Have you Considered Buying Used Books?

Do you love reading but don’t like the idea of spending anywhere from $9-$11 on a new book only to read it once and never again? If so, you seriously need to consider buying used books instead! I was always a big fan of reading but up until purchasing the Kindle, I have always purchased books right off the shelf or directly online at the highest prices. I hardly stopped to realize that I could enjoy the same book at almost half the price or more by purchasing one that has already been read and used. You have to realize that I’m not really the type of person who will re-read a book no matter how interesting or good it is. It’s just a waste of time for me because I could spend that time reading a new and different book that might be even better. This is the same for me when it comes to movies and DVDs. When I first purchased my Playstation 3 video game console, I started collecting Blu-Ray movies. About 20 Blu-Ray movies in, I started to realize that what I was doing was completely a waste of time and money because I never re-watch a movie! As of right now, I have many books and Blu-Ray movies sitting in my shelf doing nothing but collecting dust and who knows what else. Point of all this? Don’t be like me. Realize what’s happening before it’s too late! Save money now while you still can!

Advantages of a Used Book

I really don’t want to bore you with the details because I already have a feeling most of you know what goes in to buying a used book. However, some very important points bear repeating here:

  1. Money Saved.
    A used book will usually cost less than a new copy. How much less depends on how long the book has been published, the rarity of the book, and the condition it’s in. For many cases, a used copy of a book that was just recently released a couple of days ago might not help you save a lot money. In these situations, it might be better to just spend a couple more bucks and get the new edition if you cannot wait. If you’re looking to purchase a used technical book or textbook for school, the amount of money you will save here will even be greater because these books are generally very expensive. A used copy of these books, if you can find them, can help yield tremendous savings.
  2. Environmental Friendly. It goes without saying that buying a used book can help save a tree. In fact, you could go as far as re-selling that used copy at the same price or less after you’re done with it in hopes to benefit another individual out there. Why not just rent from the library I hear you saying? Well, that certainly does have its merits but I’ll leave that choice up to you.
  3. Uncertainty. When you’re about to enter a book series that spans 3 or more books, you could purchase a used edition of the first book in the series. This lets you see how good the author is in their writing and also to see if the book can hold your interest. If you later decide to continue, you can help support the author directly by buying a new edition of the next book in the series.

Disadvantages of a Used Book

There’s not really a whole lot going on in the disadvantage department:

  1. Unfairness. With a used copy of a book, just like with every other used item you buy, the money you spend for it doesn’t flow to the original author or supplier. As times are getting harder, the “used item” industry is gaining ahead in steam. Whether you feel like cheating the original author or not when purchasing a used book is totally up to you to decide. Just realize that purchasing used items is definitely not illegal unless specified. My take is that if you do think the author is being cheated, then you might as well petition to have public libraries removed as well.
  2. Condition. If you’re lucky, the seller of the used book will specify beforehand what the condition the product is in. However, there might be times where you purchase a used book only to have some pages torn out or markings on it making it impossible to read the words. I’ve never experienced this before but it’s definitely possible. My take is that as long as the used book is still intact, have no missing pages and the words clearly readable, I really could care less about the other factors such as bent or wrinkled pages, words being highlighted with a marker and page stains.

Places to Purchase Used Books

There should be many places of opportunity for you to purchase used copies of books. In fact, many online shopping places you currently do business with already allow you to purchase used books.


You’ve probably searched for a product on Amazon’s website and have seen other users offering to sell the same product either new or used as well. This goes the same for books. Simply search for a book you’re interested in or head directly to the book section. Once you’ve found a book of interest, you’ll easily see on the product page the lowest price other users are selling the used copy for. Click on the link and you’ll get to see all the other sellers that are trying to sell their used copy of that book from lowest price to highest.

Amazon UsedMore Used


eBay is a great resource to help you find pretty much anything. There are definitely a lot of used books on sale from many different sellers. Not much to say here other than to look carefully at the product description and most importantly, the shipping charges! Also, you can visit half.ebay.com to get more book listings along with numerous other purchasing sources.


 Since discovering the Thriftbooks website, it has been one of my favorite destinations to purchase used books. They have a huge assortment of used books (although many new titles are missing) and you can’t beat their shipping if you’re in the United States: free. Many books cost about $3.95 and in many other online places, that’s how much you need to pay for shipping alone. This makes Thriftbooks one of the cheapest places for used books that I know of. They also have various shipping centers around the country so you can pick the closest one to you for faster delivery. I highly recommend this place.

Your Local Shops

Last but not least, you might be able to find a local bricks and mortar bookstore that also sell used books. The advantage of buying locally includes not being charged for shipping fees, not having to wait for the book to arrive in the mail and the ability to browse through the book to preview its condition prior to putting your money down. Oh, and you’ll also be supporting your local businesses by purchasing there so that should be reason enough!


In the End…

Although I’m currently using the Kindle to do the majority of my book reading, I think I might still purchase a used book from time to time. The problem with e-reading devices is that there is no “used” copies of a book because it’s a digital edition. Therefore, you don’t have the benefit of being able to save money by buying a used copy.

If any of you have other resources for purchasing used books online for cheap, please let us know in the comments!

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  1. I have just recently purchased my first used book about 2 weeks ago, was thinking about getting a kindle and looked at the price of Andy McNab books but was a bit turned off paying £4 for a book i dony physically own. Took a look on ebay to find the exact book for £0.99, all the pages are there, spines a bit worn and it smells of old people but its a 99p book cant really complain.

    • Yeah, that’s how I feel at times with my Kindle. I’m never going to read a book twice so it kind of sucks that I can’t sell it. That’s one of the biggest debates users have right now against e-readers.

      But you’re right. If you can accept the worn/creased spines and the old people smell (lol good one, failed to mention this in post), one can really save a lot of money by buying used books. Right now, I’m using a service where I get to trade books with other people on the Internet for free. I’m going to write about it soon. If you have a lot of books at home that you don’t need anymore, maybe you can find a similar service in your area that does the same.

  2. I would love to read books even if old provided they are at good price and good condition.
    ALso , i get cheap books online now that they are infact close to old book price, so not much difference 

    • Speaking of old books, I just found a fantastic book swapping service online called PaperBackSwap. It allows me to post my used books in a database where others can find it. If someone wants one of my books, I send it to them for free. In return, I get a credit in where I can then request from another member and so on and so on. It’s pretty neat. Think I’m going to write a review about it soon.

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