Reasons to Buy Second Hand Books As Christmas Gifts

Even acim author debate has changed our shopping habits somewhat, the mere thought of buying second hand goods as Christmas gifts is still a little on the nose to most. As a second hand book dealer I’ve never really understood this. There are so many advantages to buying used goods, books in particular, that it just seems ridiculous to always buy new. Pride has a lot to do with it I think. We equate new with value and with personal status, so we buy new.

We don’t want to be seen giving a ‘scabby’ present. Never mind that buying new requires new resources, that buying new is money in the pocket of a multinational rather than a human being, that buying new requires only a flippant flick through the latest sales brochure rather than any real thought. Now, I’m not saying don’t buy new. All I’m suggesting is that in some cases buying second hand makes more sense than buying new. So, in an effort to reduce the stigma attached to purchasing used books as Christmas gifts, and to be honest used goods in general, I’ve come up with five reasons to buy second hand this Christmas.

Save Money – More Bang for Your Buck

When is it more important to be price conscious than at Christmas when you’re already digging deep into your pockets for food, holidays, festive season parties, and activities to keep the kids entertained. Buying a second hand book as a gift rather than buying new means saving money. A new book will set you back anywhere between $15 and $40, whereas a good quality second hand novel can be purchased for between $5 and $20. Or, seen in a different light, buying second hand books means you can get more for your money. Rather than buying your loved one the latest John Grisham in hardcover for $35, wouldn’t it make more sense to buy three of his titles for the same price? I know which I’d prefer if I was the receiver.

NB: A good used book dealer should be offering books in ‘good’, very good’ and ‘as new’ condition, so don’t make the mistake of assuming that second hand equals poor quality. It’s not uncommon to be able to purchase a pre-loved book that looks like it has barely been read.

Conserve Resources – Get An Environmental Gold Star

Not only does buying second hand books’ keep them from going into landfill, but it requires the use of no new resources. Consider this. In total, approximately 15 million copies of Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth have been sold since it was first published in 1989, and on average about 100,000 new copies are produced each year. That’s a lot of copies of one book and you can imagine how many of them have either gone to landfill, or are sitting in a second hand bookstore just waiting to be purchased. Do you really need to purchase the 15,000,001th new copy of this book? Wouldn’t it be better for Mother Earth if you purchased a used copy? The choice is yours, but if you want to earn yourself an environmental gold star, second hand is the option. It’s the fun kind of recycling!

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