Recycled Reading: Buying Used Books

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My new obsession began innocently enough with a visit to the annual book sale at my local library.  I didn’t have any expectations and stopped by to take a peek.  After a few minutes, my arms were heavy with books but my wallet wasn’t much lighter after I paid for everything.  I walked away with eight books for $4.00–several of which I’d read about on your blogs!

It was thrilling to discover that buying books doesn’t have to be synonymous with the outlay of large sums of cash.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still spending a fair amount on hardcovers by favorite authors at my local bookstore, but you know I ran home and scoured the internet to find sales at larger libraries.  There is an entire website devoted to library book sales, and it includes a handy calendar by state–Booksale Finder.

I went on to find some goodies at a flea market in Daytona Beach last weekend; I scored four books that were on my wish list, paying only $1.25!  But then the guilt set in. I started feeling as if I might bring down the publishing companies by purchasing used books.  Does anyone else feel this way when buying used books*?

*Don’t worry, all the books had their front covers intact.

26 Comments

  • At 2009.10.09 19:51, Anastasia said:

    I don’t feel bad for buying used books, no way. Just like I don’t feel bad for checking books out from the library instead of buying them! The publishing companies have survived this long; they’ll stick around for loads longer without my pitiful monetary contribution.

    Anyway, it’s kind of like I’m paying them something by reviewing the book they published, you know? Maybe think of it like that and you won’t feel guilty anymore.
    .-= Anastasia´s last blog ..Challenge completed! It’s the End of the World II =-.

    • At 2009.10.09 20:32, Valerie said:

      I don’t feel guilty about buying used books. It’s adopting them and giving them a new home :-).

      If I buy them from the library, it helps support the library. Even when they charge ridiculously low prices for the books, it still helps.

      If I buy them from the used bookstore, it helps the bookstore employees stay employed, and they all love books, too!
      .-= Valerie´s last blog ..Anyone Want to Buy This Set for Me 🙂 ? =-.

      • At 2009.10.09 20:45, bybee said:

        If you find Author X’s older novel at a used bookstore and you discover that you really really love her writing, then you’ll probably buy her new books as soon as they come out. So in some cases, a used bookstore paves the way for new bookstores.
        .-= bybee´s last blog ..Library Loot: More Nonfiction, And Happier Than A Pig In…Uh…Nonfiction =-.

        • At 2009.10.09 21:50, diane said:

          Congrats Natalie. I use Book Sale Finder weekly; it’s great! Enjoy your new books 🙂
          .-= diane´s last blog ..My First 24 Hour Read-a-Thon =-.

          • At 2009.10.09 22:00, softdrink said:

            Nope, not at all. Especially since most our local used book stores have gone out of business, making it kinda difficult to buy used books!
            .-= softdrink´s last blog ..Making It Up =-.

            • At 2009.10.09 22:31, Lisa said:

              I do feel this way sometimes. I feel the same way sometimes when I’m at the library. Sure the library had to buy the book but how many people are not buying it because of that?

              • At 2009.10.10 00:16, Ti said:

                I can see how you might feel guilty, but I sure as heck don’t! If there is a used book that I’ve been wanting, I’ll snap it up in a second without a 2nd thought.
                .-= Ti´s last blog ..Confessions of a Reader: To Rate, or not to Rate? =-.

                • At 2009.10.10 10:02, The Literary Omnivore said:

                  I love used books. I don’t usually think about its impact on the publishing industry, but I love giving a book someone threw out a good home.

                  • At 2009.10.10 12:04, vivienne said:

                    The majority of books I buy are usually secondhand. I go round the charity shops and check out the library sales, looking for books I want. I also visit bootsales in the summer to pick up loads. I don’t feel bad at all.
                    .-= vivienne´s last blog ..Saturday Scrapping =-.

                    • At 2009.10.10 14:15, Jane Steen said:

                      Can this guilt about buying used books stem from the campaigns by the producers of other media to discourage or even criminalize anything that reduces their oversized margins? Books have always been resold, passed around, or made available for “free” (don’t forgot your tax dollars go there!) at the public library. We all know that this is good for book sales in the long run, as reading begets more reading which eventually begets drifting into your local megabookstore and buying far more than you intended when you walked in.

                      Buying used books saves paper and allows you to savor the richness of different editions and lovely old bindings. The REAL crime is the practice of ripping the covers off unsold books and pulping them. I rejoice in the proliferation of used-book sellers on Amazon and other forums, and have found many out-of-print editions through them.

                      By the way, love your new blog format. What CMS did you use?
                      .-= Jane Steen´s last blog ..Spinning a yarn =-.

                      • At 2009.10.10 14:25, Alita said:

                        I don’t feel guilty about buying used books – I figure they deserve a good home just as much as new books.

                        The main branch of our library is having their big annual sale next week. Oh boy, am I excited! It’s been in my calendar for months.

                        • At 2009.10.10 19:41, trish said:

                          My thing with buying used books, is why would I buy a book used if I can check it out from the library? I have SO MANY books in my house, that bringing in more books is only allowed when the book is brand new or mooched (me and my feeble rules).

                          So a couple of months ago, I got rid of 89 books, and that did not give me any free shelf space! All it did was make it so there were no books on the floor. So I just kind of feel like why bring in more books that will only clutter up my house? If I want the book that bad, I’ll support an indy bookstore and the publishing industry and buy the book new.

                          • At 2009.10.10 21:20, Hayden Tompkins said:

                            Can I just tell you that the Daytona Beach Library System is AWESOME. They have the BEST science library for kids at their main branch.

