Pre-loved, second-hand, used. No matter what you like to call them, I love buying them. Don’t get me wrong, I also love all my new books! But there’s just something about used-book shops and pre-loved books. I am a bit of a snob though, because I’ll only buy them they are in near perfect condition.
There’s three main reasons why I like to buy some of my books pre-loved: money, fun, and the environment.
1. Money: pre-loved books are much more affordable than their just-been-printed cousins. You can find them in yard sales for dime, most used goods stores often start around fifty cents. Used-book stores however, usually get a bit more expensive, as they’re more knowledgeable about the product they sell, but even there the books start around the same prices! I love the feeling of finding a book I’ve been wanting to read in near-perfect condition for a steal.
You might not find the new releases in those places, but what about the new releases you meant to buy last year, or two years ago, but never got around to? Those you can now get for only a fraction of the price! And who doesn’t like to save money to buy those new releases you really need right now!?
2. Fun: it’s so much fun to go through all the (mostly badly organized) bookshelves and try to find something you like. Somehow it’s so much more satisfying to find a book you want in a used book store than it is to just go and buy one. There are always new and beautiful gems to be discovered, while in regular bookshops there are usually only the new releases.
When I have the time, this is one of my favorite things to do. I do need to make sure that I have plenty of time though, because I usually lose track of it trying to find the perfect buy. I have found so many classics in such good condition in those places, it made me wonder if people had read them at all. If you want to see some of my pre-loved books, check out my Instagram, here, here, or here to start.
3. Environmental impact: reuse, repurpose, recycle. That’s the saying, isn’t it? Why not apply this to books as well. It’s just another reason to get some that have already been printed. You could think that getting an e-reader would be better, but studies have not come to that same conclusion. What they do know, is that it all depends on how many books you read on your e-reader and how often you get a new one. According to this report you’ll need to read at least 30 books before getting a new Ipad to not increase your carbon footprint. However, others have suggested this might be much higher, though I can only find this Huffington Post article for this at the moment.* Clear is though, that it all depends on the usage.
Reading a used book however, reduces your carbon footprint, because you don’t add on the total carbon emissions to your carbon footprint for that book, but only a part. The total of that depends on how many people have read the same book, but it’s at least half of what a new book would’ve been.
Also, I sometimes just feel a bit sad that so many books have been disposed of by their previous owners. Sometimes, I just need to save one or two (or more) of them.
What do you think of buying and reading used books? Yay, or nay? And if not, why not? I’m curious to read your thoughts about this. Let me know in the comments!