New books vs. Used books

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New books vs. Used books

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Feb 8, 2011, 4:31pm

I'm planning on going book shopping either this weekend (hopefully but doubtful) or in the next few months. I was wondering what you all prefer buying a brand new book (not a new release but a new book) or going to a used book store and buying it. I prefer going to a used book store. That is if they have the books I'm looking for. Most of my actual library I think is from previously used. The used book stores around my area are small and "family run". Come to think of it we only have 1 or 2 bookstores around that sell ne books. I'm not talking walmart but there is a new bookstore in the mall that sells new books and a Hastings bookstore. I don't think that we have a B&N or a borders within at least 175 miles. I'm so excited at the prospect of finding the missing books in some of my series. I know I can order them online and that some of them are still too new and popular to be in used bookstores but it's the thrill of the hunt. Unless I really can't wait to get the book I won't go buy it new. What about everyone else?

Feb 8, 2011, 4:35pm

Used books are cheaper but new books are counted as sold books - so publishers do not drop series and/or authors due to low sells. So really depends...

If it is a small press or a relatively unknown author - I will buy new. If it is classics or a famous author - whatever comes handy.

Feb 8, 2011, 4:38pm

I prefer the better book, in binding, wear, looks, you name it. A new hardback is much better than a used, grimy paperback, but I prefer a used bound book to a new glued paperback.

Feb 8, 2011, 4:39pm

>3 anglemark:

There is that as well.

Feb 8, 2011, 5:15pm

For me it's all used, 99% of my library. Based on the actual title I might be more critical of the condition, for example, the first edition of a Pulitzer winner I just bought was in excellent shape. Had it been poor, I might have passed, whereas something I'm just curious to read may show more wear.
Don't pass up Goodwill and such, I found a copy of Tom Clancy's "Hunt for Red October" from the original publisher, now I alreadry had one but I was just checking the condition, there was writting on the title page - autographed - paid $.50, worth $300 to $500! My best used purchase ever.

Feb 8, 2011, 5:48pm

I prefer used as well. They have a sense of history that I just love, every book has their own story. I live in a small city and we do have a couple of used bookstores but they don't have many of the books I look for so most of my used purchases come from online. I do look for good condition when buying but every now and then my idea of what constitutes as good condition and what someone else might think differ and I end up with one that has a lot of marks or notations on it but I don't even mind that so much, it adds character. Of course I've gotten a couple that have so many notations to be distracting but that happens rarely.

Feb 8, 2011, 7:17pm

I love used books. The look, feel and smell of a well worn book and it's dis-colored pages are heaven. I especially love it when I find one where the owner has written their thoughts in it. I find fewer of those now, I guess people don't think they are worth saving any more, but when I'm lucky enough to find one I buy it. I only buy new if I have to.

Feb 8, 2011, 8:00pm

I love to browse a good used book store. Since I don't drive and I've moved far from one, that doesn't happen so much any more. :( When I buy online, I tend to buy new.

Feb 8, 2011, 8:58pm

#7 or more people could be like me and just hate the thought of hurting a book. I don't mind if there are little notes in books but I don't like doing it even though I've been tempted to.

Feb 9, 2011, 1:11pm

I always buy used, but feel a pang of guilt that I'm not doing anything to generate revenue for the author, and so to perpetuate the production of literature.

At an average £7 a throw it would cost me a fortune to buy new books, as I read more than one a week.

The main reason I buy second hand is the mystery element of it. I go into a charity shop (there are eight in the high street of my town, and it's not a big town), taking each one in strict rotation (I'm a bit of a rules person) and the rule is that I have to buy one of the books they've got in that day. Even if none of them are the sort of thing I fancy, I've got to go for the one that looks the most hopeful. I have discovered some absolute gems that way, stuff I would never have looked at in a massive bookshop, some of which would never have found their way to being stocked there in the first place. Some absolute turkeys too, it has to be said, but it's all part of the fun. I have to be within 200 pages of the end of a book before I go out in search of another so have no TBR pile at all! I love the element of surprise. Not everyone's cup of tea but I'm a bit odd like that ;)

Feb 9, 2011, 5:23pm

I enjoy both used and new books, there isn't a good used book store in my area but I have shopped in a couple in other places I have lived. I would say that half my library is used books from a small family own used book store.

I have some great experiances in used book stores, the people who seem to work there seem to have a great passion for books. They will suggest more freely and joke with you and get to know you. A chain book store you have a chance of running into a teenage boy or girl who maybe possibly doesn't even read or has an even stranger taste in books that just doesn't fit you.

