|A treasure I found at a garage sale: A used copy of C.S. Lewis essays.|
There are those who love old books. The ones fished out from broken boxes and attic shelves. The aroma of dust flipping off the paper. The feel of worn pages and delicate prologues. There are these people.
I will choose not to side with either. There is something I love about getting a new book and also finding an old one. My favorite isn't one of these.
I prefer used books.
The ones that have a previous owner, someone else whose devoured its pages and bookmarked sections. It's even a greater treasure when you turn a page and find scrawling in the margin, observations from another set of eyes. They open you up to a whole new perspective, a new link between you and them, a connection. Turning a page and finding an old tattered bookmark, gives you this sense of "I know something of this reader's past." Used books are the only ones to involve three people: author, reader, and some distant, unknown reader.
Reading a used book is different than reading a lent one because the past owner didn't pick you to be the next. Somewhere on the books journey to you it traveled through bookstores, garage sales, trashcans, old boxes, or uninterested readers, as opposed to a friend.
Used books have a story. New books have not been read, and old ones may just have been forgotten.
Used books were ... well used. That eliminates the need for it be new or old.