On Buying Used Books

It could probably go without saying, but I read a lot of books.

Good books, bad books, big books, small books, books I agree with, books I don't, books with pictures, books for kids... you get the idea. I love to read, and while I'm no stranger to the world of eBooks, nothing beats the experience of curling up in front of the fire with a stack of dead trees.

But, as I'm sure you can imagine, buying physical books can be both financially and physically unsustainable. The damn things are expensive, and as much as I love to line my bookshelves with the wisdom of the ages, it's hard to feel particularly good about the arboreal waste it represents.

While I can and do support my local library (both physically and digitally), I am a sucker for marginalia. I like to fully own my books, and fill them with my thoughts and notes. It's how I retain what I read, which was a hard-won habit that I don't want to lose any time soon. So, what is a guy to do?

Well, when it comes to fiction, I've learned to be flexible. The library is my friend, and the Libby app in particular allows me to borrow books directly on my Kindle. But what about non-fiction? The types of books that generate a ton of notes, highlights, and bookmarks? That's where used books have become my saving grace.

With the exception of gifts and the intentional support of independent authors, nearly every book in my library (otherwise known as every semi-flat surface in my house) was purchased from a thrift-store or used bookstore, which is not only 85-90% cheaper, but also gives some potential landfill fodder a much longer life (and a little extra love).

You see, the wonderful thing about books is that no matter how old and worn they become, the words don't change. The message will be the same today as it was the day it rolled off the presses, but what is different about a used book is that you can almost feel its history. The hands that have held it, and the people it has inspired. Financial and ecological concerns aside, used books have character that only time can create.


This is post 016 of #100DaysToOffload


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