Bookish Thoughts: I Can’t Read Used Books

I Can't Read used Books

I Can't Read used Books

Today I want to talk about one of those things that every time I mention the automatic response I receive is jaw-dropping, eye-popping shock: I can’t read used books.

Okay, “can’t” might be the wrong word. I am sure if all the publishing companies in the world suddenly disappeared and we were only left with whatever books are currently in existence to read then I would probably force myself to get over it and actually read a book that has been previously read by someone else. BUT, until we reach that point: I can’t read used books.

Now, this might not be news to some of you. I’ve briefly mentioned it in a bookish confessions post in the past, and it has been brought up on Twitter. But still, it’s one of those things that I’ve been thinking about lately as I’ve joined a book club where people are constantly trading books and trying to push the books they don’t want onto others. (I’m not quite sure when they’ll finally give up asking me since they know the answer will always be no, but I appreciate the thought nonetheless.)

So why? Why do I have this aversion to reading a book that has been read by someone else?

Well, if you happened to read my post about “right” ratings and “perfect” books, you’ll know that I see reading as a partnership between reader and writer. When reading a story, we put our own thoughts, feelings, and experiences into the story and it affects how we interpret what we’ve read. I think most people can agree that’s an easy enough statement to make, and one that we can all agree upon in one way or another.

Where it’s different for me is that I sort of feel like that when I put myself into a book, I’m sort of there forever. (Okay, as if I didn’t think I was crazy before, typing this out makes me realize I’m definitely a bit of a nutter.) I sort of feel like a piece of who I was at that time has gone into the book, and what I’ve read of that book has changed me in a little way in return. In effect, there’s sort of like this personal connection that I form between myself and that book. And I feel like each person does this, whether they think

This connection with a book leads to two things: I don’t like ever giving up my books and I don’t like reading anyone else’s books.

I feel like books are such a personal thing that each book I read I desperately want to hang onto. I want it in my personal library so I can turn around and easily see all the books that affected me growing up and helped make me who I am. I want it to be there so when I have children and they grow up they can see what I was interested in as a teen and adult and can laugh at me or admire my taste. I want it there so if I ever have a bad day I can look back and grab an old friend.

In a way that can be hard because it means every book I read I want to keep, and we all know that books take up quite a bit of room. Plus, I’m currently split between two countries. All the books I’ve read in the US are still sitting in boxes back at my parent’s, and all the books I’ve read in the UK have been following me everywhere I go – no matter how inconvenient. What I’m going to do once I’m forced to live in one country or the other, I have no idea. I’d personally prefer to store them somewhere forever in a different country just to be there when I get back and rather than give them up. (Really, something is wrong with me.)

But wait, let’s get back to the main point of this discussion. Just like I keep my books because I have formed a connection with them, I don’t like to read books read by others because I don’t want their… connection?

When I know a book has been used, I have no desire to read it. To see a person’s dirt marks, crumbs, etc. To see the creases where they’ve folded the pages. It feels like someone has violated my book. Like it’s no longer pure. I feel like I can’t fully connect to a book if it’s been read before because something always catches my eyes that alerts me someone else has read it and I find myself thinking about that person instead. It becomes a different reading experience in a way, but one that takes away from my reading experience rather than adds to it. And then I just don’t feel like that book is wholly mine – because it wasn’t, before.

Of course, there is no way for me to know for sure if a book has been read, and this is all really in my head. I know there are some people who read books at bookstores before someone else buys them, or even that someone might have a read a book that they’ve given to me as a gift. I’m okay with that – as long as I don’t know about it. The second I do, I just have a general dislike for the book, and I put all my unread untouched books ahead of that one.

And, I have t o admit, life would be much easier if I were to get over this. A library is a magical place that not only would make my space problem much easier but also save me money. But I just have this mental block. I can’t do it. Someone, help me!

Tell me what you think! Do you relate to any of this? Do used books bother you, or is that all you read? Do I need therapy?

