This page was last updated:Thursday November 02, 2006 13:17  


Used Book Values:
Value is relative. These are “my” terms. They are how I consider things. Considering how we do things, $10.00 is “expensive” for a book. I do pay more for them at times—especially if they are new. For the most part, we like to pay less than $10.00 for a book. This chart is using prices I see books go for. It is how I look at things. It is not very “exact” or “proper”. Book dealers use different terminology when they talk about book values.  Some used book shops price books at what they can get them to sell for.  Antiquarian and Rare book dealers price books at what I think of as the "book value".  It is the value listed in reference books, and also the price the book may have sold for at auction.  It is more or less the "official" value of a book.  I don't always like to pay that price.  I consider it to be expensive especially if I know that if I wait, I could find that book elsewhere much cheaper.  This chart reflects that attitude.

Virtually No Value = $3.00 or less

Has Some Value = $5.00 to say, $20.00

Valuable =$20.00 to $55.00

“Expensive”= $55.00 to $100 -- Or it is a book that is priced more than I am willing to pay for it.

Very Expensive =Anything over $100-- Or it is a book that I know to be priced correctly, but yet it is priced more than I am willing to pay.

Very Valuable = Usually “Antiquarian” books that go for hundreds or thousands. Can also mean the “official” value of a book--especially if I see one "cheap" that should have a much higher value.

The list below is NOT definitive!!!!

If you are buying books for investment purposes, make sure you don't buy "reproductions" or "facsimiles".  I buy them because I want the info. in the book and I can't afford originals.  There are facsimiles of 1611 King James Bibles, early cookbooks and other books.  These are not as valuable as the originals. Some books are valuable because of the kind of printing process used for the "drawings". If there are bright colors to these "drawings" (maps, birds, plants etc.) then that can increase the value. You really have to study your books.  You are bound to run across examples of the types of books listed, which have no value. "High end" collector's pay big money for the "better" examples of the kinds of books listed below.                  

Books To Look For
Atlases -- Maps are so valuable right now, that people go to libraries, look at books the library forgot it had, then they steal the individual maps from them.
Books with Botanical Prints -- These can be quite valuable too. People steal the individual pages from these too.
-- Same with books with bird prints. The famous name that comes to mind, is "Audubon".  There's other "names" as well.
-- Books that have eyewitness accounts of someone's journey somewhere.  Or if it is an eyewitness account of some historical event.  Depending upon the author, the time period of the story, and the place they are writing about, it can be valuable.
-- The most expensive ones are the "early" ones. 1700's, 1820, etc. (Maybe 1600 if they exist.) But most of the ones with value that most people would run across, are the mass produced 19th and 20th century cookbooks. "Generally speaking", the harder to find editions are the most valuable.                                   "Coffee Table" Books About "Design" -- Larger format picture books showcasing the work of a "designer" of some sort.  These books are usually about, architects, interior designers, industrial designers, furniture, and fashion designers.             Photography -- "Coffee table" books and other books that showcase the work of photographers.                   Novels -- Certain novels by famous authors are valuable.  You need to do your homework before you get into collecting these for investment purposes.        Old Medical / Scientific  --- Certain old medical books--"generally", ones from before the 1950's are more valuable.  The "early" ones are the most valuable. (1800's and before) I would assume that harder to find books-- that were "definitive" in their day; ones that are about a famous "procedure"; or ones detailing a "breakthrough" could have more value. As I understand

things, very old anatomy books can have quite a bit of value too.                                                  Military -- Certain books dealing with a military subject can have value.  It all depends upon the subject, rarity,

author and so on.                                        Celebrity -- Books signed by famous people can have value. They can be signed by the author or someone connected to the book in some way. Not all signed books are "equal" though.  A signed book is more valuable if it is NOT signed, "To Someone...".  Books once owned by a celebrity can have value sometimes.  It depends upon what connection the celebrity had to the book. A creepy example would be the cookbook a famous poisoner used when he poisoned his victims. High School or College Yearbooks that have a famous person's picture in them can be valuable too. It depends upon how "bankable" that famous person is.                                                                             Books That Pertain To a Certain Region -- Books that deal with the history or geography of a certain place.  Those can be valuable---especially to people who collect books about that place.  Some books can have historical significance.                                    Owner's Manuals -- "Old" instruction books that came with appliances, radios, lawn mowers, etc.  Especially "valuable" are ones that have schematics for old electrical items such as radios, and televisions.  These are not "horribly" valuable I would assume, except to people who collect the items the book is for. If you are wanting to fix up old appliances, radios, televisions etc. then the instruction books with schematics are important. Some reproductions of these books are available. I know there is a market for the originals.                                                                       

Books To Avoid
Reader's Digest Condensed Books -- These can go for $.10 to around $2.00 depending upon where you buy them.
Book Club Editions -- As a "general rule" these are not valuable at all.  There are some notable exceptions though.                                                  University and College Textbooks --- As far as I know, most out of date, fairly recently published, university text books, like the ones you see at garage sales,---these are virtually worthless.  Unless they are recent enough that they can be used by a student--- OR unless maybe they have a famous goof in them, they won't have any value as far as I know.  I saw them make a table out of them on HGTV once.  They drilled a hole in them, put a rod through it and bolted them together for use as the base of a table. They are good for pressing flowers in. If they are larger format books, they accommodate larger plants. If you were feeling industrious and thought you might get bored during long winter months, you could use the pages to wall paper the walls of your house. Then you would have something to read if you got snowed in.