I don’t know about you, but my reading habits have been all over the place these past few months. For a while, I found it difficult to focus long enough to get through anything lengthy.
So after finishing the last of my library books back in March, I found myself retreating into the comfort food of old series — and re-reading things like the Harry Potter books. (Which, by the way, read a little differently now that I’m the parent of two teenage boys!)
What have you been reading lately?
Luckily for me, we still have a lot of children’s and young adult level books in this house for comfort food reading in quarantine. Unluckily for me, I’ve been spending the past few months purging and whittling down our book collection in preparation to put our house on the market (soon!). Talk about poor timing; with libraries closed, I should have read some of those books I hadn’t touched in years before weeding them out for good. 🙂
In with the new (ish) books
As we emerge confused and blinking into the light of summer, though, it’s time to get reading again. I’m gradually stepping it up, so a couple of weeks ago I was thinking about how long ago I read Stephen King’s masterful The Dark Tower series — and about how these books would be a good bridge between Harry Potter and something new (when my library finally reopens…).
Like most people, I started my book search on Amazon — where the eight book The Dark Tower series set would set me back a pretty penny new. As of three weeks ago, they were also a month back ordered.
AbeBooks to the rescue: What a great place to find used books from various independent sellers. AbeBooks is, go figure, actually a subsidiary of Amazon (because they have been buying up everyone) — but, the site is kind of a different browsing experience.
If you don’t care whether your books are in pristine new condition, AbeBooks is one of my favorite places to pick up used books online while supporting independent sellers. I often actually prefer used books, seeing as I take books everywhere, read them outside, leave them upside-down, loan them out to friends, and read in the bath & while eating…
Not finding what you need at AbeBooks, or want to avoid sites owned by Amazon? Also try Alibris, where you can shop various independent and local booksellers. (Scroll down their homepage and sign up for emails to get a $5 coupon, too!)
Used bookstores, how I miss you…
Books are meant to be loved, passed around, read, and re-read — and, used book stores are the best. Since I can’t wander in a leisurely fashion through my local used book store right now, though, sites like Alibris and AbeBooks will have to do.
I’m so happy to have the whole The Dark Tower series on hand now, with weeks of reading material ahead of me. Since I intend to read, keep, and re-read these, I don’t mind that they came to me already a bit battered and well-loved.
How do used book prices compare?
I specifically wanted the newer paperback edition of The Gunslinger with the motion picture cover, because it’s been rewritten and expanded. (That movie, by the way, was such a disappointment, Idris Elba aside…)
This paperback edition of the first book in The Dark Tower series would currently run me $4.00 shipped at Alibris, while I paid $4.51 shipped at AbeBooks a couple of weeks ago — so, do remind me to try Alibris next time as well! On Amazon, the cheapest used copy is significantly higher at the moment.
Yes, of course you can buy used books on Amazon
Could I have purchased these books from third party sellers on Amazon? Sure. But:
- AbeBooks allowed me to group purchases by seller and pay one set of shipping charges for each, while on Amazon I would have had to pay $3.99 shipping for several of the individual titles.
- Prices on AbeBooks were overall cheaper.
On AbeBooks I paid $48.14 for the entire The Dark Tower series, shipped. Note, though, that books tend to ship media mail — so will take some time to get to you. (That was fine with me, because I had the Harry Potter series to finish…)
eBooks aren’t always for me books
Oh and before you ask: I do read eBooks, and do appreciate having a stash on my phone and ancient iPad mini to dip into as needed in waiting rooms, or if we ever travel again…
A couple of months ago I signed up for a free two month trial of Amazon Kindle Unlimited — which has, by the way, been extended thorough June 30, 2020 if you want one for yourself. (Cancel the trial at any time, but still retain access until your two months are up.)
But for me, at least, eBooks don’t always provide the same experience or satisfaction as physical books. I need both in my life!