Ok, if you’re on this site then more than likely, like me, you love books. And like me, you’re always looking for the best deals. Here are a few tips on getting great deals on used theological books using Amazon’s Wish List and partner shopping carts.
Amazon Wish Lists: The Number of Books Matters
First, the key to finding the best prices is to create the most opportunities to score a great deal. Many of you probably already have an Amazon Wish List (or two!) with a few titles of books you really want. That’s great. But if you want to find the best deals, you need to add lots of books to your Wish Lists – hundreds. And it’s easy!
I typically have 2-300 books at any given time in my Wish Lists. In fact, right now I have 18 different Lists. Here are a few of my categories:
- Arminian Theology
- Reformed Theology / Calvinism
- New Testament Commentaries
- Old Testament Commentaries
- Evangelism & Missions
- Pastoral Leadership
- Spiritual Growth
- Church History
- Philosophy / Western Culture
- Marriage / Family
Strategy in a Nutshell
Create a manageable number of Wish Lists to categorize your books, add hundreds of titles to your Lists – every book you might want to read or have in your library. Then, every 2 weeks log into your account and skim through your Wish Lists looking for books with Used prices of $0.01 (there are usually lots of them at first!). You’ll be surprised how many people will sell a book for $0.01 to make a couple dollars on shipping (which at Amazon is only $3.99 when buying from an Amazon partner). Once you buy all of these you can begin “price shopping” – comparing the Amazon price to the Used price looking for the best deals. I literally have shelves of books that I’ve purchased over the last few years for less than $2.00 – some that retailed for as much as $30.
Buy Used Books in “Very Good” or Better Condition
Everybody loves the feel of a new book – the stiff spine and crisp pages, but did you realize that a used copy of a book has the exact same words in it as a new one (assuming it’s the same edition)! This was a revelation to me years ago as a poor Bible college student when I began buying used books. On Amazon, I always get them in “Very Good” (or better yet “Like New”) condition.
Check out this example below:
Search the Seller’s Storefront
This is probably the most overlooked aspect of shopping for used books on Amazon. I can’t tell you how many “extra” books I’ve found at great prices by drilling down to see what other books a particular seller has in their store. For example, if I find a great deal on a used Tyndale New Testament Commentary, I will click through to the Seller’s Amazon store and search for other Tyndale commentaries. Many times they are priced the same and I can snag those, too! This is easier if you’re looking for books in a series or books by a particular author.
Where to Find Good Book Lists
If you’re wondering, I developed my lists from several sources. Here are a few:
- RTS Recommended Reading List (Essential, Further & Advanced/Comparison)
- Denver Seminary Annotated Old Testament Bibliography and New Testament Exegesis Bibliography
You can also visit sites like WTSBooks.com, Monergism Books, Reformation Heritage Books, Banner of Truth, P & R Publishing, Ligonier Ministries, Grace & Truth Books, etc. and look at their categories and recommended / top picks.
Ok, there you go! I hope these tips are helpful. Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know what deals you’ve found. And if you have any other ideas on getting good books at great prices.