There’s a copy of Susan Halas’ rules of thumb for booksellers buying books (to resell) over at the Bibliophile Bullpen. Interesting stuff.
Q: You are looking through hundreds of cheap paperbacks for something of value, what are you looking for?
A: Size smaller, the older paperbacks were a little bit smaller than the current size, you can see it on the shelf, look for the one(s) that are shorter. Cover price — the lower the cover price the earlier the issue. Collectible artist who signed the cover — look at the art work, 40s/50s pulp art has a following especially if in color and about SciFi or drugs other vices. Think lurid.
Q: I don’t see that much older stuff, what am I looking for in newer books/paper?
A: Computers, technology, scientific advances, shifts in attitude - gay, new age, zines, comics, motorcycles, technology that bloomed then failed, scrapbooks, poetry, real photos pre digital, SMALL is good, regional stuff — back to the earth, burning man, performance art, posters especially the kind of posters that were stapled to telephone poles for readings, performances, protests, clubs, etc., cartoons, humor, small, small, small, small, small. Repeat, small is good.
Q: I’m offered a set of classics, an old encyclopedia, book of knowledge, bible study books, self improvement books, all with beautiful shiny gold leaf and gilt edge, all weighing about 100 pound each, should I buy them?
A: Seldom, rare exceptions, almost always the answer is NO (exceptions is it signed or limited, is it illustrated by a well known illustrator). Follow up question — did your father, uncle, grandma have any other books, photos, scrapbooks, do you have anything else to offer? Sellers are offering you what they think is rare, but often have things that are really interesting they think is junk.
[Now Reading: Stories Care Forgot: An Anthology of New Orleans Zines edited by Ethan Clarke]Posted by Anirvan