How much is my book worth?

Use Biblio's Advanced Search Page to get an idea of your book's worth.
Use Biblio’s Advanced Search Page to get an idea of your book’s worth.

The easiest way to know how much your copy of a book is worth on the open market is to check on how much similar copies are currently being offered for.

Fill out this form with enough information to get a list of comparable copies.

You probably don’t need to include every word of the title and author’s name. A couple of words from the title, and the author’s last name are generally enough to get a list of matches. Filling out too much can cause you to miss a copy that was listed slightly differently from what you are using.

You can narrow down the search results by selecting the filters in the search results to see only Hardcovers, First Editions, Singed Copies, etc.

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Condition means everything in a book’s value. A book that has significant damage is likely not worth much. A book collector wants an attractive copy.
  2. Dust jackets. Most hard cover books published since the early 20th century were sold with a dust jacket. The dust jacket is both the most decorative part of a book, and the most delicate. A missing dust jacket, or a dust jacket that is in poor condition, can cut a collectible book’s value more than 50% and make it harder to find a buyer.
  3. Make sure that the copy you have matches the copy that is being offered. There are a number of ways that a book may, at first glance, look to be a rare collectible, but upon closer examination doesn’t match up.
    • Reprint editions: Some publishers specialized in reprinting popular works in affordable reprint editions. Publishers such as Walter J. Black, Sun Dial, Triangle, Collier, A.L. Burt, and Grosset & Dunlop, to name just a few, would use the printing plates from the original publisher and reprint works long after their popularity was established. One way to check if your copy is a reprint is to compare the name of the publisher on the book’s spine to the name of the publisher on the title page. Reprints will often have the original publisher’s name on the pages in the book, but the book binding will identify the name of the reprint publisher.
    • Later printings: Publishers don’t use any standardized systems for identifying a first edition. Each publisher uses their own individual system to state a first printing of a book. Even the words ‘First Edition’ aren’t a guarantee. Publishers will sometimes forget to remove the ‘First Edition’ words from the printing history page as they go into subsequent printings, and the number line is the only way that you can really know that your copy is a first edition.
      Adding to the confusion, publishers will often change the way that they identify first editions. You can buy a guide to identifying first editions to make some sense of the confusion.
    • Book Club Editions Book of the month clubs often use the same printing plates as the original publisher, right down to the words “First Edition” on the printing history. You can find detailed help on identifying book club editions here.
  4. Supply vs. Demand. Too many comparable copies currently for sale may indicate a glut in the market. It’s harder to sell a book if you have too much competition, and prices for that book tend to start going down.
  5. Check the range. get an idea of the full range of similar copies currently offered. Don’t just settle on the lowest or highest price for comparison.

If you do decide to sell your copy, keep in mind that it may be months, or even years, before the right collector comes along.

You might decide to offer your copy to a reputable local bookseller instead of selling it on your own. A professional bookseller can give you an immediate fair offer for your book, but their price will need to factor in the profit they need to run their business, so don’t be surprised to be offered 1/4 of the average retail. Their offer will figure in their costs and the time that they expect to have it in their stock before a buyer comes along.



This entry was written by and posted on December 6, 2010 at 2:33 pm, filed under Book Collecting, Book Value, FAQs About Books, How-to and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink

45 Responses to “How much is my book worth?”

  1. Hyraxia

    Hi,

    Some good points, though I’m always a stickler when it comes to valuing a book by looking at existing copies for sale. It can give a ballpark value, but the fact that they’re still for sale suggests that more often than not nobody’s currently paying that amount or demand is low – otherwise the book would’ve sold.

    Just my two cents!
    Simon.
    http://www.hyraxia.com

    Reply
  2. Vincent Gough

    I have a copy of The Little Flowers Mother by Rev. Albert Dolan.
    The first 19 pages are printed upside down. Is there any significant value for such a book, or were there many printed like that?

    Reply
  3. Setting Sun Publishing

    I notice on the inter-net that you have carried Len Colp’s book “Barefoot Days” but you now say that you don’t have any copies.

    I will ship you as many new copies as you wish at $12.00 per copy, plus shipping and handling charges.

    Order today at the above e-mail address.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  4. elizabeth

    I have a Charolettes Web book that doesn’t say first edition. It is has a 1952 copywrite by the author, EB White. It has 184 pages. could this book come before the first edition?

    Reply
  5. yvonne torrecillas

    I have to old books. The copywriht date is from 1884,1906,and 1911. the name of the book is First Spanis Book from J H Worman.
    The other book is Second Spaish Book. Copyriht 1888,1903,1916,1918. Wrihter were
    A.S.Barnes and James h.Worman.
    Both American Book CompanyIn vary good shape

    Reply
  6. ken roberts

    yvone – if they have multiple copyright dates, they are usually not first editions and most likely not collectible.

    Elizabeth – if it doesn’t say First edition, it wouldn’t come before the first edition – it’s probably a book club edition – check the section on identifying book club edition’s – it’s very helpful.

