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Tips for Book Thrifting

When I say I like to thrift, I’m not really talking about shopping for clothes. For me, my trips to the Goodwill always take me to the back corners where they keep the used books. Most thrift stores have a section dedicated to all types of books from biographies to children’s fiction. Then of course in Carytown there’s Chop Suey, a primarily used, two-level book store. If you’re anything like me and want to buy a variety of books in one sitting without paying too much money, check out these tips for book thrifting!

1. Don’t go in looking for a specific book.

I’ve found that the most successful trips happen when you go into the store with no expectations. Start out in one section and move your way down, picking up any books that catch your eye. After you’re done you can pick and choose from the books you’ve checked out. Also, don’t feel obligated to buy something if you don’t find anything you like.

2. If a price seems high, look at what it was originally sold for.

General rule of thumb for any type of previously owned/used purchasing: If the asking price is higher than what it was originally sold for, don’t buy it. On the other hand, if a book is being sold for $7 and it was originally sold for $35, that’s a pretty good deal.

3. Make sure the condition is useable.

Sometimes books are going to have mild damage, like a bent cover or a page that’s water-warped at the bottom. Stuff like this doesn’t bother me, but if you want books in near perfect condition there are always plenty of those to choose from. The one thing you want to make sure of is that a book isn’t missing pages or damaged to the point where you can’t read it.

4. Try something different.

One of the best parts of book thrifting is that you can buy interesting books that you wouldn’t usually want to spend a lot of money on. An anthology of cat fairytales, while adorable, probably wouldn’t be worth $16, but for $3.50, why not get it? Chop Suey also has a section of “blind date books” wrapped up in brown packaging that you buy based on the store’s description only.

5.  Give as you get.

“Book guilt” is used to describe the state of having way too many books on your shelf, many of which you haven’t gotten around to reading yet. Ease your book guilt as you shop for more, by donating from your own collection. If you have books you hated or just aren’t interested in anymore, give them to your local thrift store or library. That way you have more room on your shelf and new people are going to get a chance to enjoy the books!

Images from: here, here, herehere, and here