Used books typically become available on the market when they are sold or given to a second-hand shop, church used book sale or used bookstore; they are usually sold for about half or three-quarters the price of what they would cost new, though rare books and others still in demand or hard to obtain might sell for more than this.
Some new book shops also carry used books, and some used book shops also sell new books. Though the original authors or publishers will not benefit financially from the sale of a used book, it helps to keep old books in circulation. Sometimes very old, rare, first edition, antique, or simply out of print books can be found as used books in used book shops.
A reading copy of a book may be well-used, may include highlighting or marginalia, and is suitable for reading, but is not collectible. This is a term used in the used book business, to indicate the lack of collectible value, while claiming that the book is in sufficiently good condition for a purchaser whose interest is primarily in actually reading the book. A reading copy is typically less expensive than a collectible copy.
A number of small towns have become centres for used book sellers, most notably Hay-on-Wye in South Wales. They act as a magnet for buyers, and are located in country areas of great scenic beauty.
- Parkinson, Hannah Jane (9 August 2019). "A secondhand book is a glimpse into the lives of other readers". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- Nadeau, Sophie (26 February 2018). "Hay-on-Wye Guide: The Adorably Cute Book Town of Wales". Solo Sophie. Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- Johnson, Alex (26 April 2018). "10 of the world's best book towns". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 14 October 2019.