View Full Version : Used books ... Where do you buy them?

Saint Fool
10-20-2006, 07:58 AM
Dare I brag? Spent 15.00 at Goodwill and got over $190 in books. And I'm not talking dog-eared, fingerprinted ones. All are in great condition and at least two of them are out of print books that I had lost hope of finding copies of. .50 for paperbacks including trade-size and $1.00 for hardbacks.

Although we have several used trade/cash bookstores in town, I constantly do better at Goodwill. Garage sales are trending toward 1/2 cover price for some reason. I've often been surprised at books I've found at church rummage sales - and they are usually 10 cents to a quarter. Those church ladies don't want to be toting those books back to the storage room.

But our Goodwill store consistently gets best sellers, British books, coffee table art books, and oddities that I sometimes buy because I can't resist the idea of reading about hiking in France.

And they always seem to get books on writing all at once. Writer's Digest books, books on writing a best seller, etc. etc. I always hope it's because the writer learned their craft and didn't need them anymore and not because they gave up.

So if you buy them, what's your favorite place for good deals on used books?

A. Hamilton
10-20-2006, 08:07 AM
I've found some good ones at the Goodwill as well (and it's not a bad place to buy used dvds either.)
But my favorite place for used books is a little local used book chain here in Sacramento, Trent's Bookworm. I bring in bags full of old books once in a while and then receive 50% credit on all purchases. I've used $50 in credit over the last month and now need another good used bookcase, know where I can get one?? ;)

10-20-2006, 08:56 AM
Goodwill and garage sales.

Amazon if I need something specific.

10-20-2006, 09:03 AM
It works like a club, you send books out to get credit and choose from a list.
My wife got me I Robot because I wanted to re-read it. $1.86 for media rate U.S. postage. Not bad for the book of your choice.

10-20-2006, 09:22 AM
I'm germ and old phobic.

No used books for me.


10-20-2006, 09:58 AM
We do not have a Goodwill in this town of 5,000. I buy most of my used books at The Book Juggler, the only local used book shop. There is also a book sale once a year in the local community center. The books are donated by private parties, and the proceeds benefit the local library. In addition, I buy specific titles through the Amazon.com "Marketplace," and have had very good luck with that.

10-20-2006, 10:09 AM
I usually do the Goodwill and Salvation Army book sales. Sometimes my kids and I would go to the .50c store or another thrift store. They really like to visit Borders and spend time there when we get around to it. I also will donate my used books after they've circulated around the family for a while.

10-20-2006, 10:11 AM
Aren't these books all dirty with germs and like drool on them and sticky covers and stuff?

10-20-2006, 10:19 AM
depends my woman cleans them and treats them so they won't smell of smoke and double checks that there are no dead book mites. so order from her!

10-20-2006, 10:20 AM
Aren't these books all dirty with germs and like drool on them and sticky covers and stuff?

I've never yet ordered a used book that showed up with gunk on the pages or covers. If I found something like that at the book sale or used book shop, I sure wouldn't buy it. I bought a copy of "Trillby" (1890-something, first edition) in what I'd call Very Good Condition at our local used book store. The gilt on the page edges still looks perfect.

This reminds me of me ol' school days, when the girl sitting in front of me saw the teacher coming and ditched her soggy piece of taffy by tossing it into her geography book and shutting the cover. I watched her trying to peel it loose later, too.

10-20-2006, 10:21 AM
Local charity shop, and a second-hand book store down the road from me called The Neverending Story. Oddly enough, the charity shop gets in some really quality books. Just recently I picked up a trade papaerback of Alias Grace in perfect condition for R12. (less than $2, I think)

10-20-2006, 10:33 AM
Most of the used books I buy come from Friends of the Library book sales that are held 4 times a year. Paperbacks for 50¢ apiece, hardcovers for a buck. Other times I pick up one or two from whatever used book store I run across when on vacation.

I really need to stop buying them, however. You know those boxes you buy copier paper in? I have four of those full. You know those large, brown kraft paper grocery bags? Yep: six.


