This page was last updated:Tuesday November 27, 2007 23:33  
I am writing some "general" book information first. After that is the list of links about books. ("'Care and Feeding' of Your Library etc.", "Book Dealers:--Places to Find Books ", "'General' Collecting Links" and "Seller's Organizations:".)  

Books To Look For/Books To Avoid Types of books that I know have value, and types I know of that have virtually no value.

There's now a separate page for writing about books. (I write about books.)

If, after you read this page, you have questions or things to add, let me know please. I would like to hear from you. If I am in error, or if I need to add something, let me know, I like learning new things.

June 10, 2003-- I have now added a page to this web site where I write about my "collecting" in general. If you want to see how I came to collect books, see the page on "Collecting".

July 11, 2007--I am adding a page with "Fun Book Links". I run across  links to all sorts of fun things  dealing with books.

I am not really an expert in buying and selling "old" books.  There are a few things I do know though. On this page you will be able to read most of what I know. And after that, I have put on here tons of links to sites that have even more expert information on them.

We do a lot of "garage sale-ing". (Garage "sailing", we put sails on the garage and take it out on a lake? No! We like going to garage sales. Ha! Yes, I do have frogs in my pockets.  Our favorite question? "How much do you want for the garage"?) A garage sale is where people sell their unwanted belongings.  They set up "shop" in their garage, driveway, front or back yard (lawn).  Sometimes they have stuff in several of these places.  If the weather is "inclement" or they have even more "junk" to sell, they may have the sale in the house and/or basement.  In our area, "estate sales" are just "glorified" garage sales.  Instead of selling more recently acquired stuff, they sell a lifetimes worth of belongings.  Usually these are in the house, basement and possibly also the garage.  On occasion these "estate sales" are "conducted" by people who do that for a living.  Then there are times when people call their garage sale an estate sale, so that they get a better clientele. 

I am hoping that some day, I can write a guide book for collecting certain old medical and quack health books.  As I go along I am gathering information about collecting books, how to care for books and other such useful information for "home librarians".  As I find links to things, I will stick them on here.  I would like to get into selling books tooSee the "collecting" page for more on that.

From the "Our Library" page, "Health and Medical Books":  June 11, 2006 I want to write a guide book for people who collect "old" medical books and such.  (quackery; dieting; exercise; quack nutrition; etc.) Of course "quackery" is a relative term.  (If your uncle is a quack he might not be so ducky to you.  But if you see a quack in the streets they may look very ducky.  Ha!)  No! How you apply the term "quack" depends upon what you view as "quackery".  You can see my "opinion" by looking at the categories on the originating page.  I would really like to write a guide book for collectors. I should be an expert collector of such books in order to be able to write a guide book. If you could help me out by providing me with whatever help you think I need, it would be appreciated.  I am interested in learning the names of old "quackery" books that should be in every collector's library. If you can help, please contact me. I would like to complete my knowledge.  Any help will be appreciated. 

There's a difference between "Antiquarian" ( also, "Rare") and "Used" books.

Antiquarian books are usually more expensive.  In my experience, even if the book can be found much cheaper, it will cost more at a place that has words like, "Antiquarian" or "Rare" on the sign.  It pays to know something about books in general. Suppose you are hunting a specific Reader's Digest Condensed Book, and you saw it for $5.00 at an "Antiquarian" book shop.
(it is doubtful they would have such a book in that kind of shop--- but we are just "supposing" here) It would be wise to wait and try to find the same book at a charity thrift shop for anywhere from $2.00 to $.50.  And it would be even wiser yet, to hold off and find it at a garage sale or estate sale for $.10. (If you wait until the last day of the sale, you might get it for half price--$.05.) Some books are worth the "Antiquarian" book shop price.  Some books are not.  It pays to know what you are doing.

The people selling "Antiquarian" and "Rare" books are supposed to know what they are selling and or buying. Sometimes they belong to one or more of the associations for Antiquarian book sellers. They should be knowledgeable. I would venture to guess that they are not always knowledgeable though.  As with anything you buy "Caveat Emptor" or "let the buyer beware". This goes doubly for the seller.  If you are selling something do your homework and know something about the item before you sell it. 

Used books are just that --- used or rather, "previously owned". (Sometimes you can find "new" or fairly current, books in a used book shop.) You can sometimes find "Antiquarian" type books at these places. In fact, the best place to find "Antiquarian" books is at places where they don't know what they have.

