The other day I decided it was time to splurge, in a small way, on some used books - mainly to fill holes in series that I was reading. I believe the catalyst was a $10.00 coupon from good old Abebooks. So I went to Abebooks and searched for about 20 titles. And in 14 cases, at least one of the cheapest copies ($1.00 on the average) came from a seller called Thrift Books, based in Auburn, Washington. So I decided maybe I would save a little on shipping & handling by ordering those 14 books, all from Thriftbooks.
Well, I have found out a few things since then.
First, Thrift Books will charge less for shipping on multiple orders - but only if you order directly from their website. If you order from them via Abebooks or the like, you're stuck with the $3.95 shipping charge for each and every book, even if 10 of them are shipping together from the Auburn site. (Of the other 4 books I ordered, 3 are coming from Portland and 1 from Detroit.) So, obviously, you're better off ordering directly from Thrift Books!
Second, Thrift Books does not publicize their phone number, and it takes a couple days for them to get back to questions that you email to them. So if you want to talk to a customer service rep and get your concerns cleared up toot sweet, you'll be glad you read this blog. Because I learned (from another blogger, don't you know) that (253) 275-2241 is the number to call.
Third, Thrift Books has an ENORMOUS inventory of books. They had copies of almost everything I was looking for, sometimes multiple copies. It seems like you can get just about anything from them, fast and cheap. Judging by how many times they came up at the top of the list of search results at Abebooks, I may skip the Abebooks step next time and simply start with a search of the Thrift Books site.
If they don't have it, then I may try Google Books as a fallback. Google Books will not only locate titles and authors that are hard to find anywhere else, they will also take you to whoever sells them - Amazon, Abebooks, etc.