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The question is this - is it correct to say something like "I'm planning to sell my books via the Internet". I mean I know it is better to use other preposition but I'd still like to know - is it correct to use precisely this word? The basic meaning is that Internet will be used as the main channel - the tool - for doing something.

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    Yes, you are correct, we (east coast American English speakers) usually just say, "I'm planning to sell my books online," but you are also correct in saying "via the Internet" is not ungrammatical. Apr 18, 2017 at 10:10
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    Thank you, sir! This is a popular question here since it comes from the differencies in the way we think and build our sentences. Just wanted to make sure one more time)
    – V. Rogov
    Apr 18, 2017 at 10:13

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A search of the Corpus of Global Web-Based English suggests that the most common preposition in sell [noun] [prep] the Internet is on, as in sell my books on the Internet, though over the Internet and via the Internet are also common.

Both on and via have senses for by means of; the Internet is the tool or method you are using to sell. On the other hand, sell my books through the Internet and sell my books by the Internet are much less popular, even though through and by can also share this meaning.

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  • There's a difference between using the internet to do the entire selling process (attract customers, agree sale, take payments), and using it for part of the selling process (e.g. attract customers but complete transaction in person; or convert real-world customers to complete the transaction online). I suspect different prepositions would work in different cases. "Selling on the internet" suggests everything is done online, while "selling via the internet" suggests the internet is used for part of the process.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 26, 2022 at 12:36

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