For the Love of (Secondhand) Books

Photo by Maria Orlova on

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly series hosted by Rukky at Eternity Books and Danie at Literary Lion. The full list of March topics can be found here.

This week’s topic is Buying Secondhand Books.

Do you buy secondhand books? Why or why not?

Yes! In addition to occasionally buying new books I also love to buy secondhand books. I usually do this a.) If I’m unsure if I will like a book and don’t want to pay full price, but know that I want to own a copy either way, or b.) If the book is in good condition and it’s one that I’ve read and want to own, or plan to read and want my own copy.

If I’m really unsure of whether or not I will like a book, I get it from the library to be extra safe.

What are the benefits of buying secondhand? What are the cons of secondhand books?

The main reason I buy secondhand books is because they are cheaper than most new books. The only downside is that the condition of the book will vary. If you buy online, you almost never know what condition the book will be in until you receive it in the mail. In one of my worst experiences, the book arrived in great condition but smelled of cigarette smoke, which I would have had no way of knowing ahead of time.

If you buy in person at a secondhand bookstore, you often have a limited selection to choose from. The books that are available may not be of interest, or in decent condition. You really have to be open-minded about what you’ll find.

What do you recommend people do to better support secondhand bookstores?

The best way to support any bookstore is to buy from them either in person or online. I know that word-of-mouth can go a long way with smaller bookstores, so when I find one that I like, I tell people about it to spread the word. Posting positive reviews online is also a great way to show support of bookstores (and libraries!).

Do you buy secondhand books? Tell me in the comments!

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