Tips For Identifying Valuable Used Books

18 December 2015
 Categories: Religion & Spirituality, Blog


If you enjoy browsing used book stores, then you have likely wondered about the possibility of finding a rare book amidst the mountains of paper and ink. Perhaps you have thought about how you might sell such a treasure, or maybe you just want to put one on your shelf. Either way, it can be pretty difficult to identify which books are actually rare and valuable, so here are some tips that can help you separate the wheat from the chaff:

First Editions and Signatures

If you are inexperienced when it comes to identifying rare books, then there are a lot of characteristics that you won't be able to analyze. However, almost anyone can determine whether or not a book is a first edition and whether or not it is signed by the author. After all, these things are pretty obvious when you open up the book.

Of course, determining how these things affect rarity and value is another matter altogether. Some books have an abundance of first edition copies, while others are frequently signed by the author. To help you out with this, you should consider an appraisal.

When in Doubt, Get an Appraisal

There are a lot of rare book experts that can appraise the value of your book, especially if it is particularly valuable. The condition of the book, its edition, whether or not it has a signature, and countless other factors can all influence just how much your book is worth. Of course, you don't necessarily want to sell your book to the first person who gives you an appraisal. Instead, you should consider using a dedicated appraiser who is not in the business of buying and selling books. This will give you the most balanced and unbiased opinion, since they don't stand to monetarily gain from the value of your book.

That being said, you don't need to walk into an appraiser's office every time that you find a new and interesting book. The internet is a decent place to start if you are looking for basic information on whether or not certain books are valuable. Once you have found some books that you think have value, then you should take them all to an appraise at once so that you can reduce your costs.

Books to Avoid

Of course, there are some books that may be a little confusing when it comes to value. For instance, bibles, textbooks, and encyclopedias are often much less valuable than you might initially imagine.

Bibles are extremely common, so the chances of you finding a copy that actually has value are quite low. Textbooks are extremely expensive to purchase new, but they rapidly decline in value and they are often barely worth the effort of carrying them to a seller. Encyclopedias are often worth very little, since their information is rapidly outdated when the next edition is released.

To learn more, contact a used bookstore near you.