Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 8 years ago

How dangerous are used books?

Foolish question, perhaps, especially since I spent my entire life reading used books. But, apart from early childhood when I enjoyed buying old (and out of print) paperbacks all of the "used" books were actually library books (public and university), which I suspect are less dangerous, perhaps because they are monitored better? Recently I ordered, online, two used books that I really wanted to read; but for some reason I don't feel comfortable reading them. I'm wondering if that is eccentric (or worse!). True, there are other "fomites" (money, doorknobs, public phones, public computers, etc.) but the difference is one doesn't hold these to one's face for several hours; and, assuming one doesn't touch one's lips or eyes after touching a public computer, there's little risk. Also paper is more absorbent. I'm curious what others' opinions are. Just read something about a reader who claims he caught a respiratory illness from reading a used book (he could feel an immediate reaction upon opening the book). Perhaps that was his imagination?

6 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Best Answer

    Assuming you do not have AIDS, leukemia, or lupus, or some other condition which compromises your immune system, used books are as safe as the rest of the world. Bacteria and viruses cannot survive on paper which is fully dry, regardless of how absorbent it may be.

    You know, your immune system actually becomes stronger if it is frequently expected to meet whatever challenges you give it by living a normal life in which you are in close contact with things and people. By trying to minimize those challenges, avoiding anything which might be 'germy,' or keeping your home scrubbed with antibacterial products, you are literally *increasing* your risk of infectious illness.

    So buy used books, touch the doorknobs, and kiss somebody now and then.

  • 3 years ago

    More than some thing it might be polluting. You do not wish that crap within the smoke floating round your condo, so I'd say rather of burning the books no less than use it for whatever valuable like composting.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Sounds pretty germaphobic and baseless. I wouldn't worry about the used books.

  • Cher
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    There's no more danger in handing used books than there is in new books. (You think people don't sneeze in a bookstore?) You don't exactly rub your face all over your book, so really, the fomite potential is as low as any other item you'd touch in a normal day.

    Source(s): It's called dust. It makes you sneeze and then it's expelled.
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Mawia
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    check Snopes to verify or nullify your fears.

  • 8 years ago

    Very dangerous! I've known several people die from reading second hand harry potter books! They may be cursed and eat your soul!

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.