When you love reading there are very few pleasures in life greater than buying books. I, like many others have found myself spending money I genuinely haven’t got just to add another to my collection. I walk out the front door desperately trying to convince myself that I don’t need anything else to read, knowing full well that I won’t be returning home satisfied unless I’ve made a purchase. Nine times out of ten I give in to the temptation and find myself buying not one but a pile of books. This is a problem we all face but one that definitely doesn’t have and doesn’t need a solution. I have never once regretted buying a book (discounting the black mark on my shelf that is Pop Music: The Text Book) and I don’t think I ever will.
The real problem however is the cost, but this one does have a solution. Second hand book shops coupled with charity shops can provide endless fuel for reading at a fraction of the price. There is a certain pull that grabs us when we walk past any high street book store. The smell of coffee and the knowledge that our desired read lies within draws us towards their doors and sets our fingers twitching. Resisting this temptation though is something greatly worth doing. If for nothing else but to save money, second hand is always the way to go. It means multiple visits to small, crowded shops that are full to the brim with items we wouldn’t dream of purchasing. It means standing patiently while someone else scours the shelves for a worthy buy. It means searching through hundreds of Danielle Steel and James Patterson novels just to find the one book you really want and it’s worth it. When you do finally find what you’re looking for the sudden jolt of delight is unmatched, you double take in surprise and leap to claim your bounty before bolting over to the till to make your purchase, often without even checking the price. But why check the price anyway? It’s a near certainty that the cost will be less than four pounds which is incomparable to the usual £8.99 price tag in any high street store.
The pleasure doesn’t end when you leave the shop. There is something charming about a pre-worn spine and the knowledge that someone else has owned and read what you have bought. You can place it on your shelf revelling in the knowledge that it has been part of multiple collections and had hugely varying neighbours, some of which you likely covet or already own. But the eventual and very best part of the process is getting round to sitting and reading the book. Picking it up and knowing it has been read multiple times and been thrown in bags to be taken on trains and busses to places you have no idea about. The mystery is the best part.
Buy second hand books. Save money and allow your shelves to be play host to endless amounts of history.