10-20-2006, 10:54 AM
Yep, the library book cart is my main source of used books-- $.25 for paperbacks, $.50 for hardcovers. What a steal! Have also bought from the church thrift store and garage sales. Will not buy children's books used anymore, though, because Billy's so right... eeew at the unidentifiable things I've found in kids' books!

10-20-2006, 12:34 PM
This is a great site for book exchanges: http://www.bookmooch.com

10-20-2006, 05:03 PM
I'm jealous, because last year all the local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores jacked their book prices way, way up, paperbacks going for $1.99, hardcovers from $2.99 to $4.99. Still a bargain, but much less a bargain than their former prices. (Their prices on almost everything did the same leap, making it an inconvenience for bargain hunters like me while pricing themselves beyond the reach of the poor they are supposed to serve.)

My library's used book sale is still a good deal, especially the last four hours, when the price is not by the book but by the grocery bag.

Maryn, who's already got more books than she can read

Carrie in PA
10-20-2006, 05:54 PM
Annual library book sale - we have our local library, and then the next county over has a library, so we hit both of those sales.

I also buy a good many used books on Amazon's marketplace if I'm looking for something in particular.

10-20-2006, 06:11 PM
Annual library book sale - we have our local library, and then the next county over has a library, so we hit both of those sales.
Yup, library's book sale, except the one near me has it three times a year, and the books and magazines aren't grungy. I love bag sale days. At the end of the week, you can stuff as many books as you want into any size bag, and you only pay a dollar. I bring my super-size tote bag and drag it behind me. (Hmmm...maybe I should use one of my kids' duffels next time!)

Edited to note: I just read Maryn's post. Those bag sale days are great!

SC Harrison
10-20-2006, 06:19 PM
I also do the semi-annual Friends Of The Library booksale, but I wait until the last day, when they get frantic and allow you to fill up a bag for $5.00. :)

I am also drawn to used book stores like a moth to a flame. I rarely buy anything at Borders or B&N (except espresso), but I always buy something in a used book store.

eta: I just noticed the other bag-people above me. Gotta love the Bag.

10-20-2006, 06:42 PM
The once-yearly Seattle Library book sale is a fantastic source.

And just yesterday I found out our local Barnes & Noble is having a massive sale - everything in the store is seriously marked down so they won't have to move inventory to the new building (!) I'm heading there straight after work :)

10-20-2006, 09:44 PM
Rennaisance Books in Milwaukee.

It's in a spectacular, rotting old building downtown. Four huge floors jammed to the gills with books. I mean jammed. Piles everywhere.

It's perfect. Everything you want in a used book store. It's like something out of a movie.

10-20-2006, 09:51 PM
Online if I'm looking for something specific (Amazon, Alibris, etc). My local library has "sidewalk sales" of books they are getting rid of, as well as books donated by the Friends of the Library. Paperbooks from $.25 to $1.00; hardbacks, DVDs and videos from $.50 to $2.00. Every time I go to the library I seem to buy a book. Sometimes there are some really nice books for $2.00.

Anyone need any Nora Roberts or Anne Rice books? There's a glut of those.

10-20-2006, 09:53 PM

<there, i feel better now. :)>

Old Hack
10-20-2006, 10:37 PM
www.abebooks.com (or .co.uk) is fab.

I'm trying to find a copy of Richard Cytowic's "Synesthesia: a union of the senses" for under $40. Can I find it? Nope. Missed out on an $8 copy at abe just last week when my connection went down. By the time it came back up the book was sold. Makes me very cross!

10-21-2006, 12:25 AM
Yard sales, rummage sales, flea markets, used bookstores, local independant bookstores that sell old library books, Goodwill/Salvation Army, thift stores and consignment shops, and library book sales.

My dad used to clean up at his local library book sale. On the last day, he bought them for a dollar a box (apple or banana box-sized), and resold them at flea markets. If you've got the time and storage space, it's a great way to make some extra cash. I think he turned a hundred dollar investment into about $1200 in book resales one year.

