Using Used Books Part I

Recently I’ve been taken by the idea that how you buy says a lot about how you think. For me, who loves reading, there is no other buying new temptation stronger than a new book. I’m addicted to reading. I’m happy to say out of my much to big library there is only a small shelf of books that I have never read. Kind of like craft supplies I try not to have any leftovers. Well, the problem for me lately has been that I really can’t justify buying new books anymore. There are just too many used books out there that need a home, need another read, need a cozy place on the shelf. Sure some books are stinkers, maybe even made for the landfill instead of the reader, but even those can usually find a home in a collage, scrapbook, or the binding can be used to bind a more cherished book that has been read so many times that it has completely worn out.

The point is, other than instant gratification, why should I really buy a new book at all? Until all the used books have homes, why buy new? Most books, within a few months of publication, start showing up in force as “used”. If I can just wait a little, I can get a great book that is new to me, not contributing to deforestation, keeping something out of the landfill, and saves me a little money. For me it is a win win situation all around. The other factor is that by buying used, I am helping to support other small business or morally conscious businesses.

I started out just thinking that I would buy used from amazon as well as my local used book shop, FireHouse Books. Then I went to the Green Fest on Navy Pier in Chicago and came across Better World Books. These people revolutionized the way I shopped for books, the way I looked for books, and the way I thought about my buying habits in general.


According to them:

Better World Books collects and sells books online to fund literacy initiatives worldwide. With more than two million new and used titles in stock, we’re a self-sustaining, triple-bottom-line company that creates social, economic and environmental value for all our stakeholders.”

And they totally do! There is this great project they have where they connect with schools and libraries to help them do book drives. You can actually search by your zipcode and look up your local library and search what they are selling through Better World. If you find something you like, you can purchase it, and some of the profit goes towards your local library. How wonderful is that! You can also search by used books only, a great tool if you are trying to cut down your new book buying vice. It’s also nice to know that if I really need a new book, say for research, or a review, or whatever may be the case, by buying from Better World, I know that it is going towards a good cause and not just a corporation’s overly huge profit margin. Right now they have already raised $4,286,317.26 towards lituracy funds and they have saved 11,351,833 books from the landfills! Did I mention too that all shipping within the US is just, well, free!

“All books are available with free shipping to any location within the United States (or $2.97 worldwide). And in case you’re concerned about your eco-footprint, every order is shipped carbon neutral with offsets from”

How great is that!


Now sometimes I can’t find a used book I really need on Better World, so I turn to another favorite book site. A1Books. Now the reason that I really like A1 Books is that they search all the sellers and affiliate sites for you bookish desires. I actually searched for a book and Better World came up as well as one of my other favorite sites, Thrift Books. For me it’s a really great place to buy books from sellers I like, with only one checkout. You can also sell your own books through them. I haven’t done it, but it looks pretty easy.


Another option for fulfilling your book needs is to look up what you need on World Cat. This is a nation wide library search engine. You can find the book closest too you, you can also use it to help you request an interlibrary loan. And, I just found this out today, when you search for a book, they will also have a link to the book in Google Books if it is available there! I searched for Craft and Contemporary Theory in World Cat to see if a library near by had it that I could get sent to the Ames Library and I ended up finding this great excerpt on Google Books!


And that leads me to the next thing, check out google book search! Sister D of the Crafty Pod did a great review for them awhile ago that you can check out to hear more about it. You can search by topic, author, title, keyword, you know, the standard. So great. A lot of times they may not have what you are looking for in full, but usually a preview or a review at the very least. It’s really nice to check before you commit to buying a book outright over the internet. It’s like being able to browse it virtual style. Like Diane mentions too, there are a lot of out of print books available in full on there. What an amazing resource!

Now these are all just resources for getting your hands on reading materials and used books in general. On Wednesday I’m going to post all about using used books project ideas. See you all then!

Oh and don’t forget to check out the shop, I added some new goodies last Friday afternoon. I’m hoping to have the dishcloth kits up and on sale this friday coming up, so check back for that too!

Oh oh oh! Also, I have been listing some vintage and used and few new but haven’t used and it needs to get out of my studio things on ebay. You can see all I’m selling here. (cough, which is zero because all my auctions just ended, thanks to everyone who bid on things!) I’m going to be putting a lap loom I bought eons ago up for auction tonight as well as some more fabric, some vintage lace, and some lots of buttons. I bought the lap loom from Dick Blick about 3 years ago and since have gone head over heels into weaving and don’t really need it anymore because I’ve built my own lap loom and also have a floor loom now too. It’s just taking up space, so it needs to go. The original instructions for it were crap, so I’m going to type some up for it and include those in the auction as well.

And that is all for today! Happy Crafting Everyone!

++ Kristin ++

5 thoughts on “Using Used Books Part I

  1. It’s great to hear that I am not the only person obsessed with books. Another great site is You list books that you are willing to part with and when one is requested, you send the book to the person and earn one credit. One credit allows you to request a book from someone else. The only cost is the postage sending books out. I use the wish list feature and when any book that I want is listed, I automatically receive an email. No more keeping lists on random post its and looking all over for books that I want. I love it!

  2. Oh what a great idea! I was going to post about Library thing too, but by the end of writing such a long post I had forgotten about it! haha! I’ll have to add a few more links on Wednesday’s post about book swaps too, they are such a great tool for changing over your library! Thanks for bringing it up, is a great one, I really need to sign up for it.

  3. Hi, my name’s Katie. I just wanted to say thanks for such a comprehensive list of resources. I’m completely addicted to books as well, and I think I’ll probably be able to resist ordering something for about 3 minutes maximum! I can’t throw anything away, even books I thought were awful, so if I can re-invent them as something I can appreciate, that would be wonderful. I’m really looking forward to your next post!

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