Booking Through Thursday: Something Old, Something New

All other things being equal–do you prefer used books? Or new books? (The physical specimen, that is, not the title.) Does your preference differentiate between a standard kind of used book, and a pristine, leather-bound copy?

While I do love the smell of new books and the feel of a new dust jacket under my fingers (I don’t care for leather-bound copies; it makes me think of antiques and get nervous about reading them), I prefer used books. As an enormous speculative fiction fan, I’m used to mass market paperbacks from the seventies and eighties, its pages yellowed and mildly crumbling, its cover sweet ridiculous, and sun damage on the page. While I didn’t enjoy The Once and Future King, I got a huge kick out of imagining the first owner—she clearly read the book while in a park, given the sun damage. I love that sense of history and community with other readers. Reading can be a solitary pursuit; why isolate yourself?

13 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Something Old, Something New

  1. Your thoughts are intriguing…I have veered from reading mostly paperbacks to choosing hardcovers and trade paperbacks. The smaller ones don’t shelve as well. I have special thoughts on old books, too.

    But now that I’m running out of shelf space, I have turned to e-books as an alternative when buying new. But I still love those new print versions, too.

    Here’s MY BTT POST

  2. If it’s something I’m really wanting that’s recently come out (Dresden Files books, The Name of the Wind, Brandon Sanderson books) I want a new copy, as new as I can get. I might even special order it. I’m usually one of those people who thinks “If I’m going to read a beat up book, I want to be the one to beat it up.”

    Used books are a good thing though. I would never have read all the Atticus Kodiak novels by Greg Rucka if I didn’t go through some used outlets. Sometimes used books can reveal some real gems. Last year, I read Nekropolis by Maureen McHugh and I thought it was spectacular. It’s out of print, so used is the only way to go for that book.

  3. I like my books to be in nice condition. If I can get them used in good condition, or in a condition that admits of being fixed with contact paper or dust jacket cover protectors, that is fine and dandy. I do love a nice old hardback.

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