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Tips For Buying Used Books

tips for buying used books bookstore front

On the lookout for books? We have tips for buying used books to help you score that perfect book haul.


Know the store traffic

Observe what time the store is at its busiest and avoid these hours to spare yourself from book shopping hell. Also, try to ask the staff when they usually display new stock and if they can reserve book(s) for you. I find that people can be very helpful if you just ask politely.


Know the price of a new copy

Before letting go of that cash, check the price of a new copy and compare it to the price of a used one. If you are okay with the price difference, then by all means. Otherwise, I suggest you take a deep breath, put that book down, and walk calmly out of the store. Try your luck in other stores or perhaps, consider buying an e-book instead?


MORE: I bought second-hand books online! WORTH IT BA? 


tips for buyingn used books sign


Go for trade paperback copies

Trade paperbacks are similar to hardcover books in terms of size, pagination, and quality of paper; the only difference is the soft binding.

Go to the trade paperback section if you are looking for a used copy of a recently released book. Publishers only release the cheaper mass-market paperbacks once the hardback and trade paperback sales have slowed down. Also, trade paperback copies are generally more durable than the mass-market ones so that extra peso is worth it.

(for more info on trade paperback printing, check


Go for older editions

Except for textbooks, getting the old edition of a book is not a big deal. Most of the time, a new edition is released if the book will have a change in cover art, foreword, etc.. things not related to the content/story. Unless you collect book editions, settling for older copies never harmed anybody, certainly not your wallet.



Have you considered buying the e-book version? E-books are generally cheaper because it does not carry the heavy cost of printing and distribution. I know, reading and holding the pages of an actual copy is still superior but for a good book, a girl gotta do what a girl gotta do. I have a personal rule to only buy the actual copy of a new book if it’s not yet available in e-book version, and I can’t find a used copy, and if I have extra cash to spare.

What are your tips for buying used books? Leave us a comment below!


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