Frequently Asked Questions


What makes a book rare?

While there is no exact formula for determining rarity, generally when the demand for a book exceeds supply, it is considered rare.

Why are some books considered "important"?

People value books for many reasons.  Historical significance or physical characteristics are some examples of factors contributing to a book's importance.  First editions of important literary works or illustrated books that are the work of a prominent artist are also valued and may contribute to a book's market price.

I have lots of old books.  Because they are old, does that make them all valuable?

Age alone does not automatically increase a book's value.  The importance of the work, the condition, and demand for it will correlate much more strongly to value than age.  

What is meant by a book's condition, and how does that impact value?

Condition mainly refers to a book's physical appearance.  The better the physical condition, the higher the value.  When listing a book for sale, flaws in the book's condition should be noted in the description. Some terms commonly used to describe condition include (from best to worst) "As New," "Fine" (no defects), "Very Good," "Good," "Fair" (worn but includes complete text), and "Poor" (very worn, but readable).

What is the difference between a First Edition and a Limited Edition?

Book collectors generally use the term first edition to mean the first print run of the same setting of type. Information about editions and printings is sometimes included on the title page of a book or on the back of the title page.  Limited editions refer to copies containing an explicit limitation statement, which may give the total number of copies, or description of a special binding or paper. The number of the specific copy is often printed as "no. 98 of 250."  Books determined to be first editions or limited editions are not always considered valuable collectible books.

How do I keep my books in good condition?

Light and extreme changes in humidity and temperature can be damaging to books. It is best to store them in a cool, dry and stable environment with minimal lighting.  Wrapping books in newsprint or storing in cardboard boxes can also damage books due to the acid in the material.  For very old or fragile books, there are protective enclosures available where archival supplies are sold.