What’s my book worth?
We receive this query frequently, and hope this generalized response will answer many of these questions. There are several answers, so we will start with the best one first.
- How can I sell my books?
If you want to sell a book or a number of books, you are likely to get the most $$$ at a local independent bookstore that sells used books and has been in business for quite a while - this store should have the reference material and knowledge to best evaluate your book and offer a fair price. This bookseller will also be motivated to offer the best price possible. It is challenge to find good books so we appreciate the opportunity and have built our reputations on being knowledgeable and fair in dealings, buying and selling. (Working with a local dealer will also save you postage fees.)
P.S. For every "wonderful" book that walks in the door, we reject 700 as being unsellable or not needed at present and buy 300 "stock" books, sellable but not of extraordinary value.
- What are my books worth?
We do not do appraisals (we always have more than enough to do already!). If you do find someone who would do an on-line appraisal, it might be hard to trust its accuracy.
- You can check some of the on-line services to get a rough idea of retail value - but take the prices you see with a grain of salt. You likely will find a legitimate range of prices and some copies listed by dealers who have not done enough research or are inexperienced (and therefore may evaluate prices high or low or provide errant details for their copy.) Some of the major book search engines are:
(These are addresses we give to customers who are looking for books we do not have.)
We suggest that you don’t check with the on-line "mega-stores" or search services as they will most likely quote a price based on one of the aforementioned search engines with an additional mark-up.
(To make an editorial comment, any markup is a legitimate fee for services rendered but it will not help you evaluate your books. When buying books, you can avoid the additional fee by going direct to the bookstore that has the book you want on hand, via the above search engines.)
- You can also check any of the price guides in the reference section at a library; keeping in mind the quoted info on publisher, date, etc. - and especially, condition!
The typical fee for a ‘face-to-face’ book appraisal is $60-85 per hour. Appraisals require a bookseller with enough experience and knowledge and sufficient reference material - and time (lots of time), to evaluate your books. The bookseller must handle the book(s) to determine condition (a major factor) and any fine details necessary in determining its/their value. A written appraisal statement will probably cost you more than a verbal appraisal.
An ethical, professional bookseller who appraises your books will not then buy them from you.
(The conflict of duties is not in your best interest.)
The dealer who buys from you will mostly likely offer a set percentage of the expected selling price of your book(s) that they can use (often 20% to 50%, depending on the desirability of the book).
We hope that you do indeed have a fine book - and that we are the local independent bookseller you visit. We are always happy to hear from you when you find the book of your dreams or do well selling your personal collection.
This article © 2009, Vintage Books.
We do not offer appraisals. We do a limited amount of buying,
from single books to estates.
There are local dealers we could recommend if you are within the
greater Portland-Vancouver area, if you do need an appraisal.
There is a fee for this. A dealer will not appraise and buy,
so you need to decide before hand if you are interested in
simply knowing the value, or do wish to sell your items.
If you are interested in trading books, we trade daily:
paperbacks, hardcovers, fiction, non-fiction and children's books.
We are much more open on what we will accept for trade, and your
credit can be used towards 70% of your used item purchase.
We always request 30% cash/credit card, to help us pay our bills.
If you do not use your credit at the date issued, we will give
you a credit slip for your balance.
Our trading and buying is all "local". If you are not within our
local buying area, your phone book or local bookseller association
should help you find a reputable bookseller.