The five thousand dollar used book

One of the common things I hear when I am out buying books is “My friend told me this book is worth X amount of money on the internet.”

As a used and antiquarian book dealer this can be frustrating on many levels on certain books. Some books on the internet are priced correctly, but more times that not they are not priced correctly. An experienced book dealer can quickly tell the difference.

Let me give an example of the above. I recently received a call from someone who wanted me to look at their “collectible” readers digest book from 1987. My mind quickly scrambled as I was trying to think of any collectible readers digest book, especially from the 1980s.

After I was told the title the person said “It’s listed online for 5 thousand dollars”.

This is the problem. Many books are listed with a guessing price. I have seen many inexperienced dealers say “Well there were no other copies online and therefore it must be rare and collectible, so I figured it must be worth that much”

That reasoning simply put is insane.

First thing to consider is an internet listing is an “asking price”. It is not a realized value.

Second. Just because a book is rare does not always equate to valuable.

The internet is flooded with inexperienced book dealers who list at extreme prices hoping someone is naïve enough to buy at their prices.

An experienced book dealer will let you know why or why not your book has any monetary value.

The internet can be great for pricing a general, non collectible used book. When you move in to more collectible or antiquarian book it is best to consult a local book dealer.

One last thing. The Readers Digest book mentioned above was the 1987 how to maintain your garden.


Used Bookstores thriving in Canada

Our friends to the North, especially in the area of Toronto are seeing a boom in some bookstores. One used bookstore is buying a bigger space to accommodate academics and book club meetings.

What do you think? Do used bookstores need more room for community type groups that is book club meetings, science fiction meetings? I know the Tattered Cover used bookstore in Denver holds many events and they seem to be doing just fine.

Read the article here.


E-book sales fall

Here at Abacus Used Books we have talked about the e-book quite extensively. There can be no replacement for the feel of a used or new book. Publishers weekly had something to say about the sales of e-books. You can read about it here.


A look at our nations top archivist

I came across a great blog today featuring the nation’s top archivist. His experience is very impressive. From his own blog site

“David S. Ferriero was confirmed as 10th Archivist of the United States on November 6, 2009.
Previously, Mr. Ferriero served as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries (NYPL). He was part of the leadership team responsible for integrating the four research libraries and 87 branch libraries into one seamless service for users, creating the largest public library system in the United States and one of the largest research libraries in the world.”

One thing I like about this blog is the openness of Mr.Ferriero and his honest inquiry of what the public thinks.

You can visit his site here.


Worlds Oldest Bookstore still going strong.

I was at a used bookstore today in Ft Collins and I was talking to the owner and the subject came up of the worlds oldest bookstore that is still in business. He gave me the name of a used bookstore and I did some research.

The Moravian Book Shop, the oldest bookstore in the world, was founded in 1745 when the Moravian Church appointed Samuel Powell of the Church’s Crown Inn on the South Side of the Lehigh River to operate a book store. After several locations, the Moravian Book Shop was moved to the church’s publications building near the Central Moravian Church in 1871. Today, the Moravian Book Shop’s home is this same site on Historic Main Street in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Read more about it here.


E-book for academics a failure

Recently The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business conducted an experiment with ebook readers. In a nutshell they took away papers and textbooks and had Academic students use a ebook reader instead. The results, which come as no surprise was a complete failure. Read more about it here.


Where do used bookstores get their books from?

So you’re in your favorite used bookstore in Denver and you see some really nice books in a glass case. Where did they come from is a common question that will be asked. Though there are a number of ways these books are collected by used book dealers, I thought I would share one of the ways they used to be bought.

A trade publication called AB Bookman’s weekly was a magazine that a used and rare book dealer could list in. Generally they would have two listings. One for books they were looking to buy and the other for books they wanted to sell.

There was an editor’s corner where an article on the book trade or a short interview or comments from a famous author was shared.

Another feature was a list of upcoming antiquarian book fairs and such.

Starting in 1949 this was the premier magazine for book people.

Sadly their last publication was in 1999 as the internet quickly replaced the print version.

A bid to try a digital version was tried for a short while but quickly disappeared.