I’m a huge fan of used bookstores, and it’s not just because the books are cheap inside.
Every book has a story, and not just the story that’s written within its pages. These books used to have a home—sometimes they were used textbooks that a student only needed for a semester and then gave up, but sometimes these books were loved and passed onto others that didn’t love them as much. Still, other books that were much enjoyed get traded into used bookstores in the hopes of finding more books to cherish and enjoy.
The older the book, to me, the longer it was loved before it found itself in a used bookstore for me to love.
Setting aside all of my romantic notions on the subject of used books, used books are also environmentally friendly, great ways of sharing ideas on a text, and can expose you to concepts you might not have been familiar with before picking up a used, marked up, formerly loved book.
Used books help the environment because they are, in essence, the best way of recycling. Old books aren’t broken down chemically and made into paper, nor are they burned to pollute the air with the ink and other dyes that go into its pages. Instead, they keep the same form they are currently in and avoid any sort of transformation that can leave traces of toxins behind in its stead.
Text books, or dense books, are also great to buy used because the person (or people) that owned the book before you more than likely left notes inside, and these notes can help you delve further into the text. Even better, sometimes these notes open up new avenues of thought you never would have traveled down without a little prompting. Selling your loved and marked up books to a used bookstore once you are no longer in need of a text is a great way of sharing your ideas with others.
I regularly make trips to my favorite used bookstores, and I know that I should share some of my formerly loved but no longer read books. But, hey, I’m an English major. That’s like asking me to part with my children. I’d rather adopt than give any up.