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Tips on Book Collecting

The pros and cons of online auctions:  What's hot and what's not with online auctions?  Why use a reputable dealer?:  Know before you bid:  How to research a book:  Be honest:   Don't fall into the auction trap:  Reference books:  Keep Records:  Know book terms:

The Pros and Cons of online auctions:

Pros:  Include the availability to anyone connected to the Internet that is looking for what you have to sell, or looking to buy.  With the increase of people, looking at online auctions this may greatly improve new contacts and customers for the books you have to sell or wanting to purchase.

Cons:  Costs without sells is my number one gripe with online auctions.  Regardless if your book sells or not there are upfront fees just for listing that will increase with the number of categories and features used.  Not always will you find the buyers that are looking for or are willing to bid your book to a desired price, you are always at the mercy of who is looking for your book for the duration of its auction.  Much can improve the number of visitors or "hits" on a site by doing some homework on what categories to list in and a well-written description with appropriate keywords.  An alternative is to contact a reputable dealer who has the cliental interested in what you have to sell.  Purchasing online may involve dealings with unscrupulous sellers that should be researched with the means available by the auction to determine their integrity.  (Return to top)

What's hot and what's not with online auctions? 

This sometimes is the online auction way for determining values.  Unfortunately, the book that is selling for $100.00 today may only get a maximum bid of $10.00 next month.  Trends in what I call eBay mania is where for what ever reason a book suddenly starts selling for more than its true worth.  This mania may happen for several reasons.  The first could be honest bidding between two or more buyers who want the book and willing to over pay.  Secondly, false bidding within a group of eBayer's who are trying to increase the value of a book so they can sell in stock copies above its true value.  And then there is always an increase in interest that may derive from several reasons such as the death of the author or more commonly in autobiographies the death of the person written about, or a general growing interest in a specific area.  (Return to top)

Why use a reputable dealer

Even with commissions running from 15 to 35 percent, dealers have buyers willing to pay top dollar for books who may not care to watch the online auctions.  That $3,000.00 Johnson's Atlas you have may be worth paying a 25% commission to a dealer with a buyer, over a bad sell on eBay for $1,200.00.  With a dealer brokering your books you know upfront what to expect without the possible let down of a poor auction online.  (Return to top)

Know before you bid:

Before bidding on a book, you need to know its worth, by understanding terms, grades, the editions, and researching prices for values.  Terms are the many words used to describe the book.  Grading is the condition of a book and will greatly affect the value.  Researching prices along with other factors will allow for an accurate placement of value.  This information is available on this site with external links that will answer the questions needed before pricing, buying or placing bids. (Return to top)

How to research a book:

How to research a book:  Contact dealers, use online information or online dealers with current prices, refer to Reference books, and most importantly make friends with a book dealer who knows his or her stuff that is willing to give helpful guidance.  (Return to top)

Be honest

Your reputation is at stake and it will get around if you are misrepresenting the books you have to offer.  Dealers and collectors remember dishonest dealers better than they remember the books purchased, and this will get around to others in the business as someone to stay clear of.  (Return to top)

Don't fall into the auction trap:

How many times have I been at an auction with people who thought that box of old books is worth a lot of money who knew nothing about what they were bidding on?  The answer is many, I have watched people bid up prices into the hundreds of dollars for books that are worthless.  Be very careful when attending an auction without the proper knowledge of what you are bidding.  Preparation and a few good tools such as books and literature on values and identification should be in every newcomers back pocket or in my case in the back seat of my car to double check before bidding.  (Return to top)

Reference books

There are many good books on collecting, pricing, and identifying. Three books I try to keep handy are, "The Readers Encyclopedia", "Collected Books", "The Story Of Printing & Bookmaking *Illustrated* ".  Also, personal records and organized notes are useful.  (Return to top)

Keep Records

This is a good way to refer to past sales and purchase for information on prices and other factors involved.  This will include books you are looking for, lists of books that you have buyers for, what they are willing to pay, and other related information.  (Return to top)

Know book terms

There are many terms used with books that should be understood before buying or selling.  These terms are available in reference books or see the "Book Terms" page.  (Return to top)  

Alcoholics Anonymous

World War Two

Aet and Craft
Art and Craft


Civil War
Civil War


Fiction and Nonfiction
Fiction & Nonfiction


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Copyright Dangerous Publications Aug. 2004  Content not for republication without permission.