Are new books really better than used books?

Last week we discussed pricing books by the page because some books seem awfully overpriced. Well, I doubt the industry will start changing prices any time soon, and that means books will remain rather expensive for the ravenous reader for at least the time being.

Unfortunately, this means that I can’t always buy new books (nor do I want to.) I like my bank account to be full and happy… and, you know… not making me guilty or stressed. :p Thus, it’s important to look for other, more immediate options to keep it satiated and still satisfy my desire to read at a higher pace than in previous years. Therefore, after quite a bit of grumbling, dragging my feet, and debating giving up reading altogether…

I’ve grudgingly relented to the power of used books.

Now, my first thought about used books is usually a cringe followed by a shudder and maybe a grimace. After all, I’ve come across a sizable number of extremely gross, tarnished, ruined used books in my search for new reads. And being a reader who cares about how the book actually looks and feels, I disliked used books so much that I wouldn’t even step foot in a library. There was just something about someone else having read a book, taken it god only knows where, that really… bothered me. You know?

But… to keep up with my book review requirements and to be up-to-date on current releases, I had to cave.

I mean, how can I really justify going to the bookstore and paying $20 + tax for a brand new book when I’ve honestly seen last year’s releases sitting on the used bookshelf for half the price? Sometimes books are even less than that! I’ve bought used books for $5 or less, which is a steal! How can you say ‘no’ to that? I mean, I basically get to buy four times the number of books for the same price if I just let myself open up to the idea.

Though, I’ll be honest. It’s been… a challenge to say the least. Even when I find a book that I really want, there are still a variety of reasons why I might turn it down: broken spine, damaged dust jacket, dirty/stained/bent/sticky pages. The former is really just cosmetic and me being picky, while the latter… is just gross! I mean, what are people doing with their books!? More importantly, why would a store sell something so visibly disgusting?! *cringe*

Thankfully, in recent months, I have managed to find some well-kept, clean, pristine used books… well… a lot actually! Haha! I’ve been buying them so consistently that I’d have a new book haul close to every two weeks. [So, I’m just waiting and will post it later this month. 😉 ] The key, I’ve found, is where the used books are being purchased from. 

It’s definitely apparent that certain bookstores have stricter and higher standards regarding their used books than others. Yet, they’re still priced about the same as any other used bookstore. This… has been such a relief. *sigh* 😀 I’ve finally found a way to keep up with my reading/reviewing demands while also remaining within my budget.

Still… I can’t help but wonder how long it will last. After all… that book was still owned by someone else before me. :/ And I like my books to be… well… mine, you know? But for the time being, used will have to do.

But what do you think?
Do you prefer new or used books?
Leave your thoughts below!

And check out my discussion from last week:
Paying per Page


46 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Used Books”

  1. I really like new books. When I was young we used to go to the library as I used to read endlessly. Later on for reference to the British council as the latest science books were in English and also printed on nice paper. But I used to buy new books with my pocket money and still prefer new books. I love to go to the book shop as they all have that new smell too. I don’t have to do any reviews so I am able to buy the new ones 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah! Yes, if I didn’t review a book every week, I’m sure I’d be able to save up money a little better to buy nice books all the time. There is definitely something very satisfying about walking into a bookstore full of new, untouched, unblemished books! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I don’t buy a new book every week as I have to eat too 😛 And with Google one is able to look up for reference instead of going to a library. Yes even if I don’t buy I do a round in the book shop just to get that feeling of new books and so much of knowledge is within them. Its all positive energy 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Well before going to any other shop, even clothes my first stop usually is the book shop. I really have this fascination or pull to books. Yes I do have to be careful not to get carried away. But for me its like going down memory lane – with Nursery Rhymes, Noddy books and some printed the same way. Don’t laugh I recently bought some Noddy books going cheap just to have them around – but they are useful when my two little grand daughters come to see me. Both of them are also real book lovers, although my son is not much of a reader 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s funny, I actually really prefer used books. I really like the history of them. I won’t necessarily buy a book that’s dirty or falling apart, but I don’t mind ones that are heavily worn, especially if they have other people’s notes in them. I enjoy the ability to kind of engage with other readers who have had the book before. Sometimes they’ll call attention to a line or something I never would have noticed otherwise.

    I also try and use libraries as often as I can, mostly because library funding depends on how they’re used, and every book pulled off the shelves bumps their usage up, whether I check it out or not.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Nope. Sometimes the notes highlight passages or parts of the story I wouldn’t have taken the time to fully absorb otherwise. I’m also a big fan of X-Ray on my Kindle for the same reason.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. X-Ray???

            And I suppose I can understand liking to know what fascinated other people. I suppose I look at it from the viewpoint of writing non-biased reviews. So I wouldn’t want something to stand out to me if it wouldn’t normally.


