The question was:
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?
I have often discussed my affinity for used book stores. Half Price Books, library book sales and my own library's used book operation are frequent haunts.
I love that they are cheap. I love that you never know what you are going to find - both the titles and the notes inside. At the same time, I don't often buy used books that are really beaten up. I can't stand creases on the spine, so I rarely buy mass market paperbacks. I won't knowingly buy a book that is underlined or highlighted. Because I have so many books in my queue, I can be very picky about what I am buying. I am never at risk of not having something available that I want to read.
Last year, I read E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime. I didn't check the copy well enough, and there were underlinings and notes at the end of each chapter. They were very distracting and a fabulous book was marred by the thoughts of someone..not that bright. But the book is good enough to keep in my collection! So I am on the lookout for another copy. A nice one. For a dollar or less.