Finding Used and Rare Books and Their Prices
Example Questions That Can Be Answered Using This FAQ
- How can I find out what this book published in 1930 is worth?
- I’m trying to find a copy of an out-of-print book. How can I find out where it is and how much it costs?
There are a number of sources that are useful for finding copies of used and rare books and getting estimates of their values.
- About.com’s How to Find the Value of Books page provides advice and resources on the value and pricing of books.
- Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America provides information about collecting, finding, and valuing antique and rare books. It also contains a database of member booksellers searchable by location and specialty.
- Smithsonian Institution Libraries: Information on Old Books has a website with suggestions for determining the value of old books.
- For a list of booksellers, go to Yahoo! Directory’s Listing of Antique, Rare, and Used Book Dealers. Contacting individual booksellers is probably a good idea, even if you find a listing for your book from one of the suggestions in the Yahoo! Directory. Different booksellers may quote you different prices.
- You may also want to try to find booksellers near you using the following resources. Try searching on the keywords “antique OR rare OR used book stores” and your city and state.
A great print source for finding used and rare book prices is Bookman’s Price Index (BPI). Published twice a year, BPI is a guide to "prices and availability of antiquarian books in the United States, Canada, and the British Isles." BPI defines "antiquarian books" as being both important and scarce. Each issue of BPI contains price and location listings for 30,000-35,000 such books.
Your local academic or public library may have a copy of Bookman’s or it may have other, similar resources. Ask a librarian about book price or value guides or resources about book collecting. If your library doesn’t have the specific books you need, ask about whether they offer an interlibrary loan service that could help you get the book from another library that does.
Not sure how to find your library? Go to our Library Locator page where we’ve listed resources to help you find the nearest physical library to you.
This FAQ updated by Kara Larson in 2012.