Buying used books is a great way to expand your reading library while avoiding the cost of new books. Browsing through a well-stocked used bookstore is also worthwhile for the experience itself. Unique and out of publication books can often be found at used book stores.
New books each have a list price. This is the normal price for the book. Used book sellers almost always sell books considerably below list price. Many retailers of new books discount off this list price too, but not the same extent. Typically a shopper buying a new book will pay something close to list price.
In the fiction market, shoppers see two main types of books: hardbacks and paperbacks. The hardback books come at a premium price. The media itself is more durable and more expensive to produce. Many textbooks are hardbacks because of the durability. Not only textbooks are in hardback form, though. New fiction by major authors comes out in hardback first. Fans of an author or a series of books often pay extra for the hardback.
Paperback books cost less to produce. Publishers often make paperback editions of books that were earlier published as hardbacks. These books are very prevalent at bookstores. However, some fiction goes straight into paperback in order to lower the cost of the books.
General used book sellers have both hardback and paperback books. The hardbacks still cost a premium over the paperbacks, but this cost is often 20% or less of the list price. This is due to the extra durability and indeed a more collectible nature of the medium. Hardback books are premium. Some, like first-edition novels, are also highly collectible.
Paperback books at used book sellers can sometimes be gotten for as little as twenty-five cents. Used book sellers acquire these through trades, purchases from customers, and sometimes their own personal library. Most used book stores in the country specialize in a particular genre of paperback fiction. Fans of Harlequin Romance books or New Wave Sci-Fi or any other particular genre frequent used book stores to find books to read or collect. Obscure paperbacks by favorite, if not well-known authors, are sometimes hard to track down. However, used bookstores are sometimes the only place to find these books forgotten by the literary mainstream.
Visit a used bookstore in your neighborhood to see what books you can buy for a few dollars or maybe even just a handful of change. Forgotten favorites abound on dusty shelves. Some books with great power did not have commercial appeal at their initial time of publication and only had a couple small printings. It is these books that I look for when I visit a used bookstore.