How much is my old book worth?

How much is my old book worth?

What factors make a book valuable?

How can a book — an object found in most households – become something of tremendous financial value?

Firstly, there is no single hard and fast rule. Usually it’s a combination of factors that put a hefty price tag on a book. The economic formula of supply and demand usually comes into play — if demand exceeds supply then prices rise.

Scarcity – Firstly, is the book hard to find because only few copies exist? The advent of the Internet showed that many rare books were not actually that scarce. The first American editions of Moby Dick are scarce because most copies were destroyed in a fire. But scarcity can also be created artificially – sometimes publishers will deliberately print a small number of copies, a limited edition, in an attempt to increase desirability.
Next you have to ask — if the book desirable? Is there demand?

Importance – Does the book have any social significance that makes it desirable? Did it influence literature, like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, or history, like Marx’s Das Kapital, or science, like Darwin’s Origin of Species? In many cases, the most desirable examples will be the earliest copies of these books…. the true first editions.

Author – Dickens, Verne, Hardy — collectors want to own particular editions of books written by significant authors. If an author has signed the book, that’s always going to increase its value. It’s sad but true that the death of a major author usually forces up book prices too.

Edition – Most book collectors are driven to own the first edition first printing of the books they desire. That means the title’s first appearance. Later editions and reprints don’t have the same appeal. The first appearance of a title in print is usually the one that matters.

Condition – If house-buying is location, location, location, then rare book-buying is defined by condition, condition, condition. Condition can include the presence and condition of the dust jacket. In certain first editions — like The Great Gatsby – the dust jacket is the defining aspect of the book’s value. The combination of condition and edition are very important when defining value.

Age – Age can affect scarcity, but it not usually a critical factor in value. Old books can be found in most attics and basements. Old bibles, old encyclopedias, old copies of Shakespeare’s and other common books printed in huge quantities … they worth very little.

Aesthetics – Is your book beautiful? Is the binding gorgeous? Does it contain beautiful illustrations by a famous artist, or memorable photography? Some collectors do judge a book by its cover and a pretty book can sell for a pretty price.

Association – Sometimes books can gain value by being connected with someone of significance. The most common occurrence is when a book has been owned or signed by someone important.

….So if you have a beautiful first edition of a book of some importance and written by a famous author, and it’s become hard to find but it’s in great shape, and was once owned by significant person then you have a very valuable book.

Learn more about estimating the value of a book at AbeBooks:

Subscribe to the AbeBooks Channel:

You will see book reviews, bookshops, top 10s, rare and beautiful books, tips for book collectors, author profiles and much more. We love books and are glad you do too. AbeBooks is an online marketplace for books. Millions of new, used, rare, and out-of-print books are offered for sale through the AbeBooks websites from thousands of booksellers around the world.

rare books can sell for hundreds thousands even millions of dollars but what turns a book an object found in most households into something of tremendous financial value firstly there's no single hard and fast rule usually it's a combination of factors that gives a book some sort of value supply-and-demand usually comes into play if demand exceeds supply then prices rise here are a few things to remember is the book hard to find because only a few copies exist the advent of the internet showed that many collectible ebooks actually weren't that scarce a good example of scarcity would be the first American editions of Moby Dick because the majority of copies were destroyed in a warehouse fire publishers can also artificially create scarcity by printing a small number of copies a limited edition in order to create desirability does the book have any social significance that makes it desirable did an influenced literature like Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice or politics like Marx's Das Kapital in most cases the earliest copy of the book is the most desirable that's the true first edition collectors want to own books written by successful authors and usually it's the earliest edition that they want the most if an author has signed a book that's going to push a value also the death of a major author can push up book prices too collectors want the first edition first printing of a book that means the titles first appearance later editions and reprints just don't have the same appeal if house buying is Location Location Location rare book buying is condition condition condition and condition includes the presence and condition of a dust jacket in some first editions the great gatsby for instance the presence of the dust jacket is the defining aspect of the books value condition and Edition are very important when assessing a books value age can affect scarcity but it's not usually a critical factor in a book's value attics and basements usually contain many old books old Bibles old encyclopedias and other books printed in huge quantities I'm afraid they're worth very little is your book beautiful does it have a gorgeous binding or has it been illustrated by a famous artist or contain memorable photography many book collectors do judge a book by its cover and a pretty book can fetch a pretty price books can gain value by being connected with someone of significance the most common occurrence is when a book has been owned by or signed by someone who is important so if you have a beautiful first edition of a book of some importance written by a famous author and yet it's still in great shape but it's become hard to find and it was once owned by someone of significance then you have a very valuable book you


  1. I have a copy of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring book, it's reportedly the only edition Tolkien officially authorized in his lifetime, hence it's title of "Authorized Edition" by Bellatine Books, and was published in March of 1976. Can anyone tell me the worth of this book?