10-21-2006, 12:58 AM
I used to buy a lot of books from Value Village (thrift store) but they have become the biggest rip off (people donate things for "charity" it goes to this store and they charge crazy amounts). I also buy from the library if I see anything I like, they usually have a cart full of books they are selling.

I haven't bought books in a long time, but I go to the library weekly.

10-21-2006, 03:00 AM
They still have libraries?


10-21-2006, 03:32 AM
Charity shops, car boot sales and the library when it sells off its old stock.

And yes, I buy new ones too.

10-21-2006, 03:36 AM
My husband and I have also spent the last couple months visiting used book stores around Chicago. Myopic is faboo and the Powell's isn't bad. I hadn't even thought of checking out the local Goodwill until I read this thread.

10-21-2006, 03:39 AM
Well, anyone around Hattiesburg, MS - I'm selling quite a few new books for $1. each - this weekend at the 49 swap meet.

I bought them new a year ago and listed hundreds on Amazon - sold most of them and let alot expire. So, I have some excellent books I just want to get rid of because they are taking up space.

Booth # 65. See ya there.


10-21-2006, 03:45 AM
Used bookstores are the best! You never know what great books you'll come across.

I've bought from the Goodwill, antique stores, the library, and I just bought my first used book from Amazon.
We also have two great used books stores here. I take them some of the books I've already read and receive credit for future purchases. I also use our library a lot.

10-21-2006, 03:59 AM
I used to live across the street from a half price books, I'm talking literally walking distance. I miss it. I just found the closest equivalent that's nearby, but they didn't have maestro's book or Liam Jackson's, so I left in a huff (after buying Cell by Stephen King for eight bucks).

10-21-2006, 04:53 AM
Paradox, a little local store that is piled with books all the way to the ceiling, with aisles so small you can barely squeeze through (not an exxageration). Everything costs about 0.50- $3, unless you're me (a very, very faithful costumer) who can get everything for ~~~free~~~.

I usually stick to smaller stores for the best bargains, although the books are usually really old. For decent bargains on new books, I have friends in every bookstore around here, or discounts.

And the library, of course.

10-21-2006, 04:55 AM
Why in the world have Salvation Army and Goodwill, the poor and homeless shopping paradise, inflated? That doesn't make any friggin sense at all. I'm hitting all of their employees.

Carrie in PA
10-21-2006, 04:56 AM
Why in the world have Salvation Army and Goodwill, the poor and homeless shopping paradise, inflated? That doesn't make any friggin sense at all. I'm hitting all of their employees.

Because all the items are donated. Then the $ from the sale of all those items goes to their programs.

10-21-2006, 04:59 AM
Ah. Still though, it doesn't seem right for them to charge more since they are, in fact, "charitable" organizations. Why don't they do what a lot of beneficial organizations do and tape a poster stating a good cause to a coffee can and spread them around so they can continue to give and not take?

Saint Fool
10-21-2006, 05:08 AM
Maryn - I hope that isn't a national trend for Goodwills!!!

10-21-2006, 05:11 AM
I love auction sales. They sell books by lots and you have to take the stuff away yourself so people do not always want multiple boxes of 'old' books. More for me, I say! Our house burned last year so i have been having loads of fun replacing my library. At the end of the day auction sales have great deals also because everyone just wants to go home. Furniture, books and miscellaneous things go for the minimum bid. I got a full set of adirondack patio furniture for $20.00 recently because it was toward the end of the day. I was almost as excited as i had been about the two boxes of original beautiful Emily Loring & Zane Gray books. I get goosebumpy just thinking about it. Great thread, thanks for the resources everyone,

Rolling Thunder
10-21-2006, 05:13 AM
There's a small shop called 'Paperback Exchange' in LeMoyne that I just noticed the other day. I think I'll stop in and see what they have tomorrow.

10-21-2006, 05:14 AM
Our house burned down when I was about 6 or 7. Even then, I had a pretty good sized library. I shoved the bookcase out of the window before leaving. :D Still got those books.