BOOKS
09/04/2013 07:39 am ET

13 Reasons You Should Always Buy Used Books

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Ah, used books. They smell like childhood, and they're good for the environment. What could be better?

Of course, we salute devoted library-goers. But when you know a book will be a keeper, or at least one conducive to a whole lot of margin-writing, we suggest buying the half-priced, beat-up version.

Of course, there are exceptions: Used versions of Stephen King's sequel to "The Shining," or the final installment of Margaret Atwood's "MaddAddam" trilogy won't exactly be floating around in abundance right now. But as far as we're concerned, a previously owned book should be opted for whenever possible. Here's why:

1. They're affordable.

$29.99 is a steep price to pay. That's three matinees! Six Starbucks drinks! You get the gist. If you can afford to drop that kind of cash every time a new release catches your eye, be our guest. But your financial situation should never deter you from reading, which is precisely why you should buy used versions instead.

2. Browsing your favorite bookstore is the perfect Sunday afternoon pastime.

Scanning shelves can help you discover books and authors you didn't even know existed.

3. Plus, there's always a chance you could meet the love of your life in a bookstore.

...as you both reach for the latest Neil Gaiman title.

4. Or at least seek out recommendations from the totally cute incredibly knowledgeable bookstore employees.

It is their job, after all.

5. Used bookstores need your help and support.

They aren't just for selling books; they organize readings, literacy programs, and community events.

6. E-readers are great and all, but some books just have to be read the old fashioned way.

"Middlemarch" may weigh as much as a small pet, but reading it on a screen is like watching "Avatar" on an iPod.

7. The 7th edition isn't really that different from the 8th edition.

Your professor is being a little nitpicky when insisting that you have to buy the latest textbooks. Especially when it comes to, say, Shakespearean studies or the history of Romanticism.

8. They have that old book smell.


Paper, ink and glue, when exposed to light, heat and moisture
: Nothing compares.

9. You never know who owned them before you.

Which is kind of exciting, right?

10. The margin notes can be entertaining.

Sure, Kindle has a lending library, but physical used books often have margin notes, little insights into the mind of their previous owners. Some may offer fresh perspectives on the themes; Others are intimate glances at another person's reading experiences. There's something whimsical about margin notes - they're a way to literally leave your mark.

11. You won't feel AS awful for bending the spine...

Because you obviously bought it that way.

12. Or losing the dust jacket, or staining it with your morning coffee.

Weathered books are great for beach reading, subway reading, and all sorts of other high-intensity situations that you wouldn't dare subject a new, pristine book to.

13. You can pass it along to someone else.

Acquiring and passing along a book gives the object a life of its own, and creates a more tangible community of readers. We can't think of any better reason than that.

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