Posted in Discussions, Guest Posts, Posts

Why I Read Used Books (Guest Discussion)

Hi! My name’s Lish, and I blog at Print Quest. I’m really excited to share this post with you and to have this opportunity. A big thank you to Victoria! I’d like this to be a conversation starter, so leave plenty of comments:) Now, on with the post.

I was introduced to the world of internet bookworms first through Pinterest, then Goodreads, then reading and starting my own blog, and most recently, Twitter. As I delved deeper into the online book community, I started noticing different preferences when it came to books. Physical over digital, hardcover over paperback and the like. One thing that stood out to me was how much people loved new, mint-condition books. No bent pages, or smudges, or cracked spines; a flawless edition. Me though? I like old, used, falling-apart, and dirty books. I like finding someone else’s notes, highlights, and forgotten sticky notes. When people leave papers, or letters, or grocery receipts in the books I read, it’s like an unexpected Easter egg. Don’t get me wrong, I love new books! But there’s something magical about an old book. When a book is beloved by many, it shows. I love the feeling of connection I get when reading used books. How many other hands have held this book? Who else has read these words, and what did they feel?

You can find used books at local book sales, garage sales, used bookstores, libraries, even Amazon! My favorite used book store is Ed’s Edition, so if you’re ever in South Carolina, stop by and see them! 2nd and Charlesย is another great store that sells used as well as new books. My library has a free table, in addition to books for sale. I pick up tons of books there! And while we’re talking about libraries, they’re another great resource for much-handled books. I’m a fairly cheap bookworm; consequently, most of my reads come from the library. Yeah, sometimes the pages are bent or even ripped. Most of the books have some level of damage inflicted upon them. I know that drives some people insane, and it does make me ache a little to see my babies marred. At the same time, this is a message: this book has been on a journey. It’s been in so many hands and hearts that the affection is now a visible mark.

That’s why I read used books.

 

Now, I want to know what you think. To you, does a damaged book detract from or add to a reading experience? Why? Let’s discuss!

 

Elisheva is a thinker, possibly a writer, and definitely a reader. She began her journey into the story world at age 3 and has never looked back. You can find more ย ramblings on the literary world on her blog, Print Quest (https://printquest.wordpress.com/). You can also tweet her at @Print_Quest.

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Author:

I was a book blogger for a while, and I now blog about every little thing in life I can think of. Bear with me while I try all these new posts out... I'm a New Zealand teen who gets angry about the world (but not angry enough for tumblr). I like to capture the world through photos and words, and read in all the moments in nz-squadbetween. I have an overwhelming desire to see every corner of the world I possibly can, and hug the people I love in all those corners. I can't do make up to save myself, and you're more likely to find me buying matching stationary than matching clothes. My nerd hobbies include a new found love of the Avengers, reading YA, watching Game of Thrones, How I Met Your Mother, and every vlogger I can find, and being the last person on the music bandwagons. I have big plans for the rest of my life, including university, teaching, travelling, and having an army of puppies. I plan to blog every second of it!

22 thoughts on “Why I Read Used Books (Guest Discussion)

  1. I like reading used books for the reasons you mentioned, but also due to the environmental benefits. Reading used books saves a lot of paper, as they are often passed around from person-to-person.

    I watched a TV Shoe, and in that, someone accidentally left their iPhone at the airport, unlocked. Another person found it there, and proceeded to their destination. This cycle continued until the iPhone was all over the world, with the pictures and videos of different countries and cultures on it. It was truly a treasure. Passing on books reminded me of how we could do the same but with books and write in a notebook instead of taking pics on a phone and keep passing the journal around. What was shocking though, was that no one stole the phone.

    Anyway, used books evoke a feeling of homeliness and pleasure, while new books are stiff and distant. It’s much easier to open up old books as flatten them out. When reading new books, it’s almost as if you’re carrying a baby, and can’t damage the book in any way, but when you do, it’s an absolute disaster. That being said, old books also fall apart easily. Also, finding other people’s notes in a book makes me feel as if someone else is trying to enforce their opinion on me, since I can’t stop myself from reading them. New books almost feel like a fresh start, a new beginning, that’s why I like new notebooks.

    Nonetheless, I loved your post and the fact that you made me think so much about it. I’ll definitely be checking out your blog. Thanks for the wonderful read!

