Why I Love Used Bookstores

Four fun reasons why you will love them too

Wang Yip
2 min readMar 26, 2024
Photo by Jennifer Uppendahl on Unsplash

When I travel, the one thing I do on every trip is go to the local used bookstore. Yes, sometimes it’s for selfish reasons because I want great books for cheap, but there are other reasons too.

Supporting local

Instead of buying books from chains or Amazon (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing to be fair), I want to help local businesses by giving my hard-earned money to them. In the process of supporting local, and specifically used bookstores, you help them help you fuel your addiction (or at least that’s what I call my love of books).

The owners tend to be fanatical readers themselves who can recommend books you may not be aware of

I don’t think you can own or work in a used bookstore without loving to read – and so far, after having visited over forty used bookstores in BC, Alberta, Ontario, Nevada and Washington, I have found this to be the case so far.

You might not always agree with the recommendations from the used bookstore owners or attendants, but you should give it a shot because you never know when you might find your next favourite author or series.

If you have books you no longer want, you can sell or donate them to the used bookstores

One of the benefits of being a frequent visitor of a used bookstore is you can sell or (at the minimum) donate your unwanted books to them, often getting a credit in the store. Some stores even give you cash.

Even if you can’t get any money for your books and donate them, at least you are doing your part to not contributing to the landfill.

It’s a great way of learning about a city

Every used bookstore has a unique selection of books. Of course you have the usual categories: romance, mystery, business, cookbooks, etc., but what’s interesting to me is what the bookstores highlight. I have seen bookstores highlight local authors. I have seen bookstores have a separate section on the occult and paranormal. There are some bookstores who sell mystery books (by mystery books I mean books that are wrapped up so you don’t know what the book is until you buy and unwrap it).

It’s a fascinating way of understanding the city: by understanding what books are ‘discarded’ by its population and what the bookstore has special sections for.



Wang Yip

Author of Essential Habits. I write about personal development, work and managing your career. Connect with me at www.wangyip.ca