    1. 0.0 What is wrong with you!? Marking in BOOKS?! The horror!!! Hahahaha! I’m just kidding. I can understand the desire to interact and connect with other readers, especially given that reading is such a solitary activity. 😦 Though, I think I’d be more inclined to join a book club (which I frankly abhor) than pick up a book that’s been marked in, much less mark one myself. :/ I just… would get too distracted by the markings. isn’t a very focused reader

      Oooo! I did not know that about libraries! That’s really helpful! Thank you for enlightening me. Do you, by chance, know if digital books count towards usage for the library? (I’m still working up to borrowing physical books… >.> ) But I’d love to support the libraries around me. I think they’re great for people who don’t have my strange sense of mind. :p

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I went to Schuler’s to sell some books before BookCon and they had Geekerella and Defy the Stars used for $8! It’s worth it to shop used. I can’t justify the price of new books when I don’t have money. I want to support the authors but I feel the reviews help too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand that. Defy just came out last year, was it? Though, personally, I still wouldn’t spend $8 on it. I didn’t think it was that good. :/

      And that’s my dilemma, too: wanting to support the authors, especially since I want to be one of those authors. But reviews are our their way of support and, I mean, ARCs are sent out for free. So it’s kind of like that, I suppose.


  4. I used to prefer used books because of the price, but I have recently decided that I prefer new books because they look nicer and don’t have that old, musty smell. Plus, since getting my Associates in lab, I have been a big germaphobe, and now feel awkward touching books that have been who knows where! I have gotten really weird about wanting to keep my books in new condition too, so used books usually come with wear and tear or writing that I am not a fan of. I recently had to buy the entire Roswell High series used because it was OUTRAGEOUS for new ones, and most of them are bent and smell odd, and a few have writing on them, ;,-(

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh gosh! I totally understand you. I hate the musty, old smell of books. Absolutely abhor it. Though, I’m not really a germaphobe. I just… don’t like when it’s obvious what poor condition a book is in. Like, I’ve legitimately seen sticky pages in a book! That’s just GROSS!!!!!

      And I’m so sorry about that. I hope you’re able to someday find a nicer version of that series. I’m still in search of the Chronicles of Narnia that isn’t GOD AWFULLY EXPENSIVE!! 0.0 Rawr.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally gross! The idea that someone else had their hands all over the book makes me queasy lol.

        I hate that its so hard to find older “new” books for an affordable price. People charging $50-$100 for an out of print book are just ridiculous and greedy.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It doesn’t bother me if someone else owned the book so much, at least, when I can’t tell. If it still looks new, I’m okay. If not… I need some hand-san STAT!

          Oh! You mean like good condition older books? Yeah, it really is a shame. Or like the beautiful bond versions of classics. I found a GORGEOUS version of Arabian Nights, but it was like… $40. Thankfully, it was halfprice that day. (And there were TONS of others in the little store that I would have snatched up, too, had I the money.) I’m such a sucker for collectible-style covers. The old-school types, you know what I mean?

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah. That is a very good question and I’m glad you bring it up. 😀 In regards to the new books, I’m… actually kind of bad at it. Hahaha! Though, that’s what Netgalley is for. 😉 Or I’ve been looking into doing blog tours, and they sometimes send galleys for the tour. Outside of those… nah. I’m really not up to date, but I haven’t seen any books that I’ve just HAD to have, you know??

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Not including books I’ve stolen, I mean borrowed, from family members, I rarely do used books. Sometimes I do and have never had any problems. Even going through Amazon and picking up a used copy for 1/4 the price, I’ve never had an issue with getting a gross book. But…. I don’t know what it is, but I would much rather have a new book. That new book smell? I don’t know. I’ve also very rarely given up books by selling them to used book stores. I once got rid of about 100 books from my teen and college days, but haven’t done it since. But throwing a book away seems to be a major (mortal?) sin, so stacks of slightly used books pile up….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hee hee! I totally get you, Trent. I definitely agree that there is a certain… quality or like satisfaction that comes from buying a new book. You don’t get that from a used book, even if it is only gently used. It’s strange. :/ MAybe it’s an age thing? You subconsciously know the new book is younger? :p Who knews! But I get you!

      Oh my gosh!!! I couldn’t imagine getting rid of 100 books! The only time I ever got rid of books was when my mom was hassling me about the manga I had. (she doesn’t get anime/manga sigh) So, she guilted me into getting rid of them and now… I’m so frustrated! Those are expensive and one of the few things I DID re-read. Oh… if only I had a time machine. (I’d save my children’s VHSes, too! 😀 )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All of the books were old paperbacks that were taking up room. Most had been reread many times 😉 and weren’t in very good shape, so I got almost nothing from them. I don’t miss them too much because I have so many more books! On the other hand, there were a small number that I ended up picking up again.

