How to Determine the Condition of a Rare Book
Here's a book tip worth remembering: That first-edition copy of your favorite novel, sitting on the shelf in your living room, could hold more than purely sentimental value. In fact, if it's in high demand and in good condition, a rare book can fetch a pretty handsome price — that is, of course, if you ever were willing to sell it. [Read more]
Determining the Conditions of Rare Books
When considering buying or selling a rare book for your collection, condition is key to pricing. The condition of a rare book and its dust jacket (if applicable) are the most important factors affecting its value and pricing. A book in poor condition will be worth far less than the same book in fine condition. Some basic descriptive terms are used by booksellers to communicate book condition. Although the grading of books is not a precise science, collectors should familiarize themselves with these terms. [Read more]
First things first
Many of us first came to appreciate the importance of edition points in college, when we learned, to our chagrin, that the third edition copy of the Sociology 101 text that we cleverly purchased used from our frat brother for five bucks and a six pack would not suffice for the $79.95 fifth edition that was required for the class. Indeed the primary orientation for the general book-buying public has always been upon the latest, and presumably, most current edition of a book. [Read more]
Condition, condition, condition
After 17 years in the business, I have become convinced that there are only two types of booksellers: those who grade their books accurately and those who do not. The fundamental difference in mindset between these two groups speaks volumes about their differing approaches to the trade. Ultimately, I believe that a dealer’s attitude toward the topic of condition comes to be reflected, for better or worse, in all of their key business practices. [Read more]
Standards for describing out-of-print books
The temptation with inexpensive books is to give them as brief and simple a description as possible. A simple "VG" is enough, some believe. But put yourself in the place of the buyer. You want to describe the book to your customer. What if the actual condition of this book is as follows: "VG copy, slight bump to a couple of corners, dust jacket shows very light edge wear. Clean, bright copy." Describing this to a customer is going to be a great deal safer. No one is disappointed. [Read more]
If it ain't fine then don't tell me it is!
Over the past year or two, every magazine, periodical, newsletter and scrap of paper devoted to bookselling has had at least one article dealing with the grading of books. All of them were down to earth, easy to understand, and very informative. So, why, why, why, are so many booksellers ignoring this information?
Could it be that these people have never seen a book in truly "Fine" condition? Perhaps they don't care as long as a sale is made (considering that the book is not returned)? Could it be simply laziness? [Read more]