Read sustainably: where to find & buy second hand books

Your ultimate guide to buy second hand second hand books

Why would you buy new publications when there are so many books around the world accumulating dust? Whenever possible, we invite you to consider buying second hand books!

There are many places to find and buy second-hand books. We are such big fans of books, so we have created a curated list of sustainable reads for you with second-hand books purchasing options. 

Let’s first explore some of the benefits to why you should consider buying second hand books first and instead of new ones!

What are the benefits of purchasing second-hand books

There are several reasons why buying second-hand books can be a great option:

  • Cost-effective: Second-hand books are usually much cheaper than buying new books. This can be especially beneficial if you’re on a tight budget or if you read a lot and don’t want to spend a lot of money on books.
  • Environmental benefits: By buying second-hand books, you’re helping to reduce waste and lessen the environmental impact of book production. It also means that the book doesn’t need to be reprinted, which saves resources.
  • Supporting small businesses: Many second-hand bookstores are small, independent businesses. By buying from these stores, you’re supporting local businesses and helping to keep them in business.
  • Unique finds: Second-hand bookstores often have a wide selection of books, including rare and out-of-print books. This can be a great opportunity to find unique and interesting reads that you might not find in a new bookstore.
  • Preservation of history and culture: By buying second-hand books, you’re helping to preserve the history and culture of books. Old books can be valuable for their historical and cultural significance, and buying them helps to keep them in circulation.

Overall, buying second-hand books is a great way to save money, support small businesses, and help to reduce waste and preserve the environment. It’s also a great way to find unique and interesting reads.


Where to buy and find second-hand books

Wherever you buy online or you rather smell the pages on a physical store, here are our go-to alternatives to acquire second-hand books:

1. Local bookstores

Independent and used bookstores often have a selection of second-hand books at lower prices. Some may even have a dedicated section for used books.

2. Online marketplaces

Websites like Waterstones in the UK allow you to buy second-hand books from sellers around the world. You can often find rare or out-of-print books on these sites as well.

3. Online bookstores

There are several online bookstores that specialize in second-hand books and thrift book stores, such as Thriftbooks and Better World Books. These stores have a large selection of used books and often offer free shipping.

4. Libraries

Libraries often have book sales where they sell donated books at discounted prices. Check with your local library to see if they have any upcoming sales.

5. Garage sales and flea markets

You can often find second-hand books at garage sales and flea markets for very low prices.

6. Book swapping

Book swapping websites like BookMooch and PaperbackSwap allow you to trade your unwanted books with other readers for free.

When buying second-hand books, make sure to check the condition of the book before purchasing. Look for any damage or markings, and check that the book is the edition you want. Additionally, be aware of shipping costs if buying online, as they can add up quickly.

Waste Reduction for the Shopper: Brands That Impact the Environment

The worldwide footprint and environmental impact of books

The production, distribution, and disposal of books can have a significant environmental impact. Here are some of the ways in which books can affect the environment:

  • Deforestation: Paper is the primary material used to make books, and the production of paper often involves the cutting down of trees. Deforestation can lead to soil erosion, habitat destruction, and loss of biodiversity.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions: The production of paper, printing, and shipping of books can generate significant greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions contribute to climate change and global warming.
  • Waste: Books that are discarded or not recycled can contribute to the growing problem of waste in landfills. In addition, the pulping process used to recycle books can be energy-intensive and generate greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Chemicals: The production of paper often involves the use of chemicals, such as chlorine and bleach, which can have harmful effects on the environment and human health.
  • Transportation: The distribution of books often involves long-distance transportation, which can lead to additional greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to air pollution.

Overall, the environmental impact of books is significant. However, there are ways to reduce this impact, such as using recycled paper, printing on-demand, and promoting digital books. 

By making small changes in the way books are produced, distributed, and disposed of, we can help to minimize their impact on the environment.

Practicing zero-waste methods in your day-to-day life

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Maxime Ducker

The powerhouse behind OurGoodBrands. She's a social, eco & spiritual activist driven to create positive change. Her mission is to connect brands with conscious shoppers to show that we can build a new economy, society & world together. She's a big believer in the power of the individual, and the important contribution each creature on this Earth can bring as a part of the whole. Yoga, natural health, plants, astrology, and crafts are Maxime's ways of opening her heart, creating art & raising her to higher consciousness. Besides her simple and minimalist way of life, travel and living in other countries, learning languages and getting to meet new cultures is in her DNA.

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