I have inherited some books. How to see if they are valuable or not


When you are inherited with some books, you will get the interest to figure out whether they are valuable or not. This is something that you can do with the help of right resources. Let’s take a look at the steps that you should follow to determine how much your books worth.

What exactly is a rare book?

The rarity of a book is determined by simple supply and demand, according to the Econ 101 interpretation of rare books. If demand exceeds supply, the book becomes rare, and its price rises. Demand is a difficult concept to grasp. If a book is collectible, there is a market for it. A book can be valuable for a multitude of reasons, including the author, title, and topic; the press that published it; the artwork inside; and its historical relevance, to mention a few. Collectible books aren’t for everyone. Rebecca Baumann, the Lilly Library’s Head of Public Services, answered some of my queries regarding rare books. “You might have the lone copy of a book in existence—but it won’t sell for anything if no one wants it,” they said.

The good news is that book collectors have a wide range of interests, just like books. If a book appeals to you for any reason, it’s possible that it’s something that others are looking for as well. Trends may drive what is deemed collectable, much like many intangible things we give value to, such as art or antiques. Anyone whose heart has been shattered by beanie baby or baseball card market crashes is welcome to share their battle experiences. Something that is just somewhat valuable now may become a hotter item in the future with the investment of time. In a moment, we’ll make a case for collecting items that intrigue you regardless of their value. However, if you want to know for sure how much a book is worth right now, you should get it assessed properly.

Getting a rare book appraisal

Consult your local secondhand book store first if you’re looking for rare or antique books. Many of these establishments provide assessments. Contact us to learn more about how it works. Appraisers are usually paid for their services. Given a brief description of the collection, they may be able to provide you with a free assessment estimate. If you come in with a stack of books, they may, out of politeness, inform you with a quick glance if you have something worth spending more time on. They may also recommend you to someone else if the books you have aren’t in their area of expertise. If you possess anything precious, take the time to find someone who is competent to appraise it.

Factors that affect the value of a rare book

There are some important factors that determine the value of a book. Let’s take a look at those factors and see how much your book is valuable.

Condition of the book

When it comes to a book’s worth, condition is essential. A book with considerable damage is unlikely to be valuable. A book collector is looking for a beautiful copy.

Dust jacket

Since the early twentieth century, most hardcover books have been offered with a dust jacket. The dust cover is both the most beautiful and the most fragile element of a book. A missing or damaged dust cover may reduce the value of a rare book by more than half and make it more difficult to find a buyer.


There are a variety of ways that a book may appear to be a rare collectable at first glance, but deeper inspection reveals that it isn’t.

Reprint editions: Some publishers specialized in inexpensive reprint versions of popular books. Publishers such as Walter J. Black, Sun Dial, Triangle, Collier, A.L. Burt, and Grosset & Dunlop, to mention a few, would reissue works using the original publisher’s printing plates long after they had become popular. Compare the name of the publisher on the book’s spine to the name of the publisher on the title page to see if your edition is a reprint. The original publisher’s name will often appear on the pages of reprints, but the book binding will reveal the reprint publisher’s name.

Reprintings after the initial print

There are no established standards for recognizing a first edition used by publishers. To declare a book’s initial printing, each publisher has their own procedure. The phrase ‘First Edition’ don’t promise anything. Publishers occasionally neglect to remove the phrase “First Edition” from the printing history when they go on to future printings, and the number line is the only way to be sure your book is a first edition.

Publishers frequently modify the method they designate first editions, adding to the uncertainty. To make sense of the jumble, you may purchase a guide to recognizing first editions.

Editions for Book Clubs Even down to the words “First Edition” on the printing history, book of the month clubs frequently utilize the same printing plates as the original publisher. You can get more information on identifying book club editions here.

Supply and demand

There are presently too many comparable copies for sale, which might suggest a market glut. When there is too much competition, it is more difficult to sell a book, and prices for that book tend to fall.

Get a sense of the entire variety of comparable copies now available. For comparison, don’t only pick the cheapest or most expensive option.

Final words

Based on all these factors, you will be able to get a basic understanding about the value of rare books. While keeping that in mind, you can proceed with getting an evaluation of rare books. Then you can determine the true value of the rare books that you were inherited with.