Amazon Bookstore


Overall Score

9 User Reviews

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This online shopping powerhouse has staked its claim on a large portion of the book market for a reason: our review research found Amazon to offer the largest selection of books, combined with the lowest prices, of all the online bookstores we reviewed.

The Good

  • Large selection
  • Low prices
  • Great features

Amazon shows a running tally of how many items it has available for purchase in each category. On the day we checked its selection, Amazon had over 22 million new books, over 24 million used books and over 1 million collectible books - numbers that far surpass any other online bookstore we reviewed. As part of our review process, we also compared ten New York Times bestselling-books in print, ebook, and audio formats, and Amazon was the only site to carry each book in every format (Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million tied for a very close second in this category). To really top it off, Amazon's prices were consistently the lowest, just barely beating out Barnes & Noble for bragging rights once again.

Besides the low prices, purchasing a $99.00 Amazon Prime membership can also save you money. It's most cost-effective for families, because up to four family members in the same household can share the membership for no additional fees. Amongst other benefits, the membership offers free two-day shipping, monthly borrowing from the Kindle Owners Lending Library and free monthly ebook downloads through Kindle First.

Amazon offers all the features you would expect from an online bookstore, including basic search, advanced search, browse by category, both editorial and user reviews and the option to save wishlist items for later reference. In addition, Amazon offers more support options than any of the other online bookstores we reviewed: you can browse frequently-asked questions, chat with a support representative online, email a query or submit your phone number and wait for a call back.

We were pleased to learn that Amazon invests in both sustainable and community-based charitable causes. For example, Amazon has donated Kindle devices and ebooks to elementary schools, funded several disaster relief campaigns and supported children's organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs, Little League, Toys for Tots, Girls Inc. and Make-a-Wish Foundation. Amazon also ships most of its orders in environmentally-friendly packaging, implements energy-efficient distribution and shipping practices, and operates out of a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-certified headquarters in Seattle. LEED certifications are awarded by the US Green Building Council in recognition of buildings that "save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy."

The Bad

  • Converting files
  • No PayPal option
  • Legal issues

If you opt to become a loyal ebook buyer on Amazon, you'll want to use one of Amazon's Kindle ereader devices. You can read KF8, MOBI and AZW ebook file formats on a Kindle, but if you want to read other formats, like an ePub, you'll need to either convert the file or download a different reader app onto your Kindle. This means you'll spend extra time converting files or end up with separate libraries to toggle between, either of which will make your reading experience a little less efficient and convenient.

We did notice that Amazon doesn't accept PayPal as a form of purchase. PayPal is one of the most common forms of online payment these days and Amazon's failure to offer it as an option seems like a silly oversight - except that PayPal happens to be owned by eBay, which is a major competitor of Amazon's (well played, Amazon). However, Amazon does accept all major credit cards, and even some of the less-popular credit cards, so you'll still have plenty of ways to pay.

Amazon has also gotten into some legal trouble over its business practices. In 2013, Amazon paid a penalty of $455,000 to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for an injunction that was filed alleging that Amazon violated the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act. Specifically, the FTC cited Amazon for advertising products as "100% organic bamboo," "100% bamboo knit" or other similar claims while simultaneously advertising that the products did in fact contain other fiber content.

In July 2014, the FTC filed another injunction against Amazon, this time alleging that millions of dollars in unauthorized charges incurred by children were billed to account holders anyway. This is in violation of an FTC Act stating that a "business' practices are unfair if they cause substantial injury to consumers that consumers themselves cannot reasonably avoid." The main issue in question is Amazon's games and apps, which often encourage the purchasing of virtual items by billing a user's account - however, there are no password requirements or other protections in place to keep users' children from approving charges without parental consent. If Amazon is found guilty, it will have to refund several million dollars obtained from in-game and in-app purchases, as well as put protections in place to prevent billing to any user's account without consent.

The Bottom Line

Amazon is a wise choice for any bookworm. Whether you're looking for new, used, ebooks, audio or even collectible, Amazon's selection and prices are attractive. Furthermore, Amazon's Kindle devices continue to remain a favorite among ebook readers.

Amazon's commitment to improving communities and the environment also helped its rating. Socially- and environmentally-conscious consumers can feel good about shopping with Amazon.

One final note: we will keep tabs on the current FTC investigation regarding Amazon's unauthorized in-game and in-app purchases, and will update our review to reflect the outcome once the case has been settled.

User Reviews


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  • 10

    November 10th, 2017 DETAILS

    Value for your money
    Quality of product or service
    Customer Service
    Company trustworthiness

    Can't say enough good things about Amazon's selection of books and the value you get on shipping. Most always it is absolutely free!

  • 10

    November 6th, 2017 Sandy, UT DETAILS

    Value for your money
    Quality of product or service
    Customer Service
    Company trustworthiness

    I enjoy the seamless system Amazon has set up to purchase ebooks. I love my Kindle, and it's easy to get books on there or on a computer or phone. They have a great selection and sometimes I find books for free (like the entire Harry Potter series).

  • 7

    June 12th, 2017

    We've purchased a lot of books through Amazon, many of them textbooks for college-aged students. Prices are generally the lowest available for the quality we seek. Prime shipping and free returns for textbook rentals are a plus. We've only had one problem with delivery, and I would have to give them a low score for customer service for that particular interaction, but customer service has generally been good.

  • 7

    June 9th, 2017

    I have had a lot of issues with items never delivered, or items lost or not delivered on time. The products are great, but that doesn't matter much if the items never arrive.

  • 8

    June 8th, 2017 Mona, UT

    I can almost always find the book I'm looking for on Amazon and their prices are almost always better than stores. I also find the book reviews helpful.

  • 10

    May 31st, 2017 Draper, UT

    I used to buy all of my textbooks used through Amazon's Bookstore when I was in college and it was awesome! I never had any issues with the quality of the used books that I purchased. I saved a lot of money by doing this rather than purchasing new books from the bookstore at my university, and it was much easier to resell my books through Amazon Bookstore after I finished the class.

  • 10

    May 27th, 2017

    I love amazon bookstore, I mainly use it for my textbooks I need for college. They usually have the best price that I can find and in the best quality as well. As long as you read the description of their products you will know what you are getting.

  • 6

    November 25th, 2016

    Amazon isn't like B&N or other big box bookstores. It's like eBay or Etsy. Therefore, there is no guarantee on anything you are getting. Returns are OK, shipping is usually eh, but you could be dealing with pretty sneaky people. Just don't trust it 100%.

  • 1

    November 7th, 2016

    Recently had very bad experience whereby order tracking was showing on time delivery at Amazon website but suddenly on the day of delivery(about 8 days after placing the order) a refund was issued. Looks like article was not even sent to I-parcel as it was not showing any tracking details.