Read 78 comments

  1. I don’t really have an issue whether books are already used or anything. But I do get your point. But I have an opposite reaction. Whenever I borrow books from my friends I think I could relate why they hate/love/like a book. Especially when it has tear stains or when you see cracks in the spines. (But I don’t like cracked spines on my books) :D. But I do guess that its weird sometimes, but I only borrow books from my closest friends, so there’s no real problem. :D

    • I have heard others say the same thing! The fact that a book is used makes them value it more – it can add another layer to the reading experience. And I think that’s a beautiful thing! I wish it were the same for me, I just find it too distracting! :P

  2. This is definitely the first time i’ve heard of this particular book quirk… I do find it very strange. I LOVE second hand books. Most of the books i buy are from charity or second-hand shops, and i have yet to find one full of crumbs or dirt marks or folded pages! But i do like seeing other evidence of previous ownership. A name in the book cover, or even underlined passages and notes in the margin. To know that the book has been read, and loved, like it deserves. That it’s had a whole life before it’s landed in my hands, and i am only a period in its life, rather than it being a period in mine.

    Most of all, though, the fact that you can afford to indulge in the choice of only reading brand new books is head-shake inducing! :\

    • Oh wait, I may have misinterpreted that last sentence, let me apologize. A second after I responded I realized I missed the bit where you said “afford”.

      I only read a handful of books a month. Three or four usually. And don’t really buy that many myself. I actually get most of my books as gifts for holidays/birthdays. So no need to shake your head at me. I don’t have that much money and I’m not putting myself into debt by only buying new books. I’m still just as responsible as anyone else. I just read slower which means I don’t buy as many as often, and others get books for me. :)

  3. I love used books, used books I get to keep that is – I’m not one for lending, it makes me anxious. There is nothing more exciting to me than finding an old copy of a brilliant book and wondering who has read it and marvelling at it’s journey to finding me. I don’t want a book that’s falling apart, but I do like a well loved copy. Sometimes I prefer used books to new ones.

    You’re not alone though, I know a lot of people who prefer new books. And people who buy used but are very picky about quality.

    • Oh, I’m sort of surprised to see that it makes a difference whether it’s a used book that is for keeps or for borrowing. But I guess that makes sense. I mean, I always feel like the book becomes a part of you in a way after reading and so to pick it up and get attached and then just give it back can be harder than knowing you can just keep it afterwards (unless you’re just more nervous about accidentally wrecking or losing a book while lending it)!

      It’s good to hear I’m not alone though. I always feel like I am! But I will say I’m not too picky besides for it being new. Like some people check the spines and stuff before buying? I never have! But I guess if they’re paying for it they want to make sure it’s perfection? To each their own! :)

      • It’s both for me! Not wanting to give something up that I come to love and the deep fear of ruining someone elses book (or taking too long to read it, which from experience I have come to find some people hate.)

        Definitely to each their own, more pre-owned books for me hahaha.

  4. A few years ago, I would’ve thought you were a complete weirdo but now, I completely understand. I love books a lot more now and I love the feeling of just breaking into a new book and knowing that you’re the first person to read it! :D

  5. I’m only a little bit picky over used books, and I’ve started rubbing off on Mum now too. Basically, for me, if the spine is not too bad (not covered in scratch marks from the spine being cracked a million times) and if the actual pages seem in one piece (no crumbs, no dog ears, not smudges or marks) then I’m all good, I can be surprised by the amount of quality you can get, and sometimes, you can tell it’s never been read, just owned (like a book I got the other day, perfect condition, never used, £1!) and it’s brilliant because cheap books. However, I was wary over the library before I got addicted. All the germs, all the marks, all the battered books, marks, bends, tares, rough edges, it was all ‘urgh! infected book’ (which sounds harsh, but yes), but I’m much better with now. If I want a book enough and can’t buy it, I just borrow it. Now she need for books overheads my want of perfection. Hey though, this was enlightening to me, so thank you Asti! :D (sorry for the essay comment ;))

    • Haha, no need to apologize for the comment! I don’t mind! I do get what you mean. I think when you read so much and want to read even more, you sort of have to become more lenient towards used and library books because otherwise you’ll be bankrupt! Me? I’m such a slow reader. Like, I have been reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters for a MONTH so far (not because I really read that slow though, I think I’m in a bit of a slump). Anyways, because I read so slow it means my new books last me quite a while. So really, I get like ten or so books for my birthday and Christmas and that’s really all I need! Add in the occasional purchase here or there (but really, not many compared to most) and I’m set. So my reading pace sort of works well with my need for unread books. If I were a speed reader though, I’m sure it’d be a different story! :P

  6. Wow. This is definitely new to me. I grew up with a lot of used books. We couldn’t really afford that many books, so the library was my second home and my mom regularly bought books for me at used book sales. So… yeah!
    I can see where you’re coming from, but for me, I love seeing the marks of someone else having read and enjoyed the books. I mean, if I could CHOOSE, I would probably buy the book brand new… but reading it used doesn’t bother me much at all.
    Sorry I don’t really have any advice in “getting over it” – I suppose, whether or not you WANT to change it is all up to you. I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, although granted it must make your reading habit quite expensive :P

    • Haha, it’d make my reading habit expensive if I was a speed reader. Compared to most though, I’m quite slow so it hasn’t killed me. Usually the books I get for Christmas and my birthday are enough to last me through the year! Outside of those, I usually only purchase books that are sequels that I am dying to read, so it hasn’t killed me… yet!

