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When considering the value of a book, the first thing that is often factored in is the rarity of that book.

They do not necessarily have to be antique in order to be coveted as a collectible item.

Aside from the rarity, the physical condition and literary importance have more weight during appraisal.

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A Brief Introduction to Book Collecting

You know that feeling when you come to the end of a book and you don’t want it to be over? The only cure is to start reading a new book. This is the first symptom of that burgeoning love for books. This is an addiction that has hit many people. Book collectors are everywhere. And there isn’t just one type – book collectors come in all shapes, forms, and sizes. This is part of the reason why the rare antique books value is appraised quite high – it is due to the demand for these books in the market.
There are three motivations often associated with the hobby of collecting rare books: 1) for the fun of it, 2) books being looked at as collectible items, and 3) books as a form of investment. It is the third one though that has caused rare books to cost a significant amount. And with the advent of e-books, you can expect hard-bound or physical book value to go up even more.

Book Collecting as an Investment

It is clear that book collectors are growing by the numbers. As mentioned above, the fact that books are being printed less and are instead produced in digital copies these days make these books even more valuable. Many of the book collectors build up their collection less of a hobby but more as a form of investment. This is a bonus, though, for those who already have a fondness for book collecting. With the expected growth in demand in the market, you can ensure that you will make a huge profit over time, should you decide to sell them.

The condition and the rarity of the book itself can have a direct impact on the book value. For instance, if you bought a first-edition copy of a book in the 1990s for $20, that same book would now be valued at around $150 (within 10 or 20 years). The actual cost valuation will vary depending on the type of book, some could be valued more. While it is not entirely a large valuation, it is still a noteworthy investment for book collectors.

Book Value

When considering the value of a book, the first thing that is often factored in is the rarity of that book. They do not necessarily have to be antique in order to be coveted as a collectible item. Aside from the rarity, the physical condition and literary importance have more weight during appraisal (you will learn more of this later). More details will be available as to how the value is appraised in the later section.

What makes a book rare?

Determining the value of a book is a complex process. Identifying just how rare a book is would be an even more complex undertaking. There are four factors, according to experts, that you should look into. These four factors are as follows:

  • Demand – This is the first and most important factor. Without demand, a book isn’t valuable and won’t be considered rare (since demand never exceeds supply). There are many books out there that only have a few copies in circulation but they are not considered rare. The reason for this is that they are not in demand. The age of the book is also not a factor in its rarity.
  • Availability – This is the next factor that determines if a book is rare, next to demand. If there is a high demand but limited availability for a book, then it is considered rare. There are also instances wherein there is sufficient amount of copies but they are available only in one location (which makes them difficult to buy for collectors).
  • Special Features – There are instances when books are published in more than one state. Some copies are therefore different, and more rare, than others. These differences are referred to as “points” and can impact the value and scarcity of said book.
  • Association – The last factor that contributes to a book’s rarity is the association with the owner or author. Specifically, if the book contains the original signature or inscription from the author, then it will command a higher price as compared to similar books without the signature.

What is a First Edition?

A first edition is the first version of printing for a certain book’s commercial distribution. This is considered as the first printing of a book, for the purpose of book collecting. The first edition of a book is prized because this is the closest thing that a reader or collector can get to the source of the book. In most cases, the first edition also features the original cover art and typos. When collecting first editions, you need to be cautious about the ones that claim to be one (when in fact they are not). This is what happens when a book is printed and published in different countries. The books with the highest value are the first edition books printed within the native country of the author.

How to Identify First Editions

Due to the level of demand on first edition books, it is important to know how to identify them when collecting rare books. The most important clue you should be looking for is the printing of the words “first edition” on the copyright page of the book. You can also check the number line that is also located at the copyright page. Usually, if there the number one present in that line, then it is most likely a first edition book.
It is also good to match the date on the copyright page with that on the title page. If these two dates match, then you can guarantee that you have a first edition book in your hands.

How to Get a Book Appraisal

There are numerous factors that expert appraisers take into account when evaluating antique or rare books. To give you an idea, here are some of the factors that are evaluated:

  • What is the condition of the book?
  • Is it a first edition book?
  • Who is the book’s author?
  • When was the book published?
  • Who is the book publisher?
  • Are there any special features on the book?
  • Is it a rare book?

When you are in doubt about the value of rare antique books, it is best to call in an expert antique appraiser. They can provide you with a more accurate estimation of your item’s value.

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