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Where to find the best used books in Canada
So where do you go online in Canada if you have a passion for books? The country certainly has a prestigious history of prime reading material.
Since the 1960s, organizations such as the LAC (Library and Archive Canada)’s Rare Book Collection have kept the nation’s heritage alive. Precious items, such as an 18th century Catholic prayer book in the Montagnais language, are available for public consumption.
If you’re someone with a bulging bookshelf, and an interest in rare and collectible texts, then we’re sure that’s piqued your interest. Are you likely to get your hands on an antique prayer book? Unlikely! But there are still many fascinating and hard to obtain volumes out there, that take the idea of a used or second hand book to new levels.
Our guide to finding the best used books in Canada to buy or sell is the perfect primer. We’ll show you what to keep an eye on, where to find it and everything that comes after…
ARE FIRST EDITIONS BEST?
It’s long-established that a first edition is supposed to be the most desirable of books. At time of writing, an original copy of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey has just gone under the hammer for over $12,500!
Where can you find one? Before leaping to conclusions, we should clear something up. Yes, a first edition is special and highly collectible. But they are also early versions of much loved texts that lack interesting details, like illustrations or other information inserted to make the book better.
The BBC reported that William Camden’s geographical classic Britannia (1586) is actually worth more in its later editions. How come? The first edition doesn’t have any maps! Meanwhile, the collected works of Shakespeare are pricier in the Third Folio due to a natural disaster – namely, the Great Fire of London in 1666. Talk about a red hot deal…
WHAT ARE THE BEST WEBSITES?
Being able to search for the best price relatively quickly, and with just a few clicks, is a major asset when undertaking your reading quest. You’ll want to conduct a thorough search, but there’s so much information out there your head will spin if you don’t focus from the get go.
Every book-based website worth their salt has a comprehensive search option, narrowing things down by ISBN number as well as author. This is the fastest and most effective way of comparing prices, whether you’re looking to purchase, or wondering what to sell your book for. You can also make a difference when doing so.
What do we mean? Readers are increasingly conscious of the planet they live on, and their fellow humans. Some used book outlets take that responsibility very seriously. How so? Better World Books is a case in point. This charitable group of volume dispensers sell great reads, yet also plough money back into the industry.
They do this by supporting libraries – an ever-dwindling but vital resource across the world – and offering free books to people who can’t afford them. On top of that, Better World hold regular clearance sales, sweeping out the old amongst their variety of literary classics, thrillers, high school staples and more. So they are a great option for those on a limited budget.
DO YOU NEED THE LIKES OF AMAZON?
Mega giants of the book world like Amazon are a necessary part of life these days. They quite literally deliver the goods, and while their reputations aren’t exactly spotless they are reliable.
You know the drill. Amazon, eBay and other notable names are portals through which you buy and sell everything, including used books. There are advantages and disadvantages. Let’s start with the advantages. Should you be after, say, a bestseller at a great price, then your transaction will be straightforward and fast. In that sense, the beasts are unbeatable. Selling stuff is also something of a breeze with these sites.
Disadvantages? While some retailers are small ponds, Amazon etc are a huge ocean. You could spend forever swimming their virtual channels, and if it’s something more specialist you’re after then you might be out of luck. Corporations can’t cover everything, which is where others come in to take up the slack…
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES…?
AbeBooks might be just the place for you. The online brand offers a wide range of shelf-strainers. Plus they have their own dedicated hubs for world destinations. For example, welcome to AbeBooks Canada. The site is pretty comprehensive and makes rifling through a multitude of titles as simple as possible. It isn’t the only game in town of course, but it is worth a browse.
What these sites provide is accessibility to a rich universe of books, from rattling good reads to rare editions that you might just snap up for a low price…