when buying used isn’t really


There are a couple of books I would really like to get my hands on.  One is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day which I have talked (at length) about before.  This book is hugely popular right now and probably not going to make it to my local thrift or used book store anytime soon.  I’m a member of Paperback Swap (which I love) and have it on my wish list.  My position on the waiting list?  588 out of 607.  I don’t think I’ll be getting it there soon either.

So off to Amazon I go.  As a last resort I will consider paying for shipping to buy a used book.  Amazon claims to have 18 copies that are used. Okay, now we’re talking.  First copy, less than a two dollar savings over the new book.  The remaining “used” copies actually cost more than I can get the new book for.  Plus shipping.  Now I know it’s not all about money.  This is a Compact issue.  Why buy new when there are used available?  Upon further inspection, what has been categorized as “Used – Like New Condition” is listed as “Brand New” in the comments.  Isn’t that false advertising or something?  I want used.  You said you had used.  Now you tell me they’re actually new.  Like that’s a good thing.  I said I want used dangit.

I haven’t handed over payment to Amazon or anyone else yet.  I’m still debating the issue.  I’m not a huge fan of owning books, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?  But there are exceptions.  I have about a dozen books I’m looking for right now that I’d like to own.  Unfortunately I’m not the only one.  (You should see the wait list for In Defense of Food!)  Halfway through the year and I’m making a mental list of what might change about our Compacting next year.  Of course that does nothing for my current dilemma.

If you follow the Compact or just don’t like to buy new I’d love to hear how you have handled similar issues.  Do you spend more money to buy used?  Do you buy “new” if it claims to be used?  Do you simply do without for things you’d like to have if they aren’t available used?  Please comment, I’d really like to know.  Really.


5 Comments to “when buying used isn’t really”

  1. In Rochester we had 17 libraries from which to draw books. Since they were all county libraries there was a transfer mechanism in place where you could ask and it would be sent in several weeks.

    Here, I am a regular at Redondo Beach library and have not explored the Torrance library or other nearby sites. One whole wall of cookbooks has kept me content for the last five years and their bookstore has been the source of several cookbooks ($1 – $3.50) that are now part of my permanent collection.

    The internet is another source of recipies and helpful hints that I depend on. Without a printer, though, I’m beginning to accumulate too many scraps of paper and I doubt that I would find a specific recipe without a hunt.

    I wonder whether anyone has devised a successful scheme for co-owning
    cookbooks in a neighborhood arrangement. Also in Rochester we had a “toy lending library” where age-appropriate toys could be taken on loan for several weeks or months.

    I’m following your reach for solutions with interest.

  2. Have you checked half.com? I usually have better luck with them–they tend to have a bigger selection os uder offerings than Amazon.

  3. Joyce, so many great thoughts! First, I love the library and get 90% of my reading from there. If the books in question weren’t ones I wanted as resource materials I wouldn’t even mind waiting the weeks necessary to get them on hold. Next, I am constantly sourcing recipes from the internet. Luckily for me though, I work on a laptop so simply take the computer to the kitchen when it’s time to cook! Finally, I only wish I was in what I would consider a neighborhood environment! I think you should look into starting the cookbook round-about, it’s a great idea!

    Frugalchick, I will continue to research half.com. On first review it seems to be very similar to Amazon in that the used books are actually new and the only one that is truly used is more expensive than the new. Such a strange phenomenon in the consumer world. Where else does this happen?!

  4. Hi Leigh,

    Have you tried “BetterWorldBooks”. It is an online bookstore that sells second hand books (as well as new) that raises funds for literacy in places like Africa. Shipping is only US$2.97within the US.

    I did a post on my blog about them a few months ago. I live in Sydney Australia and I have purchased many second hand books from them.. All of the books I have received have been in excellent or very good second hand condition.


    Hope this helps.

  5. I caved and bought the book new, but you can find most of the info you need — at least to get started — on the internet.

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