Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New or Used?

I have had this question brewing in my mind for quite some time. And given that today is the last day of the old year and we will wake up in the new year tomorrow, it is a perfect time to post this issue. What kind of books do you prefer: new or used? Several weeks ago I read comments somewhere and noticed that majority of people prefer to buy a new book. I even read one person writing that she didn’t know where a used book was kept by the previous owner and the thought of reading it would be disgusting.
I really do not discriminate against one type or the other. My library holds probably equal amounts of both new and used books. Nowadays, due to my financial situation I have no choice but to buy used ones (I probably shouldn’t be buying any, but that’s just beyond my capacity for self-control). I also enjoy reading used books. They have a whole history of readership behind them. When I pick up a used book, I always pause for a minute contemplating just how many people had read it before me, who they were, if they loved it or hated it, if it changed their lives perhaps. As I scroll through pages I wonder whether there are dried tears on them or will I still hear a faint reminiscence of laughter or cries of shock and disbelief.
It’s a whole another story with new books. When my finances weren’t as tight as they are today, I would buy tons of new books. These were pretty much the only ones I got. I would buy new books as a show of support and appreciation of writers. They are the ones that supply me with hours of unadulterated joy and pleasure. Without writers, there would be no books. Oh, the horror! Just the thought of it makes me think of hell! Most importantly however, I enjoy reading new books for exactly the opposite reason from the one I have for used books. It makes me excited to know that I will be the very first reader of a book, that I have the story all to myself. I can feel the crispiness of the pages and smell that wonderful, new paper and fresh ink smell. You might call me crazy but somehow I don’t think you will. Something tells me that my experiences might be quite similar to yours.

And without further ado: HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!