General Chatter, Impact and Sustainability, Wob News

7 Reasons to Buy Used Books

7 Reasons to Buy Used Books

As a used bookseller, we really do find that buying used books is the way to go. Our seven reasons below are a great starting point for getting to know World of Books and realising how great a used book can be.

1. You will save money

Used books are cheaper. An obvious reason, of course. New books can set you back a pretty penny, especially if you’re buying stacks at a time! You often save at least half when you buy used. Did you know last year World of Books customers saved 66% when they bought a used book rather than the new equivalent?

2. It’s better for the environment

New paper books carry quite a large footprint, with millions of trees destroyed and millions of tonnes of CO2 produced each year. Yes, the latest book is a must-have but why not do your part for the environment and pick up one of the millions of used copies already in circulation? World of Books saves 26,000 tonnes of books from being sent to landfill sites each year; that is equivalent to 442,000 trees.

3. Be a part of the shared book history

When you buy a used book, you never know what you are going to get. Inscriptions in margins or dedications in the front page. You’re taking part in a shared history and better yet, you’re free to add your own little mark along the way too.

4. That old book smell

New books smell the same. It’s the fresh off the press smell. Used books, however, have spent years, decades and occasionally centuries collecting their own unique scent. There’s the British Library type smell, the well-loved by an elderly lady smell and then, of course, the least pleasant, this book has suffered water damage smell.

5. The vintage covers (swoon…)

What’s not to like about, a vintage edition of your favourite book? Those editions are far more interesting than a recent re-releases. If you’re interested in rare and vintage covers, you should definitely head over to World of Rare Books and check out their collection of books which are truly stunning.

6. You will read more

You’ll be prompted to finish your current book when there’s a stack of equally compelling reads on your shelf. When you can buy affordable used books at World of Books, you’ll have no problem keeping that stack high.

7. The books are already broken in

Books shouldn’t be pampered. Instead of worrying about keeping a crisp and stain free book, pick up a used copy. The binding is probably a little bent and you may find some warped pages along the way, but you can throw it in your bag and carry on. Used books have been around the block for a while – they’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe. We are certain they will survive a further short journey or two in your backpack.

By Rebecca Reed, CRM Executive

Now you’re clued up on why buying second-hand books is awesome, why not learn some more ways to live sustainably? Check out our books sustainability! From the best ways to avoid food waste to using less plastic.

Shop Sustainability Books

What do you think of our list? Why do you love second-hand books? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Reply Carl February 24, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    I love used books,, I don’t think I have ever bought one, you should try mag,s like woodcarving and whittling they are the only one’s I have to pay full price for and it is a shame they don’t re sell them.

    • Reply John November 5, 2021 at 7:42 pm

      A new book is second hand the moment it lands on your doorstop, so why not buy a less expensive second hand one to start with, except where new books are already heavily reduced and even cheaper than second hand.

  • Reply Roger Bradbury April 12, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    I buy lots of old books. Many of the titles I’m interested in have been out of print for years (Golden Age science fiction, John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series) so used is the only way to get them. I am pretty good at guessing the decade a book was published in, from the cover design.

    A few years ago I bought about a dozen books in a used bookshop in Katoomba in Australia, to find that they’d all been printed in Aylesbury in England, not twenty miles from where I live. That’s quite a round trip.

  • Reply Beryl McGrady November 10, 2018 at 8:10 am

    I have recently become a convert to used books. I have found many that have been out of print for decades. Some titles I recognise as favourite books from childhood, the ‘Polyanna series’ is just one example. Other books have interesting inscriptions and dedications.

  • Reply Marjorie Ross November 10, 2018 at 9:46 am

    I nearly ‘only’ buy used books. I discover an author I take a fancy to ie Mrs Robert Henrey (really Madeleine) or HV Morton, born in my local town, or Fletcher Moss born in Didsbury also nearby and end up buying nearly all their books. They are, of course, now usually out of print (or in H V Morton’s case reprinted with huge chunks missing) so they are only available on the net as used books. I love to read 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and share the author’s opinion on buying used books. She enjoys reading something someone else has once treasured and she is now the custodian of it.
    Marjorie Ps But if someone wants to buy me a NEW book for Christmas -I have a little list.

