How to Value a Book

From my inbox:   How do I price my books?

As a full time bookseller and an online bookseller’s consultant this is probably the most common question I am asked outside of how do I know a book is valuable. There are several ways to find out the value of a book. The question specifically addressed pricing for the non collectible books. Well, on the field it’s a no brainer when it comes to modern literature. I use a scouting tool. It’s a PDA with a bar code scanner. This utilizes a data service that taps into Amazon’s catalog. They are basically the authority pricing platform when it comes to valuing your books. So it stands to reason that if you can take a portable pricing guide and use it in the field you’re miles ahead both on sourcing and pricing your books.

Now if you only want to price your books then you can determine the book value utilizing the sites I have recommended in the past. They are and and both are great sites to determine median prices. If you have crazy all ovr the map pricing, there are a few tips to keep in mind when pricing through a meta search site. First, you are looking at *asking* prices so you want to be sure you get to know which names are over-pricers. There are several people in the book selling trade whom overprice their books on purpose for drop shipping purposes. You do not want to include their prices in your research. Second, find like condition; exact title including edition and printing of your book when comparing. If you are looking at a Livingston Seagull first edition verses a book club edition there’s a world of a pricing gap.

Now you want to look at median prices.These are the average listed price for your title plus condition. Many times, too, you won’t get an Amazon pulled price so it does you well to look at both Amazon and eBay completed sold listings to get a feel for latest prices. Some folks like the application CamelCamelCamel but I’m not keen on it because it is pulling all archived asking prices not SOLD listings so again, take and analyze the data with caution.

It can be a costly mistake to not know your book and its printing edition. Ask me how I know? Ha!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Marie March 4, 2015 at

Great post! I am wondering– how do you look up sold listings on Amazon? I never realized that was possible. Thanks for any info!

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