      I do get what you mean about liking to see the marks of someone reading a book. I sort of want to buy that S. book. The one that’s a book with words written in it and stuff so it’s like a story in a story? That way i can experience what it’s like to see the marks of someone else in a story, but also get the newness of a book I want! haha.

  7. I can see where you’re coming from with this quirk because I, too, have been once like that. :) It used to be that I would buy brand new books. While I appreciate my friends lending me theirs or even giving me used ones as gifts, I disliked the thought that someone else before me had thumbed through those pages, made the cracks on the spine take place, etc. I liked it a lot better that I am the first person who grabbed the book and spend hours flipping from page to page. But then I had this random trip to a secondhand bookstore and before I even knew it, I purchased a secondhand copy of Stephen King’s “The Shining.” I didn’t even mind the worn cover, the yellowed pages and the already cracked spine. I was lost in the story and I suddenly didn’t care that the book I was spending time with actually belonged to someone I don’t know. That started the cure for my revulsion to secondhand/used books. :D

  8. I won’t read library books as you never know where people have been reading the books. And will only read used books that I have borrowed from close friends as I then know where they have been and only very rarely do it.

    I don’t like lending my books out to people as I have had them returned totally trashed before but I am willing to sell books that I don’t want to keep or if I have replaced for whatever reason.

  9. The “c onnection” part doesn’t bother me, but the “someone who read this book was eating crackers” part definitely does. Books and their spines are not a place for crumbs, especially when it’s a library book. Leave your snack on the table, yo. Regardless of the potential for grossness, I do read library books because it’s free and it’s a good way to test out a book you’re not sure about.

    I think since switching to 99% ebooks, I’ve lost that feeling of being connected to physical copies, and particular copies. I definitely USED to be that way, and still love to see my old favorites on the shelves, but now when I see a title or a cover somewhere, I associate that warm fuzzy book loving feeling to being curled on my couch, words flashing across my brain. I don’t think it’s better, and I miss getting that jolt of seeing my favorites whenever I turn around, but I still wouldn’t go back to buying physical books.

    • Switching to ebooks would have probably been the smart option for me, since I’m split between two countries and am not sure where I’ll end up. Instead I seem to be building up physical collections in both countries and I have no idea what I’ll do with one or the other once I’m settled. But just how I prefer new books, I still prefer physical books. It’s that same physical connection I want, and ebooks don’t quite have that.

      My reading quirks make my life way more difficult than it should be, haha.

  10. You know – used books do bother me. I have like $200 worth of credit at the used book store for books I’ve dropped off that either I’m too lazy to see if someone else wants or I don’t think the library would take for donation. But buying used books – I’ve tried it. But then I picture someone else sitting on the toilet with it…or various other disgusting things. So that’s one thing. But like you I don’t like having that book be violated by someone else. Now which is odd because I will lend my books to my very few close local friends who love books as much as I do. I used to do this ONLY after I’ve read the book already. But now I’ll let them have the ARCs to read since they are reviewing with me on the blog. I have bought used books but now that I notice they have been the ones sitting on my shelf unread and untouched for years…I probably should just get rid of them.

    So I’ll read a book that one of my close friends I’ve lent to them. But I won’t take used books from other people and read them, I’ve given up on that. Like you I need that fresh clean untouched copy.

    • Oh look! Someone who understands! I’ve always felt like a weirdo in the book world for my new book ways, so I’m glad someone gets it, even if it’s not exactly the same. (I mean, while I definitely don’t want to read a book someone’s pooped with, that’s not the main thing that bothers me when it comes to used books.) Thank you Tabitha!!

