Its that time of year again - the old school year is gone and I'm slowly getting ready for the next one that starts for us in 42 days (not that I'm counting.) I tend to slowly get organized and stocked up over the summer just so I'm not bombarded all at once just before we start. This includes, but is not limited to, locating where I'm going to get a hold of all the books we'll be reading that aren't available through our library.
A while back I wrote this post that gave some sites for buying used books. It still holds. I hope you find it useful. Just for helpful purposes, here's a list of the sites where I do most of my book shopping.
Amazon.com - OK. Nothing exciting here. I'll just add that I did venture into buying a used book off of Amazon a while back. The book I got was not in the condition I expected. In that instance I contacted the seller through Amazon and politely explained my situation (I had paid for a "like new" book but what I got contained highlighting on many pages which was not up to par with their own description of "like new.") I asked for the situation to be rectified and it was to my satisfaction. So, just know that there is a risk when buying used books, but going through vendors like Amazon can help protect you if you are worried about that sort of thing.
Half.com - This is an Ebay offshoot with the difference being that there are no auctions. You simply look up what you want to buy and who's offering it and choose. Be careful that you take note of shipping costs and the rating of the seller. I have found many of our books here with quite a few purchased for under $3.
Better World Books - Buy used. Free shipping always to anywhere. Great prices. I have used BWB several times without any problems.
Homeschool Library Builder - New and used books at some decent prices.
Alibris - New and used books, movies, audio books, music. I have purchased books from Alibris several times and have no complaints.
Powell's - This store is located in Oregon. I have not used them myself, but the person who recommended this store to me was a very happy customer. They have a large selection of new and used books. With an order of $50 or more you can get free shipping or pay $3.99 flat rate shipping for any other order (doesn't include DVD's). See the site for more details.
Thriftbooks.com - Through my orders with Half.com, I ended up with some books with a packaging that had this website on it. So, I looked them up. I don't have personal experience with this site, though it does look promising. It's set up much the way Half.com is. They have some discounts such as getting 15% off for telling a friend, free shipping on all U.S. orders, and $0.50 discount per item that ships from the same location when you order multiple items. Prices start at $2.99. Be sure to check the "Deals" tab and any current promotions. Hint: When you click on the link "About Us" they list a number of vendors they work with. These vendors are worth looking up if you want more options for used books.
When I just can't find what I'm looking for used, I do look at buying new. Here are where I've purchased from and been happy (other than at the above)
Christian Book Distributors - Large selection and decent prices. Also, the one time I had to call about an order that was damaged in delivery, the person I talked with was very friendly and helpful.
Good Steward Books - I find this vendor at the homeschool conventions and always find myself happy with their large selection. Prices are decent. Domestic orders over $25 receive free shipping. See the site for more details.
Schoolhouse Publishing - I also find this vendor at the homeschool convention and find that they carry many of the books my curriculum calls for. Its a family run business. I like that their catalog contains lots of good descriptions of their products - because they've tried them! Be sure to look on the "Promotions" tab for discounts. Free shipping for orders of $100 or more and there is a code for 5% off your first order. Prices are very reasonable.
Rainbow Resource - Who in the homeschool world doesn't know about Rainbow Resource?! (BTW, if you haven't, just be warned that if you ask for a print catalog, its the size of a telephone book for a very large metropolitan area. Get your highlighter ready!) Free shipping for orders of $50 or more (with some restrictions). I have ordered from RR in the past and have no complaints.
Barnes and Noble - Honestly, B&N is my last resort bookstore. The prices are more expensive than my other options. However, with a teacher discount card I can get 20% off educational related items (does not include music or movies...or the café :( If I need to order online (extremely rare for me since there are a few stores in my area) there is a free shipping offer for orders over $25. See the site for details. If you shop with B&N often, you can get a membership which gives you a deeper discount on items and free shipping. Again, see the site for more info.
As always, if you order from any site, be sure to know their return policies up front. My listing of the above sites is in no way to be taken as an endorsement, guarantee, or any other promise of service that will be between you and the vendor. My experiences with the companies I listed, when applicable, has all been positive though that will not guarantee you the same. Though I hope it is.