I’m a book nut. It’s rare that I don’t have at least a couple books on the go, and sometimes it could be three or four! I read on the bus to and fron work every day, and before I go to bed. My kids have inherited my bibliophilia, too – their bookshelves are literally overflowing with all of the books they have and love. In our house, there are piles of books in corners, on tables, on top of bookshelves… literally overflowing.
We try to be frugal with our book purchases, because it can be expensive to always buy new ones. I do have a Kindle and pick up e-books fairly often, but they’re not always an economical alternative to their paper cousins, and it really doesn’t fill the craving to hold a real book in your hands. Convenient, but it’s not the same. When it comes to our library, we do an awful lot of thrifting – I’d say more than half our books are second-hand purchases, and many are old editions and vintage stuff. Here are some ideas on where you can find second-hand books.
- Thrift stores and flea markets sare a great place to find used books. Sure, there’s an awful lot of pop fiction and romance novels, but there can be some real treasures in there. And they are usually dirt cheap – last time I was at Value Village, I scored two craft books and a handful of kids’ books for $5.
- Second-hand bookstores are an obvious addition to this list. Many second-hand bookstores are pickier about what they’ll accept to sell, so you have a much greater chance of finding a variety of titles here, and not just the usual shelf-load of romance and thriller novels. Some second-hand bookstores may even have a trade-in system – the Fair’s Fair bookstores in Calgary will pay you for your used books, or give you double the cash in store credit on file for future purchases. This is where we do a lot of our book trading, it’s a great deal.
- Library and community book sales are another great source of inexpensive second-hand books. Many of these also double as fundraising for local libraries or other community/charity groups.
- Start a book swap with your friends! Organize a social afternoon or evening with some fellow bookworm to swap books over wine & appies.
- Online used booksellers like the Amazon Marketplace can also be a good place to find hard-to-find books at a good price. We’ve ordered dozens of books this way, in particular old kids’ books that my husband and I used to have when we were kids.
The best part about second-hand books to me is the thrill of the hunt. It’s not as straightforward as picking up something from the best-seller table in Chapters or Indigo, but it’s a lot more fun. You will find things you’ve never heard of before in your second-hand book search – some of them will be total bombs and some will be unexpected treasures, but you never know what’s out there until you go looking. If you love books, you’ll probably get hooked on the thrift hunt, too.