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Things To Consider When Selling Old Books On Amazon Or Ebay

Updated on November 15, 2012
A stack of antique books!
A stack of antique books! | Source

Old Books Are Beautiful And Fun To Sell

I always love spotting old books for sale. Good vintage books can be tough to come across but when you do see them, you should know what you are looking for and what to avoid. I recently wrote a hub about why I love selling old books, but in this hub I want to discuss the disadvantages, or things to consider when buying older books.

This is how your antique book shelf should look!
This is how your antique book shelf should look!

1) Condition Is King

If you are buying the book to resell, condition is king. A very rare book will be worth something regardless, but good luck finding one of those! Whenever you are dealing with older books, condition, following just behind price, will be a very important thing to consider. Collectors want books that obviously are as clean as possible, while having tight pages, an intact spine, and all pages and dust jacket included. A very good condition book will obviously sell for more than an acceptable condition book. Most antique books that I come across are obtained for $1 or less, and so this is rarely an issue for me, but if you are looking for old books, sometimes you have to pay a bit more than that.

2) How Much Is The Book And How Much Is It Worth?

It's very easy to determine the value of a book compared to just a few years ago. You can now check the price of books in a few minutes on a smartphone. Some books will be harder to find than others, but you can usually manage to figure out a book's value fairly easily. This will help you to decide how much you can pay for the book if you would like to profit from it. If you are at tag sales or a goodwill or thrift shop, then the price will usually be insignificant, but if you are at an upscale estate sale you might find some very nice books at a reasonable price. Basically, be prepared if you are going to an estate sale.

3) How Slow Of A Rank Does The Book Have?

Some books sell faster than others. Some books may look very interesting but have a very limited market. You can check the Amazon sales rank to determine how popular the book is. Many antique or vintage books have rankings over 4 Million. Depending on how slow the book sells, you may avoid even buying it. Some old books may take years to sell. Do you want to hold onto that book for that long? Can you store the book in a safe area free of extreme heat or cold or wetness and dryness? The older they are, the more likely they are to break down. Older books need to be cared for very gently. You will have to decide if it's worth it to store the book. Obviously a faster book is easier to deal with than a slower one, but some slower ones may be worth a lot more when they do sell.

4) Is It A Book You Enjoy?

I never regret buying an old book that I enjoy personally. Sometimes I buy a book thinking I will resell it, but for whatever reason it does not sell. This can be slightly frustrating when the book is not worth anything to me, but if I enjoy the book, then I never regret my purchase. I specifically like art books and history books, and I admire old engineering books even if I can't understand them! I would recommend that if there is any hesitation, you just need to ask yourself, would you still be happy if you never sold the book? Those books are the best books to get.

5) Fiction Or Non Fiction?

Fiction generally sells much rarely and for much less. There are always exceptions, and first editions can be worth a small fortune. If you can find a first edition in even decent condition, you could be looking at hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands if there is an original dust jacket. That being said, that is extremely rare, and you will have much better luck with non fiction books. Old engineering books or art books can be worth upwards of $100 but as always, it depends. My greatest success has been with non fiction books and I have a nice selection of valuable non fiction for sale right now.


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