How to Find the Best Price for Secondhand Books

By May 14, 2019 Bookshops

There’s nothing quite like opening a good old-fashioned book. Ebooks are here to stay, but public demand for paper editions is still surprisingly high.

New books are nice, but can be pretty expensive. This, together with other factors, means second hand volumes are a go-to option for many a voracious reader.

Various websites and outlets sell used – or pre-loved – books, often for bargain prices. But they may not have the specific title that you are looking for in mind. And, it can take a while to find what you are after. So, it pays to know about all the different ways to find secondhand books, and ways of honing in your search.

Our guide leafs through the choices available, providing required reading for those wanting to snap up second hand books at the lowest rates…

Search engines

The natural instinct for many people after a second hand book is to go on Google, or similar search engine. These are great, but there’s one slight drawback.

Thousands of results! Trying to sift through all those recommendations to find the right deal can be overwhelming, and a lot of people just don’t have the time.

A comprehensive book-finding site like Used Book Search can be very useful in de-cluttering your online rummage. You do all your research in one place.

As well as providing access to a range of books, from thrillers to antiquarian volumes, it offers detailed price comparisons, so you can whittle things down quicker.

Online shopping

Chances are, if you’ve looked for a second hand book recently it’s been via an online retailer such as Amazon. If not there, then eBay, or one of a range of sites.

Here’s the thing. These places make it simple for you to find the best deal, because customers can arrange search results in order of lowest to highest price.

In some cases you can get hold of a vintage text for pennies, though a few pounds in postage is usually added on top, to make it worth the seller’s while.

The variety of sellers is notable also. You could be talking to a major retailer, or private individual. Either way, you’re offered a reasonable standard of protection.

Of course, going through big companies isn’t everyone’s cup of literary tea. Thankfully there are smaller fish in the pond that can deliver great results…

Charity shops

It’s so easy to sit at home or work browsing the best offers online (presumably during your lunch break if at work!). And even easier to forget what’s under your nose.

Have you thought about this? Doing a sandwich run typically involves walking down a high street. And these days charity shops are a main fixture of any busy location.

The main advantage of checking them out is that you never quite know what you’ll find. This applies especially to books, which can often be obtained for low prices.

Quite rightly, some shops are aware of what hard-to-obtain books are worth and charge accordingly. However, in some places everything is on sale for as little as 25p!

If you become eagle-eyed, you can buy something for a small amount and then sell or auction it for many times its value. (Though donating some of that profit back is advised!)

Independent booksellers

While you’d pay a bit more than you would in a charity shop, visiting an independent bookseller can be rewarding, and gives a boost to small business.

People not pages. One great thing about a second hand bookshop is the staff can be very knowledgeable, whereas the volunteer in a charity shop is unlikely to know all of the books that they have in stock.

You can get advice on what to buy, or be given inspiration on further reading. The main players like Waterstones use the same model effectively in their shops.

Ultimately, you have access to a lovingly assembled collection of second hand books, some of which are cheap and will only enrich your understanding of literature.

Being an independent business brings with it certain challenges, such as a temperamental owner, but the experience can be more than worth it.

However you choose to find second hand books, there are numerous ways to do it. That sounds a reassuring note in today’s cutting edge marketplace.




This is a guest blog by Sylvia from Check it out, it’s a useful tool!

Leave your vote

Leave a Reply

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.