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Topic: Is it all right to give a used book for a gift??

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Subject: Is it all right to give a used book for a gift??
Date Posted: 8/28/2007 3:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2007
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How do you feel about used books as gifts? If they are in excellent shape ,of course. I did give my sister-in-law one last year as part of her birthday gift as it was a book I was sure she hadn't read. And she has  most of that authors books as a collection. As I normally would spend more for a gift for her, I did  give her something else along with it. How do the rest of you feel about this? I have a book now that I would love to give my sister as part of her birthday gift but when I mentioned it to my husband  he said, "You are going to give her a used book",  in a horrified  way.   So am I wrong in thinking this is all right to do?

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2005
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I have some friends who would love it. Others, I probally wouldn't do it.

Personally, if it was a book I wanted, I could care less if its used or not. Add a book mark or some nameplates for her books. Or a book light and you have a great gift!

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
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To be perfectly honest, I would if they did not appear used (e.g. the recipient would not be able to tell that the book was used) because

1) I can be a little cheap

2) I don't want anyone to know that I can be cheap.  LOL!  :-D

But seriously, I have bought books from used book stores that were not truly "used" - rather they were remainders or overstock, so i guess it depends on your definition of used.

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 4:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
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Personally, I enjoy receiving used books as gifts from family and friends, and they know this and indulge me.

As for giving them I guess it depends on the recipient, but everyone I know seemed pleased with the books I selected from PBS and the UBS.  I have found that members of my family especially appreciate my searching out out-of-print or hard-to-find titles since many of them are pressed for time; however a basket with a few used paperbacks and a box of tea or bag of coffee has also been well-received.  Used PB books also get stuffed into Christmas stockings and grab bags.

I'm sure your sister will like her "new" book from you.  My daughter gives her Dad a used book from one of the  series he enjoys each Fathers Day.  This started when she was a poor college student, and now, many years later, he's come to expect his special book.  Tell DH that books are meant to be shared. :o)

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 4:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2006
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It depends on who the person receiving the gift is. My mom has asked for books from me for Christmas and she knows full well that they'll come through here if I'm able to get them for her.

I would suggest making sure they are in good shape before gifting them, but I don't see a problem with it.

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 4:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2006
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I agree.  I gave a series to my aunt for her birthday this summer.  She is someone I know loves to pass on her books to others.  So I knew she wouldn't mind having them come from here! 

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 4:34 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
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I agree that if the book is in very good - like new condition, it should be fine.  If it is a hard-to-find or old book, I'm sure the recipient wouldn't care if it is used. Otherwise, in my opinion, it does look a little cheap.   

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 4:39 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
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My two cents... It depends on the book, the condition of the book, the receiver, the giver and any combination of the same. :) A person who is normally finicky may be completely OK with receiving a visibly "used" book if it was something he/she had been looking for for some time. Others may be more particular about what they give or receive. If a book is in a Like New condition, it may not even be apparent that it is a used book, in which case the point is moot.

Personally I would not mind receiving a used book, specially if it is the kind I like to read, from anyone. Would I prefer new or Like new? Probably yes but I would care no less for a used book, specially if it is gifted to me. As for gifting to others, I would hesitate to give a book which looks used to someone who is not very close to me, someone who could accept such a gift. Most others I would look for a bargain or a "steal" either online or in a bookstore. Both B&N and Borders near my home have on-going reduced price sales/bargain tables where you can get a new HC book for < $5. I usually pick up a few and stock them for gift giving purposes. Of course, more often than not, I end up reading the book and liking it enough to want to keep it. :) That just gives me an excuse to go out and buy more. What can I say??!! :)

Barbara - I like the idea of a basket of used PB and a box of tea. :-D Can i borrow it?


Date Posted: 8/28/2007 4:48 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2007
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As long as it is in good shape, and I would consider the person I'm giving it to also..........how finicky are they?

Me myself, If I can read it and its something I want to read, bring it on!  I'd rather receive a used book I want to read than a brand new costly book I'm not interested in.........

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 5:06 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
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Absolutely!  As long as the book isn't gross or funky.  I give them all the time.  I do gauge the people.  I know some would be weirded out by it.  Most of my family doesn't care since most of them read and pass books on.

Last Edited on: 8/28/07 5:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/28/2007 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
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I think it depends on the person.  I know a ton of people who would not think anything about it if I gave them a used book....if it was a book they wanted, they would be happy to get it!  Of course, my book loving friends and family know how expensive new books are and would probably buy or borrow them used if they could find them themselves.  If it was someone I didn't know well or if I wanted to do something special for them, I would buy it new.  There is something to be said about that new book smell.  My family and friend know me though, and know that I would rather get three used somethings than one new one!  So long as it's not icky, that is!....:)

Last Edited on: 8/28/07 5:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/28/2007 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2006
Posts: 568
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>>  I would rather get three used somethings than one new one! 

