Looking for used books in Canada is not a difficult process if you know where to start. Take it from me, I’m somewhat of an expert in the topic. I was fortunate to have operated a used bookstore in Canada for four years.
Obviously part of my day to day operations involved buying books. Now looking for used books can be attacked from two different angles and it very much depends what you’re looking for. At the book store the vast majority of book loving customers were looking for one of two different items. And we often helped them do just that.
On one end we had the experienced book collector. They typically had a list of a few used books that they had their eye on. Often it wasn’t even good enough to get the title they were seeking but they wanted a specific edition from a specific publisher. They wouldn’t consider the latest book club suggestions, only the best books – often from small presses. For these customers the best solutions are found on the Internet. There are many great websites that can help pinpoint the very targeted searches of used books. In fact all you really need to do is head over to a favorite search engine and type in Used Books Canada, or Used Books NZ (or wherever you happen to be from). If you want a little more detail on what some of the better used book search engines do then fel free to check out another article we just wrote on that.
The other type of used books hunter was one whose searches weren’t so laser targeted. The often didn’t even know what they wanted it until they saw it. When they did find a little gem of a book tucked away it would be like love at first site. These guys we can call generalists. They don’t search for just a favorite other, a favorite publishing house they just like to hunt down obscure, interesting and/or eclectic books of almost any genre. Although I have a soft spot for Patrick O’Brian, I would definitely fall into this class. These collectors don’t need to go online, they can find a wide variety of used books in many local haunts. Most thrift stores have a fairly large book section. We are lucky to have a local Salvation Army that is teeming with book, so much so that they just expanded the section quite a bit. Now the thing with hunting for little golden treasures, which coincidental may be Little Golden Books, is that a lot of time and patience is required. These Op Shops (as they’re called in the land of oz) typically have many thousands of books that really should be recycled. All of the book club suggestions of the past ten years can often be found alongside old cheap text books, ripped pocket books, old encyclopedia’s – you get the gist. You will need to look through a thousand book club books to find that 1 special book. At our local sally Ann I often spend hours sifting through junk but always come away with two or three very interesting titles that sit in my library. There are even time when I have found beautiful leather bound books being wheeled out for display.
That in a nutshell covers used books Canada. Internet searches will work very well for laser targeted want lists while sifting through book club suggestions at the local Salvation Army my net you some very eclectic titles for your generalist library. Either discovery is a lot of fun, I’ve done both quite often and have equally enjoyed getting that signed first edition in the mail as the discovery of a box of Philip Dick novels tucked under another box of book club suggestions.