Books-a-Million was founded in 1917 and began selling books online in 1998. It's one of the few remaining major US booksellers that still has brick-and-mortar locations.  

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The Good

  • Large selection
  • Great features
  • Membership program

In comparing the availability of ten New York Times bestselling-books across the online bookstores we reviewed, Books-a-Million tied with Barnes & Noble for our #2 spot. In addition to print, ebooks and audio books, Books-a-Million also offers magazines, gift items, toys and NOOK ereader devices. We did, however, find Books-a-Million's pricing to be inconsistent: some of its titles were the highest we saw, and others were the lowest.

Books-a-Million's site is easy-to-read and lists helpful plot synopses, editorial reviews and details about each title it carries. It also includes some helpful user features, like the ability to email their Personal Shopper service for help selecting books for those hard-to-shop-for loved ones - just send a little information about their likes and hobbies, as well as how much you'd like to spend, and a Books-a-Million staffer will get back to you with a few suggestions. There is also an option to include free video messages with books sent as gifts.

Again rivaling Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million's membership program offers excellent benefits. Called the Millionaire's Club, the program entitles members to free shipping on certain items, 40% off Books-a-Million's current hardcover bestsellers, 20% off designated hardcover titles, 10% off other select titles and advance notice of in-store sales. It costs just $25 annually to join the Millionaire's Club.

Books-a-Million also supports the US Armed Forces and their families through its Books for Troops program. This includes sending books to active service members stationed overseas or in military hospitals, as well as to veterans and children of service members. You can choose which books you'd like to be donated to a service member, veteran or child - then Books-a-Million will ship them to the appropriate parties. Books-a-Million covers the shipping costs but you will have to pay for the books, though some of them are discounted.

The Bad

  • Cannot locate book in a store
  • Search function

An obvious oversight of Books-a-Million's site is the inability to easily locate a book in-store. Books-a-Million has 250 stores in 31 US states, and it would be very helpful to users if Books-a-Million included an option to find the nearest store that carries the title they're looking for. However, the only way to check in-store inventory is to call, which is much more time-consuming.

Books-a-Million's search functionality is also fairly inconvenient. The search results are accurate and easy to read, yes, but you'll need to do separate searches for print or ebook versions of the same title. Most of the sites we reviewed will pull up all versions of a title that they carry, which is much more appealing than having to search multiple times if you'd be willing to purchase a book in either print or audio, for example. If you're like some of our reviewers who switch between reading print, ebook and audio, you may find searching titles on Books-a-Million to be a bit of a hassle. In addition, you're limited to refining searches - there is no Advanced Search feature.

The Bottom Line

Books-a-Million is okay. The functionality of its site could be better, but the selection is extensive and the membership benefits are excellent.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

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4 Reviews

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Shannon

August 29th, 2019 Signal Mountain, TN DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I love browsing through Books A Million stores. I find the staff very friendly and helpful and they always have a wide selection of titles. Also the membership has great perks along with sales!!

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Peter James Lee Ching

October 26th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Most inept bunch. They cannot sell outside the US. Despite this you can sign up to their spam. They spam me everyday but I cannot even purchase anything. Useless and lazy. I sent at least 15 emails over past free days and no one has responded to any of them. The ineptperson assisting me initially said they need the address to ship ebooks.... Now, really. Are you so dense that you do not know the difference between a physical product and a digital one? Why are they spamming Non-US citizens if they are not legally allowed to sell to us? Why must I waste my time setting up an account if I cannot order? Why must I be prepared to spend $400+ but you cannot even sell to me> Utter waste of time. Inept and lazy staff. Dishonest advertising and spam. Reason of review: Return, Exchange or Cancellation Policy. Preferred solution: Stop lying to the world and wasting people's time. How can you sell ebooks but can't sell them outside US. Why can you spam me EVERY SINGLE DAY but I am not allowed to even buy ebooks. YOU DO NOT POST EBOOKS. State on your website that non-US not welcome. I didn't like: Service, Poor shipping procecures, Shipping - lack thereof - and customer service.

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Melinda Dickens

September 20th, 2016 Asheville, NC

BAM renewed my book club membership for $25 without my authorization. They're refunding the charge, but I have to wait 1-3 days for the refund money to hit my bank account. Why is that? They certainly leapt to remove the money -- why is there a delay in getting it back to me? In the interim I'll get an overdraft since payday isn't until Wednesday and funds were very low. Thanks for nothing, BAM. The book club membership was a total waste of money, and now your corporate greed and trick to bilk customers will cost me another $35 at the bank. I will never shop here again.

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Connie

July 14th, 2015 Little Rock, AR

I drive to the next town to go to Books a Million because they have a larger more varied selection of SF. Also I find the store more relaxed and friendlier. Today I was disappointed in the selection of SF. I have read most of the long running authors and look forward to a selection of books that doesn't look like a Barns and Nobel store. I will return another day and hope that this was not a fluke and not a new trend to Imitate the big boring "other" store.

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