Rare books for sale. First editions, signed books, out of print pressings and all sorts of collectible books, maps and other printed material for sale from around the world.
What is my book worth?
Do you have a rare book on your bookshelf? Some collectible books can sell for hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds. You can get a good idea of the value of any book by using our search function at the right hand side of the page (or below on mobile devices). Enter the name and author and any specific features (for example, signed if inscribed by the author) to find out more. Hit search and in a few seconds, you should see if any similar editions are currently being offered for sale, and therefore you can get a reasonable idea of value. If you are looking to buy a particular book, then the same applies and you can use the search to quickly locate copies of rare editions that are currently available to book collectors.
What makes a book valuable?
In simple terms, it's all about supply and demand but the supply aspect is affected by a number of factors that can turn an ordinary print of a book into a sought after rare edition.
First edition books
A first run of a book will often be a limited run to allow the publisher to test the market before going for a larger print run. No publisher wants to end up with thousands of books that never sell. For that reason, first editions are almost always the most sought after by book collectors because they were the first shot at getting the book published and represent a significant event for the author.
Books signed by the author
These first editions can become even more valuable if they are inscribed by the author but any edition will have its value enhanced by a genuine signature. One tip if you are getting a book signed by an author in the hope that it may become a family heirloom - try and get the author to inscribe an interesting comment or observation and don't get it personalised to you because a comment that says "To Frank - best wishes JK Rowling" will be less interesting than a general comment like "Let's all be nice to each other, even the muggles. J K Rowling" (those are made up examples by the way!)
Original dust jacket present and intact
Just jackets were produced to protect from damage. Because dust jackets could be printed with any design required, they were often made to be eye catching and as appealing as possible because book bindings themselves (the hard covers around the pages) have traditionally been very plain and boring. However, unfortunately, the very nature of a dust jacket; being printed on thin paper, and the fact that it was loosely folded around a potentially thick and heavy book, meant that many dust jackets became tattered and torn even if they were relatively well looked after. The simple task of taking a book on and off a shelf and opening, reading and closing the book could be enough to cause damage to the just jacket. In many cases, once they became frayed or torn, they were simply discarded. Nowadays, rare book collectors seek out original first editions which have as near as perfect dust jackets as possible, making the book as near to mint as is possible.
Look after your rare books
Books can be easily damaged by all of the elements and also suffer if left in bright sunlight. This means that it can be hard to find near perfect copies of many books, even those that were printed in reasonable numbers. A book can be common in poor condition, but rare in pristine condition so look after your books!