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What to Look For In a Good Online Bookstore

Chickie Maxwell

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An online book, or ebook, is a digital publication with the length of a traditional book. It may contain images as well as text and can be read with a computer or dedicated reading device. Customers typically purchase e-books through an online bookstore using an electronic method of purchase. The e-book is then downloaded to the customer’s reading device. The factors that are typically important to customers of online book stores include the store’s product selection, website, shipping, payment options and customer support.

Product Selection

A good online bookstore offers ebooks on a wide variety of topics. Traditional books may be sold as new or old, although this concept does not exist with e-books. Printed books are often available in e-book form, but some e-books have no printed equivalent. The best online bookstores also allow customers to sell e-books. Online bookstores also sell additional products such as e-book readers and traditional books.


The website of an online bookstore is essential to customer satisfaction, because this is generally the only way to purchase books on these sites. The search feature should be easy to use and allow you to browse books by category. The best online bookstores also have an advanced search feature that allows you to search for books on additional criteria such as author, price and date of publication. Some bookstores may have a wish list where you can ask for a specific e-book or an e-book about a particular topic. An online bookstore should also allow customer reviews, so you can post your opinion about a particular book.


Fast, low-cost shipping is also important to customers of online bookstores. These stores frequently offer free shipping when the order price is above a certain level. Online bookstores also provide a range of shipping options including ground, expedited and international shipping. They may offer shipping to aid local retail outlets, usually at a significantly lower cost than shipping to the customer's home. A good online bookstore should also allow you to track your order.
Payment Options

The payment options offered by online bookstores typically include credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover and Diners Club. Most online bookstores offer PayPal, and some also offer additional options such as bank account transfers and checks. The largest bookstores allow future billing or payment by phone. Gift cards are also a popular payment method with many online bookstores. Some stores issue coupons codes, which you can provide at the time of purchase to obtain a discount.

Customer Support

The degree of customer support that an online bookstore provides includes many specific services. These stores typically provide customer support by phone or e-mail, and they usually offer a FAQ on their website. Some of these stores are extensions of a retail outlet, which allows you to buy books in person. Online bookstores also offer a loyalty program that provides discounts to regular customers. A few online stores allow you to order books through an application on a mobile phone. The typical return window for an online bookstore is 30 Days. Some stores have a return window as short as two weeks and some offer a 60-day return policy.

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