A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BUYING SECOND-HAND BOOKS ONLINE

Looking for rare and collectible books to stock up on this season?

14.09.2020

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Despite being an avid online shopper, I have only recently discovered the world of online second-hand book shopping. For me, there is a real magic about wondering into an IRL second book shop - the smell, the sense of calm and discovery. Though, as we become more reliant on online purchasing, due to the C-word, as a lover of literature it’s ultimately self-serving know-how.

WHERE TO START?

The world of online second-hand book shopping is not exactly a new thing. Though, Google searches can be overwhelming and often results in far too many Amazon links. Instead, use a tailored search engine, such as usedbooksearch.co.uk. This works especially well if you are looking for a specific title, as it sources all second-hand stockists that stock that book.

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THE INSTA-TREASURE TROVE

The appeal of second-hand book shopping oft lies in the discovery. Unintentionally stumbling across a book you’ve been longing to read or discovering one that you find utterly intriguing (perhaps a unique book cover of a classic you loved as a child or a lesser-known title from your favourite author). If you are looking to recreate that sense of ambiguity, turn to Instagram. Often I will find myself scrolling through accounts, such as Category Is Books and Book Bento Box to inspire my ever-growing reading list.

FOR AFFORDABILITY

Look no further than eBay. It may require some filtering to get to the good stuff but it’s worth it. Tip: Make sure to always read the product description, too many times have I accidentally purchased a pdf file instead of an actual book!

THE VIRTUAL CHARITY SHOP

Oxfam has a huge selection of books online, from children’s classics to the principles of economics. If you’re quite specific about the condition of your books, Oxfam has a handy tool, which allows you to filter based on book condition.

FOR RARE FINDS AND FIRST EDITIONS

Abe Books boasts an impressive collection, including a selection of stunning vintage Penguin titles. If old books aren’t your thing and you’re into staying on top of new releases, check out Twice Loved Books. The small independent online store holds newer releases such as Bella Mackie’s Jog on and The Last by Hanna Jameson.

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