Why I Buy Used Books (And You Should Too)

Used books are the new way to read. Whether for practical reasons or personal preference, buying used is a cheap, fun and a more sustainable way to buy books.

Book Culture Opinions

Used books are the NEW way to read. When it comes to buying books, I almost always opt for used ones for both practical reasons, and personal preference. It’s cheap, fun, and a more sustainable way to buy books. Without further ado, here are the major benefits of buying used books!

It’s Cheaper!




Why drop $30 on a brand new hardcover that you’ll read once and then use as a paper weight? Odds are you can find the same novel for much cheaper at a used book store or yard sale. Because used books are typically not in pristine condition, sellers mark down the prices drastically. In some cases you can get books for as little as a dollar!

If you’re really into getting the best bargains, I’d even recommend respectfully bartering with the owners to cut the price down further. If you’re buying multiple books, you may be able to bundle them for an even cheaper price. All in all, if you’re the type of reader who blazes through books in a hurry, it can be much more cost-effective to buy second-hand.


it’s a way to Support Local and Small Businesses




One of the best places to buy used books is second-hand stores, which are usually small and local. Rather than buying from big-box retailers, buying used can allow you to support your community and connect with local bookstore owners and fellow readers. Oftentimes, second-hand stores will hold events like author Q&As or weekly book clubs. In this way, one used book can introduce you to a whole world of other passionate readers.




it Gives Books a Second Life




To me, there’s almost nothing sadder than reading a book once and then letting it collect dust on the bookshelf for the next few years. I’m there are thousands of perfectly good books around the world, just buried in attics or basements. Books deserve more than that and buying used promotes the mindset of giving back. When you buy used, you affirm that there is a market for this type of product and you help the stores that promote these ideals stay in business.

If you are the type of person who frequently buys used books, consider giving back yourself. Donating books can be one of the best feelings in the world. Giving the gift of reading to someone who otherwise may not have been able to afford it can be super rewarding. Even the act of trading in the book you just read for a different used book can ensure that all books get a second chance and a second life beyond the bookshelf.

used books have That “Old-School” Charm




Forget about that new book smell, give me the musty, ripped pages instead. The truth is I’ve come to love the little underlined phrases and dog-eared corners that other readers leave behind. It makes me wonder about the book’s previous life and gives me a unique glimpse into what passages stood out to whoever read it before me. Of course, you do have to be wary of those unidentified stains and sticky pages spread throughout, but that’s half the fun in and of itself!


Reading Roulette




When you walk into a new bookstore you never know what you might find. Even if you go in wanting a particular book, there’s no guarantee it’ll be there, but you may wind up with something better. When I go to a used bookstore I personally always try to buy one book I’ve heard of and one that is completely new to me. Sometimes I wind up finding an author or book I never would have discovered just because I shopped used. The best part is that because used books are so cheap, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t end up liking what you chose.You can usually go back to the store and trade it in for another book. Worst case scenario, you’ve only lost a few dollars at most.



So the next time you’re on the hunt for a new read, consider buying used!