Online and traditional bookstores have been battling it out for years, with the traditional bookstore always coming out on top. There are many benefits to choosing to buy a book online as opposed to purchasing it in your local area or at a retail outlet. One of those benefits is the convenience factor. However, with so many choices online it’s easy to become confused as to which site you should choose to buy from.

So which is better? Which is better for the author? The reader? It depends. Many people like to see the covers of books, especially if it’s something they already know about, but some online booksellers refuse to display pictures on their sites unless the images have been altered. This means that if you want your favorite book, but the cover has been changed (either by yourself or someone else), you won’t be able to buy it there.


Convenience is definitely one of the benefits of shopping online. There are no longer any long lines at the local book store to wait in. The customer can simply do her or his shopping at home, at work, or while on the go. Even the traditional bookstore has benefited from online convenience. No longer do bookworms need to line up for a seat at the book section of the local newsstand!

You can buy and browse through books in your own home whenever you want. Traditional bookstores have a limited amount of space, meaning that it’s more difficult to choose where to buy a particular book. However, if you need or want to buy a particular title now, you probably won’t have time to go to a brick-and-mortar bookstore to buy it. Either you have to wait until it comes out in print, or drive to the store yourself.

Strict policies

On the other hand, there are many disadvantages to buying a book online. For example, traditional booksellers often have strict policies about the books they will sell and will turn down books even with a good cover or inside information simply because they don’t fall into their criteria. This can be a huge problem if the reader is looking for a certain genre of book but doesn’t necessarily fall under the bookseller’s guidelines.


Another problem is that online booksellers often do not carry all books. If an author is famous and sells hundreds of thousands of books, traditional bookstores may not even be able to stock them. But the internet can! That is a great disadvantage for authors who want to sell their books but would love the exposure that an online bookstore provides. It’s also a hindrance for readers who want to be able to find their favorites when they are done reading.


An additional advantage to online bookselling is the quality of the products sold there. If you go to a traditional bookstore to buy a book, you can often look through the jacket to get an idea of the content of the book. Sometimes this can be helpful, but usually, the jacket is simply an advertisement for the author or publishing house. However, with online retailers, you can actually look at the covers of books before purchasing them. This allows you to know whether or not the book is worth the money, and you can then decide whether or not to purchase it online.

So which is better: buying a book at a brick-and-mortar bookstore, or purchasing a book online?

In many ways, purchasing a book online beats going to one. But which one? That’s a trickier question. In general, the online purchase of books is more convenient and more affordable.