Second Hand September: Pre Loved Books

Lou, VP Engagement and Co-Chair of the OU Students Associations Environment and Sustainability Working Group, shares her love of second hand books!

I love to read – there is nothing better than escaping the world by snuggling down with a great read and a cup of tea.

I am in love my local library – stomping through the muddy farm fields to potter across the library in my socks to collect my latest request or downloading a new read/listen through Borrowbox but sometimes it’s just nice to treat yourself…

But with limited space and budget I’ve had to explore new ways of treating myself to a new read and I’ve got pretty savvy at picking up second hand books both for my course and my own enjoyment. 

Great places for second hand books

Amazon – I know many people are trying to cut back on their use of Amazon but second hand selling of books through Amazon has made it easy for me to locate recommended texts for my course – one that I’ve saved around 2/3 of the price on!

World of Books – A fabulous selection of second hand books and usually my go to if I am looking for something specific for my course.

Facebook – Often books are shared on groups or on Marketplace for excellent prices or even free if someone is having a clear out. There is an excellent unofficial OU group where people share their old OU books. 

Charity Shops – I love a good mooch around a charity shop. Unfortunately, I can’t drive and I live in the middle of nowhere so this is rarely an option for me anymore but it’s amazing what you might come across!

Oxfam Reading Challenge 2023

Back in January Oxfam came along to fuel my pre-loved book habit by establishing the #OxfamReadingChallenge

The challenge encourages readers to enjoy a preloved book with a new theme every month. As someone prone to reading a lot of non-fiction I thought this would be a great way to branch out across the genres. Oxfam helpfully compiled lists on their online shop to help you choose! Sometimes I browsed these lists to see what sparked my interest… other times I cheated a bit and used it as a way to read a long since TBR (to be read). 

8 books are stacked on a blue and white rug with their spines facing the camera. From top to bottom: Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn, Never Greener - Ruth Jones, Between the Stops - Sandi Toksvig, The Old Curiosity Shop - Charles Dickens, The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien, Manifesto - Bernadine Evaristo, The School for Good Mothers - Jessamine Chan, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Patterns, Proteins and Peace: A Life in Science - Georgina FerryA stack of 8 books read as part of the Oxfam Reading challenge

There’s a book I’d read before but enjoyed reliving, books I would never have chosen that I ended up loving and will treasure on my shelves and books that will be going back to the charity shop to be loved by somebody else.

I’ve really enjoyed my journey so far around the preloved shelves and will be reading Queenie – Candice Carty Williams as my award winner this month. I would highly recommend delving into a reading challenge to diversify your reading and/or considering pre loved books as a part of your reading journey.

If you LOVE a good book – why not join the OU Student Association Book Club? You can find them on Facebook here. They meet online monthly and you can check in on their next event by looking out for them on our events page!

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Lou Robinson

BSc (Hons) Open Degree 2020 PGCE Primary (School Direct) Student 2020/21 Aspiring Primary School Teacher with a keen interest in STEAM and Outdoor Learning.


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