Feb 9, 2011, 8:13pm

I don't mind if my books are used (I am an active Bookmoocher) but I do like them to be in very good condition, and I don't like marginalia in books, so when I buy books directly I tend to buy them new. (Also, yes, supporting the author in such small ways that we can.)

But on the other hand, I also do love certain types of old books, and books that have been loved to pieces. I think the wear that comes from the book being loved to death is different from the wear that comes from rough reading by many hands. My copy of Dune is old and was loved to death by someone else before being loved to death by me and it needs very careful handling to prevent the cover from disintegrating. I can't bring myself to replace it.

So while a brand new book is great, there is nothing like an old book that because of, not in spite of, all its flaws is unmistakably yours.

Feb 9, 2011, 8:22pm

My favorite sources are church bazaars and rummage sales along with yard sales. I've gotten the most amazing books that way for 10 to 50 cents each.

Feb 12, 2011, 3:11am

I buy all used books, unless I get a gift card to a bookstore, which I'm lucky enough to get from students at Christmas time. Last year, I had so many books in my TBR pile, that I used my gift card money on Movies.

I think buying used is frugal and environmentally friendly. I like garage sales (which I hardly frequent anymore) and our Friends of the Library Sales.

When I buy online, if the new one is only $1-$2 more, of course, I buy the new one and generate revenue for the author. From about age 20-40 I purchased only new, so I think I've done my share to support the authors already!

Apr 29, 2011, 9:24pm

I generally go for used. Everyone knows I am a massive reader so every birthday and Christmas I get a selection of new books. For my own monetary reasons I prefer buying used. When you can get 6 or 7 used books for the price of a new one in a big store I find it hard to justify the expense. Also, as someone else mentioned, I love the fact that someone else has read the book. It's almost like there is a shared bond with a complete stranger through the journey this book will take you on.

Apr 29, 2011, 10:35pm

Depends on the book. If the book is new (not first published 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago) then I usually buy new, unless I can find an awesome deal on a used copy. Condition counts. I'll almost always buy my used books in very good or better condition. Hardcover, with dust jacket preferred if dust jacket originally issued with the volume. Like new is best, but not always available... but neither will I pay collectors prices for used...

For older books buying a new copy often means I'd be getting a reprint, and likely paperback... so I go looking instead for good deals on a first edition used hardcover. I always want hardcover when such an edition exists at a reasonable price. I'll buy paperback under only two conditions:

1. No hardcover edition exists
2. The hardcover edition(s) that exist and are available are all priced beyond reasonability.

Both of the above conditions happen more often than I like or would expect, so, yes, I do own a considerable number of paperbacks...

Sep 29, 2011, 6:40am

I'm in the "buy used by preference" camp. I prefer books that have markings from prior owners. When I get one with a name and address, I look up the place with google maps to see how the place looks, what is around it, and so on. I like the marginal notes and markers of interesting passages too. You can find books with some amazing histories inscribed in them. For example, I bought a volume about the Eastern Front in World War 1 - one of a set - and found ownership stamps in it that indicated it was owned by Wehrkreis XII at Wiesbaden. That is, it was in a German Army library before / during World War 2.

But this is unusual. In a more commonplace example, in papers left in a geology text, I found a folded paper with a prior owner's student notes. There was also a sum of about five numbers in the 60-85 or so range, and an average taken. That they were quiz scores looked likely. The fellow wasn't in real trouble, but he was going to need to study for his final, back there in the early 1950s.

In yet another, a collection of Milton's poetry, I found notes on very fine tissue paper made by a young woman in 1931 for a college course. I found myself wondering how her life had gone. The book was in very good condition; I'd guess she kept it with her, and now I have it. Of course I left her notes where she put them.

That's used books: besides the content, I get a "personal history" aspect that new books can't offer. Since the used book vendors generally price books with mark-up in them lower than clean, I even get a break there too.

Oct 1, 2011, 10:11am

I will buy the cheapest, as long as in good condition. If I want something and can't find used, then I will buy new. However, now that I have Kindle, I'm not purchasing many paper books.

Nov 5, 2016, 5:24pm

I personally prefer new books, as opposed to used books for purely selfish and what might be deemed irrational reasons. I hate used books, for the same reason I avoid second-hand furniture - although it probably boils down to a lot more than this- when I buy a book that used to belong to someone else, I am also buying or interacting with part of their personality! I know it sounds outrageous, and it is - I just don't know anything about them, and would rather keep it that way. I much prefer new books, and the smell... of new....and not old books. Unless it is a rare edition, or signed which I have on occasion done. Generally though I avoid used books like the plague.

As for family-run businesses I also avoid those.

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