Everyone loves a bargain.
While at one time bookstores were slowly closing down and online retail stores were taking over the market with huge discounts and front-door service, it seems there is a slight revival in the old form of book selling.
I don’t favour online bookstores over physical ones because there is a certain charm to actually wandering through piles of books and then discovering something new. But, the truth remains that online bookstores are popular for two reasons with me; first, at present they tend to have a much greater selection of books and secondly, they at times offer really good discounts.
With the economy at a toss, bargains matter, and even though I try to go as much as possible to bookstores, eventually and ultimately I have to order online for something or the other.
Ordering online is an art when you look at it. While you have no face-to-face contact with the seller, they are still eager to sell their goods to you and discounts are the new way of bargaining, even though it is one-sided.
How does one make the most of these discounts?
How do you know make sure that you’re not paying a paisa more than your friend for the very same book?
Read on and find out;
Compare: This is the most basic form of getting the best discount. With the number of online bookstores increasing on a monthly basis, you can always compare and try and get a better price at one bookstore or another. I personally don’t bother with this. It’s too much of a hassle and I actually prefer the comfort of dealing with one portal, and having my wishlist at one place, until that is, they goof up.
Wishlist: How many of you have a wishlist at your favourite online bookstore? It’s an important aspect of getting the best discounts because what it allows you to do it check, on a daily basis if you like, what the price of that book you want is.
Most of the portals have ongoing discounts on books, some of which are not advertised, and by checking the wishlist regularly you can have an upper hand on what you want to buy and at what price. I have often found great bargains on books by regularly checking my wishlist and you can imagine the joy of unexpectedly realizing that the book you wanted for a long time is available at a 40% discount or more sometimes.
National Holidays: There is a war brewing in the online world. With more retailers, there is more competition, and thus more discounts being offered on a daily basis, literally. National holidays are big days and I have noticed that the top online retail bookstores all have big discounts on these days. True, that these discounts are specific to certain books, but it is still worth it when you are getting up to 60-70% off on discount.
Special Discount Days: Not to be confused with national holidays, a Special Discount Day is another trend that has just taken off amongst fierce completion between the online bookstores. This includes one specific day of the week when the portal will give discounts on a number of its products and checking your wishlist on these days is bound to bring happiness in your life. These days are also perfect for doing some online window-shopping (read: browsing).
Free Shipping: I know this one is the most obvious way to get a bargain. Online retailers charge you for shipping unless you are over and above a certain amount. So it pays to hold on to your buys until you can manage that amount. It might seem like a small amount to pay for postage, but add it up over many purchases and you realize that you could have easily bought a couple or more books for that amount. So, be patient.
Ebay: Although book buying has primarily shifted to the online retailers, do not disregard eBay or similar user generated selling sites. I know for a fact that you can still get amazing bargains on eBay. You can find great deals on such sites and can even get unbelievable prices on slightly used books.
Affiliate Programs: If you are a blogger then you are aware that most online retail bookstores have affiliate programs. I’ve had a bad experience with one of them, but others are good. One of the advantages of being an Affiliate is that you get advance notice, by email in my case, of discount days and especially national holiday discounts. That’s got to be good right? If you aren’t a blogger, then make sure you know people who are affiliates and follow them on twitter or let them know that you want to be informed about discounts. I personally tweet whenever I get advance notice of discounts, others might post on Facebook or just DM you, if you ask them nicely.
Bloggers and Chats: What can possibly be better than a bargain? Free books, but of course. Where do you get these free books? Many bloggers, especially those who primarily review books have competitions throughout the year. Others like me will have them once in a while. There are also Twitter competitions and chats like #TSBC (stop with the self promotion I tell ya!) that give out free books every now and then. So take part in them and who knows you’ll be looking at a nice little bundle of books being delivered to your doorstep one day.
Publishers : Publishers love bloggers and bloggers love publishers. You can always start a blog for free and once you do, get in touch with publishers, again through social media, and presto, you will be getting books for reviews or as gifts from publishers before you can even say Abracadabra! Okay, you need to have some credibility, a few odd reviews on your blog, but if you don’t mind writing a review, you won’t mind getting lots of free books either.
Friends Forever: If none of the above works, I suggest befriending someone who gets lots of books for free and has no place to keep them, again not too hard to do on social media, and hope and pray and beg if you want to, that they pass on part of their bounty to you.
That is all…