Thursday, July 07, 2005

Shopping for Chess Books Online

I am slowly going through our links pages and updating things. I'm currently working on the links for chess shopping at Here are two new ones that will soon be added:

Labate Chess
It appears that Edward Labate has the most extensive stocks of older and out-of-print titles, including most of the inventory of the former Chess Digest site. It would be worth a visit just to review his inventory. offers the most extensive listings of remaindered or overstock wholesale items, including chess books. If you generally buy new mass market titles at bookstores like Barnes & Noble or Borders, you will find this a great place to shop since you'll get what you want for $5-$10 off retail. This appears to be the best place online to buy recent titles that have been printed in large quantities. For example, a websearch on "The Chess Advantage in Black and White" by Larry Kaufman showed that they had the best non-used price available at $12.56 (a $6.39 savings over retail, and $5.39 better than USCF with Member Discount). However, I thought the discounts were not as significant as I had expected and it required a bit of searching through lots of mass-market junk by Eric Schiller to find something you'd want (though their search feature is quite good and could be used just to check pricing and availability on specific items that interest you). If you want to browse, try searching on "chess," or try "chess books" to avoid too many Chess-label classic jazz recordings. Most titles are directed at beginners (the best mass-market audience after all), but there are also highly specialized and older titles, including chess histories and opening books. So there is always the chance of finding buried treasure. The savings over Amazon was not huge, though it was significant and could add up if you are ordering several books. For example, I compared prices on "Rapid Chess Improvement" by Michael De La Maza at Overstock (11.33+1.40 shipping=12.73) and Amazon (11.53 and eligible for free shipping for orders over $25--though my experience with free shipping from Amazon is that it can take forever and a day to arrive). The $.20 savings might be eaten up on shipping differential (though you can save by ordering more than three items using Overstock's flat $2.95 shipping rate). Amazon also offers links to e-tailers who will sell you this particular book used for around $8 plus maybe $2 shipping and handling. I found similar pricing on other interesting items, where Overstock had the best prices for new books but was only beating Amazon by 3% or .20-.50 cents. In many cases, they will even share with you the price differential with Amazon at their site in a little box, so you have to admire them. I do not know how long they take to ship at their discount rate, but I assume it would not take as long as Amazon's free rate. So it looks like a good place to shop, and it comes recommended by Ziggy who says he shops there frequently for chess books.

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