Booking Through Thursday: Something Old, Something New

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This week’s Booking Through Thursday Prompt asks: “All other things being equal–do you prefer used books? Or new books? (The physical specimen, that is, not the title.) Does your preference differentiate between a standard kind of used book, and a pristine, leather-bound copy?”

My answer isn’t terribly deep, and I’m afraid it will disappoint anyone who has romantic notions about the way books smell and how the pages yellow, and all of that, but I just like to read. I don’t really have a book fetish. I am attracted to pretty covers, and I prefer a book I purchase to be new. If it’s going to be marked in or damaged in any way, I prefer that I am the person to do it first. I know used books can be cheaper, but there it is. I don’t collect old books, either, and I guess I’m one of those folks who doesn’t much see the point in doing it. Autographed copies are different to me. I love to get my books signed by authors.

After I bought my Kindle, I had some friends who thought I had gone over to the Dark Side. I kept hearing things like the books smell so good, and you can’t beat the way paper feels, and, and and… And I don’t get books to sniff them or touch them.

I have a strong romantic streak about just about everything. Except books. Weird because of how much I love to read, I know, but there it is.

I can actually hear you clucking your tongue, and it’s not bothering me. Not even a little bit.

photo credit: Ian Sane

10 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Something Old, Something New

  1. Hey there, fellow Kindler! I'm with you there in that all I care about is reading, and I don't particularly concern myself with other stuff.

    Here's my Something Old, Something New post!

    P.s. i see that you're really into historical fiction, did you catch that awesome Jane Austen B-day freebies galore from Amazon? Tons of related books that were made free then!

    1. Nah, I found out about it too late and was really, super unhappy! However, I have since started following a blog that posts daily about free Kindle books so it won't happen again. Hopefully I'll get lucky again. I did manage to get a Jane Odiwe book for free the other day. Thanks for sharing your post!

  2. I couldn't agree with you more! I'm a romantic in many ways, but when it comes to books, I guess I'm a bit OCD; I don't really appreciate water stains, spilled food, odd smells, or marginalia.

    However, I am picky about the font, especially after spending four years of undergrad, two of gradschool, and one of ed. school straining my eyes into the wee hours. Which is just to say that I prefer choosing my own new books to collecting the choices of others.

    1. Font is one of the reasons I find the Norton editions annoying. I like all the extra goodies in the back, but the font they use is so fine. One wonders if you were straining over Norton editions!

      1. Indeed I was! I do love the extras, but the typeface could use an overhaul. I actually have several duplicate editions (Emma, Frankenstein, Great Expectations) precisely because I'd like to be able to access Norton's extras but I also enjoy re-reading many of my books.

        1. The Norton edition of Frankenstein actually has the 1818 version of the novel and a really interesting article in the back about why they chose that edition over a later revision. You probably already knew that, but I stumbled on it by accident when I was teaching the novel last year or year before last—can't remember which.

  3. Actually, I'm with you on the whole new/old thing. It's not the age of the books, but the condition. I like used because I'm cheap, but they have to be in good, unmarked condition. I'm not attracted by old books just for their own sake, and first editions don't really do much for me.

    That said, I haven't gone over to the 'dark side' yet and gotten an e-reader, much to my husband's chagrin. He thinks it's the perfect gift for me and is quite put out that I don't want one!

    1. Ah, you might like one. I was surprised by how much I liked my Kindle. I didn't expect to like it quite so much. I'm with you on condition. When I buy books off the shelf (increasingly rare as I tend to order them or download them to my Kindle), I have been known to go through every copy on the shelf until I find one that is most perfect in terms of condition of cover.

  4. I don't have a book fetish, and I don't care about first editions, but I do love the way old library books smell. Sometimes I pull out library books that I don't care about at all, and they smell so delicious I end up checking them out anyway. :p

    1. Ever stumble on something really good that way? I think I have done the same thing with books with covers I like, despite the old saw about not judging a book by its cover. One book I remember thinking had a beautiful cover was just a bleh book for me—Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman.

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