Today's question is: "All other things being equal–do you prefer used books? Or new books? (The physical speciman, that is, not the title.) Does your preference differentiate between a standard kind of used book, and a pristine, leather-bound copy?"
(from Booking Through Thursday)
Second-hand every time. It means that I can throw it into my handbag/suitcase/plastic bag/huge pile on bedside table with abandon, not worrying about denting the beautiful freshly printed covers and pages. They're less effort to hold open too – I can hold a pre-spine-creased book open with one hand, a new one requires two.
I also like the idea that a book has passed through several hands – that other eyes have read these words (and hopefully enjoyed them). Inscriptions are the best.
Second hand books are one of the reasons I love Bookmooch, particularly because it feels like I get pre-loved presents in the post, all the time!
If I must have a new copy (oh what suffering, what hardship), I still prefer a paperback. And there's a distinctly guilty pleasure in buying a 600-page chunkster, getting about 150 pages in, and making that first big spine crease.