  11. Wow, this is the first time I’ve heard of this kind of predilection. I don’t mind it, well not really, I do prefer books in good condition. I own a used book and it didn’t bother me; it still looks brand new so maybe that’s why. But I still fancy owning a brand new book. But I think I understand you. It’s like you want to have your own personal journey with the book and in order to experience that, the book needs to be new. :D

  12. Asti, if you are crazy then so am I (well, we’ve probably already established that I’m crazy, so not sure this helps). I completely understand, and I feel the same way — about connecting to books in this way. In fact, I kind of feel this way about many other things, not just books (kind of like how Keepers can read memories from almost any object owned by a person, in The Archived).

    I know you’ve gasped at me in the past because I have gladly traded away piles of my books at a time. Generally, I am okay with this, if it’s books that I had an unpleasant experience with and don’t really WANT to keep the memory of it around. But I have to admit that I have — several times lately — been looking for a book among my shelves, only to realize I must have traded it away, and t hen regretted it. So, I may not be doing that anymore.

    Where you and I differ, though, is in the reading of these books. I am a voyeur. In the same way that you put yourself into a book when you read it, I like going one level deeper and sort of witnessing the book’s past readers. I like seeing small hints of a previous presence in the book (unless it looks like food stains or…something-else stains), because it makes me wonder about them and how they experienced the book too.

    I like feeling connected to the book, and to reading. I like how reading a used book can form connections between people who may never actually coalesce in any other way. But at the same time, as an empath, I totally understand you aversion to this whole experience. Sometimes it is just too much for me too, and I have to struggle through the rest of my library book. I feel you.

    • Also, I wanted to mention that my sister doesn’t do used books either. But for a different reason. She hates going into used bookstores or libraries, too, because the smell and must and dust of used books just makes her allergies and asthma flare up. So, she only reads brand new ones that she acquires herself, or borrows from me. (Generally, I don’t mind borrowing from her either, because she keeps her books so pristine. Also, at least half the time, I’m reading the books before she gets around to them. Muahaha! So how would that affect you? Do you lend out your books?)

      • We’re both crazy, but we both know that. That’s okay.

        I do like the IDEA of reading a book someone else has read, but I guess I want it filtered. Like, I’d only want to do it if they leave me interesting notes or some kind of token. But if it’s just fingerprints and dog eared pages? Nah. That more puts me off than makes me want to connect with someone!

        Do I lend out my books? Not really, but that’s partially because no one’s ever asked. The only person who has ever read my books is my mom, and I generally forgive that because it’s my mom. If someone else were to ask? Well, I guess if I trust them maybe. Like if you asked, I would let you borrow a book. But it has to be someone I really care about and trust. Knowing who they are and having that trust would make me feel better about sharing that experience with them. Does that make sense?

  13. One of my friends doesn’t borrow books, which has always driven me crazy since I have so many and just want her to read them, but everyone’s reading experience is different, so I totally understand!
    I have a book series though my best friends and I passed around in high school, and I love going back through them seeing the hearts and notes we penciled in to each other. There’s something so cool about having that record from my friends in my books :)

  14. I used to feel the same exact way until my therapist asked me if I was spoiled and followed it by saying, “It’s what you do with the words in the book–not what they do sitting on a shelf collecting dust.” And it was an eye opener.

    Stories are meant to be shared. And sure, there may be thousands of copies of one book but there also may be thousands that never heard of it or can’t get their hands on it for some reason. Since then, I’ve become a fan of used books. Pre-loved is the term I prefer. And I’ve given away and traded tons of books because I realized after some thought, no matter what the story stays with me even if the book has gone.

    Of course, there are a few books that are my most favorite and I feel obligated to keep those. But, I try my to keep a steady rotation on my shelves. :)

    • Wait, you saw a therapist for this?! I didn’t realize it was that serious of an issue. But no, I wouldn’t say I’m spoiled. Not at all. I would be insulted for a therapist to ask me such a question, haha.

      It’s good that you have found a new relationship with books and that it makes you feel good to share them. With so many used books out there already, not getting love, I don’t think I’ll add to that mix. But to each their own :)

  15. Interesting! I’m sort of similar. I don’t like reading used, beat up books but I’m fine receiving + reading a book that’s been used but looks brand new. I totally understand what you are saying though. You’ve had a connection with a book and you went on a journey with it therefore you wouldn’t want to give it to others because it’s like you’re giving something so valuable. You wouldn’t want to receive used books either because a person made a connection with the book already. Haha I hope I made sense!