You find used books almost anywhere. (You never know when you might get "lucky" and find an "Antiquarian" book at one of these places.)                
How and where I usually find used books:                                                                                        Estate sales
Charity thrift stores
Garage sales
Charity book sales
Inside boxes in front of people's houses on trash day (A good time to find this is right after they have had a garage or estate sale at that house. You usually find the books they couldn't sell at the sale. Another time you see this is when the occupants of the house are moving in or out. Spring cleaning also produces such boxes. Books out for trash are free, [in the U.S.] since trash put out to the curb is considered "public domain".)

If they know you collect, sometimes you get used books as gifts
Flea Markets      Etc.

Just because a book is old that doesn't mean it is valuable. Condition is important. The author is important. Having the dust jacket is important. Is the book a first edition? (That can be difficult to figure out.) That is important too. Is it a rare edition? (difficult to find edition) Some books are bought as "investments".  Those are "generally" the "antiquarian and rare" types.  Some books are only meant to be read. Those are called, "reading copies". Say, you have a copy of Dickens that isn't a rare edition and it is from an old school library, that would be a reading copy.  I have learned a lot by watching the "American" version of the Antiques Roadshow. A person might say a book is worthless because it has "seen better days" and appears to be a "reading copy".  BUT because it is a book with few known copies, it can be worth thousands of dollars.  Then there are cases when book club copies are valuable, because it was a particular book club and for some reason that book by that author is worth a lot of money. It doesn't happen often but it does happen. Sometimes a second edition or some edition other than the first one is the valuable one.  There's a certain encyclopedia set that is valuable, because of a famous goof in it.  There are Bibles that are collectible because of one word in them---either a misprinted word or the particular word was a "peculiar" one the translators used for that translation.

I know that not all books that are falling apart are considered "reading copies".  It all depends upon the book.  I have a book of poetry that has lost it's front cover.  It is kind of held together with tape.  I liked the poems, was able to read this book and I figured I probably couldn't afford a better copy, so I kept it---that's a reading copy.  Then I have part of a set of books about the Reformation.  They are from the 1800's (1843, 1859).  One is held together with tape.  I don't run across these very often and they might be rare---at least they are rare where I hunt for books. (Originally they were best sellers.) These are difficult to read for various reasons. (Victorian, English is the main one) I don't know if they are truly considered reading copies or not. I don't consider them to be "reading" copies.

Book club editions tend not to be valuable. (It depends upon the book club, author, and so on.)  Readers Digest Condensed Books are some of the most easy to come by "old" books.  They have virtually no value at all.  I buy them to press flowers in.  Another type of book that is easy to come by is the university or college text book.  I have seen "hundreds" of them at garage sales, estate sales and charity thrift stores.  I am guessing, that unless you are interested in a particular subject, the only "old" textbooks that are worth anything would be "old" medical and scientific text books.  What I mean by "old" is, pre-W.W.II. (or maybe mid 1950's back--depending upon the subject of the book) If I remember correctly, most textbooks I see are very dry subjects, like Accounting, Sociology, and Psychology.  You see the odd English and History too.

Some books are sold "by the yard".  I assume they are "screened" and valuable books do not get mixed into the lot. They are sold to decorators. They are the books you see in stores as "props" on shelves.  Then you probably also see them on television as props on set.  I think some people buy them to put in houses as a decorative item.  These would show up where ever you see books as part of a decoration scheme, that are never meant as reading material.  Speaking of decorating... I was watching HGTV "Decorating Cents".  The decorators went and packed away most of the books on a set of book shelves.  They were trying to reduce clutter!  Most of the space on the shelves was then filled with dust collectors.  I always thought book shelves that you buy, so that you can stick books on them, were meant to "house" books.  Now, if you buy a set of shelves for knick-knacks, then that's different.  I don't know how books properly placed on a shelf, can be considered "clutter". 

