How to find the value of old books?
May 5, 2006 9:45 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a website where I can look up the value of old books.

I work for a guy who does a lot of appraisals and I've been put in charge of figuring out the value of a bunch of antique books. Ideally I am looking for a site where I can put in the title, author, publisher, and year printed and get a fair market quote for it. Pay sites are okay, as long as they're not insanely expensive. I've tried googling but I haven't found anything. Thanks in advance!
posted by atom128 to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
ABE advanced book search.
posted by interrobang at 9:57 AM on May 5, 2006

A casual way of doing this is to search
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 9:59 AM on May 5, 2006

Use ABE, and then divide the average price you find by two for fair market value.
posted by solid-one-love at 10:08 AM on May 5, 2006

AddALL is also good.
posted by KRS at 10:15 AM on May 5, 2006

Thanks everyone! I think im good to go now.
posted by atom128 at 10:31 AM on May 5, 2006

Can I pose side question for book experts?

Would an otherwise MINT condition library bound (i.e. stamped a couple places, and clear plastic cover protected) First Edition of something really cool be worth nothing?

I have this copy that I got from surplus at the library, it's PERFECT, except for the property and protection treatment it was given by the library. Worth anything?
posted by quacky at 1:37 PM on May 5, 2006

quacky, look up your book on ABE (linked above), and look for copies that are described as "ex-library". It really depends on what it is, but some copies of ex-library books can still be valuable.
posted by interrobang at 1:40 PM on May 5, 2006

It's not as if the contents of the book change just because of a stamp. Perhaps the value might change as far as some kind of stigma attached to it, but if it were, say, the 2006 Writer's Market, it wouldn't make any difference if it were ex-library, you could still sell it for close to $30, it's regular retail rate.
posted by vanoakenfold at 3:23 PM on May 5, 2006

There's also the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America's search, for comparison.
posted by steef at 4:17 PM on May 5, 2006

Anything after the early 70's with an ISBN can be found on ISBN.NU

It has other antiques as well and is tied in to all of the better sellers from around the world.

Ebay is also a great option, be sure to check the completed items, Especially for you Quacky.
posted by vidarling at 5:23 PM on May 5, 2006

Uh, it's worth remembering that prices on Bookfinder and ABEbooks are not just asking prices, but asking prices *that haven't sold yet*. In other words, prices you find on sites like that are probably going to be somewhat inflated.
posted by mediareport at 9:22 PM on May 5, 2006

mediareport, that's why I advised cutting the average price in half to determine real value.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:45 PM on May 6, 2006

Well, I'm not sure where you got half, but atom128 will do fine if he just remembers that the asking prices he'll often see for good quality books at those sites probably represent the higher end of the spectrum, since there's a good chance that more reasonably priced copies have quickly sold.
posted by mediareport at 4:39 PM on May 6, 2006

Well, I'm not sure where you got half

Umpteen years of Internet bookselling experience.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:45 AM on May 7, 2006

That's fine; I just find "real value" much more variable than simply estimating half of the average asking price.
posted by mediareport at 4:20 PM on May 7, 2006

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