        Unique things like Manga books would be a little harder to deal with getting rid of. I can understand being sorry about that.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah. I don’t ever re-read my books, but I could understand them being a little worse for the wear. I feel like most books would be disposable if push came to shove and I was low on space (as I may be come moving time), but there are definitely certain books I would hold onto until my dying breath. :p

          Mm… I haven’t bought a manga since either. There’s still some lingering guilt about owning them… like they’re not worth it. sigh Amazing what childhood memories will do to a person. :p

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Of course I would prefer books that are brand new but I very rarely buy them for full price. I often go to a booksale where paperbacks are $1.50 and hardcovers are $2.00, sometimes they’re cheaper on Amazon OR I order from Thriftbooks because there’s free shipping in the US on orders over $10. Even if I did have unlimited funds for books, I don’t think I could justify paying almost $20 for just one books when I could get 4 for the same price elsewhere

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right?! These prices, man, and I get them. I do, but that doesn’t mean I can afford it or want to pay that price. Maybe if I REALLY wanted to support the author or something…

      Thriftbooks, eh?? I’ll have to look into it. I’ve been using Bookoutlet for a couple years, but I only ever do it when they have a sale. Extra discounts and keeps me from buying too often. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You always come up with the BEST discussion questions. Seriously. Pertaining to used books, I’ve found it easier to buy those online, specifically from Amazon, Half-Price Books, and B & N Marketplace where you can shop by condition. If I can find a ‘like new’ for $4, including shipping? I’d be crazy to buy a brand-new for 3x that cost.

    I get why some people like new – the smell, the feel of an unread book, and if they can afford to only buy new, then hooray for them! I’m perpetually broke, plus I have kids, so buying only new isn’t justified. Ever. Plus I have to factor in space, will I reread, etc, and more often than not, it’s not worth it to buy new.

    I’m also a huge supporter of the library, I’ve been in love with it since I was a kid. Allllll those free books at my fingertips, I can pick and choose like a kid I a candy store and pay zero. I get why you may not like it and as a germophobe myself, antibacterial wipes on the cover prior to reading is a beautiful thing.

    (I’m so looking forward to everyone’s responses on this question, I’ll be back to lurk and read them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahahaha! Your flattery really isn’t necessary. 😊

      I swear I must be out of the loop. Everyone keeps listing sites I never would’ve thought to look for used books, which means… I’m in trouble. 😶 Must. Protect. Back account.

      Ah. Re-reading is big topic, especially when thinking about buying books. (Had that discussion already too. 😉) But I don’t re-read. Ever. So I REALLY can’t justify buying books in the first place. I mean, after I read them they sit on a shelf… forever. But… they’re so pretty!!! Reasons why I used to only buy used… you know, when the parental units paid for them. (Not that I read much at that time so it wasn’t as big of a deal to buy a new book now and then.)

      Ah. Libraries. wince See. I’m not a germaphobe. I just don’t like visibly warn books and it’s the cover so much as the pages. When they look grimy, it’ll just keep distracting me from the story. :/ I got a couple audiobooks from one and now I do digital library rentals with my kindle. THAT is acceptable. Less cringe-worthy. 😉

      Thank you for joining the discussion! I hope you comment more often! 😄


      1. I suppose that’s why many of the books at my library are cleaner – most prefer digital rather than physical. We also have a year-round book sale at mine where you can pick up almost new and great condition library overstock for like .50-1.00 per book. Not a bad deal.

        Another good website is Better World Books, all of the sellers mentioned above plus BWB sell by condition. And don’t forget about eBay and Half.com, many new and cheap ones to be found there 🙂

        And p.s. – it’s not flattery, its truth!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. OH! I went to a library sale last year and bought like… at least a dozen books. HAhaha! IT was awesome, but my libraries around here (since I moved) aren’t as big. I’m not sure they do things like that, unfortunately. sigh

          Oo! Those books are cheap, aren’t they?? 0.0 Everyone’s giving me places to buy used books! I’m gonna drown in all of the new books if I’m not careful. :p THough, I probably wouldn’t use ebay. I don’t usually have a specific book I’m looking for, but rather peruse through the site’s stock and order based on that. (not very often, thank goodness.)

          P.s. Well, thank you! 😀 That means a lot to me.


    2. See, this whole post screamed library to me too. If you’re on a tight budget (I feel you, I am too) what is better than free? And the library is a lot likely to have newer books I would think than a used book store.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is a good point. If you’re looking for new books, the library is probably a really good place to look for new books. I know I saw some new ones in a library recently, but I’m sure it depends on the library and their funding. And they’re probably not too used yet, too. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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