                            P.S. Also, can I just tell you that I LOVE that you’re reading “Catching Fire”?? I JUST finished “Hunger Games” and loved loved LOVED it.
                            .-= Hayden Tompkins´s last blog ..How to Sabotage Your Income =-.

                            • At 2009.10.12 12:34, Natalie said:

                              i’m actually reading ‘catching fire’ AGAIN–i finished it and flipped right back to page 1 to start again. love this series…

                              • At 2009.10.11 09:39, Stephanie said:

                                I LOVE my local library used book sale (I figure the $ goes to the library, which is a good thing in this economy)!
                                .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Sunday Salon 10.11.09 =-.

                                • At 2009.10.11 11:08, hisqueen1 said:

                                  we love used books. Hubby has hooked up on paperbackswap.com and we frequent half-price books now that they are in indiana. We have agreed to buy only as much as we can carry…no carts allowed.

                                  • At 2009.10.11 12:51, Beth F said:

                                    I never feel guilty — especially when I buy from the library. The library needs the money; every dollar counts.

                                    I spend so much money on new books every year that I never feel bad when I find a used book.
                                    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Reading Attitudes: Challenge or Fun? =-.

                                    • At 2009.10.12 09:40, Steph said:

                                      I love books so much and buy them so frequently and in such quantities I simply couldn’t afford to do so if I bought my books new and at full price. Quite honestly, I’ve gotten so used to buying my books used that when I do see the price of new books, they seem horrifically overpriced to me – I can’t even stomach $9 for a paperback at Sam’s Club!

                                      And maybe buying used books doesn’t help out the publishing industry, but it certainly helps out the environment! Better a book be on my shelf than in a landfill!

                                      • At 2009.10.12 12:58, mariah said:

                                        i don’t buy any new books. ever. i look at them longingly but then can’t bring myself to shell out the money. but what i do is go to the goodwill or 2nd hand stores. they have hard backs for $2.99 and paper backs for $1.99. and then every other saturday it’s 50% off. that part does give me a twinge of guilt but it doesn’t stop me from walking out with a stack of them.

                                        • At 2009.10.12 13:06, Jen - Devourer of Books said:

                                          I do feel a little guilty, but then I go ahead and buy used books or go to the library frequently anyway. I think as long as you have some sort of balance, it is okay. And the balance has to reflect your wallet a little, those with less to spend should do more library and used book sales. It is the Marxist theory of book buying, really. Think of it like this, even without your book blog you are going to influence people around you. If they see you reading all the time or hear you talk about books a lot, then you will hopefully spur them on towards reading more, or reading the book you’re talking about. Chances are, if they aren’t a big reader they’ll just head over to Borders or Amazon and buy the book new, and then more books, and more, and more, until they realize that they’re spending too much money and they have to buy at least some of them used. And then they infect the next person.

                                          So I’m actually not sure if this is the Marxist theory of book buying, or the zombie theory of book buying, with each person infecting more.
                                          .-= Jen – Devourer of Books´s last blog ..Haunting Bombay – Book Review =-.

                                          • At 2009.10.12 13:55, claire said:

                                            I don’t feel guilty at all. There’s only so much budget for books in the household, it couldn’t ever keep up with my reading! Since I’d gotten a job, though, I’ve been occasionally buying new (but never full price.. I’m cheap!).. mostly at The Book Depository online. It’s because the bulk of books I really want to read I couldn’t find used. Otherwise, I love recycling books. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
                                            .-= claire´s last blog ..Thankful =-.

                                            • At 2009.10.13 07:32, Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit) said:

                                              i had no idea that there was a booksale website dedicated to geographic locations of library sales, etc. Though it seems the page does not want to load for me at the moment. I will have to check it out.

                                              • At 2009.10.13 09:36, Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said:

                                                I don’t feel guilty at all. I’m a grad student, so my budget for buying books and stuff is negligible. I buy almost all of mine used; if I buy new, it’s usually from Amazon or a chain store. I’d rather buy used books and support local businesses than get discounts on new books and support Amazon, etc.

                                                • At 2009.10.13 21:05, Kari said:

                                                  I never buy books at a bookstore anymore. I’ve found the Book Barn at the public library in my boyfriend’s upstate hometown, and I frequently stock up there! I figure it supports the local library. Sure, I’d like to support indie bookstores, but I’m at a broke stage of my life, and I just can’t afford to pay for my book obsession!
                                                  .-= Kari´s last blog ..Review: L’Élégance du hérisson =-.

                                                  • At 2009.10.21 10:11, Emily said:

                                                    I really don’t feel guilty at all. My mom purchases almost all of her books from brick and mortar stores so I figure that we cancel eachother out pretty well. Plus, the proceeds from the library book sales go towards the library and that’s nothing but a good thing.

                                                    • At 2009.10.25 22:48, Michelle Miller/the true book addict said:

                                                      You have found my secret…LOL! I am the QUEEN of used book sales. If you go to my blog and read some of my mailbox monday posts, you will see the treasures that I have snagged. I have been using Book Sale Finder for many years now. I use that site and the Nashville public library site to keep abreast of any and all sales coming up.

                                                      No, I don’t feel guilty about buying used books because before I became dead broke, I used to buy new books all the time. Now that my family is on a very strict budget, it’s the only way to feed my addiction! I do treat myself to new books occasionally though. Also, as these sales are generally run by Friends of the Library orgs, they benefit the libraries which I believe is very important!

                                                      Keep enjoying those sales =o)
                                                      .-= Michelle Miller/the true book addict´s last blog ..Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon =-.

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