Buy It Used

October is Buy Nothing New Month. Which gives me a great opportunity to talk about buying things used! Not everything, of course — when you need a new mattress, you need a new mattress. But this movement allows for things like that, because the concept of “buying nothing new” makes exceptions for food, hygiene and medicines (and a mattress can arguably fall under “hygiene”.)

The easiest and most painless way to buy something used instead of new is online, for example at Amazon. When you search and find an item on the Amazon website, there is an option to buy it used from a seller at (whatever price) right there on the page, and from that link you can compare product condition, seller ratings, from where it ships, everything. You might feel iffy about a used coat, but books and many other household items are perfect second-hand buys. (Full disclosure: the Beau sells used and rare books!)

Beyond Amazon, some other booksellers’ aggregate sites are Alibris Books in the US and UK, and ZVAB (Zentrales Verzeichnis Antiquarischer Bücher) in Germany (click on the Union Jack for English). If there is an actual bricks-and-mortar used bookstore in your area, I strongly recommend stopping in for a visit, even just to look around. Here in Innsbruck we have a lovely old used and rare bookstore right in the center of town.

Think about it: you’re supporting small independent businesses (mostly — you have to look and make sure you’re not buying from some warehouse dealer), and you’re recycling, which reduces both paper production and waste. Go for it.

BONUS TRACK: It’s also Banned Books Week.

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