Good morning!  Do you enjoy considering questions that help you dig deep?  Do you like sharing your thoughts about bookish topics? If so, Booking Through Thursday’s question today might spark your creativity.

All other things being equal–do you prefer used books? Or new books? (The physical specimen, that is, not the title.) Does your preference differentiate between a standard kind of used book, and a pristine, leather-bound copy?

I love new books!  Glossy, unwrinkled, pristine ones. I like the way they look on my shelves, which is why I’m very careful when reading them.  I use my bookmarks and don’t write in the pages.

However, it hasn’t always been this way.  I used to subscribe to the “Velveteen Rabbit” school of thought on books and other beloved objects.  The more used items were the most loved.

I have two very old books (from 1921) that belonged to my mother.  As a child, I read them over and over.  At one point, they were falling apart, and I took them to the library (where I was working at the time) and mended them.


In addition to these, I have other old books, and I treasure them.  They remind me of a time and place—perhaps the moments when I was reading them—and they evoke nostalgia.

My exception to the “new” book preference also extends to library books. Obviously, many of those books are very old.  When I pick one up, the scent reminds me of my first library experiences at the age of eight.  Walking into that space and inhaling that special book aroma elicited all of my book love.

The other day, I was reading an old book from the library, one that I had requested so I could reread it after all these years. When I picked it up, opened its pages, and began to read, there it was!  That magical library scent.

So that’s my story….I love all kinds of books, old and new, used and pristine.  Each tells me something different and brings something unique to my life.  What about you?  What book aspects do you love best?


    • I think so, too, Randomize ME…My granddaughter loves books as much as I do…which is nice, since my daughter doesn’t love books, nor does she enjoy reading.

      The book love skipped a generation!

      Thanks for stopping by.


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  2. I love your answer! There is something really special about that distinctive library smell – it takes you right back to your earliest visits. I was watching a book discussion on television yesterday and the woman being interviewed picked up her old copy of ‘Black Beauty’, breathed in the scent of the pages, and said that it wasn’t just the contents of a book that mattered, it was the whole experience. The smell of a particular book, the way it looks and feels in your hands, can take you right back to when you first read it. She was right!


    • After I wrote that, I visited some other bloggers who mentioned that sometimes library books have disgusting things in them, and/or smell bad. Well, I guess I haven’t had that experience, and love to remember my early reading days and visits to the library.

      I even have sense memory of walking into the library and inhaling that scent. In my childhood, the library in our small village shared space with the Post Office. So later, when I lived in another village, the Post Office brought back those memories…LOL

      Thanks for stopping by, Ellie.


      • Oh no! I’m with you on the library scent all the way. And I even get the ‘scent memory’ you mentioned – it can stop me dead in my tracks sometimes… Glad to find a kindred spirit amongst the not-so-lucky library users out there! 🙂


    • I donated some of my old books from the 1960s to the library…just so I could free up shelf space. I had already reread them a few times, so I decided I could let them go. But I felt a bit weird about it….

      Thanks for stopping by, Sally.


  3. I love books wherever I can find them, I will have to take a deep breath next time I visit my library. For a while a year or two ago, our library was flooded, and let me tell you, for a while you could smell the sewer when you walked in it. It is beginning to get the library smell back though, I think.


  4. You’re so right about the delicious old-book smell. Mmmm! I don’t associate it with libraries though, as most of what I check out is new releases, too young to ripen to a good smell yet!
    I do love shopping for used books, breathing in that good musty smell. And I’m amazed that you’ve been able to hold on to your mother’s childhood books. What a lovely way to connect to her and to memory.


    • Thanks, Elizabeth. The two books are not in print anymore, and I doubt that they were ever very popular, but I recall many happy moments reading them.

      In one of my last visits to my mom’s house before she died, she finally gave them to me! As a child, they’d been in my room and on my shelves, but I didn’t take them when I moved out.

      So I was happy to get them back!

      Glad you could stop by.


  5. I love used books best. It’s something about the crinkly feel and the lovely papery scent. I also prefer the trade paperbacks because they are less bulky than hardcover and not as small as the old pocket sized books. And I love musty old used bookshops with randomly shelved and piled books of all textures and topics. It makes for some fun treasure hunting 🙂


    • Oh, now that you mention it, I do love those old bookshops and the treasure hunt involved….I agree about the trade paperbacks, too. I can stash them in my bag, but they shelve more easily than the mass market paperbacks.

      Thanks for stopping by, Trish.


    • Thanks, Joy…I treasure those books, and, as you can see, I’ve shelved them proudly next to the books I wrote. They’re on my Baker’s rack in the dining room, so I can see them often.

      Glad you could stop by.


  6. That’s great that you could have those old books mended. It’s sad when the ones you love or books of sentimental value fall apart and you can’t fix them so I’m really glad to hear you were able to.

    I’m with you about the library smell. I could just sit in a library and breathe it in all day long!


    • Thanks for stopping by, Dutchie…for awhile, I hadn’t gone to the library, and when I returned, the nostalgia seemed to descend like a wave.

      There is nothing like a familiar scent to take us away from it all….

      I was happy to be able to mend the books, too.



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