BUYING BOOKS ON THE INTERNET
Buying Books Online
We have fully described the issues involved in buying books on the internet. The benefits of buying direct from a professional bookseller are made clear, together with helpful hints to make the whole experience satisfying.
The internet is a wonderful resource for buying books, especially if you know which book you are looking for. It is possible to search for an author, a title, or even part of a title. That book you have been looking for might be just a few clicks away!
Choosing a site
When choosing a site to buy from, one important factor may be easy contact with the bookseller. This enables you to ask questions directly, and gives you the confidence of knowing that you are dealing with a real, traceable person.
There are many multinational bookselling sites; some of them are household names. Some sites make it difficult to contact the bookseller.
You might not know the precise details of the book you seek, and of course computer databases do need accuracy, so an enquiry to an experienced bookseller will often provide the information you need. We are often asked questions like; “I am looking for a brown covered book for children about biology, published in the 1950s”, or “Can you check and see if there is a picture of a particular hotel in a travel guide”. Professional booksellers can answer these questions with the help of colleagues worldwide.
I recommend; ukbookworld.com and antiqbook.com and biblio.com and.ibooknet.co.uk. These sites show the stock of hundreds of booksellers, amounting to millions of books.
The stock of our business brown-studies-books.co.uk is also listed on these sites.
Individual booksellers like us also have their own sites from which they sell only the books they own. Lots of book buyers have favourite booksellers online. Individual booksellers are often specialists in a subject field and their sites reflect that speciality with lots of written material that can be very helpful to the book buyer and collector and student. We have our original written material in our own site brown-studies.co.uk which also has links to other sources of information. At brown-studies-books.co.uk we are very happy to include gift cards and messages with books to be sent as a gift or whatever.
Cant find the book you want?
If the book you want is not to be found on either of these sites, try asking a bookseller to find it for you.
At brown-studies-books.co.uk, our own site, you can fill in a form describing your wants and we will act as your personal shopper. We will let you know when we find the book and invite you to buy it.
Choosing a book
As estate agents say ‘location, location, location’, book sellers say ‘condition, condition, condition’. There are sometimes hundreds of copies of the same title; from poor condition paperbacks to beautiful leather bound first editions.
Whatever site you shop in, you can reduce the risk of disappointment by following a few simple rules.
Avoid poor descriptions. If the description is poor or non-existent, move-on. Among professional booksellers there is a description code, this is laid out below. A minimum description would be for example; VG hardback G dj.
Avoid sellers who make grand claims about how good they are.
Ignore sellers who indicate that the book is shipped from somewhere else -
they don't have the book, and may not be able to get one when you order.
Expect a speedy reply. Booksellers should reply within 24 -36 hours except at weekends.
Postage and Packing
Some sites have a set postage rate. This is usually for a weight of about 1 Kg (2.2 lbs.) If the book is heavier you may be asked to pay extra. Packing costs are usually included in the total cost of the purchase.
If you need the book quickly, or insured, please ask the bookseller. As a general rule in the UK there is not much to choose between first and second class post, but when buying from abroad airmail is definitely the most reliable service.
If normal precautions are taken, there is no more risk in using your credit card on the internet than anywhere else.
It is safe to leave your card details on a secure site - you will be told when this is the case; look out for the padlock symbol and the letters https at the beginning of the url. If you wish to deal directly with the bookseller you can be confident in doing so - all sellers who take credit cards are subject to high security requirements by the banks.
If buying from a seller in this country, you can if you prefer pay by cheque. You can also telephone or fax your card details, or send them by e-mail. The safe way of doing this is to split the details between two or more e-mails. Paypal.com is also a popular and secure means of sending money online.
M - mint
As new. The book will be in the state one would expect to find on the shelf of a bookshop selling new books.
F - fine
Almost as new. No major blemishes but the book has signs of being previously owned. The page edges will be clean, the contents sound, no major faults and any minor faults will be specified.
VG - very good
Showing signs of previous ownership. Corners may be a little bumped and/or the cloth rubbed, page edges may be dusty or browned, there may some writing on the flyleaf (ffep) and in the case of the dustwrapper, rubbing, clipping of price from the flap, short edge tears and/or minor chipping. Too many of these faults will take the book into the next category.
G - good
Showing major signs of previous ownership. Likely to have bumped corners and/or spine ends, marked page edges and bear signs of reading on a number of previous occasions with ownership label/inscription etc. Dustwrapper probably well rubbed, some tears and/or chipping, overall soiling, etc. Again, too many of these faults will take the book into the next category.
P - poor, or reading copy only
This is a reading or reference copy only. The text will be complete but illustrations may be missing and the cloth may be very worn marked and/or torn. It is probable that only the major faults will be mentioned as the minor ones will be too numerous. The book may even be disbound but if so this will be specifically mentioned. Any dustwrapper, if present, is likely to be in pieces or with major portions missing.
Help is at Hand
If you have any questions about book buying online, we will be happy to help. After all, it is our business! Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org