I am an avid fan of buying used books. I’m constantly going to the one used book store that we have in my town or going out of town to visit bigger cities with more used book stores. I also like using Ebay’s Half.com to buy used (and sometimes new) books for as little as .75 cents for a hardcover! Don’t get me wrong though, when Barnes & Noble had their 2 for $20 hardcover YA “Summer Reads” sale I definitely went crazy and bought $100+ worth of books…
I didn’t realize that there were so many people out there that did not like to buy used books, Eden and Jenn are just two of those people! I totally understand their reasoning of not knowing who had the books or what touched the pages before you got the book, thus only buying brand new books. For some reason, maybe I am a filthy human being, I don’t have the same qualms about used books as they do, so I’m more often than not buying used!
Half.com, the website I always buy used from, states in their guidelines that hardcover books must be listed in different conditions – Brand New, Like New, Very Good, Good, and Acceptable. I’ve found that the “Very Good” condition is exactly what I expect out of a very well taken care of used book. The slipcover of the hardback book must be in like new condition with no visible wear and tear and the pages must have no writing or other markings on them.
I have only been purchasing used books from the website for about 2 months now and I have two examples of the pros and cons of purchasing used books from an online retailer.
Pro’s: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
I bought this book in “Very Good” condition from half.com. There was no mention of anything peculiar about the book when I bought it, so I went ahead and snatched it off of there for $3.32 (plus $3 shipping). When I received this book I was pretty excited because it was basically brand new. My boyfriend (being the GoT superfan that he is) did a little more research and found that this was a first edition, first printing of the book. Just a quick Google search shows that this book resells for anywhere from $35 to $200 depending on condition and we got it for $6.32!
Con’s: The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan
On the opposite end of the spectrum I purchased the Serpent’s Shadow at the same time in “Very Good” condition, as I always do, and received the above pictured copy of the book. Obviously the book was not in very good condition as soon as I opened the package I was pretty disappointed. Besides the slipcover being completely mangled and chewed up, the pages were dirty and totally unappealing. *Note, I did email the seller and they refunded the money and told me to keep the book, so I’m not super upset about it or anything…
This demonstrates the differences in quality that you can get between new and used books. Does the issue that came up above make me hesitate about buying more used books online? No. I’ll keep buying used books online and just keep my fingers crossed that I don’t accidentally get a lower quality book than what I paid for.
Please comment and let me know what your opinions are on buying used vs new books, I would love to hear from you!