Welcome to Old Children's Books, selling children's literature and picture books online since 1994. We stock more than 10,000 scarce, collectible and out-of-print books, for readers, teachers and collectors.
If this page seems like too much to read, go to Looking for a Book? This page is intended for someone on the West Coast with rare books or fine collections they might want to sell. You'll find more general information on selling books on Ebay or Amazon on our page Looking for a Book?
We do not buy books sight unseen Note below. You should be cautious if a dealer offers to buy without inspecting the physical book or appraises a book he or she intends to sell. Although you could mail us the book and we could quote an offer to you, this is probably not the best plan...too expensive for a modest book and too risky for a valuable one.
If you are in the Northwest, we would like to look at your book during the PAUBA Book Fair or the Seattle Antiquarian Bookfair, and we were at the alternate year San Francisco Fair this year, maybe Pasadena next year.
If you have a large number of books similar to the ones we stock, and live on the West Coast, including B. C., we would consider viewing your collection at your site. Please Contact Us describing the size and content of your collection and the general condition of your books.
In general, we are looking for first printings in Very Good or better condition. We are not able to accept book clubs, remainders, reprint house reprints, most mass market books, most commercial series, or most post WWI books without jackets. We no longer purchase ex-library books, no matter what the literary value. We do purchase unusual children's books, including foreign language books and ephemera, that might not be of interest to other specialists or to bookstores, and we are always interested in books handwritten or designed by children, or in association copies (not just "signed" books).
We would be happy to give you ideas about selling your books. Just email us describing the book and requesting information. Basically, there is no free lunch! Sites like Ebay, Amazon, and Abe will take a sizable percentage, and there will be work involved for you. A general bookstore will pay you wholesale prices, (about 20 - 30% of retail) depending on several factors, but the buyer may not be familiar with children's books. If a children's specialist dealer is interested in the book, he or she will be able to price the book accurately and will give you a fair, probably higher, percentage of the retail value, but there is the cost of contacting this person. With fine books, probably the best scenario occurs when you live in a major metropolitan area, close to book fairs and major dealers. You might ask a family member to sell the book for you.
The books on this site are priced according to general online prices; we upload books to this site only if they have been price-checked on abebooks from 2009 to the present. (And that explains why several thousand are not yet uploaded). Although we do keep track of our overall inventory cost vs selling price, we price individual books according to the market rather than marking them up from cost. Occasionally, if we have faith in the long term value of a book, we may mark it a bit high; if we don't care for it or if it doesn't fit our collection, we may mark it a bit low.
If you find a book online for less, give or take a few dollars, look very carefully at the condition description and publication data. We describe book condition using conservative, traditional bookseller standards. We make use of a large reference library and years of experience (and two History degrees) in describing publication data. See Listings Explained under Catalogues and Lists. If you find a book of ours online for less, it's a mistake, and we will gladly sell it to you for the lower price.
If you find a book online for much more, either the dealer has not updated his prices, or the dealer is inexperienced.... or the dealer is one of the five or six high-end children's specialist dealers in the country, whose prices reflect the time and costs of showing at national and international fairs and the costs of maintaining only extremely scarce and rare books in stock. If you find a book of ours online for more, it's probably one that has been price-checked and updated on our website, but not yet bulk-uploaded to abe.
We keep the same prices for book fairs, individual inquiries, etc. To be honest, it's just easier not to maintain separate price lists.
Note: We do purchase on Ebay, but at extremely low prices, since misdescribed and damaged books are common and must be returned, discarded or "dumped" elsewhere. Only books meeting our standards are listed on this site, and on our OCB database.
If you have found your way to this page, please feel free to ask other questions about the trade. I moderate all the comments in one location, so your comment won't be overlooked.