bought through them since they introduced shipping fees.

    Angus & Robertson: I haven't used them as yet, but they are on my radar for orders of $30

    Fishpond: I haven't bought anything through Fishpond as yet either, but I do check them out every now and then.

    BookOutlet: I am waiting to see if I can get a large order with them to make the postage worth it.

    Amazon: I have always found a way to not use them. Postage is crazy to Australia.

    Publisher sites: I love Harlequin and Bloomsbury. Scholastic is also good as they often have great bargains.

    Big W/K-Mart/Target: I don't live near a Big W sadly, but when I go to one, I always manage to get a book or two. They tend to have a pretty good range at great prices. My local K-Mart and Target have a terrible range, but they do have good prices.

    Basement Books: I have purchased a book or two from them while in Sydney, but their stock is hit and miss.

    Dymocks: I don't have a Dymocks near me, but I love venturing into Dymocks to find bargains and signed books, particularly the Sydney and Melbourne stores.

    Galaxy Bookshop: I won't purchase from here due to an experience I had there.

    Kinokuniya: What a great bookstore! I always go there when I am in Sydney. Plus, I happen to run into the best people there ;)

    My honourable mentions go to: Kino (Sydney) and Dymocks Melbourne and Sydney, I also quite like Berkelouw Eumundi Bookshop & Cafe (Sunshine Coast, QLD), Glee Books (Sydney) and The Little Bookroom (Melbourne).

    1. Totally agree with all this Kristy! I still love TBD the most, and I will now need to check out your post for Booktopia ;)
      Amazon is honestly the worst online for us. With BookOutlet, even with a large enough order, because their shipping is per unit, it still might be too expensive sadly but I wish you luck!
      Will remember to check out Scholastic's site now thanks for the rec (and Book.o!)
      I'm so sad to hear of your bad experience at Galaxy :(
      I still have yet to visit Glee Books but I will one day!

  2. This is such an informative post.

    Moving from the UK to Australia, the price of books was a big shock. I will most often buy from K-Mart, Target or BigW due to price and availability, or from TBD. Sometimes I will buy from QBD if I'm in a shopping centre that has one. Physical bookstores are sadly lacking. We have some amazing book stores in Melbourne, Hill of Content, Little Bookshop, Readings, Robinsons, etc, but as they're mostly in the city, and I'm mostly not, it's hard to get to them.

    I used to order from Amazon UK, or The Book People (who I've just seen now deliver internationally, but the conversion is a killer), or shop at Waterstones (beautiful stores) or WH Smith (newsagent with lots of books - often 3 for 2 type offers). Books are much cheaper in the UK because they're exempt from VAT and because of some price agreement made many years ago.

    1. I'm so jealous of people in the US and Europe because books are so cheap over there :( I've heard about Waterstones, sounds absolutely lovely! Would definitely check it out if I ever go to the UK.

  3. I am in awe of your memory of when you bought some books. Your memory is like Sheldon! Since the US price hikes, I haven't bought many books from TBD. I used to use them religiously, but these days I go to my local Dymocks, even though I am paying a bit more. I used to use Bookworld quite a lot too, and still do sometimes. I've never used A&R or Book Outlet or Booktopia though, I just find the Booktopia site a bit hard to navigate.


    1. HAHA it's because I actually buy books so frequently! TBD is still the only one I use religiously, but yes rising prices :(


  4. AWESOME POST :D I pretty much just buy online now - Dymocks is crazy expensive at mine (usually about $18 for paperback lol). I've used Bookworld, Book Outlet and TBD - Book Outlet is worth it for hardbacks, but not so much for paperbacks.

    1. Ack the shipping on BookOutlet now for paperbacks is ridiculous because of the recent drop in AUD :( so sad.
      I definitely use online so much more now.

  5. HOLY THIS POST!!! The comparisons are amazing. You're my go to gal now.

    TBD makes me cry recently, what with the dollar dropping and whatnot. But hey, I'm still there because I like my hardcovers and no one else is going to supply me with them at a relatively decent price. But for things that I don't mind grabby a paperback off, I just go instore. Sure, it's a little more ex, buuuut I like that I don't have to wait for shipping. I like how instantaneous it is. And I like that I'm helping out my economy a little bit LOL

    Kino's my favourite as well. I have FOND memories of that place. My childhood childhood store was the BIG Angus and Robertson in the ct before it closed. Oh that gets me teary. And then the big Borders. Man, I loved that place.

    1. Yes I totally agree about the instantaneous thing, which is why I still love going into Kino to grab my paperbacks.

      OMG THE A&R WITH THE ESCALATORS GOING DOWN. I got my first ever set of Harry Potter books there. And Borders was glorious too omg. It was one of the saddest days of my life when A&R closed though :(