Friday, March 11, 2016

FF Friday: In Which I Say Terrifying Things About Used Books

Feature & Follow is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. This week, I’m supposed to tell you my biggest pet peeves in books. I’ve already written about plot/character/writing style pet peeves on this blog, so I’m going to focus on the books themselves.

I’m a germaphobe. It goes along with my control freak tendencies. Unfortunately, I’m a broke germaphobe, so I get most of my books secondhand. Opening a box of used books bought off the Internet is like opening the world’s scariest box of chocolates: You never know what you’re gonna get. A few of the books I’ve gotten have been downright disgusting. So, here are my germaphobe pet peeves about used books.

Terrifying Things I Hate About Used Books

Germs: It bothers me to not know whose grubby little hands have touched a book before I did. Also, a team of scientists in Belgium tested library books to see which germs live on them. You know what they found? Herpes. I do not want my books to have STDs. Luckily, according to Google, you can’t catch herpes from a book.

Drugs: You know what else the Belgium scientists found on library books? Cocaine. This is far less terrifying than herpes, but it does make me wonder what people do with their library books. It sounds like they’re doing more than just reading them.

Mystery stains: I have found a lot of terrifying mystery stains on used books. One of the last used books I read had what looked like blood on the pages. It wasn’t a tiny bit of blood, either. Protip: If you’re bleeding profusely, you probably shouldn’t be reading a book (unless it’s a book about how to stop bleeding profusely).

Sticker goo: Stickers should never be put on book covers. They look ugly, and when you peel them off, they sometimes leave sticker goo behind. Dust and dog hair stick to the goo, and the book sticks to other books, and this is not okay with me.

Bedbugs: Did you know that bedbugs can live between the pages of books? If I ever got bedbugs in my house, you’d probably have to lock me in a padded cell. I would not be able to handle it. My brain would overheat with terror and melt.

Booklice: These are slightly less terrifying than bedbugs because they don’t bite people. Booklice are little bugs that look like lice, but they only eat the mold that grows on paper. Luckily, I’ve never seen one of these buggers in real life.

Mold/Mildew/Fungus: There are over 100,000 known species of fungi. Some of them like to live on paper, and some of them make people die.

Wavy pages: You know when a book gets wet, and the pages get all crinkly? A wet book seems like the perfect place for all sorts of yucky things to thrive.

Odd smells: Have you ever read a book that was owned by a heavy smoker? Books seem to soak up cigarette smoke like sponges. If you’re a nonsmoker like me, reading a smoky book will give you a serious headache.

Do you have any cleaning tips for used books?

The follow part of FF Friday: If you are a book blogger and you leave a link to your blog in the comments below, I will follow you on Bloglovin’. If you want to be friends on Goodreads, TwitterBookLikes, or G+, that would be awesome, too. Click the links to go to my pages on those sites. I’m looking forward to “meeting” you. 


  1. This entire post had me laughing so hard! I can totally relate to your fear of germs and hesitancy when opening a used book. I'm glad you included the fact about google for herpes! Made me feel slightly better. Love your blog! I nominated you for the Dragon Loyalty Award, if you would like to participate. :)

  2. Lol. I have never even thought about all these issues. I think washing your hands after handling a used book would be a great practice!
    Tori @InToriLex

  3. Didn't care before about buying used I'm scared :)
    Old follower :)
    Here's my Follow Friday!

  4. OMG. Hilarious! Luckily, I am not a germaphobe because I use the library almost exclusively for my reading material. :)

  5. Ha ha, yeah I have a love/hate relationship with used books. :)

  6. I can relate to everything you said in this post. Smoky books are gross. I have just stopped reading a book because I couldn't stand the smell in the past. I once was reading a book that I got at a yard sale and potato chip crumbs started falling out from between the pages. Gross! Please don't leave crumbs in books!

  7. I've never thought about most of these, except the cigarette smell. This seems to happen far less than it did when I was young. (I was about to say "than when I was a kid," but hopefully the library copies of Roald Dahl and Louise May Alcott didn't smell of smoke.) And wavy pages are annoying af, of course. But now I will live in fear of bringing bedbugs into my home via used books. Wonderful.

  8. DUDE, I am CRINGING. This is why I do not take books from the library. AND why I shower after taking my kids there. I mean.. I knew it was bad... but BOOKLICE?! BED BUGS?! Basically dry heaving. And the stains... no no no. I can't. I am 100% with you. We shall never touch any used books without gloves, and now I must leave.

    OH! I should also mention, I am absolutely NOT a germaphobe in general. But for some reason, things that I KNOW people's fingers have been all over make me so freaked out.

  9. I have a friend who after opening a page and found something that should have been in a tissue and NOT between 2 pages of a library book, has never gone to the library again and will never buy a used book. YUK!

  10. This whole post sent so many tingles up my spine. Just, ew.

    I have some books I acquired second hand, but none of them are this gross. Some have a bit of discoloring on the pages (a few were from a smoker's house), but that's about it. I would absolutely die if I found bugs in a book--and I'm not even bothered by normal bug situations around the house or in the woods; I think it's just the idea of extreme filth leading to bugs in books that really gets me. Ick!

    Definitely inspect books to the best of your ability if you aren't getting them new. Or only take them from a friend you know well.

  11. Ohh wow I never thought about this pet peeves before until now, and now I am going to be extremely carful buying second hand books lol :D Thank you for stopping by and following my blog. Old Follower

  12. My thoughts can be summed up in one word: ew.

    Carrie @The Book Goddess

  13. OMG WHAT! haha. Now I'll never look at used books again.

  14. There are a lot of people on here saying that they'll never buy a used book or go to the library again, and that is a very sad thing.

    I buy almost all of my books used, and most of them are in very good or even like-new condition. Most places that sell used books online classify books by their condition, so if you're worried about gross stains and whatnot, buy only "like-new" books. And physical used bookstores, at least the ones I've seen, tend to be rather picky about the condition of their books. Some look like they've never been opened.

    And the library is an incredible, invaluable resource. I've been to several different libraries, and always I find that many of the books are in very good condition. I've never found lice, bedbugs, mildew or mold in a library book.

    Yes, I've come across smoke-scented books, questionable stains, and sticker goo, but these experiences have been few and far between. And they're certainly not enough for me to scorn libraries or condemn all used books to be recycled or thrown out.