One of the drawbacks about living in the antipodes is the ridiculous price of books here. Also, some books are simply not available, unless ordered at great extra expense, and shipping via Amazon is horribly expensive.
I've found a couple of excellent sites that provide good alternatives. One is Better World Books
, which is a charity promoting literacy around the world. They sell both new and used books, they ship worldwide for less than $US4
, and for free in the US, AND they do carbon offsets of any shipping they do.
Another is Book Depository
, which is a UK-based company (yay for UK English editions! - I've been gritting my teeth about buying hard-to-find Diana Wynne Jones books from Amazon, and now I won't have
to buy the Scholastic editions) that ships worldwide for free
. Neither of these organisations ship super-fast airmail, but who cares? It sometimes takes me two weeks to get things sent from Sydney, and I've received things sent surface mail from the US in less than a week.
Now, the extra-bonus search engine, from an Australian perspective - and I think for kiwis as well, since prices for shipping to Oz or NZ from the UK and the US are pretty similar - is a metasearch
, which accumulates both the list price and shipping price from a number of sites, including locally-based (including the Melbourne Uni bookshop?) and overseas. So, The Vorkosigan Companion
, which costs $AU48 from Collins Australia, and $36 including shipping from Amazon, can be ordered from Book Depository (ie. via the UK) for $30 bucks total. 20% off the Amazon price. I got Yes Means Yes
from Amazon last month for over 30 bucks, when I could have gotten it from Better World for under $27 (that one is particularly irritating - 10% off and
helping a worthy charity).
Even if you don't want to open accounts with a number of vendors, you can still use the booko search engine, and just select from the vendors you're happy to do business with. I've got BWB and BD accounts underway as we speak. Booko does DVD searches as well, and they have a listing for the Collector's Edition of When Night Is Falling
- gah, I only bought the original DVD (and I'm still not sure if the Region 4 copy I have was derived from the cut US version, or from the "unrated" Canadian one) a couple of years back - which has the Amazon price only $2 more expensive than the cheapest offering - hardly worth creating another account for that.