    Vincent – upside down pages are the result of them being binded incorrectly, that’s all. When the worker began binding that batch, he probably looked at the first couple of pages and put them back in the hopper the wrong way. It’s much more a common mistake then you think – however those copies are usually discarded and never sold. Your copy got out because a worker most likely picked it up off the garbage pile and brought it home to read – it should have been destroyed. As to value, well if it was a very popular book that won numerous awards and yours was a first edition, first printing, then maybe it would have some value, but since your book isn’t any of those, it’s worth its reading value, that’s all.

    To all – for value of books I always go by what price the book has sold for in the past, never for what it now is selling for on the open market. Shoot, anyone can list a rare book for $1000, but does that make it worth $1000? No – it’s value is only the amount that someone is willing to pay for it – that’s all.

    however, there are some books that are extremely rare and only come onto the market once every few years. Those books may have sold for a few hundred dollars five years ago, and now they are being offered for $1000. Are they worth it? Maybe; especially if there is only one copy being offered for sale and it’s in great condition compared to one’s that have sold in the past.

    Another good place to check values is on Ebay – look at “completed auctions” – again for books that have ACTUALLY SOLD! Check their prices.

    Good Luck! And enjoy holding, and reading, a book that someone held (and read) two hundred years ago. A few of my rare books, I like to think that perhaps a famous American Historical Figure also handled that very same book….and I’m sure they did….

    Reply
  7. Ditenerry

    Hi man.

    Reply
  8. Louise

    I own a old book (ETTORE FIERAMOSCA / LA DISFIDA DI BARLETTA by MASSIMO D’AZEGLIO / MILANO 1844) The cover seems like leather

    Reply
  9. Louise

    I own a book written I think in Italian

    Reply
  10. Ami Daley

    I have Bonfires of the Civil War written by Ulysses S Grant. It is extremely old and was passed down from my Great Great Grandfather. I can’t find any information on this book or any way to value it. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  11. tiffany fooshee

    I have a 1971 first printing of The Twelvfth of August autographed by Bufford Pusser….wondering what the value might be on it.

    Reply
  12. Kathy Sawyer

    I have volumes 1-5 of Victor Hugo Novels illustrated. There is no print date, the books are brown

    Reply
  13. Dr Tom

    I have a 1962 Webster’s Illustrated Dictionary where it is entirely bound upside down. All pages are upside down from the biding. Any value? Thanks

    Reply
  14. celia wilcox

    I have a first edition 1956 The Day Jesse James Was Killed, the original newspaper clips that the author used on his research for the book and a family picture of the author…wonder how much it may be worth

    Reply
  15. David Taylor

    I have a book by J.James Tissot called ‘The Life of our Saviour Jesus Christ’ Vol.1 Published by Sampson Low,Marston and Company around 1897
    Seems to be in good condition with inscrition in Tissot’s hand,
    in French……….(Translation) It is to you Mr Gladstone to whom your
    country has awarded in your lifetime the title/distinction of a great man
    that I dedicate this translation of my book.
    I thank you for the great honour that you have done to my work in accepting
    this dedication.
    J James Tissot

    15th October 1897
    Abbey of Buillon

    Please could you tell me,is this likely to be valuable?

    Thankyou,
    David Taylor

    Reply
  16. angela williams

    the book that I have is called “The Comedies of Shakespear. Copy right date 1955

    Reply
  17. Michael Turner

    I have “An historical account of the life and writings of the late eminently famous Mr. John Toland” printed: and sold by J. Roberts; W. Mears; J. Brotherton; J. Graves; and W. Chetwood, 1722 – 102 pages With high res photos available. How do I liik for a buyer?

    Reply
  18. Jeff Stone

    I have four books that I believe might have some value however I can’t find anything comparable. The first is My Battle by Adolph Hitler, the first English language printing by Houton Mifflin, Copyright 1933. The second is the First Printing of All Quiet on the Western Front. The third is the First Printing (1952) of How to Succeed in Business Without Really trying and the fourth is Lady Jackson’s Works, limited edition of 100 copies (not marked number of the series it is)printed for the Grolier Society. No dates. Does anyone have any idea what these books might be worth? None have dust jackets however I’m not sure that they ever did. All Quiet is in good condition, no stains. My Battle is in fair condition, some stains on the cover and in the first few pages and Lady Jackson’s Works has staining on the upper right corner of the several of the beginning pages, however the lithographs on those pages are unaffected.

    Reply
  19. harry mc kune

    Good Day

    I have been recommended to get in contact with you regarding a photographic catalogue I was given as a child by a family in Austria. The lady who gave the book to me told me to hold on to it as it would be worth something to the right person one day. The author of the book is Josef Wlha and it was published in 1893. Titled: Illustrated Decalogue of the Austrian Masterpieces of fine and decorative art 1893 Vienna.
    Do you have any knowledge of the book, or would you be able to guide me in regards to getting the book evaluated or even auctioning it off. I have had this book for a long time now and I am very interested in its worth. I have recently discovered that there is the same book on show in a museum in Vienna.no. (Museum E.1252-1995)

    Thank you so much for your time.

