how i find my books

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{a post in which I discuss how I acquire books to support my book habit}

I have bought/begged/found books just about everywhere. I am a dedicated book-looker-for, if that title may be bestowed. I get neck cramps from craning my head to the side to read the titles on the shelves. I’ve developed the all-important skill of Rapid-Skiming-Of-The-Titles to find specific books. (It really helps when I’m looking for Star Wars books, because Star Wars is emblazoned on the side in big letters!) I will dig and dig behind other books, in free boxes and bins, and stand on my tiptoes to look on top of shelves to find books. I’ve bought books off my friends. I’m given books because it is a known fact I read voraciously. I will read just about anything, even the posters at the dentist’s office and the back of cereal boxes! I also pass on books if I don’t read them/want them. Almost every book I own I have gotten secondhand or for free. Very rarely do I buy new books. Thrift stores, library sales, the free shelf at the library, hand-me-ons, bookstores, the Internet and yards sales are places I have found most of my books.

My favorite place at the moment to find books is on the free shelf at our library. I don’t have to pay for them and I can usually find some really good books there. I don’t just take, take, take, however. If I’m given books I don’t want, don’t need, or already have, I pass them on to somebody else via the free shelf. I’ve even found VHSs and CDs on the shelf.

I’m not a huge fan of our thrift store’s book collection. They mostly have trashy romance novels or books I would never consider buying. That, and their prices aren’t the best. 50 cents for a paperback and a dollar for a hardback book? Bleah. I’m spoiled by other thrift stores where I’ve only paid 10 cents for a book, hardback or paperback. I do find books I’ve been searching for at the thrift store more often than on the free shelf, and if I buy books when all thrift store items are half-off, it’s more tolerable.

Now, I’m not saying that I never buy new books. (I think I just used a double negative.) I do sometimes. I LOVE going to Barnes & Noble. It’s become a sort of  habit of mine that whenever I walk into B&N, I stop and breathe in the smells of books and coffee (if there’s a Starbucks inside). There is just a wonderful smell about new books. Yes, I am a die-hard book smeller. I am also not ashamed of that fact. Of all book-buying places, new bookstores have the best selection. It is much easier to find that one specific book you can’t find anywhere else, except maybe the Internet. The down side of B&N or new bookstores is sticker shock. “15 dollars for a book??? AHH!! Medic, medic!!” Yes, it’s hard sometimes. But there are times you just have to suck it up, use a gift card, and buy the book.

Now, is it possible to have too many books? Yes and no. When I look over my bookshelves, sometimes I see too many books. When I run out of space, it does force me to reevaluate my books. I try to weed through relatively often to keep it tidy and only keep what I’ll read again. When I buy books and I’m indecisive or just low on cash, I really ask myself, “Will I read this again?” If the answer is no, back it goes. Sometimes, I’ve gotten books from the free shelf, not liked it, and returned it next time I’m at the library. Maybe someone else will enjoy it.

Since most of my books are secondhand, it is easier to get rid of books I don’t read. Some books I keep for sentimental reasons, even if I haven’t read them in a long time. And if I get a book, but I’ve never read it? Yeah, that will probably be one of the first to go. Books that I paid the full price for are harder for me to let go. I’ll usually pass those books onto a friend rather than leave it up to chance. Then I know it’ll be treated right. Hopefully.

So, hopefully my long, long post gave you some ideas. 😉 It takes patience and practice to find books secondhand. I’m not too good on the patience bit, but I am working on it! I’ll have to post a picture of my bookshelves sometime… In case you can’t tell, I AM BOOK CRAZY.

Have fun book-hunting!

How do you find books? Care to share something I might have missed? Tell me in the comments!

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