When my wife and I go shopping for books, she always wants to go to Barnes & Noble, and I always want to go to a mom-and-pop bookstore in our community. She frowns and tells me that all of the books there are used, and I always respond by saying that second hand books are fine by me.
My love affair with books began many moons ago, when I was a young child and started reading the Encyclopedia Brown series. I knew then that I would always derive great pleasure from reading, and that eventually evolved into a love of writing as well.
I made it a point to attend book fairs on a regular basis, and of course, those have plenty of second hand books. It never really mattered to me whether the book was brand new, because to me, that really had nothing to do with the book itself. It was still the same story, and unless it was just tattered to the point of being almost unreadable, what did it matter to me if it belonged to somebody else first?
Another great thing about second hand books is that they are a lot cheaper than buying a book brand-new. If it is up to me, I would rather buy four or five used books and have a great selection to choose from than just one brand-new book.
Over the years, I have increased my book collection exponentially and now have more than 3,000 volumes in my personal library. The interesting thing about it is that the vast majority of them are second hand books, and I am completely OK with that.
One of my favorite places to go shopping for books is a local thrift store. They have an extensive collection of books, all of which are second hand, and I will find books there that I can’t find at other bookstores, or that I would otherwise have to order online.
One such book that comes to mind was “New Grub Street” by George Gissing. I looked in a number of stores for that book, willing to pay whatever price they charged just to make it a part of my personal collection, and ended up finding a used copy of it at the thrift store for 50 cents!
My wife is always giving me a hard time about it because she says that I don’t know where those books have been. The fact of the matter is that I have never contracted a serious illness from reading or handling second hand books. I can get more for my money, and a lot of used book sales have a lot of hidden treasures. I know that some people want new books, but second hand books are fine with me.