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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 52 - October 27, 2001 - ISSN 1528-6703     5 of 6

Book Review: Price Guide to Old Books

By Ina Steiner

October 28, 2001

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The 13th edition of "Huxford's Old Book Value Guide" is a price guide listing 25,000 titles of common - not rare - books.

As in any printed price guide, the prices in this book should be used ONLY as a guide. Prices vary depending on many factors, including geography, condition and demand.

The prices in this book are taken from dealers' selling lists issued within the past year. Each listing is coded and refers back to a specific dealer. However, if you want to SELL books to a dealer, expect to get no more than 50% of the retail values listed.

The book gives prices that book dealers are asking for these books. Don't assume that you would pay (or achieve) the same prices on online auction sites - you should still check each title on eBay and other book sites like Bibliofind http://www.bibliofind.com. See http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y201/m06/abu0040/s04 for a recent article on two used-book portals.

The majority of books in this guide are listed in the $10 to $50 range. I was surprised that some of the books listed were from the 1980s and 1990s ("Jane Fonda's Workout Book" 1981 1st Edition Signed was worth $30). Many are older ("Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Samuel Clemens 1912 was worth $900).

"Huxford's Old Book Value Guide" has some interesting features: - Listing of Standard Abbreviations (necessary in order to read the individual listings): thinks like MTI (movie tie-in), nd (no date) and ne (no edition given).

  • "Starting a Collection": this 2-page essay should give you some ideas on how to specialize and how to be a successful book collector. One idea for contrarians is to consider collecting books shunned by other collectors (like Book of the Month Club editions).
  • "Condition and Its Importance" and "Rarity and Scarcity" (2 pages each) give background on these topics.
  • Glossary: Only true book-lovers would know the definition of the word incunable - "Anything printed during the 15th century, the first century of printing with "moveable type"; ..."
  • Pseudonyms: Mystery writer Lawrence Block has 6 pseudonyms, including Jill Emerson!
  • Bookbuyers: a list of buyers of books by category (i.e., Adventure, African-American, etc.)
  • Booksellers: a list of names and addresses of used book dealers who have contributed to the book's listings.

The list of book dealers is very useful, and if you are a dealer, you may want to be included in the next edition. If you publish lists or catalogs of books, put the editor on your mailing list. Send catalogs to: Lisa Stroup, Huxford's Old Book Value Guide, PO Box 9471, Paducah KY 42002-9471.

If you care about current prices, make sure you purchase the most current edition of Huxford's Old Book Value Guide http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1574322184/auctionbytescom.

Huxford's Old Book Value Guide, 13th Edition (2001)
Editor: Lisa Stroup
Publisher: Collector Books- Schroeder Publishing
Hardcover, 396 pages
NOTE: Craig Stark's series, "How To Make Money Selling Books Online," inspired me to review this price guide on books. You can read Craig's series here:

And here is a 2-part article on "How to Package Books Cheaply, Quickly and Safely":

Finally, here's our Discussion Forum about book-collecting & book-selling:

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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