Thrift Books is an online bookstore, yes, but it also stands out as an advocate for literacy and resourcefulness.

Founded in 2003, the company offers a library of seven million books. Primarily, they offer used books, but their inventory also includes audio CDs, cards, and maps. Even their used books expand beyond just paperbacks and hardcovers; on their site you can search from a long list of formats, including options like board books and spiral-bound books. They sell all of them for a great price.

Their motto? “Read more, spend less.” Since their start, they have salvaged millions of pounds of books yearly. Truly, they are passionate about their cause.

Based in Kirkland, Washington, this company strives to please the customer, but even more so, they strive to promote reading and make the most of every book. 

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The Good

  • Free shipping on orders over $10
  • Great return policy
  • Loyalty rewards program

Anything that makes a company stand out in a positive way serves as an advantage to that company. For Thrift Books, they have set themselves apart as being passionate about books-not just the new and shiny ones that adorn fancy bookshelves but also (and perhaps especially) older books that have been well loved. Ultimately, their work is about making these used books available for reading-for a great price. That's what they've done well.

In addition, this company has a few features that will give customers more confidence and satisfaction:

  • Shipping. Shipping with Thrift Books isn't bad at all. For any order that meets or exceeds $10, Thrift Books will ship it for free. They ship order to other countries as well, which makes their services even more convenient. While it would be nice if they offered free shipping altogether, a $10 order is a reasonable bar to set, particular because their book prices are low anyway.
  • Returns. Plainly put, the return policy with Thrift Books is awesome too. They allow customers 60 days to return an order they aren't satisfied with! Especially compared to competitors who leave you only two weeks or even a month to make a return, a two-month period is very convenient.
  • A customer loyalty program. As somewhat of a surprise, customer loyalty programs are not widely available with online bookstores. But Thrift Books definitely has one, and that's one aspect that sets them apart. Through their Reading Rewards program, customers earn $5 coupons for every $50 they purchase. In addition, you can sign up for the program for free, get a discount if you refer a friend, and enjoy a 20% off coupon for your birthday.Thrift Books has a lot going for it-they have passion, a good cause, and policies that are hard to beat. As a customer, it's nice to know that your purchases support a cause like theirs.

The Bad

  • No new books
  • No selling books back

While Thrift Books does many things right, they do have a few weaknesses. For the most part, these will be deal breakers for customers with disagreeing needs, not necessarily for the average customer:

  • Types of books. Thrift Books is an obvious candidate for used books, but they may not be the best resource for other types of books. For instance, if you prefer reading brand-new books, you won't find many of those here. Granted, their used books are sure to come in a variety of conditions, so it's not like their books are in bad shape by any means. But plenty of customers prefer to be the first and law owner of a book, and Thrift Books doesn't really cater to that customer base. In addition, you won't find a huge collection of ebooks here. Ebooks are becoming increasingly popular for many reasons, so if you're a customer who prefers them, you won't have much of a need for Thrift Books and their library.
  • No selling back books. In addition, Thrift Books isn't a place where you can sell back books. They salvage used books, yes, but they don't buy back used books. Surely you've heard of book companies who regularly rent out or sell books and then buy them back for a portion of the selling price when the user is finished. Thrift Books doesn't roll that way, so don't count on them to make any money off of your used books.As you can see, what Thrift Books lacks is only a negative for certain consumers. In summary, you won't have a need for their business if you prefer new books or ebooks, or are looking to sell your books. This company is an awesome resource for used books in almost any other format, but for these customers, the company just won't deliver.

The Bottom Line

If you're still on the fence about Thrift Books, you might be happy to know that they have customer reviews and editorial reviews on their company website. Especially in an online world, reviews can help make or break your decision to give someone your business, especially when it comes to beloved books! Aside from reviews, however, Thrift Books does provide several features that are helpful to customers and to the use we get out of books. For many readers, they would be a satisfactory option because of their extensive library, shipping and return policies, and especially their customer loyalty program. For customers whose needs don't match up with what Thrift Books offers, however, another company would be more useful.

Overall, this company has succeeded in targeting a great customer base, establishing policies that are flexible and convenient, and setting up a good cause for people to support. Between these features and their positive reputation, they are a great bookstore to give business to.