    Kind Regards

    Henry McKune

    Reply
  20. Abraham Belanger

    I have a book titled “In His Footsteps” by William E. McLennan. The copyright is 1896 by Eaton

    Reply
  21. Dale

    I have a old ladybird book in mint con, but around 16 pages are place upside down, is this rare and dose it add value.

    Reply
  22. Janice Fairfield

    Can you help value the following books:

    I have a large number of old books which we have inherited and would really like to sell.
    These are just a few of the English text and we also have old German books. Can you help put me in touch with the best people to sell these. They are all hardback.

    Thanks

    Vienna in pictures Dagobert Frey Dr. Hans Epstein 1928
    The Complete book of gardening J Coutts, A Osburn

    Reply
  23. bob di carlo

    -I have a 25volume set of collected works of
    classic authors in hard cover in excellent condition. The authors are de balzac- daudet-
    celline-zola-haggard- poe-kipling faubert- well u get the idea. E..ach author has his own volume.
    Any info you can provide would be appreciated.
    Walter J. Black was the publisher.
    Thanks

    Reply
  24. Arnold Rainforth

    I have a Lovell’s school geography book dated May 1,1861.The edges of the pages are not in the best shape.(I won’t be either at 151) I was just wondering if this book would have any money value. Thanks

    Reply
  25. Valentine

    i have a she came to the valley book it was written on dec 25,1947 and its says its to Shirley Ann and and its by Cleo Dawson.thanks also i have a listen, the bells book by Bertha b. Moore made on 1941.and i have another book clad the story of the starry universe from the popular since library it was made on July 9, 1917 and it was by David Todd.and i have two more one of them is the mallen girl by Catherine Cook son made in 1973 and the other one is insight on the scriptures made n 1988 made published by watchtower bible and tract society of new york. inc international bible students association brooklyn, new york, u.s.a

    Reply
  26. Edward Kahn

    I have the complete collection of The treasury books by Grolier these are in very good collection as they were a gift to me from my
    folks in 1954,
    They consist of 2 volumes of American literature 2 volumes of Philosophy. The complete work of Shakespeare Treasury of the Essays, Treasury of the Familiar, The Home book of Musical Knowledge, Treasury of the Worlds Greatest Speeches, Treasury of Humor and Toastmasters Handbook,Treasury of The Essay, The complete 10 volume set in Black Leather. Can they be sold? Thanks 941-681-2455

    Reply
  27. Beverly Memoli

    I have a book copyright date 1883,and 1897 by Houghton, Mifflin

    Reply
  28. eamon christopher ryan

    I have four books by Charles Dickens. Maroon coloured 7x5inches.The editor notes in each book states. [The present edition is printed from the one carefully corrected by the author in 1867-1868]. However by just glancing at these books i found a word that is mis-spelled the word is connection it is spelled connextion. The publishers names are Hazell, Watson, Viney and the illustrations are by phiz in two. Marcus Stone and George Cruickshank are the others.i would appreciate any help you can give me as i found them in an attic and i wish to sell them.

    Reply
  29. sharon willis

    I have a Doctrines and discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church dated 1868

    Reply
  30. john hodge

    I have a book. It`s brown.

    Reply
  31. Margeret Smith

    The Slave of the Husband…

    Seeking in advance to finding out added from you afterward!……

    Reply
  32. l burgess

    i have a copy of the rubaiyat by omar khayyam printed by wm clowes

    Reply
  33. Debra

    I have a Funk

    Reply
  34. Louise

    I own an old book by Massimo D’Azeglio.”Ettore Fieramosca, La disfida Di Barletta (Milano 1844)Fair condition and the corners are made of leather.There are 2 signatures on 2 pages.How much can I get if one day I want to sell it?

    Reply
  35. mrs kerrie chapman

    How do I go about finding out what a book is worth ?

    Reply
  36. nese cag

    İ have a ”LES ARTS Revue mensuelle Des Musees Collections Expositions ”1906 Decembre . İ would like to know what is its value .

    Reply
    • Amber

      I’m afraid that there’s no easy answer, but our article provides many resources for you to begin your quest. Perhaps there is a local bookseller in your area who can provide appraisal services?

      http://www.biblio.com/bookstores/

      Reply
  37. Louise Groulx

    I own the book ” For whom the bell tolls ” by Ernest Hemingway” with his signature on the cover.It’s in very good condition.Some say that it’s worth up to 18,000 dollars or more.Is this true?

    Reply
  38. Louise Groulx

    I own the book: “The woman he loved( The story of the duke 7 duchess of Winsor) by Ralph G. Martin…Also, I own “Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe…What are these 2 books, worth?

    Reply
  39. Louise Groulx

    …I own the book Emile Nelligan ” “Poesies Completes” 1896-1899…Texte etabli & annote par Luc Lacourciere At the beginning of the book is a photo of Emile Nelligan & his signature.Collection du Nenuphar…How much can I get for this book?

    Reply
  40. john barich

    I have a copy of a franklin mint kurt Vonnegut first edition bound upside down.will that decrease the value,i think its neat considering the title,

    Reply
  41. john barich

    sorry the title is hocus pocus

    Reply

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