Do you like the Used or the New?

I’m all about used books. It is likely the reason why I still prefer physical books over e-books right now. There’s just something about a used book’s possible history that I love. Someone else could have loved or hated the book, could have enjoyed it and wanted to pass it on or could have been moved to book throwing rage and gotten rid of it. Bit of a context high maybe? I’m not sure.

Buying a used item of any sort tends to be an exercise in adventure. You have to second guess the history of a great find sometimes. It can be a mini-adventure and you never know what you’ll find. Is what you find a rarity? A gem? Or someone’s trash? Pretty even on all accounts really. One man/woman’s trash is another’s treasure and all that (insert another folksy saying here).

I like to go hunting at local secondhand book stores and consignment shops for books. This is a great way for me as an avid reader to save money and to also test out new authors I might not be comfortable buying a book from. Typically what happens for me is to find a new author, try a book, like it, then go buy the newer books.

However, besides exploring new authors, is also the benefit of finding older copies of books, out of print books, or even different covers. (yes I will buy a third copy of a book solely because the cover is different) There are some authors who have declined in popularity and to find a brand new copy might be impossible. At least until there’s a weird upswing in the books (which does happen some times), you sometimes won’t find the book again for years. I’ve gone through phases where I read a book, like it, send it back to the library, it goes off catalogue, and then I never find it again (super duper annoying). This is where second hand hunts are the best. Gems, I tell you, gems!

There’s some argument for authors that the problem with second hand books is that it isn’t a good source for those who publish ebooks nor is the author seeing any payment for it. But my rebuttal is that the second hand crowd is a great way to get in with a new audience. You can find yourself gaining new fans. People sending a book to the second hand bin is not insulting the book by any means. They’re simply passing on the love so to speak.

Do you second hand shop? What’s your best find you ever had?

Stacie Hanson