Did you know that copies of the 1997 publishing run of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sell for $55,000?
The lesson here? A book doesn’t have to be ancient to be worth a fortune. If you have old books to sell, you might have something that’s worth big money.
Before you start selling old books, make sure you ask yourself: “How much is my book worth?”
Don’t fall into the trap of selling an important book for a fraction of its value. Here’s how to figure out the value of a book.
Check Out its Publishing Year
First editions of classic books are worth a mint. Even first editions of modern classics are beginning to fetch prices in the thousands.
First editions tend to be valuable for several reasons. Some books started out with small publishing batches of only a few hundred copies. When those books became pop-culture hits, the rare early editions skyrocketed in value.
Even if your book isn’t a first folio of Shakespeare’s plays, check its publishing year to see if it’s a pricey first edition.
Assess its Condition
Describing a book’s condition is an important step in learning how to sell a book. Professional booksellers grade books on a scale from “like new” to “ex-library” — meaning, the book has been so well-loved that it’s hardly usable anymore.
To assess the value of a book, look for:
- Tears or fading on its dust jacket
- Breakage of the spine
- Missing or damaged pages
- Spine stitching coming undone
- Pages turning yellow
If you don’t see any of these problems, your book is likely in “good” or “very good” condition. You can ask a relatively high price for it.
Of course, if you have rare books that you want to sell in the future, do everything you can to prevent them from getting damaged. That way you’ll get the best price when it’s time to sell.
Is it Rare?
Some types of books are worth more, but there are lots of different features that can make a book unique.
Examine your books for features like:
- The signature of the book’s author, editor, or illustrator
- An inscription to or from an important person
- Elaborate or unusual cover designs
- A rare publishing year
If you see any of these features, you probably own rare books that are worth a pretty penny.
Don’t forget to track down the book’s provenance. Who owned it before it came to you? If an illustrious person had ownership of it, its importance and value increase.
When in doubt, get help from the experts to identify your rare books and sell them at the right price.
Learn the Value of a Book
Selling old books can be more lucrative than you expect. With these tips, you’ll be able to correctly assess the value of a book so that you get the right price.
Now, all you have to do is dig out your old book collection and start pricing!
We hope you loved these tips. Ready for more? Check out the rest of our blog for your next great idea!