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Why Buy used Books?

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Here are extracts taken from book collectors on the subject "why buy used books?"

Find out-of-print books and lost knowledge

Secondhand and used book shops are a treasure chest of rare and out of print books. If you have recently found a new author only to find out that his/her books are not being published anymore, it can come as a disappointment. If you are truly passionate about reading the book, however, you can always start searching the internet and your local used book stores and come out happy. In some cases the pages may be a little frayed and the cover may not look like new, but at least you can still find the treasure of the words written inside. (Anyway a good website will always have an accurate condition report for all it’s books, and a return policy to safeguard against disappointment)

The same can also be said for first editions. You may posses all the works by your favorite author, but still have the desire to own the book in it's original format. Finding a copy of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ with it's original cover can make you feel even closer to J.D. Salinger than reading your own dog-eared copy for the millionth time. First editions will find their own place of admiration on your book shelf, and more often than not, the only way to get them is through a used book dealer. It’s important to build a good relationship with your local dealer, so if a book is not in stock, they will always keep an eye out for you whilst doing their rounds.

One final advantage of a used book store is that someone cared enough about the book to keep it out of the rubbish bin. Not everyone reads books over and over again, and countless books make landfill fodder every year. As book shelving becomes more limited, often only the best books survive the annual cull. Keeping a book out there for circulation is a gift to the author and the new reader. Especially since that reader only has to pay a percentage of the retail value of the book. Used book stores are the poor man's literary savoir. A hardback copy of a reasonably new release can be found for less than the paperback version that is on the shelves today. Many people have a weakness for a bargain, and the used book store or website is home to some the best bargains in town.

Save Money

The Bottom Line for used and second hand books is - Save money off retail prices that keep getting more and more expensive and increase the choices? Why not? An open book is a door to worlds of knowledge.

I spend much of my time reading, so get through a large number of books. I’m also interested in a large number of subjects. If I can’t find books in the local library buying them from retail bookshops can add up to some serious money. It would be nothing for me to go to a retail book store and drop £200 on books every few weeks. However, considering my budget, I would soon be homeless if I visited retail bookshops all the time. So I look for used book stores to shop at.

There are a large number of them around. And a lot of them are 1/2 price or lower. And if the book store is a good quality one, you can find used books in very good condition.

Buried Treasure

I highly recommend buying used books! “Why buy used books?” seems a strange question to me, because I can't think of any reasons not to.

I think the answer might depend on what kind of books you're interested in. Obviously, a used bookstore would not be your best bet for new releases (although you might be surprised how quickly some books become ‘used’). But if you're similar to me, having a passion for books and eclectic reading tastes, you will love used bookstores.

I will admit that used bookstores can be slightly unapproachable, if you've previously only shopped at familiar retailers and chain stores. Borders is well lit, air-conditioned and the large collection of books is shelved neatly and organized in a very "user friendly" way, with all the categories and sub-categories clearly marked in a logical, and sterile way. In contrast, used bookstores are generally idiosyncratic little stores, perhaps with creaky floorboards and irregular lighting, books sometimes shelved and organized, sometimes strewn about and stacked haphazardly. The atmosphere is quiet and dusty. Categories of books in used books stores are often much more broad. The atmosphere is more cozy and charming unlike many of the larger retail stores.

Shopping at used bookstore pays of the most when you're in the mood for browsing and "searching for buried treasure," not intent on locating a specific book (although online used book stores are making catalogue searching a sinch) . It is immensely gratifying to dial up a used bookstore without knowing what you're going to find, and then sit and shuffle through categories and be surprised with a gem! The riches to be found are diverse and startling -- maybe a novel you loved when you were 11 but had forgotten, or an out-of-print book you've been longing to find for years, or a book with a title that catches your eye at once, as if it was written just for you.

Saving Money

The sine qua non : Of course you should buy used books. IF the information inside is the identical, then what is the difference? University students NEED to do this!

Buying a used book not like purchasing a used car. A used car can have all sorts of hidden problems, and the dealers can be unscrupulous. Books, on the other hand, are much more forgiving. Oh sure, they may become a little dog eared, and the spine may have a crease. If there is anything off beam with a used book, it doesn't matter. As long as the pages are all present and intact, and not highlighted to the point that it looks like a coloring book, what's the difference. Didn't you buy the book to read it and not to look at how beautiful it is? And there’s just something about the wonderful, musty, heady smell of an old paperback that really makes you feel alive. It’s really something to stop and savor, I think.

Being a university student, I can tell you that buying my books is a very stressful time of the year. The sale of textbooks seems to be the perfect monopoly. Every student HAS to have them. The only way to save yourself is to purchase used books.


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