Recently in ‘Why Amazon?’ the availability of alternative on-line purchase sites (as well as self-publishing systems) was discussed. Some alternatives where named but not linked to. In response one reader commented they would like to have life made easy for them by having links to various other sites provided. This is in response to that request; there may be others who feel the same.
Before continuing, readers will undoubtedly be aware, to use any on-line retail site, each will require them to set up an account. It is not an onerous task as most make the matter straight forward and simple. Nevertheless, it will take a few minutes to do. In general, the following information is required:
- First and last names;
- E-mail contact address;
- Some request a ‘User Name’ that is different to actual names and e-mail address;
- Password (for securing the account);
- Birthday (not all sites require this);
- Credit/Debit card details;
- Billing address (as associated with the card);
- Contact telephone number (not all sites require this);
- Some will also require the inclusion of security question(s) (To further safeguard accounts in these days of random hacking).
In addition, when ordering books/products it may be necessary to enter a delivery address; if it is different to the credit/debit card billing address.
As this website and blog are primarily dedicated to readers and authors the following list has been restricted to Book retail sites. Of course, some may also have other products available but those are not the topic of this discussion.
On-line Retail Sites
The following is a list of SOME book retail sites. It is by no means conclusive. There are a vast number of less well known retailers but it would make this far too long and unwieldy to try and locate and include all. If there is a site a reader considers useful, important and reliable, they may add a comment in which a link may be included. PLEASE NOTE: Please do not add any information about a site that only caters for erotica or books containing explicit sexual scenes or gratuitous violence. Such material is excluded from this website and associated blog and any comment including such will be deleted.
Note: Where possible, the following links will be to account sign-up pages. Simply click on the retailer’s name.
Smashwords: Digital e-books only but in a variety of formats to suite all device types: computer, tablet, e-reader, smartphone. (.epub; .mobi; .pdf; etc.)
Barnes & Noble (Incudes NOOK; their digital division): When site reached select the ‘My Account’ drop down from the header and then click Create an Account. Physical, digital and audio editions are available.
iBooks: An Apple ID is required (The link will go to the ID creation page). Subsequently, users will need to download iTunes to their device (https://www.apple.com/itunes/). They may also need to download the iBooks app from the applications store (usually comes already installed in Apple devices (Mac; iPad; iPhone).
Kobo: Digital e-books only.
Google Play: Digital e-book and audio editions.
SCRIBD: Digital e-book and audio editions. When site reached click ‘Sing In’ (top right). Scroll to bottom of pop-up window. Click ‘Sign Up’ next to ‘New to Scribd?’.
Note: There is a thirty (30) day free option and a longer term membership for $8.99 per month.
Amazon: Included here in case there is anyone new to the book reading/publishing life. Amazon caters for most territories and has provided on-line retail sites within most countries. The title link will take readers to the .com (general use USA site). There are also Amazon.co.uk (UK); Amazon.fr (France); Amazon.de (Germany); etc. sites. Users simply need to search their own ‘national’ internet to locate the relevant Amazon site for them. Amazon provides books in ALL formats: Paperback; Hardback; Digital e-book; Audio; MP3.
As previously mentioned there are many more on-line retailers. The above list is simply intended to include the more well-known ones.
Bookstores with on-line options
Most readers will be aware of the demise of many bricks-and-mortar high street book shops. A very sad event. Nevertheless, there are a handful that have survived. Many, especially the longer established ones, accepting the need to remain competitive, also provide on-line purchasing options. The following are just a handful within the United Kingdom (UK). No doubt there are many such within the United States of America (USA) but the writer, being British based, has no knowledge of them. Within the restrictions outlined above, readers may add details within a comment.
Blackwells: All formats; hardback; paperback; digital e-book; audio.
Waterstones: All formats; hardback; paperback; digital e-book; audio.
WHSmith: All formats; hardback; paperback; digital e-book; audio.
There are some sites that enable users to read a book without purchasing it. These normally attract a monthly fee but for some, especially avid readers who are not concerned about actually owning the book, these may prove a more economical option. The following is one such. Again, readers may highlight others by adding a comment. Remember the restrictions outlined above please.
OverDrive: This is a reading service connected to local libraries rather than a book retailer. Users will need to download their app.
Hopefully book purchasers want authors to receive due recompense for their hard, time consuming, creative work. All the sites mentioned above either pay royalties direct to authors or through an intermediary distributor. For example, Smashwords distributes to multiple retailers (iBooks, Barnes & Nobel, Kobo, to name but some). When a book is sold through one of their sites the appropriate royalty payment is forwarded to Smashwords who then pay the author.
There are many on-line retailers which have come into their own in modern technologically orientated societies. It is estimated at least sixty percent (60%) of purchasing is now conducted on-line.
There is a degree of limitation in that many of the on-line book purchasing sites only provide for digital editions. Some also carry audio editions but most do not provide for physical editions. Of course, there are exceptions such as Amazon and the on-line sites of bookstores. Some think this will contribute to the demise of physical books all together however, that is a very debatable point.
Devise reading whether computer, tablet, e-reader or smartphone, does provide greater accessibility to books. Consequently, on-line purchasing is useful as books may be immediately downloaded; an asset in these ‘impatient’ days.
It should be noted, as most of these on-line retailers are based in the USA most pricing is in US$s.
As pointed out, the above is by no means an exhaustive list or resume of on-line retailers and readers are welcome to draw attention to others they know of. BUT, please remember the constraints.