Buying and Pricing Children's Books

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Note: This page is intentionally hard to find on our site, if you have landed on this page through a Search Engine:

Please do not use this page to offer books for sale.
You may email me at shprice@oldchildrensbooks.com with any questions.

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?

Buying Books

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 de Grummond Collection of Children's Literature, University of Mississippi, maintains an excellent list of children's out-of-print specialist dealers.   http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/degrum/public_html/html/relatedsites/rs-ou... (but skip Abacadabra and use Jeryl Metz for book searches!, see our Looking for a Book?)

Pricing Books

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.

Comments

Thanks for the informative

You have several questions here so I'm going to answer in text. If you have been teaching Second Grade and Kinder for a number of years, you'll have some very desirable  titles, so you are in a slightly different situation from most people who ask:

Thanks for the informative write-up on children's books. I am retiring from teaching Second Grade and Kinder for many years. I am going through my 100's of books. The library discards with or w/o jackets are not worth much? I should sell for the 50 cents I paid for them?  Many are old and would be worth quite a bit if in really good condition.
Some of your library discards may still be worth something, especially in jacket, and especially in first edition. Courderoy, for instance, or Nine Days to Christmas. They would tend to be award winning books or authors, and I'm afraid there is no way to identify them but to look them up. (use www.abebooks.com) In general any well known book from a major publisher in first or early condition from the 40's- 60's, fairly clean in an adequate jacket... is going to have value. Don't assume 50 cents.

  The new remainered books, I'll sell for about 1/2 of what I paid (price is still on them)?
These vary also, but they are apt to be worth less than you'd think.  If you paid $2 or $3, then half would usually be about right. If you have the time to research, of course, you will find exceptions.
Are paperbacks ever worth much?
Some old Puffins or Scholastics are, especially if the book was first issued in paperback, but usually if paperbacks have been used in a classroom they are just not in good enough condition.

But, I have many old, 40's 50', 60's books in not pristine condition, but nice enough. My question is...should I photograph them and send the photos to a bookseller, or take them in person. I live in Watsonville, CA, but am only about 1 1/2 hours from the SF Bay area. Do you know of anyone to take them to to appraise/ buy them.
I would take them to a children's specialist dealer in person. Call first and describe what you have, a few titles, and some idea as to condition. Skim thorugh the list on the de Grummond site listed above to find ones near you. These dealers will value the books honestly and offer you a wholesale price which reflects how fast they think the book will sell. The Bookstall used to have an excellent children's collection, although I don't know if it is still the new owner's focus. If these high end dealers tell you that the condition of your books is not quite what they stock, ask them for a recommndation to another store... or you could sell them yourself on Amazon.

Good luck
Thanks, for your help Mary Ann Huner

Donald Beaty Bloch

Since you may have contacted us through this site, we would like to thank you for the lovely books from the Donald Beaty Bloch collection. Our attempts to reach you have not been successful. They are well cared for and will end up in the possession of people who value them. Suzanne

want to sell

I have a first published in a1972 Dr. Seuss the Lorax and 1984 the butter battle book

Please Register with a specific question.

Dear Nathette, We only sell our own books through this site and we are not interested in purchasing books online from individuals, unless, perhaps, they are extremely rare and one of a kind. See our Looking for a Book? page above for hints on how to sell a book or two through Amazon or Ebay.

Please understand that unless you Register, I do not have access to your email address and cannot respond privately.

Suzanne

have a old book - looking to sell it

I have an old book, Little Learners, 0321-Beauty A, B, C Series. I was first of all wondering how much it is worth, and secondly interested in selling it. It is in good condition and I can forward pictures if you are interested. Please let me know. I can be reached at my email address or in writing (personal information deleted by OCB) Marsica Lacher

Your email address?

Dear Marsica Lacher,

Thank you for your inquiry. Unless you email me directly or register http://www.oldchildrensbooks.com/user/register on this site, I do not have access to your email address. I hope you look back at this!

There are two copies of your book in library holdings. Look at worldcat:
http://www.worldcat.org/title/little-learners/oclc/61921542&referer=brie...

A quick search of abebooks.com showed none currently for sale, although one could look further. Use the publisher, LIttle Learners and possibly Beauty as you look.. you are being more thorough than many of the people who are listing the book! Do not attempt to use the date, which is just a guess, and stay away from ABC or linen, too many variants. 

Your book would be difficult to price. In general, books from this publisher, this late, are not as well made as say McLoughlin or certainly Dean's or Raphael Tuck, but your book may be different. I know my book is $125, but it is really in unusually nice condition, and the condition of your book will make quite a difference in this kind of book. Artwork, authorship, and historical details also affect value. I happen to like cloth books, so I list ones in a range of publication/condition, from $10 to $250.  Look at the cloth book list on my site to get an idea of the range. http://www.oldchildrensbooks.com/catalogues-lists/booklists/cloth-books 

Read our page on Condition Grading:
http://www.oldchildrensbooks.com/catalogues-lists/listings-explained
and list specific flaws in your book so that you can compare it to others. In particular, linen books may have been washed, thus losing the sizing so as to appear faded and rumpled, and may be frayed along the edges, especially if they are not pinked which this one probably isn't. (We grade conservatively, but similarly to other established booksellers; many online booksellers or Ebayers would grade this book Excellent +++.)

We rarely, or perhaps never, buy individual books sight unseen online at a margin which would be satisfactory for a private seller. This page discusses private collections for sale in the Northwest.

I'll call when I can and leave a message so that you can look at this response,

If you want me to contact you if I see another book like this one for sale, please register. http://www.oldchildrensbooks.com/user/register

Thank you again for your inquiry. It is always interesting to hear about scarce books.

Suzanne

if u want my books

The are the first edition of dr suess books only thing wrong name is writing in side on the tittle page

See Looking for a Book?

Ricardo, We only sell our own books through this site and we are not interested in purchasing books online from individuals.

We need to personally inspect each book and have it in our possession before we sell it. Our reference library is large, and our standards are very high.  This page is directed at people in the Northwest who might have a collection of books for us to view in person. See our Looking for a Book? page above for hints on how to sell a book or two through Amazon or Ebay.

In particular, I would not claim to have a first edition of Dr. Seuss unless I had the reference material and probably a jacket.

Suzanne

Appraisals?

My grandparents will be moving out of their home and into something smaller. My grandmother has an extensive book collection, with a large portion of it old children's books. I don't know, at this point, how many of her books she is interested in selling (but most of them will have to go eventually), but I was wondering if you do appraisals. They are located in Newberg, Oregon. Thank you for any help or information!

Appraisals

Since you are so close we can probably help you find a way to do this or recommend someone. We are 16 miles west of Salem off 99W. To give you a helpful answer we'll have to know more about individual books in your grandmother's collection and their condition, so email or phone would be best:. shprice@oldchildrensbooks.com    503 838 5452 (Weekday evenings are better. In this weather we are out in the garden a lot.)  One thing she should begin to think about is which books she wants to keep, probably the most personally meaningful ones, but also the most valuable.

We do not do formal appraisals for insurance purposes, and it is somewhat difficult to find a dealer in the Northwest who has both the knowledge of children's books and the ABAA credentials. It depends on the kind of children's books your grandmother has collected. You might want to read through this page again: to repeat,  it unethical for a dealer to appraise books which he or she intends to make an offer on. If a dealer volunteers to do that for you, I'd look elsewhere.

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