  2. I have the first edition (limited run) of the Necronmicon, printed in human blood and bound by human skin. Is this legal to ship to a buyer?

  3. i've got a book from 1978 "volume one" "first edition" was nice condition. The title was "great cases of scothland yard' and it was limited edition only. i have too a book from 1982, the first edition "great cases of interpol" it was in good condition… i wonder if how can i sale my books or how much the value of my books.

  4. i did some research on my nancy drew books but found out they are not worth much money. They are from the 1930s but they are not the most valued editions despite being in good condition.

  5. Name of book Nilavanti written by great mathematician of India bhaskaracharya
    In 12th century.

    It is only one book  in world's written by BhaskarAcharya in own handwriting
    book contain 267 page of bhojpatra and  Start and end page are tambrapatra .
    Language is prakrut sanskrit.

    if one page put on hand of human automatically folded four corners of page and hand feels hit energy  of that page.
    This book was high spiritual.
    If any person  able to buy it or any questions contact me on my WhatsApp number +918975447737 you never see this type of book in your life.

  6. I have a first edition Napolean Hill Think and Grow Rich. It's not one of the printings but a true first edition. (or so I believe) Do you have any idea how many copies were made of the original, before the printtings? Thanks DeAnna

  7. I have a book in there's no copy in the world it's an Arabian book and it wrote before more than 700 years ago. And I want to sale it to the really care about and Im not asking much money for it, all I care is to find who really care about it, the book is talking about life and goodness. Thank

  8. I have got the hardcover reprint edition of The Satanic Bible/Satanic Rituals, plus a few books from where the first print (hardcover plus signed) 666 where made worldwide :D. But got a question about a few books i found from JF Rutherford (Jehovah Withness), hhe books are from early 1920's do you know or i have gold in my house or my bin is glad to receive the JW junk?

  9. I have come across a book by J. Esten Cooke , the title is Hammer and Rapier. No Jacket but in great condition. I looks like a first edition since the only date I can find on it is 1870. Can you tell me anything about it?

  10. What do you thinka signature of Pope Pius X. , several documents in handwriting signed by the pope and other cardinals + illustrations of the architecture of the Vatican. The Book is complete and has the shield of the pope on the front. Please share some trustworthy appraisers. Anyone who would find interest in helping me learn more about this book please mail knudsart, a regular gmail account.

  11. I have What appears to be a first edition book,by Mary Wilder Tileston.
    The name of the book is Daily Strength for Daily Needs.The copy right says.1884,1901,1912.Then under it it says copyright again.1928.can anyone help me with that??

  12. can you please help me with finding out some information about a book I have, we think it may be an original. The books is called Inzate Frauenhand. Published and bound in gold leaf on each page with stunning pictures of children and the seasons of the year by Messrs. H. Koch. Buchbinder. Stuttgart. It has a hard blue cover beautiful gold edge on the front and back of the book and in perfect condition and it was for Wilhelm Von Wurttenberg and above that name its says Der Frau Prinzeffin and dated 1894 to the princess from her cousin Julius Fritz on the occasion of her Betrothal. As it is written in old German we can not translate anymore, if you or someone you know could help us please do. This book has been with my family for about 100 years and it was found on a relatives death wrapped up in cloth and kept in a dark cupboard and no body knew about it until they came to clear the house but we do have a Dutch/German link in our family pre dating the first world war, we need to know if we need to have insurance for it. So any help would be brilliant.

  13. One thing that should be added to the bulet point "Importance": Importance and Significance can also be very subjective. A collector that focuses on on books from an otherwise very little known author may pay more than the books actual value, while someone that osn't veryinterested in the author may pay much less

  14. I would like to take Richard for many books his short videos I so highly informative and helpful to me identifying and acquiring antiquarian books I look forward 2 more videos by Richard and I would like to thank everyone that abe books in assisting me in my quest for knowledge

  15. I am having trouble finding a price on a book. Title: Civil Government and Religion by Alonzo T. Jones American Sentinel 1889. Any help would be appreciated.

  16. I've got a copy of the great gatsby with typo's, original dust jacket with a pot plant sitting on it. People have told me it's quite valuable but it makes my plant stand up and out from the rest, so there it will stay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *