How Can I Get an Old Book Valued?


Quick Answer

One of the best ways to have an old book evaluated is with an independent bookseller, especially if the bookseller has been doing business for many years and is highly regarded in the community. These merchants characteristically offer fair value for the book and have the necessary experience to determine its value honestly and accurately.

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Full Answer

There is some value in consulting online resources. Among such sites, BookFinder.com and AbeBooks.com are two of the more respected online guides for evaluating a book's value. It can help to conduct a wider Web search for selling prices on a book, but bear in mind that many inexperienced or inexpert sellers often ask unreasonable, inflated prices. When doing a Web search, provide accurate and thorough information to the search engine. Misspellings or incomplete information can lead to irrelevant or misleading listings.

It is imperative to understand that there is a distinction between a bookseller's evaluation of a book for resale and a rare book expert's appraisal. The engagement of an appraiser is probably not useful unless a person has already determined that a book has extraordinary value. A quality appraiser's time may cost between $65 and $80. A reputable appraiser does not act as a buyer or reseller, as this is considered an ethical conflict of interest in the rare book business.

If a person is new to the rare book world, it is important to appreciate that for every truly rare book, there are another 300 purchased and resold at modest prices and another 700 rejected by the knowledgeable bookseller, notes Vintage Books.

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