Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Loving Pre-Loved Books

I wish there were really good public libraries here in the Philippines, or even just one in the city where we live. I feel this lack every time I read about a wonderful children's book and it's very expensive or not available at all at the local bookstores.

I do buy from for those hard to find gems, but it can be expensive when my list is making my husband's eyes roll in disbelief.

What's a book-loving mama to do but accept hand-me-downs and buy used books? I like to think that I'm saving a lot of money when I buy a pre-loved book, so I buy a lot (wink!). Two hundred pesos for two to three books is definitely better than two hundred pesos for one (or half).

But not all pre-loved books were loved equally. When buying used books for my children and for Shop @ The Learning Basket, I keep three basic guidelines in mind:

The inside pages should be very clean

Scribbles on the inside pages are a big no-no. I don't want to give my kids the idea that they can write on books.

The binding is still strong

There are some books that look like the pages are about to fall off. I put those back on the shelf, knowing that it won't be a good addition to our library.

The markings on the cover, if any, should be acceptable 

I personally find a signature or a dedication acceptable on the inside cover of a book. It adds charm and makes me wonder about the book-owner who had the heart to give away or sell a book so lovingly given by Grandma, Your Best Friend, or Miss Burns.

Once I've hauled my loot home, I set to work to make my pre-loved books well-loved again:

I wipe the cover with a damp cloth

To get out the dust, I simply wipe the book's cover and edges with a slightly damp cloth. Baby wipes are handy when you want to see if the name scrawled with what seems to be permanent marker can be removed.

I cover  unsightly marks with sticker label

When the writing on the book cover is too unsightly for my taste, such as a child's uneven handwriting, I cover it up with a personalized sticker label with my children's name. Voila, the former owner is erased and I've made the book ours.

I wrap the books with plastic sheet

I have always associated plastic cover with text books. I was surprised to find that it works wonderfully with our pre-loved books. It makes the books cleaner and sturdier, I just make sure not to put tape on any part of the book. The cover of the out-of-print Yellow Ball by Molly Bang is flimsy and looks worn. It now looks like we will enjoy it for several more years.

I hope this helps in your role as librarian/custodian of your children's books! What are your rules when choosing pre-loved books?

Make magic!

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Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Hi Ron! I definitely agree, real books are way better than ebooks, especially for children! 

Ron Moreno said...

thanks for the tips in searching for pre-loved books. Honestly, kids' books are really pricey, that's why i just download e-books with illustrations for my toddler but, i still want him to learn how to read and open the book the natural way instead of just touching the screen.

christine batiller said...

i also frequently look for pre-loved books for my son because it's cheaper although you have to be very careful and you have to examine the book first so you get a good one.

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Yes, patience is key :) Shop @ The Learning Basket hopes to give busy moms a hand when buying books for their kiddos :D

Chel Legaspi Del Rosario said...

Thanks for this and i do love pre-loved books you just have to be patient in terms of looking for a nice one. 

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Hey! That's a good idea! Saving paper and ink for the environment is another plus point for pre-loved books!

Faye Pachoco-Paras said...

great list! will keep these in mind when i buy preloved books which i am also a big fan of (id like to think that i'm also doing the environment some good by buying preloved stuff hehe). 

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Haha! Never!!! :D But I'll keep an eye out for a copy for all of you ;) 

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

How about if we sell our books wrapped already? LOL! :D

CarloRoxanne Feliciano-Bornill said...

If you ever decide to sell that Yellow Ball, I'll be the first to get it. Wahahaha! ;)

TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

Hurray for pre-loved books! :) However, I am a lazy mama and haven't gotten around to wrapping our books in plastic. Tee hee! :) Great tips, as usual, dear! :)

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

I'm glad you found us! Stay awhile and browse around :)

Elena Dacs Pinlac said...

So glad to have found you on Facebook via Chronicles of a Nursing Mom! Thanks for putting up shop. So excited to build my little girl's library :)

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

It's easy to get overwhelmed but you can do it!  

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Yes, you really have to get down and dirty to find the good ones :)

Chris said...

We always go  to booksale whenever possible... but it has been really hard to find good books lately  :( Anyway, one rule is to make sure that the binding is sturdy.

cheer said...

just hope that i can follow your example with taking care of these books