The Best Way to Buy Books Off Amazon

I recently managed to get my hands on an out of print magic book that I’ve been after for a long time. Not only was it as brilliant as I’d hoped (YAY!), but it has really opened my eyes to a better way to buy books off Amazon in the future.

There’s real gold hidden away in their warehouse and, if you’re one of those people who always buy brand new books, you may be missing out.

You can discover this treasure – whilst saving lots of cash – by clicking the “used” offers.

The worse the condition, the better.

Often, you can find used books for just a penny (less than three quid if you include postage). Books that have been through two or three different owners before being stashed on the virtual shelf.

Now why would you buy a used book, instead of a pristine copy, if not just to save a few quid?

These well worn books have something else to offer from their past owners (and I don’t just mean a musty cigarette odour). Occasionally, those two or three owners pass along some riches of their own, in the form of annotations.

Here’s what I saw when I unwrapped my long awaited magic book.

Magic book annotated

Sticky notes!

And inside, pencil notes in the margins! Thoughts about each of the magic tricks, how they can be used and ideas on scripting, staging etc…

It’s a book within a book!

Coincidentally, a few days later, I received a book from Amazon that also had notes and highlights:

Ziglar annotated book

If I just skim read both books, taking the notes and highlights without query, that would be valuable, but the real value is in the questions that the annotations themselves can raise.

  • Why did they highlight THIS bit?
  • Why DIDN’T they highlight this bit?
  • Why would he link these two tricks together?
  • What the hell is THAT stain???

Sometimes though, it’s just good to hold an item that meant something to someone at a particular point in time. A book that they sat down, pen in hand, and spent some meaningful time with.

And now, I’m where they were then.

There’s a depth and a history to these kind of books that isn’t there when you download an eBook to your Kindle. It’s the book equivalent of a DVD “Easter Egg”!

There’s only a small amount of people in the world who actively make notes on the books they read.

So far, I’ve found two of them.

I hope to find more.

Actually, to hell with hoping; I’m going to start BEING one of those guys!

One of the things on my bucket list has always been to read “War and Peace” (here’s my favourite War and Peace joke), and I did it last year…eventually. I’m very tempted to pick up my copy of the book and write helpful notes in the margins, such as:

  • “Don’t worry, it picks up soon!”,
  • “Don’t stop now! Napoleon is about to come in!”, and
  • “can you believe that you’ve made it this far?”.

If you’re ever giving a book to a charity shop, consider graffiti’ing the heck out of it…in a good way. Add something of value and pass it on.

Matron! Pass me my crayons!