  16. Haha, Asti, don’t worry, I accept you and all your weird quirks. ;)

    But this is interesting! I guess everyone feels differently about their books and form different kinds of connections with them, so it varies and I don’t think you need to go to the therapist. Personally, I don’t mind reading used books (though I’d much rather prefer a new copy, but unfortunately, my pocket doesn’t always allow that :/), though I do get disgusted if I see grease marks on the pages or folded corners. And I don’t mind letting others read my books because to me it’s sharing the love of reading and I love that. I’m practically like a YA library in my circle of friends. :P

    Similar thing to this is how I CAN’T share saliva with anyone. Can’t eat from the same spoon, drink from the same straw, nothing. All my friends and family are fine with it, so I can’t figure out what my problem is, haha. Maybe I feel violated in some way, too?! Lol.

    • Wait, so me not wanting to read used books is like you not wanting to eat off used spoons? haha. Sounds like it. It just proves we’re all a bit strange, but still lovable!

      And I love that you’re a YA library in your circle of friends. I think if I had friends in RL, I would maybe share my books. But the only friend I really have over here is already a YA reader and seems to have more books than I can offer! :P

  17. Library for life! But your keeping the business alive whereas I’m all for free stuff. Plus, I’m like the opposite of a packrat. I think it’s because I’ve moved so much over the last few years. I have like 20 books? I like your connection to books – it’s endearing.

  18. I am like 50/50 with you, Asti, dear.

    I definitely understand about the connection and the want to have all the books that have shaped you a touch away. I hesitate MAJORLY before giving away any books. I’ve marked it, I have memories with it. It gave me hours of reading time, and I gave it my thoughts and feelings. I can’t just GIVE IT AWAY. I gave away two books for possibly the first time in my life a few months ago, and I had anxiety about it. it was awful. I wanted to part with them, because I didn’t really like them, they were taking up space, and I knew I would NEVER read them again.

    But they were MINE. They were my books, and my dislike and just … ugh. It was really hard to finally hand them over to that other person. I even spent the rest of the day regretting it >.> I clearly have attachment issues.

    And then comes the other 50 :D

    I LOVE secondhand books. If there is a chance to buy a secondhand book, I will jump at it. If someone is giving away their review copy that they have read? Hells yeah, hand it over. I just love it.

    For the exact same reason I hate giving away my own books.


    I love thinking that someone else has spent their time and effort reading the book. That, for some reason, they gave it away. Why? What made them give it away? Was it because they hated it? Or was it an accident? I absolutely love guessing.

    And even more than that, I love notes and inscriptions, even though I would never do such things to my own books.

    I don’t know, I just love the idea of pre-loved books. All the secrets and mysteries they hold make my happy ^.^

  19. So, then, do you also not read library books?

    I think it’s a very unique perspective on books and kind of cool, in a way. Just the idea that you somehow a little bit become a part of a book you’ve read and it becomes a part of you.

    I prefer to read new books because I like them all clean and sharp and pretty. I don’t buy used books. Because it it’s going to be mine then it needs to be *mine* without anyone else messing with the pages or spine or anything.

    But library books aren’t mine so I treat them as if they were – I’d never fold a page or crack the spine – but it doesn’t bother me if someone else has.

    My sister, on the other hand, loves owning used books because she likes seeing someone else’s highlighting or notes they left in the margin. She likes a book that has already been loved and used by someone else because she enjoys that shared experience of reading.

    I love how people have such different experiences of books :)

    • Nope. I have admitted in a previous post (maybe last year?) that i do not read library books. I wholly support libraries and I think they’re an amazing thing and that they should be available, but not for me.

      And you know, the physicality of a used book – the folded pages or cracked spines – really doesn’t bother me as much as just knowing someone else has already connected with it. I mean, it does a little. But I used to dog ear my pages up until last year so really it’s not that. It’s the attachment I have to a book. >.<

  20. Used bookstores are like my second home. There are so many books that I can find that look like they were never even opened. However I don’t really like really used books. You know the ones the are ripped and broken. It’s like they were neglected That’s one of my pet peeves; when people destroy books.

    • That’s great! I think it’s great that you find books to love at used bookstores. I prefer to build new relationships, but I definitely think there’s a need for people to go out and save those books that have been abandoned. Give them a new home! You hero :)

  21. What a fun quirk!! New books for you! I don’t mind used books, but I don’t tend to want to part with my books either. Unless they’re a friend’s book or a library book, obviously. I tend to buy used books if I can, and then add them to my collection.