    Love,
    Aditi

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so welcome! I’ve been wanting to write this down for a while, and this was the perfect chance to share it.
      I never really thought much about the environmental factor, but that is another great reason to read old books! All books have pros and cons; sometimes I’m scared of damaging a new book, but the same could be said of an old book too. Notes don’t really bother me, but I haven’t found very many so far. And notebooks (aka, the vacuums for my wallet). I do love buying new notebooks.
      That show sounds incredible! It would be amazing to see everything that had come together with so many people on so many journeys.
      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post! I’m the same way, I’m a cheap book worm, the majority of the books that I read come from the library! It’s very rare when I actually buy a book for myself haha. Although I do have to say, I’m not as excited to think about how many other people have read the book I’m holding, all I can think about are the germs haha! I try hard not to think of that though!
    I do also agree with finding things people have left behind in books as little Easter eggs, I think that’s fun to find and read. I’ve found quite a few things, but my favourite so far has to be this handwritten note inside Fan Girl describing how horrible the book was, it was so funny- that novel turned out to be one of my favourites! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    1. Hahaha! I only think of germs if there are lots of suspicious-looking spots on the pages and/or cover. Ew *cringes* Isn’t it funny how we can all read the same book, yet our interpretation and opinions of it can be so varied?
      Most of the time I find other people’s library reciepts that they left in the book. Not very exciting, but I do like looking at what other things they checked out and trying to guess what type of person they are. When I remember, I like leaving little notes or drawings in books. Even though I’ll never know where they go, I like thinking about it.
      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ugh those spots are the worst! haha. Yes it is funny! Oh I find those too, and I do like to read them, it’s always interesting to see what else a person has checked out besides the one book your reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I do not mind reading used books. I have bought tons of old books at my library’s book sales. Unfortunately, they have stopped having book sales. I sure miss browsing and having the thrill of finding a book I always wanted. There is nothing like finding a book that completes a series you have. I do buy lots of new books too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject.
    Marilyn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! I love old books and new books, just in different ways. That’s too bad about your library; I wonder if you have any nearby stores that sell gently used books? I personally love how 2nd & Charles sells used and new books-they might be worth looking into. Thank you for commenting!

      -Lish

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I prefer new books. I like to know that I’m the first to read the book or that the book is relatively new. Even when I was younger and only had used books to read, I would try to preserve the state they’re in so they wouldn’t worsen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting! I do feel terrible when I hurt my new books, though I often lose/bend dust jackets. I will say, thereโ€™s something beautiful in the pristine pages of a new book. What is it about being the first to read it that you like?

      -Lish

      Like

  5. I totally get what you mean by used books being magical! Often for me it’s the simple reason that there’s honestly not a lot of second hands book shops or stalls around me that sell them for a reasonably second hand price (especially for the condition of some of them!). My favourite thing EVER though is when someone before me has written little notes in the book – I find it super funny to read those and have a sneak peek at what someone else was thinking at that moment.

    On the other hand I do love new books too because it’s mine! Once it’s bought and sitting on my shelf all pretty it feels like an adopted child (I know, the life of a bookworm ay, books = children). Most of all, I love how new books smell because I’m just a tad creepy like that ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not creepy at all! (I think every reader is guilty of sniffing a new book’s pages ๐Ÿ˜‰ I do enjoy coming home from Barnes & Noble with a brand new book. There is a certain ownership that comes with a new book-you get to write your name in it and decide where to place it on your bookshelf! On the other hand, a used book feels sort of like a shared experience, and I love that too! Every book has a unique “feel” and that’s what makes them special or memorable.
      Thanks for commenting!

      -Lish

      Liked by 2 people

  6. While I keep my books in the best condition possible, I completely get what you’re saying! There’s something poetic about used looking books. My most loved books on my shelf look a bit worn and I have no problem buying a used, broken into book because of the magical look and feeling. I just don’t strive to make my books look like that, if it happens, it happens. I used to be against annotating my books but know I’m seeing the beauty in it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t annotated yet-sticky notes are my best friends. I always feel bad when I damage my own book, but for some reason, I like reading books other people have ruined a little bit. I have a book with all of Shakespeare’s works in them, and someone wrote all over it! I can’t read most of it though; either they have awful handwriting or I just can’t read someone else’s cursive.
      I heard once of a group of booktubers who passed along a book and everyone was supposed to leave some notes in the margins. Seeing all the thoughts and opinions in it by the time 8 or 10 people had read it would be so interesting!

      -Lish

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks for commenting! I do feel terrible when I hurt my new books, though I often lose/bend dust jackets. I will say, there’s something beautiful in the pristine pages of a new book. What is it about being the first to read it that you like?

    -Lish

    Liked by 1 person

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