It’s hard to believe 2011 is already here. This last year was a great year for us here at Abacus Books and we look forward to serving you this year and the years to come.
Some of the features we are adding to the website soon include
Online storefront, where you can browse for that First Edition book you have been wanting.
Dynamic photos of book we are selling.
Catalogues in different subjects.
More articles related to book collecting with more information about used and rare books, determining what your book is worth.
More user friendly ways to communicate with us if you’re looking to sell your books.

We look foward to serving you,
Happy new year to all.


The History of Libraries

The History of Libraries

Ask the question “How long have libraries been around?” and you may hear “100 years” or even “Maybe two hundred ?”. The fact of the matter is libraries have been around since the Egyptians and some scrolls were collected approximately 5 thousand years ago.
One of the most famous libraries throughout time have been The library of Alexandria which sadly burned down in 48 bc.
In more recent history a great library in Milan was founded in 1609 and still stands to this day.

And who can forget the Library of Congress. What a thrill it would be to spend a few weeks in there!

To see a brief outline of famous libraries check this page out then head down to your local used bookstore for more in depth reading.


Starting a book collection.

“I want to collect books but I am not sure where to start!” is a question that gets brought up quite often.

The art of book collecting is an exhaustive study in itself. There have been numerous books written about the subject and I’m sure there will be many more written in the years ahead.

I have seen personal collections range from twenty books to well over ten thousand. Sometimes on a single subject or covering many, each collection is different and unique in its own way.

A favorite author is a great place to start collecting. For example, we will use the famous author Stephen King as an example.

Your collection may start with every first edition of every book Stephen King has published.

Perhaps you can broaden it and collect the titles printed under the name Richard Bachman as well.

From there you can expand into ephemera such as magazine publications he was in, small press limited editions and so forth.

And some collectors go for the obscure, Fire starter printed in the Swedish language or Salem’s lot in Mongolian. The possibilities are endless.

A few good reference books on your favorite author will come in handy. I advise collectors I work with to be very cautious of the “free information” that is online concerning reference to first edition points etc as we have witnessed countless errors in this area.

Contact and consult with a knowledgeable book dealer in your area.

As always we are here to answer any questions.


Librarians and Archivists

As a librarian and archivist one of the many tasks you face is that of weeding out books.

Here at Abacus Books we have a proven system that helps bring significant monies to your institution in this process which takes little time on your part.

If this may be something you are interested in feel free to call or email us at info@abacususedbooks.com for more information.

References available upon request.


Book condition it is everything

One thing you will hear when talking with an antiquarian book dealer quite often is the importance of the condition of the book.

When trying to determine the price of a book, condition is everything. Small stains, rips or missing parts can quickly bring the value of a book down pretty quickly.

Someone who is not familiar with antiquarian books may feel that their book, though full of flaws may be excluded because it is old in their opinion. Or because it was handed down in their family or other sentimental feelings.

Ones personal feeling towards a book does not change the rules or guidelines.

Generally for a book to have some flaws and not lose any or very little value, and I do stress the word “some”, a book would have to be printed before 1890. This is not set in stone but just a general guideline.

With more recent printings, price clipped dust jackets, remainder marks and more will hurt the value of a book.

Children’s books are given more lenience in condition more than any other genre but condition still is key. So if your first edition of Charlotte’s web has some wear etc on it, you’re doing ok. If you decided as a child to write on crayon on every page your out of luck.

As always if you have any questions about books feel free to write or email us.


The book that is too good to be true

So you’re at home surfing on the internet and there it is. The book you always wanted and a bargain basement price. The seller’s feedback is pretty good and they have earned fancy titles such as “super seller” or something close to it.

You make your purchase, the book arrives and one of two things may happen. The book is what you expected or the book goes on the shelf and not till much later that you realize you have bought a book club edition or something else less desirable.

On perhaps the most popular auction site online, I recently observed three copies of John Grishams first novel being sold as the first edition.

Prices ranged from $ 3000.00 to $ 5,000.00 dollars. None of them were true first edition and sadly one of the auctions had some bids on it.

The point being is known what you are buying. If you have not bought from the seller before then its best to email them and open up a friendly dialogue.

Ask them how do they know the book is a true first? What identifying points are present that show the book is a first edition.

Wait for the response and use common sense before moving ahead with your purchase. There are some great bookseller organizations out there such as the widely respected ABAA and the RMABA that have been in business for many decades and have earned a lot of trust in the book community.

So when you find the book you looking for ask some questions and understand exactly what you are buying.


Identifying a first edition

Though there a numerous ways to identify a first edition and each publisher may have their own rules the following is a brief outline to help you get started.

Usually on the title page it will say “First Edition” or “First Published”

There may also be a number line like as follows. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

With the last number 1 showing the first edition.

Now if your number line reads something like

10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2 this denotes a 1st edition 2nd printing.

A book club first edition is not a true first edition. There are a few exceptions but none that will be noted here.

When identifying a book club edition there are a few things that will show you immediately that the book is a book club.

There is no price on the dust jacket.

There are the words Book Club Edition on the dust jacket usually located on the lower inside flap.

Generally book club editions are smaller and weigh less than other books.

I would like to emphasize again that there are exceptions to the above rules and that they are only a general guideline.

Trying to determine first editions can be an exhaustive process. A reference set and bibliographies are used quite often.


Denver Book Fair

I haven’t been able to write for awhile due to the fact of preparing for the annual Denver book and paper fair. This year’s fair was a hit. We were able to meet old friends and customers and make plenty of new ones.

The attendance by consumers and sales were suprinigsly high during this economic downturn. Many booths exhibited fine books in all genres.

If you’re a book collector with lots of experience or just starting out, you cannot miss next years Denver Book Fair. There are more than 80 dealers that will answer any questions concerning your book collecting or anything else related to the book trade for that matter.

To touch and discuss so many books is a rewarding experience.