Why is it so difficult to sell my books?

Ever wondered why it's hard to on-sell your old books to second hand or old book stores?

Currently it is difficult for the private seller of general secondhand books to sell them. Notice we said “general second hand books” and notice we said “currently”. This is because it is still quite possible to sell rare and collectible books. It is understandable that anyone with limited experience of the secondhand and antiquarian book trade can say “but I don’t know what is rare and collectible I just have these old books and someone must want them”. Unfortunately the truth is most people don’t.

From the point of view of economic theory, it's a matter of supply and demand.

On the supply side the volume of general secondhand books potentially available for sale is growing. This is largely because two generations of readers and collectors are downsizing at once. Those in their 80s and 90s are moving into aged care and those in their 60s and 70s are downsizing into apartments from their former larger homes. At the same time on the demand side, there has been a general fall in demand for real books due to the availability of ebooks and e-readers; changes in leisure pursuits and falling real incomes. Any HSC economics student will tell you that increased supply combined with a fall in demand leads to a fall in price.

From the bookseller’s point of view, who is conducting their business through a bricks and mortar store they are not only faced with increased business expenses but they selling a commodity with a falling demand and for which they may have to accept a lower price. Therefore they are only interested in stocking books that have a strong collector interest and consequently a higher demand.  This is why they are not prepared to buy the common and general books no matter how valuable the literature or information within.

Will this be the situation for the long term?

At Love Vintage Books we believe this to be the case. And that is why we are so particular about the stock we buy from private sellers.

Posted on March 1, 2018 and filed under Selling Books.

Selling Your Old Books: Love Vintage Books Book Buying Policy

We do buy books privately but rarely and are very selective. More often we are searching for particular books that will add to our expertly chosen collections.Thus we are not interested in what are commonly called "general secondhand books".

Considering this please read our Book Buying Policy below before contacting us. It could save us all some time!

Subjects Required

Titles, authors and subjects wanted will vary over time according to customer demand but in general the following we would consider purchasing particularly if hardcover and published before 1980:

  • Early Australian books particularly inland and coastal exploration, colonial times, bush-ranging and the gold rush; principle figures such as Bligh, Cook, Flinders

  • Australian local history, books on Sydney suburbs

  • Antarctic history and exploration

  • Transport particularly detailed and specialized publications

  • Military particularly regimental and unit histories

  • Biographies and related on T E Lawrence, Napoleon, Churchill, the Kennedy Family

  • Australian art, monographs rather than general works

  • Travel…older editions about the UK, western Europe and the Pacific

  • Technical books particularly woodworking, iron work, bee-keeping

  • Sport : boxing, fly fishing, croquet, athletics and fencing

  • Hobbies only chess and conjuring

  • Attractively bound and or illustrated editions of literary classics

To Save Your Time

The following are definitely not required:

  • Readers Digest Condensed Books

  • Coffee table books

  • Popular fiction in paperback

  • Recently published children’s books

  • Magazines

  • National Geographics

  • Encyclopaedias, dictionaries & thesauruses

  • New age titles

  • Health and diet books

  • Self-help manuals

How Much Will You Receive For Your Books?

In most instances what you will be offered is considerably less than our retail price. There are two main reasons. Firstly, we have all the usual expenses of retail which must be met, rent, advertising, maintenance, power etc. Buying in new stock is one of our few variable expenses. Secondly, even with buying wisely we may have a book on the shelf up to 5 years before it sells and this time is measured in interest forgone. Naturally there are some exceptions; in the case of titles in high demand and for titles for which there is a customer already waiting but in general what we are prepared to pay is far less than the usual retail price marked in our books.

The Importance of Condition

We aim to sell books that are as near new condition as possible. This means that all preliminary pages should be present, dust wrappers are not torn or chipped, cloth covers are not rubbed or faded and the interior is not badly browned or foxed.  An allowance for condition is made with children’s books.  However, tears, scribbles, colouring in and large gift inscriptions are not acceptable.

How To Offer Your Books to Us

Please send an email to margaret@lovevintagebooks.com.au enclosing or attaching a list of titles and authors. If possible also include details of publisher, publishing date and other pertinent details. We will  reply as soon as practicable. Please also email us if you want a list of current titles required emailed to you.

Posted on January 6, 2018 and filed under Selling Books.

