Let’s Talk Bookish – Buying Secondhand Books

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where they discuss certain topics, share their opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts.


Prompts: Do you buy secondhand books? Why or why not? What are the benefits of buying secondhand? What are the cons of secondhand books? What do you recommend people do to better support secondhand bookstores?

Almost spring, everyone! Welcome to another LTB here at DTRH. Today’s topic is about secondhand books. It’s definitely something I wish I bought more of. I think I need to familiarize myself more with the nearby used books shops.

Do I buy secondhand books? Yes. Have I done it often? No. But I suppose that isn’t for want of trying. Whenever I go into a used bookstore, I definitely walk out with more books than I thought I would get. But honestly, I just don’t know where they all are! Or maybe they’re just getting more rare/I don’t bother to go. And ever since the pandemic…well, going just becomes even more rare.

There’s something appealing about secondhand books. I think it’s the lack of anxiety of keeping it in mint condition (can anyone relate to this?). Another benefit, according to one of my friends, is that sometimes you get to see what people have written in or have found thoughtful. While it is slightly blasphemous for me to write in my own book, it’s not as much of an issue when someone else has done it to their own book? It is nice to read through the eyes of someone else sometimes (unless it’s a textbook, haha), and although I haven’t personally bought a book like this, I know some others enjoy this feature!

There aren’t that many cons to buying secondhand books. They’re cheaper, and technically, the words are all the same as a brand new one. The only real con is that they will often be more worn or battered, and may not match the aesthetics of your bookshelf (totally understandable). There is some charm to an antique collection of books though, so they themselves have their own aesthetic, in my opinion.

I’m not sure I have any “suggestions” per se for supporting secondhand bookstores. But I certainly do suggest supporting them. It’s a nice way for people to share their books without formally having to form some kind of book exchange circle. And for people who like to read random books off the shelf, this can be a more cost-efficient way to do so. Even if the book isn’t that great, that’s okay! I have also found that sometimes books that I had always wanted to read in the past can show up at these shops too, which instantly inspires me to pick it up and finally give it a read.

What do you all think about secondhand bookstores and secondhand books? Too old for your liking? Or perfect cost-efficiency?


7 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – Buying Secondhand Books”

  1. I don’t read physical books anymore, so it’s a moot point for me. As a poor student, I always bought books second hand just because I could get 3 or 4 books for the price of the 1 new book, I got them from book fairs or market stalls though I buy second-hand textbooks through Amazon but only if they are in fairly good condition. I’ve never had much success with second-hand book shops. The ones I’ve found have often smelled musty and were filled with an awful lot of junk rather than gems.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair enough, Louise! I haven’t had the best of luck myself with used books either. I know some of my friends who do though, so I guess it really depends on the individual!


  2. You made some great points! I completely forgot to include the fun benefit of finding items or notes in used books. I’ve discovered plane and train tickets, bookmarks, and even old pictures. I always enjoy that personal connection to the previous reader. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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