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User Reviews

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rosh2020

May 1st, 2020 Houston, TX DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I ordered a book. I never received any shipping tracking number. I got refund in my card after few days. I pinged them to see what's going on. They said they canceled my order because they thought it was suspected as fraud order. Then I checked the same book in their website and it showed out of stock. I think this book was never in stock. The fact that it showed out of stock right after they refunded means, either it was never in stock. This is so unprofessional. I hope this website is not a scam website just to steal our credit card information. Be careful guys. Even if this website is not a scam, then they are not professional. The show the books that are not in stock as available. So unprofessional and frustration.

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Eddie Rios

February 6th, 2020 Ogden, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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What a fantastic low cost bookseller in Thrift Books. Tons of diverse titles but the key is the low price scheme. Can't beat that anywhere! I'll keep buying so long as the price stays incredibly reasonable, which it seems to be everyday.

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LM

October 10th, 2019 Ambler, PA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I purchased a book from them through Barnes and Noble. The book was supposed to be a hard cover what came was a soft back uncorrected proof that said not for resale. I have complained to B&N and have disputed the charge which was $15 plus shipping. These books are mailed free to reviewers and are not for sale.

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Matt Benjamin

February 24th, 2019 Brainerd, MN DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I had an item that was routinely needed on Sundays, I ordered it from thriftbooks. After it was two weeks late, I emailed support to find out why I didn't have my item. Do to a stocking issue, they refunded me my payment weeks ago. They did not update my order on their page, they did not email me. I was waiting for something they had decided to never send. Customer service ignored me when I asked if I could get the 2day shipping free to make up for it. Now I still don't have an item that I need again tonight. They don't take care of their customers. Trusting them hurt my business, they are completely misleading. They also spam your email inbox with offers. The unsubscribe button doesn't work.

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Cookie

February 18th, 2019 Trenton, NJ DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I love to buy from Thtiftbook.com. I have not had a problem with shipping or tracking. I always receipted my purchases. They always seem to have what I want. I have been using Thrift books for about a year or two. I buy a book every two weeks, sometimes 3 or 4. Great selection!

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R. Meister

December 23rd, 2018 Paris, ME DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I ordered from thriftbooks.com on December 10th. A Christmas gift for one of my granddaughters. NEVER AGAIN!! The tracking number provided didn't show any thing day after day. It said usps was awaiting the package. I emailed thriftbooks 3 times. They kept insisting they mailed it on Dec. 13th and would take 4-8 days. A lie. Today, Dec 23rd and still no package but the tracking finally works and tells me it wasn't shipped until the 19th!! And it won't arrive until Dec. 27th. Thriftbooks held my order for 9 days before they shipped it!! Even today they are saying they shipped it on the 13th!! They can't even be honest! I only see this grand child one day a year and that is Christmas!! She won't be getting this gift. And she will be gone by the time it arrives! I will then have to pay to ship it to her! I am so pissed you can't even imagine. I will never order from them again nor will I ever suggest anyone else does. They have screwed up this 1 day out of the whole year that I get to see this grandchild!! They should give me back my money for lying and holding my order for 9 days before shipping and for me having to pay to ship them to her late!!

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Jdkdjdvdhn

December 10th, 2018 North Liberty, IA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I’ve gotten some orders from here and was satisfied. My last order never arrived and customer service told me that there was a mix-up because someone else had bought the book before me and that they had given me a refund. But no one bothered to tell me that this problem had occurred and that my order wasn’t coming! I complained that I should have been notified and they have stopped responding. They don’t seem very concerned with keeping customers happy or even notifying them about their orders.

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Anthony Marriott

April 16th, 2018 Davenport, WA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I have purchased numerous books from this company over the last year. They have helpful reviews and will often describe the book pretty well. I use the free shipping service. They repeatedly offer new books to my email.

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Sujay Ghosh

April 12th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Good quality of old books. Quick shipping. Great customer service.

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Landon Robison

April 11th, 2018 Layton, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I have used thrift books to get quite a few of my textbooks. Their prices were the lowest that I could find and they were pretty good quality. Their shipping wasn't the fastest, but overall pretty good.

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