Discovering Used Book Sources Around The Woodlands Texas


I didn't shop for a used book until I'd lived here for 18 months. I was on book overload, having moved perhaps 4000 books long distance at sixty cents a pound. I was so booked out that I wasn't even curious let alone exploring my new area.

Then the time came that I needed some books. I ordered them new on Amazon. Some that I purchased over the Internet sight unseen, disappointed me, so I wanted to see a book in my hand before purchasing it. When I realized I needed some, and wanted them on the cheap as well, I began exploring, while at the same time, taking my own discarded books around to the shops trying to resell them.

I discovered Once and Again Used Books in December, just before they stopped paying cash for used books. I cashed in multiple boxes. Most of the books in the shop are used but a small number are new, especially the classics and required reading literature and study guides. I used the credit to buy one fun book for myself about the history of my town with many photos (and the places don't look the same due to subsequent development). I purchased mostly Shakespeare guides such as No Fear Shakespeare. There was a section on education and some were homeschooling how-to and mixed around with things like workbooks for schooled kids was some homeschool curriculum. There was a section near the restrooms of discounted books and I spotted Video Text Algebra there (most would never find it stuffed back there.) They had a section of textbooks up front and some were homeschooling.

I also visited Good Books in the Woods located in Spring, Texas, in a renovated house (circa the 60s or 70s). It is clean and neat and classical music plays. The books are priced "as marked" which is sometimes more than half of original retail. Some books such as art books can be $20 and up, the perceived value. Their children's book section is small, there was little on education or homeschooling. I found one book on an art topic of interest to me and nothing for our homeschool. They also didn't want to buy anything, they didn't even give my books a glance as they said they are overstocked at present and children's books are an afterthought. I was hoping they might like to purchase my out of print Landmarks and Signatures, collectibles, but no such luck.

I checked out Goodwill on Sawdust Road in Spring and found perhaps the smallest selection of books I have ever seen in a Goodwill! They are sorted and the textbooks and educational books are in one certain area which is helpful. Their pricing is always mysterious and erratic, but for the most part what I find there are college textbooks and private school textbooks, most for $2.99 but sometimes for $1.99 (paperbacks). These books fetch up to $150 full retail so they are a bargain if you can find them. On subsequent visits I figured out that the good books move quickly so the book I hesitated on buying was snatched up on the next visit. Lesson learned. I should have gambled with that $1.99. We have community colleges in the area and I suspect some of these texts are from those students.

I perused the Hand Me Up charity thrift shop on Reyford Road in Spring. The main focus of this shop is on clothing, jewelry and accessories, home d├ęcor and limited kitchen stuff (no appliances or electronics just dishes, vases and the like). There is a section of books. In the children's section you may find classic literature and required high school reading or a Cliff Note here and there but mainly there is popular fiction for kids and young adults. The adult books seem to be mostly fad nonfiction books or beach reads. Since I have been purchasing literature for our homeschool on eBook format I bypass the penguin classics with foxing on the pages with microscopic font.

The Friends of the Library runs a little shop in the South Montgomery County Library in The Woodlands, Texas. They usually close at 4 o'clock so that's not too convenient for me since that's the time I'm done with homeschooling and sport practice schlepping. However I check it out on random days and am happy to see a reference and textbook section with reasonable prices. We have private schools in town and I assume that some of these middle school and high school texts ($1-$3) are donated by those families. As I said we have community colleges and a university in town so there are also college level textbooks for $1-$3. I have stocked my shelf with a few American History texts from 1600 to the present, original source material books, and American government books. There are reference books constantly such as the MLA writing guide. Since I'm living in a high achievement area the place is always stocked with study guides for the SAT, ACT, SAT subject tests, and AP tests. The pricing on those is uneven, ranging from $1-$3 and not based on whether the practice tests have been ripped out or whether every test has been written in and is unusable. Given that my son needs practice it is a bargain to buy multiple SAT prep books, rip out the original and use it instead of buying multiple new books for the same purpose or having to deal with photocopying them which technically is copyright infringement and illegal. They also have a constant selection of typical high school and college literature and also Cliff Notes to accompany them.

I also checked the Mitchell Library in The Woodlands, the Friends operate a shop as well. I did not find any textbooks or anything educational for high school or middle school level, or college level texts there. The times I visited it had mostly pop fiction for all ages and nonfiction books such as gardening and cookbooks. This room is a smaller space than at the South branch library.

I am still on the hunt for local thrift shops and used book stores. If you know of any in my area please leave a comment!

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