  • Reply Garlyn Lewis February 22, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Thank you for sharing the fabulous reasons for buying vintage books – some of which I had never thought about. My favorite is to be a part of a shared book history. I have run across vintage books from different sources – books were given to me, garage sales, and as a teacher I found complete class sets in the dumpster that were no longer part of the District Standards. I took them out and passed them out to students who were interested. It was Where the Red Fern Grows. I also found a complete set of Nancy Drew Mysteries in a vintage store. This series was my favorite as a young girl.

  • Reply The Journey of a Book - World of Books | Book Blog September 25, 2020 at 11:11 am

    […] Stay tuned to find out more about our circular economy and what measures we take to ensure we are a business for good. Did you know World of Books is a B Corp? Find out more!Giving books a new home is a fantastic reason to buy used books. Find many more reasons to buy books second hand here. […]

  • Reply Jeremy Macafee May 12, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Do you buy second hand books?
    Just received a book “Beneath the white Coat” by Clare Gerada wrapped by you but ordered via Amazon because Waterstones was unable to get it for me. Life for oldies (88) gets more difficulty!
    Many thanks.

  • Reply Annette Crompton August 27, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    do you buy used books like good paperbacks? I have several Lee Child? Jack Reacher books in good condition. I need the space!!

    • Reply Jonella Vidal August 31, 2021 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Annette,

      We buy books through our sister site and app Ziffit. You can find us here, or on the Appstore or Google Play

  • Reply Colin Waldron September 1, 2021 at 6:49 am

    do you buy as well a sell?

    • Reply Jonella Vidal September 14, 2021 at 12:33 pm

      Hi Colin,

      We buy books through our site and app Ziffit. You can find us here

  • Reply John Campbell February 9, 2022 at 12:00 pm

    How can I find a collection/depositing service for my used books?

    I do not want to receive emails from you.

    • Reply Jonella Vidal February 16, 2022 at 2:20 pm

      Hello John,

      You can organisation a trade in for collection of your used books via our sister site,

      Sorry to hear you no longer want to receive emails from I have passed your information onto the team to have your name removed from the list. You can also unsubscribe from our emails any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the email.

      Many thanks,

  • Reply Ian Shillabeer February 10, 2022 at 6:14 am

    i like second hand books not only are they cheaper but possible history they have – eg bus tickets ,dockets etc many second hand shops lump them in the back of their shops ihave found an author that i like and in the prosses of buying all his books at second hand price they in good condition second hand books give a shelf personality

    • Reply Jonella Vidal February 16, 2022 at 2:23 pm

      Hello Ian,

      We agree! Finding debris in secondhand books is a lovely insight into their previous lives. Have you seen this WWII letter we found in a book last year?

  • Reply Ian Shillabeer May 12, 2022 at 6:33 am

    you have done it again – order books on 5th may received them on the 10th may they travelled from Eng to Aust more than can be said for books from interstate on line book co
    will continue to buy your excellent second hand books – some look like new- I like the ex library books our local library use to have book sales – very interesting finds

  • Reply Robert Morgan June 4, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    Rebecca Reed – a ‘Blade Runner’ devotee, I am certain! See closing paragraph.

  • Reply ian shillabeer December 23, 2022 at 10:07 am

    Wob you did it again!! ordered books on 16th dec you sent them on the 20th & I got them on 23rd given Xmas rush & involved half the world travel Have more books on order and a third one waiting! Used books have personality and add a something to the shelf Since you do not track parcels its means parcels arrive direct In Aus tracked parcels can go round in circles Adelaide there are THREE trans depots and they do all three! before arriving

  • Reply ian shillabeer January 6, 2023 at 5:25 am

    Hurrah Hurrah thanks to WOB I have finally got the first book in a series I have been collecting for many years It is out of print I have search may secondhand book shops & other sources of used books to no avail but in WOB’s rare books I found the missing book!!I hurriedly ordered it since there was only one copy in case some else was looking for it, I waited anxiously for order conformation of the order. I got it!! The book now sits in company of its fellow stories Also the book came in good condition although smelling of damp cellar existence!!!

  • Reply Sonia Hartman March 12, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    I often use WOB, have done for years, but I am a bit concerned about no further royalties going to the authors, no matter how many times their book is reread and resold. Some famous authors are well known and well off, but many are not.

    • Reply Rebecca Reed March 13, 2023 at 9:11 am

      Hello! We are part of AuthorSHARE which gives authors royalties for secondhand purchases through us. You can read more in our blog, just search ‘AuthorSHARE’ Thanks, Wob

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