How Much is My Book Worth?                           

Book dealers are frequently asked "How much is my old book worth?"

With a little research utilizing links to rare-book websites, you can get a good idea of your old book's value. The information below can point you in the right direction ...

What factors contribute to the value of a collectible book?

Two things ... #1 is Desire and #2 is Condition.

Lets start with
Desire, or in other words, does anyone want it? If the book is written by a collectible author, "desire" is limited to first or very early printings of their collectible works, or books authentically signed by the collectible author or someone notable. A badly written novel by an uncollected author, no matter how old, no matter how rare has little value if no one wants it (age or scarcity without desire and condition have little effect on a book's value). The second factor effecting value is Condition. Just as "location, location, location" is the mantra in the real estate world, condition makes or breaks the value of a collectible book. Look at your book as a book collector would. A book collector scrutinizes a 100 year antique book for the same flaws as a brand new book. Book collectors and professional book sellers prefer to use one of five categories regarding book condition: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, or Fine.

Poor: Book is in sad condition. Pages,
maps, or boards may be missing or torn. Book may be badly soiled or scribbled on by a child.
Fair: Loose pages, soiled, loose spine, etc. 
The book is complete, all pages & maps present.
Good: A book that is clean inside, complete and all pages present and attached. Nothing torn. Spine is fairly strong.
Very Good: A strong, clean book, some shelf wear, perhaps only a neatly written previous owner signature inside.
Fine: An attractive book. Bright pages, no writing, no bumps or wear. It looks new.

More Information...

AddAll used books 
One of my favorite sites for gauging marketability of a book.
Supports a huge marketplace of used book dealers on their site.
Buy books from the world's largest online marketplace for books.
eBay closed auctions
is a great to find out what your title has sold for.

Links to Books About Books Available Through If you buy, collect or sell books, these should be your first investment...

First Editions: A Guide to Identification Edward N Zempel (Editor). Hardcover 4th Edition (November 2001). A compilation of publishers actual statements about their methods of identifying first editions. Covers nearly 1700 trade and academic publishers in the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. For all bibliophiles.

Antique Trader Book Collector's Price Guide Richard Russell. Paperback 2009. Organized in 13 categories, including Americana, banned, paranormal and mystery, this guide discusses identifying and grading books, and provides collectors with details for identifying and assessing books in 8,000 listings.

The Official Price Guide to Collecting Books, 6th Edition   Marie Tedford. Paperback 2008. Although used book prices fluctuate, sometimes its good to have a book you can refer to when the computer's not turned on :) " ... This guide prices everything from rare signed first editions of The Wizard of Oz to today's Harry Potter blockbusters. Contains information on popular genres, care and repair, research resources, Internet sites, dealers, and auction houses ... "

Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions Bill McBride. Paperback 2000 Very useful book. Publishers each have their own way of identifying the first edition (or more correctly - first printing ) of any book they produce. This little book lists most publishers and uses a simplified code system based on the author's experience handling actual first editions.

Points of Issue: A Compendium of Points of Issue of Books by 19Th-20th Century Authors Bill McBride. Paperback 1996. Another pocket-sized companion to the Guide listed above, it's also very useful. This is a list of specific books which have details (points of issue) that determine a first edition.

Book Finds, 3rd Edition: How to Find, Buy, and Sell Used and Rare Books Ian C. Ellis. Paperback 2006. A good first hand account of book buying and book scouting. The author drops a lot of names, but the book is an enjoyable read. "The used and collectible book market divides into three relatively neat categories: reading copy, antiquarian, and modern first edition..."

The Home-Based Bookstore: Start Your Own Business Selling Used Books on Amazon, eBay or Your Own Web Site Steve Weber. Paperback 2005. A super book, one of the best rated books
by Amazon readers regarding selling books on-line. A "must have". " ... Selling used books on the Internet is one of the greatest opportunities available to small entrepreneurs today ..."

IN A NUTSHELL............................

To determine value, I check each old and rare book individually in the closed book auctions on eBay ( This gives idea of what book buyers are willing to pay. Also, I check the offering prices on sites such as BOOKLibris (, Alibris (, or Abebooks (, keeping in mind that they may be optimistic "offering" prices and not necessarily what a buyer will eventually pay.

As I check each book I make sure I am checking apples to apples so to speak:

Publishing Company (printed on the Title Page)
Publishing Date and Printing Sequence such as "5th Printing of First Edition " (printed on the Copyright Page)

and importantly ...... a brutally honest assessment of Condition.

An annotated Copyright Page from an actual First Printing

of the First Edition of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows".
Feel free to link directly to this image from your website.


How do I Identify a First Edition?

What is an ISBN?

How to Open a New Book