Workshop: How to Downsize Your Book Collection

At Love Vintage Books, we often get approached by people who are looking to reduce their collection of books but don't know where to start. In July we're holding a set of workshops that will help participants develop the steps of a book colllection downsizing plan. 

These workshops are designed for those who are feeling overwhelmed by a collection of books they don’t know what to do with, belonging to themselves or someone else. It is common, that procrastination sets in together with doubts about value and concerns about adding “good books” to recycling or landfill.

By attending a workshop in “book collection downsizing” at Love Vintage Books participants will be able to confidently and systematically go through a collection and feel satisfied they have given the collection the recognition and consideration it deserves.

        In addition participants will:

  • Learn some secrets of the old book trade
  • Be able to identify books of potential value
  • Appreciate the current climate of old bookselling in Australia
  • Be guided in how to offer their unwanted books for sale
  • Receive suggestions for welcome homes for their unwanted books

Next Workshop Dates and Time

Workshops are taking place at Love Vintage Books 563 Willoughby Road, Willoughby in the last week of July at these times:

  • Tuesday morning 6th February ( 10.30am - 12.30pm )
  • Thursday morning 8th February ( 10.30am - 12.30pm )

The fee is $27.50 inc gst (per head) and includes light refreshments and Love Vintage Book’s opinion on two books that participants have brought with them.

Reserve your place by emailing margaret@lovevintagebooks.com.au today. 

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Posted on July 3, 2017 and filed under Book Collecting Tips.

Collecting Books for Fun

Interested in collecting old and rare books but don’t know where to start?

The following points may be helpful. 

Collect an author whose books you enjoy reading

Part of the pleasure of possessing a collection is being able to pick up a particular book at any time or just “dip in”. If the author’s books were published in the last seventy years or so it is possible to acquire first editions. Some writers have become very collectable so expense may be an issue but others are not and it is possible to build a collection with modest means.

Collect books about something you enjoy

If you have a hobby or interest it would make sense to collect in that subject area. No doubt there would be differing points of view about the subject that have been published over a number of years. By referring to such a collection expertise would grow. It is also possible such a collection will increase in value.

Collect books about a popular or trending topic

If neither of the above apply consider areas in which enthusiasts already collect. Some collect different editions of the same title eg: Pride and Prejudice, Don Qixote and Alice in Wonderland; others by publisher eg; Adams and Black, Blackie and Son and still others by illustrator eg; Dulac or Rackham. Style of binding is popular too, perhaps leather with all edges gilt.

Popular subject areas include: natural history, shipping and railways, WWI, philosophy, arms and Armour, cricket, the American Civil War, children’s annuals and so on. Notable figures from the past also feature, particularly Winston Churchill and Napoleon.  Popular areas for Australian collectors include: James Cook, exploration, local history, the colonial period, bush-ranging and the gold rushes.

Also think about collecting:

Mini Books

Still other collectors have a passion for miniature books (less than 7cm in height) or ephemera (printed items not in book form: pamphlets, letters  etc)

Every Title in a Series

Finally there is the satisfaction of collecting all the titles in a series eg: the first thousand Penguins or all the Saturday books.

Some recommended references are: The Book Collector’s Fact Book by Margaret Haller; A Primer of Book Collecting by John Winterich and; ABC For Book Collectors by John Carter. 

We also talk about collecting Australiana here and Cricket Books here and collecting the classics here.

Whatever you decide to collect, it is wise to buy only books in very good condition or better. This applies both to the dustwrapper and the book itself. Start by looking at the books in our online database. Happy collecting. 

Posted on March 29, 2017 and filed under Book Collecting Tips.

This Week in the Book Shop - Vintage Books as Christmas Gifts

Christmas is fast approaching and those who plan ahead are already buying vintage books as presents. And they have the right idea as a well chosen vintage book makes a thoughtful and memorable gift for someone special.

All that is necessary is to determine the interest/passion of the recipient and then visit your nearest vintage or rare bookshop and ask the staff for recommendations. You are sure to find something unique in your price range. You could also shop online. For reputable Australian dealers visit www.anzaab.com or  search on a wider field by visiting www.booksandcollectibles.com.au. Browse our stock at www.somersethousebooks.com.au

Not sure of a subject?....Why not a book of old photographs of the recipient's home town, an illustrated edition of a literary classic or a specially signed edition?

Posted on November 18, 2014 and filed under Christmas Gifts.