Biblio features a whopping 85 million books, which includes a large selection of rare and collectible books in addition to its less expensive “regular” titles. Of the ten New York Times bestselling-books we used for comparison, Biblio had seven of the titles in stock – though this may be due to the fact that some of the books are more recent releases and Biblio specializes in used books. Biblio also has a full selection of gift items including t-shirts, novelty games, literary-themed items and posters.
Browsing Biblio is hassle-free. The search results are quick and accurate, the pages are laid out in easy-to-read formats and there are helpful links throughout the site. We particularly like the user tools that are featured while viewing a specific title – in addition to tabs that list the book details, terms of sale and user reviews, there are also links to ask a question about the item, email the bookseller or calculate shipping costs. This is convenient and saves the time of having to click away to another page or search for Help prompts.
Another great feature is Biblio’s Want List. If you set up a free account, you can create a list of books you’d like to purchase and Biblio will notify you when those books are added to its stock. Again, this is convenient for the customer – you won’t have to waste any time checking back to see if the book is available.
If you’re looking to lighten your library, Biblio also offers the option to sell back your books. You’ll need to have about 200 ready to sell, but the setup process seems simple and Biblio’s commission structure is in line with many of the other online bookstores that offer resale programs.
Biblio is the only online bookstore we reviewed that offers an In-Stock Guarantee. If you have a Biblio account (which is free to set up) and your order is cancelled due to the item being out of stock or unavailable, Biblio will grant you a coupon for 20% off your next purchase – although there is a maximum discount limit of $25.00. This is a customer-friendly gesture and no doubt helps users to feel more secure about ordering through Biblio’s third-party vendors.
In addition to its large selection and customer-friendly features, Biblio also promotes environmental responsibility – Biblio offsets its carbon footprint by donating a portion of its profits to alternative energy projects. In 2005, Biblio founded a charitable organization called BiblioWorks, which promotes literacy and education in impoverished communities. BiblioWorks has built six libraries in Bolivian communities, as well as participated in book drives and tutoring programs.
Biblio advertises a “30 Day Return Guarantee,” however the fine print below this clearly lists that some of its third-party vendors may not adhere to the same policy depending on the reason for return. If your book arrives damaged or is not in the condition you expected it to be, you will be able to take advantage of the 30-day policy – but if you try to return a book because you ordered the wrong one or changed your mind, the third-party bookseller may or may not agree to a refund. While this is a fairly standard return policy in comparison to the other online bookstores we reviewed, many users may not read the fine print and be disappointed when they try to return a book later on.
We also found Biblio’s annual membership program, the Bibliophiles Club, to be a little lacking. Although the $19.95 annual fee is reasonable, there is a limit to how much you can save. The membership offers 10% off purchases but limits the savings to $25.00. If you place a large order, you may not receive the discount benefits on the full purchase. The other membership programs we came across during our review process didn’t place limits on the savings.
If you prefer ebooks or audio books, you won’t find them on Biblio – its selection is limited to print.
Biblio has a D- rating with the Better Business Bureau, but this is due to failure to respond to one of only two complaints filed in the past two years. This is a very low volume of complaints, so we don’t see this as a cause for concern.