Books / FYI / Seeking Knowledge

Secondhand Books are Particularly Appealing to Students


الحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن اهتدى بهديه إلى يوم الدين أما بعد

 السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Interesting info all of us can use, even if you are not in the Middle East. There are tons of secondhand bookstores in the West.


Sales of Used Books Thrive in Riyadh
Arab News
RIYADH, 8 November 2007 — Although the culture of used books is new to the Kingdom, many secondhand bookstores are thriving in the capital city.

Used books are always available at cheap prices and often include sought-after titles. They are particularly appealing to students, who find that underscores and important notes written down on the margins by previous users help them focus on certain key points.

Secondhand bookstores contain a large variety of books on many subjects, including religion, medicine, engineering, administration, computer science, history and psychology among many other topics.

Some of the books are in brilliant condition and are only slightly used. Others have been well used and have missing pages.

According to a Sudanese man working at one of these shops, the idea to sell secondhand books came from university students advertising used books inside university halls or housing compounds.

“Students were often asked by their professors to buy more than one book for the same course. Once they finish with the books they have no use for them and simply want to get some of their money back,” he said.

“Secondhand book dealers in the Kingdom usually purchase books from bookstores specializing in old editions, university students and people selling books belonging to a deceased relative,” the bookseller said, adding that secondhand books cost half the price of original books.

“The profit sometimes is only a few riyals but it depends on the original price,” he said, pointing out that this depends on the condition of the book and its contents.

Saud Al-Shayeih, a university student, said that he is a frequent visitor to secondhand bookstores. “A student’s budget varies from person to person. Sometimes stipends from university are not enough to purchase new books,” he said.

Al-Shayeih said students like purchasing used books also because of notes written on them by previous owners. These notes help students summarize the main points.

Jabir Al-Qarni, another student, said some religious books are out of print and hard to get hold of and so he buys them secondhand. “When I can’t find a title in bookshops I go to the secondhand stores to look for what I want,” he said.

Arab News observed that some rare books, even in Urdu, are on sale in these stores. Books on science and history are found in huge numbers.

Some secondhand shops register book details on their computer database for the convenience of customers. Book lovers from everywhere — men and women, Saudis and non-Saudis — find these shops to be an enjoyable experience.

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