“Used books,” as if someone else has had the best of them and you get the sere husk, or the lees, as if a book isn’t the one thing, the one product, that is forever new. There’s no such thing as a used book. Or there’s no such thing as a book if it’s not being used.”
Deborah Meyler, The Bookstore
Hobby, habit, compulsion – call it what you like, I don’t judge anyone whose hobby is finding secondhand books. If you’re seeking a hard-to-find or out-of-print book, you may already know the websites eager to help you:
(Got another favorite book-selling website? Leave a comment and I may add it to the list!)
And there’s many other resources for finding that dead tree edition you need, like Amazon, eBay and Barnes & Noble. But when you’re searching for that one elusive tome that no one on the internet seems to have in stock, try this site and make it a little easier on yourself:
Bookfinder will comb almost all of the book-selling websites out there for you. Search Bookfinder.com for your title and it’ll return all of your buying options and prices! This is now my go-to site for finding secondhand books.
I apologize in advance if this contributes to anyone’s tsundoku.
Dolly Parton has contributed to many charitable causes in her lifetime, but she may be the most proudest of her Imagination Library. She started this program to get books to children for free. It started in Tennessee but is now available in many parts of the USA and other countries.
If you can sign up for this program, your child will receive a book, absolutely free, through the mail each month. You can start as soon as your child is born, and the books will continue to arrive until they turn 5 years old. You just have to check the availability, based on your address, at their site.
If the IL Program is not available where you live, think outside the box. Can you sign your child up for free books, using a grandparents’ address? Availability is based on the zip code and county, and you can check as many addresses as you want. Also: check your address eligibility every few months, as this program is spreading to more counties and regions all the time!
If you want info on how to bring this program to your region, check out the bottom of their USA page for the 3 Steps to make it happen.
Archive.org is a library dedicated to digitizing and storing books, movies, websites and more, online for all to access. And during the pandemic, they’ve made a big change to their lending library. It’s now the National Emergency Library.
Essentially, they’ve removed any waitlists to check out books and invite everyone to borrow from their immense catalog. Their reasoning is that while physical libraries are closed across the country due to COVID, students and teachers and everyone else still need books. Their Library Director explains more here:
Recently released books may not appear here, but everything else stands a good chance of being in there. Off the top of my head, I searched for The Stand by Stephen King, The Plague by Albert Camus and The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. I found every one, in English and ready to borrow.