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Books Unlimited
www.booksunlimited.co.uk
Books Unlimited is the work of the Guardian Newspaper group and as a result many of the articles and reviews are pulled from both The Guardian and The Observer. But don't hold this against the site; the book reviews are thoughtful and well written and there's a good selection of excellent background features and interviews with authors. The Pass Notes could prove handy if you don't fancy having to work your way through books such as Gormanghast, the top ten lists also make interesting reading. And if you're feeling suitably erudite you could contribute to the online chat areas which discuss a variety of authors.
Good Book Guide
www.good-book-guide.com
This online book magazine is a comprehensive and impressive guide to books and authors. The content includes interviews with top authors and the latest news on who's writing what and what books are expected out when. Every week a handful of books across different genres are selected as recommended reading and you can also search the archive of book reviews, some of which include online extracts from the books. The Author's Choice section of the site makes compulsive reading, here authors pick out their own favourite books and explain why they love them so much.
Atlantic Unbound
www.theatlantic.com/books
You'll find weighty and learned reviews of the latest books at Atlantic Unbound; the online version of the high-brow US arts magazine. So you'd better make sure you've read more than the latest Maeve Binchy and Jeffrey Archer novels if you plan to take part in any of the literary discussion forums on the site. You'll find interviews with authors, book excerpts and thought provoking features on the site, which covers poetry as well as books. Just don't expect to see a review of the latest Jackie Collins' blockbuster.
The New York Review of Books
www.nyrev.com
The complete 1963 first edition of this authoritative literary journal is now online, complete with the original illustrations and advertisements - make sure you visit that area of the New York Review of Books site. This journal treats books very seriously and has introduced lots of influential writers to an unsuspecting world. You can search the archive of book reviews, author interviews and features - the information stored there goes back to 1995.
Penguin Online
www.penguin.co.uk
You can't buy books online from the Penguin site but it's still well worth a visit to get more information on Penguin books and authors. Every author gets their own biography, along with an extract from their latest book. You should also peruse Penguin's online magazine, snappily titled read.me, which includes news on the latest Penguin titles, special offers and chooses a book and author of the month. And if you're so inspired by the website that you fancy working at Penguin just click on the Jobs button.
International Book Collectors' Association
www.rarebooks.org
This site is a treasure trove of information for anybody who collects books. You'll find all the resources you need to dig out those elusive rare tomes including links to literary search engines, a rare book classified ads section, a directory of rare book dealers and a guide to valuing your books. There are also plenty of useful background articles covering topics such as who are the most collectible authors and how to identify first editions. It's fascinating stuff and could be the start of a whole new hobby.
Barnes & Noble
www.barnesandnoble.com
Barnes & Noble is a huge bookstore in the US but it's yet to make it big in the UK. However its Web site is still well worth a visit. There's an enormous selection of books here including specialist books such as academic tomes and there's a special Out of Print section for those rare books. Barnes & Noble also sell a good selection of Collector's Editions and signed books.
Salon Books
www.salon.com/books
Salon's literature coverage is a prime example of something the Americans do extremely well: produce intelligent, insightful essay writing, without lapsing into the crusty tones of many of their British counterparts. The quality of the site speaks for itself, with its spacious layout and easily navigable menus. No complaints can be lodged where the content is concerned either. It is updated daily and approaches the literary from a variety of different angles: lengthy reviews that rarely outstay their welcome, in-depth interviews with authors both young and old, polemics and opinion pieces from columnists of the calibre of Camille Paglia, amongst others.
London Review of Books
www.lrb.co.uk
It's not just the US that takes the literary high ground - if you want the UK version of Atlantic Unbound or the New York Review of Books then check out the online version of the political/literary magazine the London Review of Books. The magazine was founded in 1979 and is published twice a month and it specialises in long essay-like articles from distinguished authors such as Alan Bennett. Many of these articles are available to read online along with an archive of book reviews and reader's letters.
Dusty Books
www.dustybooks.co.uk
If you just can't find the book you're after in the conventional online book stores and think it might be out of print then you should check out the range of second-hand books at the Dusty Books site. Dredge through the online catalogue or send off an email and ask them to dig out a specific book for you.
Dusty Books is a member of the International Book Dealers Association so you know you're dealing with a reputable company.
The Title Page
www.titlepage.com
If you're looking for something a little unusual in the book line then check out this site and you'll find lots of signed first editions for sale. The authors represented include big names such as Isabel Allende and Michael Crichton, and the site also boasts online interviews with many popular authors. The only drawback is that the site is based in the US and so prices are in dollars, however Title Page will ship to the UK. The condition of the books is well described so you know exactly what you're getting.
Waterstones
www.waterstones.co.uk
Somewhat surprisingly you'll find the prices are very competitive at Waterstones online store - some bestsellers were selling for half the RRP. This site looks great and has some nice touches - for example if you register and tell Waterstones what authors and type of books you like, they'll email out regular book recommendations to you. You can even create your own personal online library of the books you love or would like as gifts.
Alphabetstreet
www.alphabetstreet.co.uk
Not only does this site sell books but it also dabbles in CDs, DVDs and video games. The book prices are very competitive - you're looking at 50 per cent off the top ten list. Even better, delivery is free to any address in the UK. Books are reviewed by Alphabetstreet customers so you can check out the word on the street before you commit. An interesting feature of the site lets you match your mood to books; if you're feeling a bit weepy then Alphabetstreet will recommend a few good love stories or for the really depressed, a Shakespearian tragedy.
WH Smith Online
books.whsmithonline.co.uk
Unafraid of eating into its conventional sales WH Smith has gone straight in and whacked off up to 50 per cent on the RRP of some of the books it's selling online. As well as flogging books, you can also buy magazines, audio CDs, videos and computer games here. If you're not sure what you want to read then check out the Top Seller charts or the Read of the Week recommendation. Orders are sent out within 24-hours if the book is in stock.
BOL
www.uk.bol.com
BOL stocks a whopping 1.5 million titles and has new reading recommendations every day if you're a real bookworm. You can browse the huge collection by subject or if it's a gift you're after head straight for the Gift Ideas section. Each book is well described and BOL also gets some big name authors in for online interviews. Most books are dispatched within 24 or 48 hours and you typically save around 30 per cent off the retail price.

 

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www.abebooks.co.uk - Used and out-of-print
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The world's largest seller of second-hand books have opened a version of its site for U.K. readers. Abebooks.co.uk sells everything from a first edition of Ullysses by James Joyce, going for 18 to a four page pamphlet of morris dancing for just 2.85. The site also sells second-hand text and school books for students. The US version of the site adebooks.com stocks over 40 million books. The British version will offer books from U.K. dealers but shoppers will also have access to the U.S list of titles. At the site you can search  for specific titles, authors or publishers. You can also browse through sections or subjects you are interested in. This simple site, which is quick and easy to use, is a great place to find or replace your favourite book.
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