The INSIDER Summary:
• Costco sells some books — especially box sets — at cheaper prices than Amazon.
• It even has some options that Amazon doesn’t carry.
• Amazon still has a better selection, but Costco is worth checking out.
Amazon built its retail empire by first selling books online. It became the biggest bookstore in the world, and now it’s known for its convenience and rock-bottom prices on everything from aardvark sauce to ZymaDerm.
But sometimes, Costco is better. Even for books.
For children’s books, especially, Costco has deals on box sets that are often better than Amazon’s. If you want to get a ten-book “hardy Boys” box set, it’s $29.99 at Costco but about $34 on Amazon. Eight Captain America books are $22 at Costco and more than $47 on Amazon. A 23-book Peter Rabbit set by Beatrix Potter is $30 at Costco but more than $36 on Amazon. And 11 Disney Princess books are $47 at Costco, but a nice $69 on Amazon.
And then there are some items, like a “Frozen”-themed set of 12 books, that Amazon doesn’t sell at all.
If you’re taking care of children and want to buy a lot of books for them, Costco is a great place to check first instead of automatically defaulting to Amazon as a bookstore.
There are some drawbacks, of course. Costco’s book selection is much, much smaller than Amazon’s.
And when it comes to Amazon, the way you buy books can be much better. You can pre-order a book on Amazon, for example, and it will give you the best possible price if the price fluctuates. Furthermore, if you don’t mind buying used books, the prices on Amazon can be substantially lower.
Shopping at Costco also isn’t as nice an experience as shopping at a normal bookstore. At Costco, the books are indifferently stacked like slabs of meat on a big table. Bookstores tend to lovingly arrange books on shelves for your perusal.
It’s also worth taking membership into account. To shop at Costco, it’s at least $55 per year for a membership. Amazon doesn’t cost anything to use, but if you want the perks of Amazon Prime (like free shipping), it’s $99 per year.
Still, all in all, if you have a Costco membership, you can save a lot of money by checking Costco for books before you shop at Amazon.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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