  22. I vote for therapy. Just kidding. That’s your own thing. And it makes you you. :) although I’m totally the opposite. I have a couple of used books and I like seeing the signs of other lives that went through it – the yellowing of pages, cracked spines, dog-eared pages, notes, underlines, etc. Have you cringed yet? :P I feel like these are books that have lived well. What can I say? I’m a fan of well-worn books. But I do a have a lot of brand new books that look untouched even after I’ve read them.

  23. I don’t like reading used books if they’re in just OK (or worse) condition, but if they’re in very good condition I don’t mind. I will say though, the first time an old co-worker of mine loaned me one of her books, it took me a while to get over the fact that the book smelled so much like her. I can understand why you feel the way you do, even if I don’t feel it quite as strongly as you.

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  25. Sooo…what about library books? Does this mean you do not enjoy reading books from the library? I’m down with swapping books because it saves me money. Plus, I might not read the book if it’s not forced into my hands by another person. My only problem is I’m such a mood reader that sometimes it takes me a while (a long while) before I’m ready to crack open the borrowed book. Then, I usually feel pretty bad for holding onto something so dear for so long.

    • Nope, I do not read books from the library. The only time I really have in the past fifteen years is if I needed a book for school! :P

      And ah yes, that’s another bit of it I guess. I have so many books I own already, I really don’t need cheap used books to tempt me, since they’d just be sitting on my shelf until I’m in the mood to read them.

  26. hahaha! As a girl who works in a tiny little used bookshop, this hurts my heart! Although, to be honest, until I began working there I refused to even touch a used book. I assumed they would all be gross and filthy and covered in who knows what. :) Turns out that’s not the case at all. I’ve been able to buy so many books at work that truly look as though they’ve never even been read.

    I understand where you’re coming from though. I’d love to think my books have a little piece of me inside. ..although I’ve recently culled my shelves and gave away/sold so many. It not only felt incredibly liberating, but it also cleared up a ton of space!

  27. I don’t like used books, either. Or library books. If a book smells like perfume or cigarettes or food or vomit (I remember a lot of children’s picture books from the library that smelled like vomit… I don’t even want to know why!) then I can’t read it. I’m constantly wondering where it’s been. Has it been in the bathroom with someone when they’re… you know? And then I read about herpes on library books, and that was it for me.

    I’ll take e-books, thanks. Especially if I’m using the library!

  28. Oh Asti, I am so glad that someone else has owned up to this!
    I can’t read used books either – and I down-right refuse to touch a library book. I just can’t!
    Due to the money situation, I really would love to be able to read used books, but I cannot bring myself to do it. I mean, I don’t know where it has been (people do some disgusting things), so no used books for me!
    There are a few exceptions to this rule – I will borrow books from certain friends. Friends that I trust completely. And same with loaning them my books – only those I can trust completely will ever get to read my books. But trust me, it is a short list!

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  30. Haha, I remember you admitting to this before Asti.

    I have absolutely no issues with used books myself, I love searching for good deals on books and if they’re second hand, that’s fine with me. I do like for them to be in good condition though :P

    • Haha yes, this is nothing new! I have admitted it previously. Most just haven’t been following me forever like you have ;) And that IS one of the good things about used books – better deals! And with how quickly you go through books, that probably makes a big difference for you.

  31. I think this would be a great way to approach reading… if I were rich. It would be great to have my own library of every book I’ve ever read. But I just can’t stand the idea of my reading being limited by my budget… or other parts of my life lacking because I put such a high value on books (that I may or may not even like). That’s a really big part of it… it’s not that I can only afford to buy a few books a year, it’s that I’d rather spend that money on something else.

    BUT, even though I don’t have an aversion to reading used books, I definitely have an aversion to buying them. Because those books are MINE, and when it comes to those books, I feel the exact same way you do about them… I don’t want them “violated” with smudges and creases and crumbs and marginalia and who knows what else.

    • Oh I’m not rich. Not at all. I just don’t read nearly as much as most bloggers, it seems. If I get five books for Christmas and five books for my birthday as gifts, and maybe buy five books on my own… I’m pretty much good to go. (Not that I don’t get more than that, but in theory.) Plus, most of the books I’ve acquired since moving to the UK have been free books I’ve received from work placements! So yeah, it’s an expensive quirk and one that would be hard if I read more, but has been working out okay for me so far :)

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