Most Common Books in Secondhand Stores Across the US

As someone who frequents used bookstores looking for a steal or a rare book, I often come across lots of copies of the same book in different bookstores.

Usually these books are donated because they’re old and people have grown out of them (as seen by the not recent publishing date of most of these), or for a number of other reasons.

Most of these were popular back in the day (still are, in fact) and by usually prolific authors! Here are some of the books I see the most in secondhand stores in the US (specifically, Florida)!

9. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

This story has become almost a classic.

It’s 20th anniversary is coming (along with Halse Anderson’s memoir in verse, SHOUT) and I think it’s a book a lot of people have read and really understood. Speak talks about rape culture and speaking out and high school and it’s definitely a book that should be on everyone’s list!

I know a graphic novel also released for Speak recently, so that’s also worth a look see, even if it isn’t the original!

8. Graceling by Kristen Cashore

This one is somewhat rare, but I do usually see a copy or two of a book in the Graceling series at secondhand stores! They’re usually in paperback, and the order they show up the most is GracelingBitterblue, and Fire!

I bought my copy of Bitterblue from a secondhand store, although I’m still searching for a good condition hardcover of Fire! Crossing my fingers to end up lucky in my search!

7. Sarah Dessen

There’s usually a Sarah Dessen book somewhere on the shelves of the more extensive used bookstores. She’s written quite a lot of books, and it’s usually her older titles that are available.

I’m not too familiar with them, but I did pick up my copy of Saint Anything from a used bookstore! I’m still looking for a copy of Once and For AllSaint Anything is the most recent one I’ve seen so far!

6. Cassandra Clare

If there’s a fantasy novel (besides Harry Potter), it’s usually a Cassandra Clare book, in my experience.

Most of the ones I see are the later books in The Mortal Instruments series (very rarely do I see City of Bones). The old hardcovers and paperbacks are more common than the new paperbacks, and you usually don’t see many copies of any of the books in the other series, most likely because diehard fans who won’t give their books away own that series.

5. L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad

I have no idea what this book is about, but I see it ALL THE TIME. I’m pretty sure this was a pretty popular book back in the late 2000s, early 2010s, and I guess people didn’t like it anymore?

There’s multiple in this series, I believe, and they’re pretty distinctive with their white covers and really big “CONRAD” on the spine! Still haven’t checked it out because it doesn’t seem like my thing, but I hope someone enjoyed it once upon a time!

4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

The Divergent series appears in this order: Insurgent, Allegiant, Divergent, whatever other novels are in the series.

I think it’s like the book 2 syndrome–if you’re going to donate, it’s easier to let go of later  books because you still have book 1 if you want to reread. And Allegiant shows up less because people obviously buy less books of later novels in a series.

I–still haven’t read any of these, and by now, I probably will never read them. But, y’know, it’s a nice though to have a lot of copies available at used bookstores, if I ever do want to pick them up!

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Oh John Green, how you’ve invaded the bookshelves of many teens worldwide.

You would not believe just how many copies of The Fault in Our Stars I have seen. I’ve seen movie tie in editions, special editions, hardcovers, paperbacks, and everything under the sun.

Either people grew out of it, or they just don’t like it anymore. Either way, if you’re looking to read this, you can almost certainly find it cheap at your local used bookstore (in the US).

None of his other books show up with much frequency, except maybe Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns.

2. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

I have no idea which book is which, but you bet I’ve seen dozens of PLL books.

Honestly, I find the covers to be pretty ugly, but I know these used to be really popular (and especially because people loved the TV show). And who doesn’t like gossip and lies and drama (even I can’t resist books like this from time to time)?!

So I definitely see a lot of these paperbacks, even though I never know which book goes in what order.

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

I kid you not, at one used bookstore, there were more than 16 copies of Catching Fire in hardcover on a single shelf. They squeezed copies behind more copies, and it was definitely a doozy as they also had around 10 copies of Mockingjay and 8ish copies of The Hunger Games.

The books in this series usually pop up in that order, with Catching Fire as the most frequent (like I said before–sequel syndrome). I think you could make multiple class sets out of the sheer number of copies of this book I’ve seen.

I’ve even seen a perfect, mint condition box set of all three of these books for $8, and will always regret not picking it up because I still don’t own these books (and still haven’t read book 3…oops.)

much love, vicky

What books do you commonly see in secondhand stores in your area? Which ones would you want to see?

24 thoughts on “Most Common Books in Secondhand Stores Across the US

    1. right?! the sheer number of hunger games is astounding!!! it’s crazy flooded with those, but it’s also nice to find a rare gem from time to time!

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  1. In most charities in my area (West London) there’s always some Hunger Games, Agatha Christie, Ian Rankin and some random John Green stuff. Every time i go, they have these. 😀
    Cassandra Clare very often, but not always, and there was a time when at least one of the books from Diveregent was always there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oooh, yes! Agatha Christie (also people like Stephen King and James Patterson probably show up a lot too)

      Sometimes I get sad about people giving away their books, and it’s also somewhat depressing to know that there are probably thousands of copies of The Hunger Games out there that will probably never be read again!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. hmm, I’ve never heard of it on my school’s syllabus, but that’s probably a good guess! I know a lot of school books on the syllabus for my school end up in charity shops (Shakespeare and The Giver and books like that).

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  2. What a cool list! I always wonder about used books… they have to be both popular and a little forgettable at the same time, right? Otherwise, wouldn’t we all be keeping our copies?? Anyway, I’m also very excited for SHOUT because Speak was one that meant a lot to me way back when.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! It’s that weird part where soooo many people bought copies…and then they ended up forgetting about it.

      And omg, SHOUT looks amazing (did you read the excerpt?! it was so so powerful, i’m stunned!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I need to go to the US to find all of the John Green’s editions then, I will be the happiest girl on earth hahaha 🙂 This is such a fun list! I don’t really have secondhand bookstores with English books, since I am living in France, but I’d love to browse a store like that in an English-speaking country 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, I hope you get to visit one day and bring home ALL THE BOOKS, Marie! There’s a LOT of John Green books (so many people gave them away, I guess).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We get quite a lot of these in second-hand bookshops and charity shops in the UK but it is mainly crime/thriller and romance novels fill their shelves haha

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    1. Oooh, that’s cool! I know those are in general popular genres (even the YA sections here are considerably smaller than the adult fiction sections). That’s cool to know!

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    1. oh yeah!!! twilight books are definitely there. I already own them bc of my mom, so I always subconsciously pass them by and never actively realize it’s there, but it is very often!

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  5. It’s so interesting to see what commonly ends up in charity shops – I always wonder whether they are just not very good books that most people didn’t like. There was a newspaper article a little while ago from a UK charity shop, Oxfam, in Swansea that went viral because they had been inundated with tons of copies of The Da Vinci Code. Fifty Shades of Grey is also a really common one that you can find in the UK. Great post Vicky! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh true! Fifty Shades of Grey (and its sequels) really do pop up a lot in the US! I don’t keep an eye out for many adult titles, but that’s crazy! & thank you ❤

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    1. Oh, omg ahaha that’s probably true! Thrillers and mysteries seem to be kind of one-time-use for a lot of people.

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  6. Omg L.A Candy!!! What a throwback! I read that series a long time ago and I enjoyed it. It was just a trashy read about reality shows and stuff. I would love to go to a secondhand bookstore and find a copy of Speak!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahahaha I never read it, but it seems like one of those trashy Selection like reads (that I do enjoy on occasion…even if they are cringeworthy in other moments lol)

      Liked by 1 person

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