Before you take a used book home, take a few moments to make sure the book isn’t damaged. Take a good look at the binding in the front, center, and back of the book to make sure it’s solid and holding its pages securely. If it feels even the slightest bit loose, check to make sure that all of the pages are present. Crosscheck the page numbers with the table of contents if you need to.
The reason I’m writing this is because of an absurd situation I faced last night when I found out that the library book I was reading was missing it’s last chapter and a half—nearly 30 pages. Unfortunately, I only became aware of this when I reached the last page after reading the previous several hundred. It was a thick hardcover book with what felt like a solid binding, so the damage wasn’t noticeable at all unless you turned directly to the end. Even the library didn’t catch it before putting it back on the shelf.
While the rational part of me realizes that this is an infinitesimal problem in the grand scheme of things, I spent the better part of last night grumpy that I didn’t get to find out how the story ended after investing so many hours into it. So do yourself a favor, and give your used book a quick, thirty-second page through to make sure everything is where it should be. It may save you a night of frustration.