Buying Secondhand Books: 5 Important Things to Consider

Buying secondhand books make bookworms on a budget jump for joy. But what should you exactly look for when buying used books?


Before we dive into the details, let’s address the most common questions about buying secondhand books.


Most Common Questions About Buying Secondhand Books (


  1. Where can I buy used books?


You can discover secondhand physical books in used bookstores, yard sales, or thrift stores near you. If there are none, you can check online. In particular, you can visit websites such as Amazon and eBay to look for used books.


  1. How much should I pay for secondhand books?


On average, used books are sold for less than £1 each. However, the price can go higher depending on the condition and rarity of the book.


  1. How do I start buying secondhand books?


You can start buying used books by classifying the books you want based on authors and genres. You can then narrow down your search based on these categories.


Buying Secondhand Books: What You Should Check


Here are the things you must check before buying secondhand books.


  1. Cover


The cover’s condition is a great way to measure how used a book is. You must check the cover for signs of wear and tear. Are there any dents, stains, or crushed corners?


In addition, you must pay attention to bowed covers. Simply put, bowed covers are those that turn inward toward the pages or outward away from them. Paperback books are more susceptible to this condition than hardback books.


  1. Dust Jacket


It’s worth checking the book’s dust jacket if it comes with one. Chipped dust jackets are usually a sign of wear and tear. However, this should not discourage you from buying secondhand books.


Dust jackets are simply an extra layer of protection for books. Yes, it’s great to buy a used book with its dust jacket intact. However, buying one with a run down dust jacket isn’t too bad either.


  1. Illustrations


Contrary to popular belief, illustrations are crucial to a book’s value. If the used book has illustrations, you should check if they’re complete.


To do so, use the table of contents as a reference for the number of illustrations a secondhand book has. If the pictures aren’t complete, you can negotiate for a lower price.


  1. Notes


            Checking a used book for notes takes time. However, it’s worth doing it.


Many readers, especially students and teachers, like to put notes on their books. To manage your expectations, you must consider checking each page.


On the other hand, if you don’t mind reading a book with notes on it, you can skip this step. However, don’t miss checking the pages’ condition.


  1. Spine


The book’s spine holds the pages together. Book spines also make organizing your home library easier. Thus, you must thoroughly check them.


When checking a book spine, answer these: Can you read what’s written on the spine? Are the pages intact?


Not all secondhand books were used equally. Hence, it’s a must to do a full examination before buying used books. Happy used book hunting!






  • This article was really detailed, it provided such a great guide on what to look out for when purchasing second hand books, a-lot of which i never really considered. I will be sure to have this guide handy for my next purchase. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • A well detailed article and i am able to learn new ideas since i usually buy and repair myself some old books. I think it’s time i pay attention to these details to avoid incuring more costs. I prefer physical copy of a book because that way i feel the connection when reading it

    Kiula Joel Shagile
  • This is such beneficial information and options that many people overlook! As someone who still deeply appreciates having a physical copy of a book, it’s so important to me that I keep them in great condition in the event that I wish to gift it or let a friend borrow my readings. This article inspired me to visit some secondhand bookstores this weekend and add some classic literature to my collection. Thank you for the tips!

    Shanice Campos
  • I love finding hidden gems at thrift stores and used bookstores, so this is definitely helpful advice.

  • It’s great to see a comprehensive guide to buying secondhand books! It’s always important to check the condition of the book before purchasing, and these tips are a great reminder of what to look for. I also appreciate the mention of checking illustrations and notes, as these can affect the value and enjoyment of the book. Thank you for sharing this useful information!


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