Should We Buy Second Hand Books

should we buy second hand books

What is something you are always eager to buy? Shoes? Clothes? Chocolates, maybe? Let me tell you about myself. ‘Books’ is the answer. I permanently save some amount of money so that I can buy at least one book a month. But, sometimes, the book I want is just too expensive for me to purchase. What do I do them? Well, in such a case, I go for second-hand books!

I know many people who always prefer to buy new books and are very skeptical about purchasing second-hand books. They won’t say they’re wrong, but those who buy second-hand books aren’t mistaken either. As for me, it depends upon the situation. I have both new and second-hand books in my collection.

There are both pros and cons to buying second-hand books. Though second-hand books are cheap and pretty easy to fit into one’s budget, those books might not be in their best shape. We can get books not published inside a store that sells second-hand books, but the reader might not live long.

Whether buying second-hand books is a good or a bad thing is an argument that needs to be seen from both perspectives and it’s not my place to tell you what to do. So, why don’t we look at both advantages and disadvantages associated with purchasing second-hand books and then you can decide for yourself!

Advantages Of Buying Second Hand Books

Here are some of the pro-points of buying second-hand books.

1. They Are Affordable

money on a stack of books

The main problem with buying new books is that they’re expensive and sometimes, we might not have the budget for them. Buying second-hand books solve that problem.

Second-hand books are readily available at second-hand book shops or charity shops and cost half or even less than the cost of a new book, making them cheap enough to fit into tight budgets.

Second-hand books are super affordable and even the people who are short on money can buy the book they’re looking for. You can go for fresh copies if your pocket allows, but second-hand books are good enough themselves.

2. You Can Get Out-Of-Publishing Books

5 books in a row

Old is indeed gold, but it’s also true that finding that gold is hard enough for a person to give up. The same goes for old books. If you’re going on looking for fresh copies of books published very long ago, you’ll probably never find it.

Second-hand books solve this problem. Someone, at some point, might have bought that book, and if we look for it, there’s a high possibility of us finding those books, which are out of publishing now, in second-hand book stores.

When books go run out of publishing, their value increases and they also become hard to find in fresh pieces but buying them second-hand lets us experience those original books at the same lowered price. 

3. It Helps The Environment

book on grass

We’ve heard ‘Save paper, save trees, save the environment from a very early stage of our life and most of us even work on it in different ways. But how can we promote it as readers? By reusing books!

If more and more people start buying and reading second-hand books, new books published in limited quantity will automatically lead to less paper usage and it’ll prove to be a great help to the environment.

It might seem like a small thing when thinking about it, but if we look at the bigger picture, continuing this practice for a few years will magically heal the environment.

4. There Can Be Secret Treasure In There

flowers inside a book

Since second-hand books are already used, there’s a chance that we might get an unexpected excellent or helpful gift inside the book that we didn’t even have to pay extra for!

Used books may contain small and beautiful bookmarks, beautifully highlighted small quotations, helpful stick notes, and if we are lucky enough, that particular text and even turn out to be an autographed copy!

From my personal experience, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that second-hand books are full of surprises as you don’t know who the previous user was and what they might have left for us.

Disadvantages Of Buying Second Hand Books

Here are some of the con-points of buying second-hand books.

1. They Can Be Untidy

a damaged paper

There are different kinds of readers. Some like to keep their books tidy, while others doodle and mark things on their books. The habits of ones might annoy the others,

When buying second-hand books, especially if we’re buying them online, we don’t know what the previous owner did to that book or what condition it is in. The reader might contain folding lines and even coffee/food stains if the previous owner was not caring enough about their books.

If you’re going for second-hand books, try not to order them online as if you go and buy them physically, there’s a chance that you’ll spot something that you might not want to have in your book.

2. Reduced Book Life

a little damaged books

Like I said before, buying second-hand books online isn’t the best choice to make. There’s another reason behind it. We don’t know how long that particular piece has been in storage and how carefully it was stored.

As second-hand books are already used, they need extra care when given away by the owners. If the book is not given much attention, its condition is likely to worsen and by the time it reaches us, that book might not have left much to live.

The book we receive might have broken bindings, torn or detached pages, and even the pages might have started to fade away!

3. They Need Extra Care

a lady cleaning a book

Since we are buying an already used book at a low price, we need to pay the whole amount in other ways. We need to take care of them much better than we do with our regular books.

We don’t know how much, and in what way the previous owner has used that book, so being the new owners of the books, it’s our responsibility to keep the books with extra carefulness, or they’ll become useless.

If you are ready to own up to these responsibilities, then you are good to go with second-hand books, but if not, I’d suggest not going for them as you’ll end up spending your money on something that’ll not even last long.


These were some of the points I’d suggest you keep in perspective if you’re considering buying second-hand books. Second-hand books get at a good bargain price, but it’ll be more secure and worthy if you go and buy them in physical stores

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