That's so me!

I will give used, if it is still in very nice condition.  I also pick up books in good or fair condition as 'just because' gifts for my family, and a few friends.  As a matter of fact, I picked up a pottery book for DH today. 

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 6:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2007
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I odn't think there's anything wrong with gifting used books.  In fact, I often do that when I want to share a particular book with someone.  I usually do this as a "just because" present, or maybe as part of a gift for an occaion.  But I do give used books a LOT.  I think of it as just another form of paperback swapping.  :-)

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
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I don't have a problem with giving or getting them.  I do try to avoid ones that are on their last legs, but looking not-new is fine.

But I do have some friends I wouldn't give them to because they would get their nose out of joint.  They get smaller/fewer/less common gifts from me because I get my nose out of joint at spending extra money for no purpose other than to spend extra money and have more stuff produced.

Given the difference in world views, it's maybe not surpsing that none of my good friends would I think twice about giving a gently used book to.   People who are not so close I'm more careful of condition--I'll give them used but less obvious, just because I don't know them as well. 

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 7:36 PM ET
Member Since: 9/29/2005
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I think it depends on the person. I have given used books before as a gift (along with something else)

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2007
Posts: 75
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I have given used books (in good condition) and too have made them into 'baskets' - often with a book lite, micorwave popcorn, candies, etc.....  Have to include a really neat bookmark! 

I love to get books at all times and love to give them too!

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2007
Posts: 1,305
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My husband went down to see his parents, his sister sent my birthday present with him, six months later. It was a cheap frame and a used book. Something I read a long time ago. If it's a book I want sure but nobody has a way of knowing which books I want unless they ask me.

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 8:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
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I think that it is ok to give a used book, but only, as others have said, it is in fair condition.  I have given used books to family as gifts because they are avid readers and buy and trade used books themselves.  I would not mind getting a used book as a gift.

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/26/2005
Posts: 84
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If it was a book I wanted to read, it would not matter to me.  If the book looks like new, then I would give it and say nothing, but if it obviously looks used I might just ask the person if they want the book and tell them it is used...but not include it as part of the gift giving.  It all depends on the person, and the condition of the book.  Susie

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2007
Posts: 270
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Thank you for all the great replies!! I would say the majority wins and used books in great shape are o.k. to give . I love the idea of  a box of tea or bag of coffee with it.  My sister and I like to give each other gift bags filled with goodies for birthday gifts. Usually  one bigger or main item and then a bunch of fun things.  I hadn't  been able to come up with  any very good ideas for the fun things yet so  that was a great idea. Maybe a special brand of coffee like Starbucks or maybe one of Folgers new flavored ones or hey maybe one of each!!  I think giving something with the book  gets you away from the el cheapo idea.  And getting by  cheap is not my purpose here. It's because I have been able to get a book by an author I know the recipient likes and as far as I know hasn't read yet. Anyway  I'm glad  the rest of you think its an o.k. thing to do as long as we are sure the person  recieving the book doesn't mind its being read by someone before her.

Date Posted: 8/28/2007 11:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2006
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You have to know your audience.  My mom would be thrilled, my SIL, notsomuch.  Last year for Christmas my dh gave me a copy of It's Up to the Women, byt Eleanor Roosevelt.  Obviously, it was used.  I was thrilled, as I had been searching for it for some time.

Date Posted: 8/29/2007 3:03 AM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2007
Posts: 129
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Way to go...majority rules!  Do remember, tho, that you're "talking" to a bunch of used book lovers here.  We're hardly a scientific sample for a survey.  :-)

With that said, I still think you're safe to gift gently used books.  Recycling is in, after all.  :-)


Date Posted: 8/29/2007 10:01 AM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
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For "occasion" gifts, like birthday, christmast, etc. I give new things that I purchased new (even though I am cheap). 

For random gifts I will give anything.   This is when I find stuff that I think someone might like, I will pass it along regardless of condition.

Date Posted: 8/29/2007 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2007
Posts: 131
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I have put up about a dozen books that are totally like new.  I have cheecked them thoroughly and they do not even have shelf wear.  Look for my post titled books like new for the holidays [or something like that[

They are under my name Leyba.


Date Posted: 8/29/2007 10:57 AM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2007
Posts: 131
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The post is titled 'Books fit for giving for the holiday season