This is a sponsored review. Not paid, but otherwise sponsored. It still doesn’t mean I’m prodded to praise.
Being one of those people who pretty much devours books, when I heard of BooksPrice.com, I was immediately interested. I’m always teetering between taking a risk and buying an “unproven” book (read: a book written by an author I haven’t previously read) and leaving it on the shelf, except if they’re marked down or otherwise inexpensive enough to gamble on. (I have a couple of used books I bought on my long reading list, hehe.) Also, living all the way here in the Philippines, I have to admit it can be a challenge to find the books that I want. It can take me anywhere up to a few years to complete a series, for example.
BooksPrice.com apparently gathers all prices of a certain book from different online shops and stores and finds you the most inexpensive one. I have to admit I was a little dubious at first at how best it could serve my needs, but I was pleasantly surprised — the price they give you can even include shipping options and even to your designated location (for me, I had to use the mostly catch-all “Asia”). You can even opt for used books. You can also put your selected books in a “cart” and have the system later on give you prices for buying everything from multiple stores, or everything from a single store. I was somewhat disappointed to find out you couldn’t customize a cartload of books’ shipping options when buying from multiple stores, so basically when it tells you that buying four books from multiple stores will cost you only $28, remember that it’s probably only shipping within the US. (Not a problem if you live there, of course.) The ability to also “import” an Amazon wishlist and have it compare prices for everything on a given wishlist can prove to be quite spiffy, although don’t expect to have it automatically enter your receiver’s shipping information when you go buy the book.
I put the site to the test — I have this edition of the Stephen King’s The Dark Tower that I keep holding out for. I’ve only ever seen this edition on Amazon.co.uk — I tried looking for it using BooksPrice.com. Initial searching for “Dark Tower” only shows hardback, paperback, and audio CD — no different editions of the same type of printing. Nope, no dice. I went and got the ISBN, plugged it in the search, and finally got one! Not bad. It’s listed in quite a few other sites. *plots to buy!* Nevertheless, I think it would have been better if BooksPrice.com was able to cough out different editions of one book — not a big deal, but if we’re looking for some new feature to add, this would be it (in addition to the above shipping-to-not-US-locations).
The look has an AJAX-y sort of feel to it for some key areas, like adding to your multiple-comparison cart, searching, etc. Spiffy, but I think it could have been spiffy-er if the actual look of the website is as spiffy as the AJAX-y stuff it has. Some images feel too blurred and a bit random. And it’s only for 1024×768 screen resolutions — resizing to 800×600 creates horizontal scrollbars, and any wider/bigger leaves white space and headers/footers abruptly ending. The colors are good and easy on the eyes, however, and the text is easy to read.
I was mildly surprised with the lack of a “members” area, and while this isn’t such a big issue, it would be nice to be able to store your searches individually without relying on the multiple-item cart. But like I said, I think this isn’t by any means critical to the website — you just usually expect that sort of feature usually, that’s all.
That said, would I use this website? That depends. As a rule I don’t go for online shopping all that much, mostly because of the horrendous shipping fees I’d have to pay. But for stuff I’m looking for where editions are important (I’m sorry, I want my series to be in just one edition!) and they’re pretty much impossible to get here? I think I’m going to get that Dark Tower book with the help of this website right here.
Check this service out, especially if you like getting your books from the mail.