Where do unwanted books go?

A friend of mine posted on his Facebook page that he wanted to know where he could go to “get rid of unwanted books”.  I found his choice of the word ‘unwanted’ caused me to immediately imagine a pile of sad books who had nowhere to go.  I responded to his post and demanded to know what the books ever did to him to make him no longer want them.   I thought of the book I finished not too long ago that many fellow bloggers suggested to me; The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and its ‘cemetery of forgotten books’.  I thought they could go there but then realized it wasn’t that these books were forgotten, they were unwanted.  So where do unwanted books go?

He got numerous suggestions from other people – all of them suggesting second-hand stores which were great.  I realized then that second-hand stores were the orphanages of unwanted books and that they provide a very important service.

One of my favourite second-hand stores shut down (it is coming back though – soon I hope).  Aqua Books.  It used to be across the street from where I worked so I would go in my lunch hour and browse and take my sweet time – surrounded by the books that have been read, re-read, lost, forgotten, unwanted, used and hopefully, loved.  I loved discovering old, new, weird, awesome, wonderful, crazy, mean and dark books that you normally wouldn’t be able to find in a new bookstore.  Inside Aqua Books was beautiful dark oak beams and ceilings.  It was old and looked antiquated.  The owner himself was a little eccentric but he loved culture, art and books.  He had a room upstairs in the building that theatre groups or musicians would rent out and put on a show.  The store was neat and clean but always cluttered and that is what added to its charm.

What are your favourite second-hand book stores and why?  Do you prefer second-hand over new?

Aqua Books - photo by Lief Norman

Aqua Books – photo by Lief Norman



About Geeky Book Snob

Learning stuff since birth. Happy introvert who likes socializing when she's not busy being an introvert who likes to read.

Posted on September 5, 2013, in For the Love of Books and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. I feel much less guilty for my book fetish, if I buy them secondhand. And I often find copies of books out-of-date and not at the library. I visited a couple of used bookstores in Lawrence, KS and came up with some Vonnegut books I’d never read. Like discovering gold!

  2. I love charity shops! I rarely read books more than once so will quite often purchase from a charity shop and then return to the same charity shop! I used to work in one as well, which is where I discovered the fate of so many books that are too beat up or that the shop has too many copies of already= the tip. This is why I only give back pristine books and recycle the rest (or just keep them, just in case I ever feel tempted to read them again!).

  3. One of my favorites is a small chain in the U.S. called Half-Price Books. You probably know it already, it has stores in about 16 states. It was started in Dallas, TX circa 1972 by a couple of hippies, who wanted books to “fill our shelves, not our landfills.” Here’s the website:
    http://hpb.com/ I started going there back in 2000 (buying and selling), and have been a repeat customer ever since.

  4. Sadly, there are no used-bookstores in the area where I live. (Even big-name bookstores are disappearing! The mall closest to my house has NO BOOKSTORE. Can you believe it?! None!) However, I came across one 30 min away from where I live, and fell in love with all the things they had. I loved all the old ones with the original covers, hard-cover, etc. I’d actually prefer to buy second-hand if I lived near one, especially if they are older books.

  5. I wish there were more second-hand bookshops in Spain but sadly, there aren’t and the ones that we have are not that good, actually it is almost impossible to find a book in English 😦

  6. New books are great, but there’s just something about a twenty year old book that makes it all the more special.

    By the way, I’m gonna reblog this. 🙂

  7. Reblogged this on Rose's Road and commented:
    This post caught my eye tonight.
    What do you do with ‘unwanted books’. And which do you prefer, second hand or brand new?

  8. I have always wanted to go to a secondhand bookstore, but I don’t know where any of them are. I love the imagery you used with this.

  9. I love old books. I discovered The God of Small Things by accident whilst looking for a copy of To The Lighthouse. Oh and I came out with Brideshead Revisited too. What a shop. I could live in there.
    I had the pleasure of meeting Edna O’Brian whilst doing my Creative Writing MA a couple of years ago. She came to my uni to talk about her latest book Byron in Love. My tutor gave me one of his advance copies and I read and enjoyed it but when it came to the book signing I produced a battered, second-hand copy of The Country Girls that was identical to the one I had as a teenager and asked her to sign that instead. It wasn’t my original copy but was every bit as good and I treasure it.

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