Monday, October 8, 2012

On Finding Used Books for Ones Theological Library

Occasionally I'll break down and buy a new book for my professional library, usually at conferences.  However, it's fun to find good books more cheaply in other places.  It may seem an odd venue to find theological/biblical works, but one of my favorite 'haunts' is Good Will. For our community, at least, it's the best source of good used books. Recently I added another pile to my collection, picking up several more reference works and other religious books.  All of the books were half-off, so it was all the better. Finds this time around included The Catechism of the Council of Trent, a reprint by Tan publishers in 1982, but in seemingly new condition.  I also picked up the Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians, edited by Patrick W. Carey and Joseph T. Lienhard.(Hendrickson, 2000, 2002).  Both of these are paperbacks and cost me $2.50 a piece.  I took a chance on another book, authored by the Catholic author Aiden Nicholas in 2005 and published by Ignatius press in 2007.  This one was $2.00.  The title is Lovely Like Jerusalem: The Fulfillment of the Old Testament in Christ and the Church.  So far, a $7.00 investment.  The Catechism is listed on for as much as $39+ for the hardcover edition.  AbeBooks has one for $35, so I guess my find was 'a steal.'  The Biographical Dictionary lists on Amazon for $11.99 for the paperback, still a great deal since my copy is clearly 'as new.'  Lovely Like Jerusalem is listed for as much as $13.22 and as low, for a used copy of $7.65.  Using a conservative comparison, it looks like I was able to purchase about $50 worth of books for $7.  Way to go, Good Will!

Other finds also included a few general reference works good for Bible studies and other general classes: Machines, Buildings, Weaponry of Biblical Times: A Fascinating Reference of Biblical Engineering and Design by Max Schwartz (Flemming H. Revell, 1990, 1997) - as new ($2.50); Guide to Bible Data by Andrew E. Hill (Word Publishing, 1981) - as new ($2.50); Atlas of the Christian Church, edited by Henry Chadwick and G.R.Evans (Equinox/Oxford, 1987) - hardbound, good condition ($2.50); 111 Questions on Islam by Smir Khalil Samir, et. al. (Ignatius, 2002, 2008) - as new ($2.50); and the Handbook of World Religions by Len Woods (Barbour, 2008) - as new paperback ($2.50).  If I wished to check, I'm sure these books are also worth much more than I paid for them.  And almost all of them seem new and unused.

As my wife will attest, I am 'swimming' in books having now amassed a respectable library of some size. Yet many of them were acquired quite reasonably.  Perhaps the best find to date was when my wife picked up the entire set of Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament for less than $10 at a local rummage sale.   Discovering books is a hobby, and the main downside is space.  I keep telling myself that I can't buy any more until I get rid of some, but this discipline is still to be found. 

Have you found some amazing deals of your own?  I'd love to hear the stories!

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