BTT: Something Old, Something New

The question was:

All other things being equal–do you prefer used books? Or new books? (The physical speciman, that is, not the title.) Does your preference differentiate between a standard kind of used book, and a pristine, leather-bound copy?

I have often discussed my affinity for used book stores.   Half Price Books, library book sales and my own library’s used book operation are frequent haunts.

I love that they are cheap.  I love that you never know what you are going to find – both the titles and the notes inside.  At the same time, I don’t often buy used books that are really beaten up.  I can’t stand creases on the spine, so I rarely buy mass market paperbacks.  I won’t knowingly buy a book that is underlined or highlighted.  Because I have so many books in my queue, I can be very picky about what I am buying.  I am never at risk of not having something available that I want to read.

Last year, I read E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime.  I didn’t check the copy well enough, and there were underlinings and notes at the end of each chapter.  They were very distracting and a fabulous book was marred by the thoughts of someone..not that bright.  But the book is good enough to keep in my collection!  So I am on the lookout for another copy.  A nice one.  For a dollar or less.

2 Comments on “BTT: Something Old, Something New

  1. I always felt the same way about buying used books in college. I would look at the notes in the book, and wonder about the person who had it before. Then every once in a while there would be that edition where some idiot highlighted every other word. I figured they just didn't get the point of highlighting, and possibly the class. I screened my used books much more carefully after that.

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