new or secondhand? | a book-buying habits discussion post

Today, we’re talking book-buying habits.

I go back and forth between what kinds of books I like to buy. While paperbacks are my favorite form, I love the convenience of audiobooks and the low cost of ebooks. And there’s nothing like digging through a secondhand bookstore and finding an absolute gem.

There’s no right way to buy books; all methods and formats have their benefits and flaws. Here are some of the pros and cons of buying new versus secondhand.

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New books support authors. When buying new books, the author gets a cut of royalties from your purchase.

New purchases keep books in print longer. Buying new books sends a message to the publisher that the book is still in demand. If readers are still willing to buy the book, the publisher is likely to print another run of the book.

The books are better quality. Because they haven’t been previously owned, you get a nice, fresh copy direct from the publisher.

You know exactly what you’re getting. With any new purchase, you can be confident that your purchase is going to be clean, unmarked, and up to the publisher’s standards.


New books use more paper. The downside of new books is that they aren’t the most sustainable option.

They’re more expensive. For anyone on a tight budget who still wants to have access to new titles, new copies are tough to come by at reasonable prices.


They’re more sustainable. The book already existed before you purchased it, so it took no additional resources to create.

They have character and history. There’s something so romantic about owning a book that’s changed hands a few times. I think it adds a level of character and intrigue to the physical book itself.

You can find hidden gems. Sometimes, you’ll uncover a signed copy or a first edition at the same price as other books. This has actually happened to me a few times and it’s such a sweet surprise.

They’re often less expensive. Buying secondhand is a great way to build your library while being conscious of your budget.


No money goes to the author. Unlike new books, used books don’t earn any royalties for the author.

They can be lower quality. While it’s entirely possible to find a like new book while shopping secondhand, it’s more common to find books with a little wear and tear.

The most important thing is that you are a reader no matter what kind of books you buy (or if you don’t buy books at all). Whether you prefer paper books, audiobooks, ebooks, or another form, reading makes you a valid reader.

Do you prefer buying new or secondhand?

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15 thoughts on “new or secondhand? | a book-buying habits discussion post

  1. A lot of book bloggers seem to buy new, but I love to read second-hand, on my kindle or from my local library. It keeps my book hoard down and is way more sustainable. Plus, I’ve gotten some signed copies or cool versions that way!

    Thanks for sharing! x

  2. This is a great discussion topic! I thought a lot about this few years ago, during a time when I used to buy most of my books from second-hand bookstores, and I felt guilty because the authors did not receive any royalties from my purchase.

    One compromise could be to buy new books of contemporary authors (and thus support the authors), and to buy second-hand books of classics / older books of which the author is no longer alive.

  3. I love this discussion topic! I don’t have too many used bookstores near where I live, but it’s always so much fun finding a cozy used bookshop and spending hours looking for that hidden gem! However, I sadly think I will always be loyal to Barnes & Noble, the atmosphere is so relaxing! Thanks for such a fun post! ๐Ÿฅฐ

  4. I mostly buy new books, but have when needed bought used books to complete certain series. But most of my books, probably 80% are ebooks, which I hope will change in the future, I want to have full bookshelves again. ๐Ÿ˜€

    ~ Corina | The Brown Eyed Bookworm

      1. Ebooks are great for the wallet but nothing beats a full bookshelf ๐Ÿ˜

  5. This is a great post and really interesting discussion!! I think I buy a good mix of new and secondhand books. Most times, I only purchase a book once I’ve already read and found that I enjoyed it, since I have limited bookshelf space and the privilege of library access. It’s kind of up in the air whether or not I buy a book new or secondhand, since it depends on whether or not the secondhand stores near me have it, or if I possibly have gift cards to use somewhere like Barnes & Noble!

    I do love the idea of buying a book someone else has already owned, though- there really is such a romantic appeal to it, as you said. Sometimes ones I get secondhand have writing in them or names in the front cover and I find it to be such a nice touch. Amazing post!๐Ÿ’›

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Olivia!! I totally agree about investing in a book I’ve already read and loved. Sometimes, if I read a book and know I’ll want to reread it or annotate it, then I’ll invest in a physical copy. And getting books with writing in them is so lovely and romantic omg

  6. I love buying both new and second hand books! Second handbooks are cheaper and good for my wallet but itโ€™s feel good to be able to support your favorite authors by buying their newly released books.

  7. I rarely buy secondhand books, mostly because it’s more difficult to get the exact book you want, unless you’re willing to buy used on Amazon I guess. I’m more likely to buy a used copy of classic literature because Half Price is more likely to have it and why spend extra money on a book that’s literally available for free online?