Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why I love used books so much

People are always asking me what it is about used books that I love so much. Well, first and foremost, the obvious is that they're a fraction of the cost of brand new books. I watch people drop $25 on a new hardcover book, or $15 for a trade paperback, etc., and that baffles me. I've gotten books that look brand-new, like they've never even been opened, for just a few dollars. But, to each their own. I don't judge. That's just not how I choose to roll, haha.

I don't think I've paid full price for a book in well over ten years. I started in college, going to the local used bookstore in town, where I found a copy of She's Come Undone for maybe $1, and I took it back to my dorm room and just devoured the book. I read it at a really pivotal time in my life, because I was a freshman in college, and struggling a bit to find my way- I was having difficulty making friends because I've always been on the shy/quiet side, classes were harder than I thought they would be, my time management skills weren't quite the greatest just yet, my roommate and I didn't really vibe well together, I was breaking up with a guy from back home, etc. This book... well, it just came along at just the right time, because I was starting to feel like I was coming undone too. To this day, it's still one of my all-time favorite books and will always hold a special place in my heart.   :-)

But it's not just about the price or the bargain aspect of a used book. The cool thing about used books, is that each book has a story within themselves. You know? Used books have a history, a personality. They've taken journeys, been places, visited other people. They have a past. And that's before you even open the book. It makes a book special and unique. It gives them character.

I've bought used books with bookmarks already in them. With personalized inscriptions, to people I don't know, from people I don't know, but now I feel like I know them a little bit. I bought a copy of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister last year (which I still haven't gotten a chance to read- it's on the list!), and you know what was in it? Letters to a girl from her family. I don't know if she'd been away at college, or camp, or what. One was from her younger sister, who wrote to say that she missed her sister, and their parents missed her, and the dog missed her, and that she'd just started school, and was happy to report that the lockers are "too small to be shoved into", and that she's made a lot of new friends. And she put stickers all over the letter, and reminded her sister to wear sunscreen and wanted to know how the lunches were wherever she was. How adorable is that? And there was also a letter from their father, talking about how everyone missed her, and they're still looking for a house, and did she get the pictures that her mother had e-mailed her? I read those letters and could honestly picture the young girl and the father who wrote them, could actually visualize them in my head. I kept those letters. They're still in the book. I plan on keeping them too. It doesn't seem right to throw them away.

And take the book I'm reading now- Just Between Us, by Cathy Kelly. Yeah, I could have bought it on amazon or ebay or a local bookstore. But my copy? For starters, it's from Ireland. There's a price sticker from a bookstore called "Dubray Books", which I googled and it's a bookstore in Dublin. But I could tell it was from abroad because of the price sticker. Instead of a dollar sign, there's a pound sign (the currency, not the #, LOL). This book is autographed by the author. And it has a personal inscription in it, and it says, "Judy- Lots of Love, Jo XOXO. Enjoy! I am reading it too!" I got all that- and a great book to boot- for $1.

And that, my friends, is why I love used books so much.

And now, I'm going to unload the dishwasher and then read all of your lovely blogs.   :-)


Anonymous said...

I love cheap books! Typically, I just get mine from the library because they're so expensive! Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Your post could be a great endorsement of bookcrossing.com - do you know it? I appreciate your love for used books, especially the story and journey of the book.