As far as selling books... I have lived a while, and learned some things. (Some of this can apply to anything you sell.) First off, learn as much as you can about a book before you sell it. Find out how to properly describe the condition. For example, I had to learn that, "foxing" is what they call the brown spots that you see on the pages of some old books.  It is good to know if the book you have is a rare edition or not. Sometimes they printed a particular edition in the thousands.  Other times they printed very few of them.  With some books or paper items, they were meant to be disposable or for some reason they got thrown away often.  Circus posters are one example. An example of a "disposable" book, might be the instruction booklet to something like a clock radio.  Those things were not often kept, so in some cases they are on the rare side. You will want to learn what sort of value the book might have.  If someone says, "I usually sell those for $__.00 in my shop.", that does NOT mean you will get that amount for yours.  This would be the "retail" price for the book. The retail price would include a mark up for things like rent on the shop building. At auctions like eBay the book could go for any price.  If you want to at least get your money back, put a reserve on it. Some people don't like paying retail prices.  If it is a book dealer you want to sell to, they probably won't offer you the retail price for it.  They are not trying to "rip you off". They are taking into account, what they can get for the book, so that they can price the book in order to make a profit.  Many years ago, when I was first starting out, I bought a book for around $.35 and sold it for $35.00.  I was not very knowledgeable about the book I sold.  I do not know if the buyer overpaid, or what.  (I think it was probably, "or what". Ha!)

If you think you might have a valuable book, and you want to have it appraised...  Unless you are willing to take the time to study, the best thing to do, is have a book dealer appraise your book.  Don't go to just any "used" book shop.  If the shop you go to sells what you know to be expensive books at "cheap" prices, odds are, they don't know as much about books as they should.  Try and find one that has all the "accreditation"--- they belong to the proper associations etc.  Those dealers will probably charge a fee of some sort to appraise your book. I bet there is something like the "Better Business Bureau" where you can look up book dealers to find out if they are reputable or are "in good standing" within their organization.  I will see if I can't find such a thing for this page. (See below for the appropriate link to show up when and if I find it. Yes! I believe you can go to the link for the "ABAA--- Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America".  They probably have what you want to find there.)

If you are willing to study, there are tons of reference materials at the public library.  There are big thick books. I don't know the names to all of them. There may be computer databases available. 

There are the "Books in Print" books.  I think there is a book that tells what price books sold for at auction.  There's something that tells dealers what books have sold for at auction.  There are at least a couple of reference books dealing with Mysteries.  They tell you all the authors and what books they wrote. 


There's books that tell you about other authors and what books they wrote.  Sometimes you find things in books that you won't find on the Internet.  (Believe it or not!) Public libraries sometimes have "free" access to computer databases that are not generally available for free.  (That is, they are "free" to those who live in the place where the library is, and whose taxes pay for the library.)
Information on computers can be updated long before a book can. Information in a book might be out of date, but a database can be updated easier.

Really, it all depends upon what you want to do...  Do you collect the books so you can look a the pictures?  Do you collect the books because you want to read them?  Do you collect the books hoping to make an early retirement on the proceeds down the road?  My husband and I have different philosophies as regards buying books.  I buy them partly as investments, partly for the information in the books--research and reference, and mostly because it is fun to learn things from them.  I prefer hard backed books.  He prefers paperbacks. He hopes to buy them for $.50 or less. Then he hopes to trade them in after he reads them, so he can offset the price of buying ones he hasn't read. 

I buy "expensive" shoes that used to come from England. I like them because I am "hard" on shoes and these (at least the ones I have that were made in England) seemed to last a lot longer than "cheaper" shoes.  My husband prefers $20.00 shoes to work in because he wears them out quickly. 

The reason I like "used" books, is that you get more bang for your buck.  If you go to the right place you can get lots of used books for the price of one brand new one.  And just because they are used or previously owned, it doesn't mean they are old either.  I used to buy 45rpm records for the same reason.  For the longest time, 45's were $.99.  Albums were, $9.99.  With 45's I got the song I liked which I heard on the radio.  With albums I got one song I liked, and eight or nine more that I didn't know and maybe wouldn't like.  For some reason my husband thought it was cheaper to buy albums.  I guess he was adding the sales tax in there.  He was looking at the cost per song.  He didn't like me buying 45's.  I was thinking that I could buy ten 45's for the price of one album. (minus the sales tax)  That would mean I got at least ten songs that I knew I liked.  And if you count in the "B" sides, I might like some of those as well.  If I bought an album I might only like one song off it.  In my thinking buying 45's was cheaper.

