Thursday, May 3, 2012

Building A Better Thrifted Library

"Take a look. It's in a book"

If you're keeping it old school like me and prefer settling down with a cup of hot tea and a good book as opposed to firing up a Kindle, Nook or whatever new digital ebook device will be next, I have good news. Print isn't dead. It's alive and well at your local thrift store. And you could be paying a fraction of the price as compared to national book store prices.

Chances are, your typical Goodwill is stocked full of microwave cookbooks and dated computer software manuals, but don't write off the possibility of finding a good read just yet.

Building a better thrifted library can mean embracing the virtue of patience if you are looking for a particular title. But there are may be a few titles on your to-read list that you can find at the thrift.  Think about it. Between the thousands, literally thousands, of the same title from the bestsellers list that have circulated the masses, I'd bet a good percentage have found their way to the thrift store shelves. Add those Oprah book club reads and all the fodder from high school book reports and required college reading into the mix and you have a sporting chance at finding something that will catch your interest.

If you are ashamed of the fact that you've never read Moby Dick or maybe you're looking to rediscover some of the Beat writings of Kerouac, fear not. I've amassed a number of the classics for pennies on the dollar thanks to Goodwill. 

Here's my book shelf on Japan! 

Even if you're not looking for something in the classics category, you still may one day find something specific in a niche topic. Several of my books on Japanese culture were even bought secondhand, at both thrift stores and flea markets. 

Some Tips for Thrifting Books
  1. Some thrift stores have taken the initiative to separate books be genre. If you have time, scan the entire section. You never know what bodice-ripping romance novel will end up in the children's books by mistake. 
  2. Always check the binding. You can maybe tolerate a few dog-earred pages, but shoddy binding means eventually losing pages. Cracks in the spine, loose pages or a book that can lay entirely flat when opening at the halfway point are typical signs of binding ware.
  3. Check the copyright and edition. If you are a re-seller, it's best to know these things and it never hurts to know otherwise. You could be thrifting something valuable!
  4. Give a book a chance! Not sure if that sci-fi adventure will get your imagination going? Ah, for fifty cents, it's worth finding out. 
  5. Spread the word(s). If you're reading to enjoy the story and aren't necessarily interested in keeping the book for your collection, donate it back to the thrift store. Think of the 50 cents as a mere rental fee for a good read. 
           Recall this thrifted book on...voyeurism...?

While I don't encourage reckless stockpiling of thrifted books, for fear of ending up on Hoarders, it's quite possible to build an enviable collection for your personal library. Classics, recent bestsellers, DIY craft books and even the occasional literary oddity like Body Watching is Fun can all be yours for less than the price of a pack of gum. Chew on that, you thriftin' leisurely readers! 


Let's Go Thrifting recommends...

Perfect for displaying books and thrifted knick knacks!


Eartha Kitsch said...

Great advice! And I think that we need to see more of that intriguing Body Watching Is Fun! Our local thrifts have decided to take any book that they think might be old and put ridiculous prices on them. It's truly disappointing.

Peace said...

I'm totally for the printed word! Nothing feels like a book. The more people I've lent a book to, the better loved it gets. I found the last Stepehn King novel I hadn't read yet, brand new hardback for $2 last weekend. Woot!

Anonymous said...

What a terric post!! I love thrifting books also! (And have the same copy of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" love it!!)

Thanks for the great tips!!!

Serena said...

That bookshelf is what grabbed my attention! Love the printed back and insides!

Thrift Diving

Jackie Jardine said...

@ Eartha: For shame! I hate price gouging at the thrift because of the "vintage" factor. Old does not always mean valuable, especially with books. "Body Watching Is Fun" is actually a fun find from a previous post..but I'm thinking I'll scan some choice photos for a post specifically catered to just how messed up that book is. It's not pornographic, but just downright creepy. Stay tuned for more on this issue, lol!
<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

Jackie Jardine said...

@ Peace: I love Stephen King! Nice find! I actually found the second Steig Larsson book of the Girl w/ The Dragon Tattoo series... in hardback, brand new for $1.50. Since I was just finishing the fist book, I was psyched to find it!

<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

Jackie Jardine said...

@ Genevieve: Don't you just love that edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves? It's old school. I found it at a Salvation Army while I was in college. Actually at the time I was taking my first women's studies class and was excited to find the vintage version so I could share it with the rest of the class!

<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

Jackie Jardine said...

@ Serena: Thanks! I love that bookcase and wish I could take credit for the doodle-style. But alas, it is from Ikea! Still love it, though, lol.

<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

Lorri said...

Love your advice on thrifting books! Just found your blog and I love it!

Jackie Jardine said...

Thanks so much for stopping in and taking a look around, Lorri! I'm also planning another post on how to go thrifting for records!

<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!