The history of the rare book, past ,present and future

There has been numerous questions asked about rare books, why are they rare and what has the internet done to change it if at all. The following is a brief explanation.

Before 1995 or so, most book collectors would go into a local store and purchase books to add to their collection. They would also receive book catalogues from dealers that specialized in their interest.
Dealers would work with one another and find the right books their customers wanted. Around 1995 an invention called the internet took off. No longer did customers have to wait for a catalogue they could visit websites and order the books they wanted.
Then something started to happen that both the customer and the dealer noticed. A lot of books previously thought rare, wasn’t quite so rare. Dozens of copies of particular titles started showing up and the values of these books dropped. They actually dropped significantly.
This in turn left a lot of book sellers with inventory that had loss significant value.
For a while it seemed the rare book dealer was done for until the last 5 years a problem started becoming real apparent. Most of the rare books listed on various venues didn’t exist or were not the edition the seller claimed.
Though some of this sadly was done on purpose I believe most it came from ignorant book dealers who really knew nothing about rare books.
This can be easily seen in most descriptions that tell you more about the company/seller than the actually book.

For those who collect modern first editions the state of the dust jacket i.e. is it price clipped the issue points etc. are never mentioned unless by an reputable dealer.
For those who collect antiquarian books points of not only publication and edition, but is the book properly paginated, does it have the correct maps etc?
The smart and educated buyer will do great on the online market. Always ask questions and build a relationship from your book dealer.
So back to the original point are there still rare books? I believe there are and I truly believe that in the last fifteen years or so a lot were bought up and if this trend continues it won’t be long before a lot of them are going to disappear for another generation.


How Borders will hurt used bookstores

With all the talk about Borders filing for bankruptcy one thing no one is talking about is the impact it will have on used bookstores and possibly even Amazon in the next two years.
As Borders slashes its prices and people are stocking up on books for personal reading and gifts I wonder how much of an impact this will have on bookstores.
I went into the Borders in Longmont yesterday and saw numerous people carrying stacks of books out the door. I heard people talking about Christmas gifts and so on.
Time will tell and the next question that comes to mind is what about Barnes and Noble?
Will they survive in the coming years? Will Amazon dominate them all?
And if Amazon dominates them all? And what if Amazon down the road collapses?
Will the next big business in America be the used bookstore once again?

Time will tell


Borders Bookstores to close all stores

Just a few days ago it was announced that Borders Bookstores would close all their stores nationwide. Though they tried to sell their stores/inventory of books no bidders came forward and Borders will now face bankruptcy.
Some say that the big chain bookstores had their day and now it’s time again for independent stores to rule once again. Yet others are pointing to the eBook as for Borders demise.
I believe the printed book is something that’s still going to be around for a while. And while it’s still around, I will be here to buy your books.


Selling textbooks in Denver or Boulder

College students in Denver, Fort Collins and Boulder are now getting ready to head back to school and one of the most important items they will need is their college textbooks.
Abacus Books is buying used and new college textbooks in all of Colorado .If you’re looking for some extra cash and have textbooks to sell then call us at
303-817-7349 or
Email us at


Selling back your textbooks in Boulder

It’s that time of the year again. School life in Boulder is almost out for the semester and you want to sell back your college textbooks. We buy books in just about every subject including but not limited to Art, Math, Science, Engineering, and Geology etc.
Remember we come to you!
If you’re looking for cash for your textbooks feel free to call us at 303-817-7349 or email at


Pricing your books online

Pricing your books online.
Though I have written on this subject before, I plan on this article to elaborate on internet pricing and how in my opinion it has caused major confusion among many people.
A few times a week I will get a call that goes something along the lines of “ I looked up some old books and saw they were listed for hundreds or even thousands of dollars online, ” I usually have to break the bad news that usually the books have no great economic value, which can also invoke the reply of “ But there is five of them listed at that price”.

Here is the root of the problem. When a person opens a business on main street USA, they have overhead, Rent, Utilities, Employs, Insurance and so on. The stores goods will be priced accordingly and fairly (most of the time) and the items sell.
Most online venues require no out of pocket expense unless the item sells. Beanie Babied listed for 3 million dollars? Not a problem. Readers digest starting at 4 thousand? There are tons of them.

So the question then becomes what is the real price? That is what an experienced book dealer will know. He will know the book or the subject matter or know someone in the trade that does. Based on hands on experience he or she will offer a fair price on what he believes it can sell for.
The online marketplace is flooded with people dreaming that someone is dumb enough to shell out five thousand dollars for a 1930’s school book no has heard of or wants. Or that a 5th edition 10th printing is something you should splurge on.

In other words, if you choose to research online and your book is priced between 10 cents and ten million dollars, realize you have a great reading copy in your hands.


Selling Books VS Trading Books

When you’re looking to unload a book collection one of the choices you may have depending on the book collection is whether to sell them or trade them.

Local Bookstores in Boulder or Denver will usually offer some sort of trade credit based on the books they take in. This is great for paperback novels and similar books that don’t have much economic value.
Once your credit is tallied up you simply pick out other books and usually pay nothing out of pocket.
Thirty years ago, Boulder Bookstores for example, would easily hand over cash for your books. From paperback novels to collected first editions, leather bindings etc.
Sadly those days are gone. Most bookstores are trying to keep ahead of rent and employees and usually just offer trade.

I know of one book dealer, now retired who had a bookstore in Boulder. It wasn’t uncommon for him to look through thirty or forty boxes a week and pay cash for them. Again, those days are gone.
Here at Abacus books, we still have the tradition of paying cash for books. And to make it even better we come to you. Feel free to call with any questions or to set up an appointment.


Suicide at the library

Salt Lake City-For the third time in the last five years a person has taken their life by jumping off the fourth floor pedestrian bridge at the Salt Lake City Public Library.

This Library is very beautiful and the staff are very wonderful people. Counselors were immediately dispatched to help anyone to cope with what they witnesses.

You can read more about this unfortunate tragedy here.


Borders and the future of bookstores.

With Borders recently announcing their bankruptcy and a lot of local used bookstores closing down, some may wonder if it’s the end of the bookstore era.
Borders had a huge operation with a gigantic overhead and with the internet they were too late in the game. I always felt their employees were just that, employees and not people who liked books and therefore had no knowledge of them. Which in turn was a lousy experience?
Make no mistake these are tough times and I feel sadly that many more bookstores will close. With the local antiquarian bookstore or perhaps your favorite bookstore on Pearl Street closing down, this can be attributed as an issue of rent rather than customers not coming in the door.

I know of one store owner in Denver, whose rent alone is eight thousand a month. Combine that with employees, utilities and it’s a tough game to be in.

Rumors are circulating of high internet taxes on the way and with ever rising prices perhaps someday soon the bookstores will come back again in force.

Feel free to share your thoughts.


Newberry Book Award Winner

Clare Vanderpool’s “Moon Over Manifest,” a young girl’s magical and mysterious adventures in a small town in 1936, won the John Newbery Medal for the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.”

“A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” the gentle story of an old man and the animals who visit when he’s too unwell to see them at the zoo, received the Randolph Caldecott Medal for best children’s picture book. “A Sick Day” was illustrated by Erin E. Stead and written by Philip C. Stead.
You can read more about this here.