Since condition of books is important, then you want to care for your books.  You want to keep them away from moisture; mildew; excessive heat (dryness); and mice.  For a while my books were kept in an old church my grandfather put behind his house.  He bought the building to use as a large shed. He took the back wall out and put in two large metal doors so he could drive a truck in there.  My books were in boxes wrapped in plastic garbage bags.  But we were slowly bringing my stuff up here to Michigan from Texas.  So, we had taken the trash bags off the boxes. We went back at some point and found mouse "pills" (droppings) in the books, some of the spines had been chewed on and some of the books were wet.  It was all because my grandfather, the farmer, decided to store bags of alfalfa (Lucerne) seed in there.  Mice like alfalfa seeds. Mice like books.  He kind of apologized.  I wasn't complaining too much as I had no room to complain.  I was storing my stuff in his shed without paying any rent or anything. (If I was not taking proper responsibility or care for my belongings, what did I expect?)

Then there was another time when I went outside with this nice book.  It was a Victorian book on how to write plays.  I had always tried to read it and learn something from it.  The Victorian language isn't easy for me to read for some reason.  I think you have to pay too much attention to what they are saying.  I went out with the book.  I hadn't gotten sat down long, if at all, when my husband called me over to help him move a pile of wood or something in the yard.  I sat the book down on a pile of wood and helped him.  We finished and went inside for dinner or whatever it was.  I forgot all about that nice little book.  Then it rained for three days.  Oops! Then I remembered that book!!!!  It was very soggy when I found it.  I tried to dry it out by learning how to go about doing that properly. I did the best I could.  The book dried but the pages are now a little "wavy" and the cover isn't the same. 

Not only have I had to learn things about buying and selling books, I have also had to learn the proper care of books and paper items.

Below you will find links to book dealers, and book shops. It isn't a complete list. Find also links dealing with how to care for books. There's more on the "care and feeding" of books.  I can't find where I stuck links to them.  They are probably on my old computer which is "dead" at the moment. I know I found a bunch when I left that book in the rain. When I find more I will stick them on here.  I even put links to sites which have information on general "Antiques" and "Collectibles".

Old Book Links:
"Care and Feeding" of Your Library etc.:
Library of Congress Preservation How to Care for Your Collection etc. (not just books)
Government of Ontario, Canada Preserving Ontario's Memory--Conservation at the Archives of Ontario: Caring For Your Own Archival Collection (not just books)
Wikipedia Article "Book" Caring for Books
Canadian Heritage CCI: Preserving My Heritage-- How to Care For Books
Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the American Library Association Serving Library & School Professionals Since 1905 Children's Furniture, Library Supplies, Library Furniture, School Furniture [Has supplies for the caring of books.]




Book Dealers:--Places to Find Books:


John K. King Used and Rare Books Well known book shop in Detroit.  This shop is known all over the country.


Shiloh Christian Book Store  4036 Fort St. Lincoln Park, Mi 48146 USA 
Bookfinder  You can find almost any book on here.
The American Botanist Booksellers

Rare Christian Books

Paul A. Whyles - Second Hand Books Good company.  Bought a book from here once.
Abe Books
W. Bruce Fye Antiquarian Medical Books
David White Books We buy & sell antique, rare and out-of-print medical books specializing in the history of medicine & pharmacy
Alex Peck Medical Antiques
Antiquarian Books on the Internet
The Hannum Company "sells rare and out of print books".  They used to specialize in used and rare scientific books. ("Scientific Books on Geology, Archaeology and Related Sciences") I used to get their catalogue from time to time. I discovered William Bell Dawson in their catalogue. (I bought "The Bible Confirmed by Science".) Don't know what it costs, but this would probably be THE place (in our area) to have a book valued.
"General" Collecting Links: These sites also tell you how to care for your antiques and collectables. 
"American" Antiques Roadshow
Canadian Antiques Roadshow
BBC Antiques The "mother" of "Antiques Roadshow" and other programs.
Books & Book Collecting
Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors British
Popula Vintage Clothing, Books, Memorabilia, & Collectibles Auction Has, "How to identify a First Edition". Loads of great information!
Seller's Organizations: Some of these are for "new" books. Some of this is information for sellers.
CBA Christian Bookseller's Association?
Great Lakes Booksellers Association
Independent Mystery Booksellers Association
Independent Online Booksellers Association
ABAA-- Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America
American Booksellers Association
Antiquarian Booksellers Association
Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Canada
Bookologist Resources for Online Booksellers
Old Book News
Book Check software