Buying and selling Rare books via the internet.
Buying and selling Rare books via the internet. The Internet is made up of thousands of tiny niche markets. Each of these niche's have specific ways of communicating with each other. One of the most dynamic markets on the Internet right now is for books and music. To say that there are dynamic changes taking place in the rare and collectible book market is an understatement. At one time the ‘market’ for rare and collectible books consisted of a few hundred well known and highly respected rare book dealers and collectors who slowly and laboriously collected books in their specialty.
It wasn’t too long ago that collectors wanted ‘depth’- collecting every book and piece of ephemera by a particular author or within a particular genre. A collector searching for a particular book gathered dealers catalogs, visited shops in remote corners of the world hoping to come across the book they wanted. Collecting was a “gentleman’s” game. Dealers carefully cultivated their customers over years, helping them select books that added depth to their collections. Dealers relied on word-of-mouth and reputation to build their business.
Dealers, for the most part, ‘specialized’. Book collecting was more than a hobby, it was an obsession to some. The Internet has added liquidity to the rare and collectible book market. And liquidity is very important for any market. All it means is that, when you’re ready to sell there is a buyer, ready willing and able to buy your offering. The Internet has also added the element of transactional speed. People are buying and selling books at a rate of speed that seems incredible by standards just a few years ago. Thousands of books are being traded daily. Why deal in books rather than other collectible items such as figurines or art or pottery? Books have a special place in the history of the human race. They record the history, thoughts, feelings, views, philosophy, theology and dreams and imaginings of men and women who lived before us and who live with us.
Books have shaped the way we think, live our lives and have formed the backbone of governments and world religions. The fact that books have a special place in our lives make them, I think, more than 'collectible items'. They are an investment in the past and the future of the entire human race. Man has separated himself from animals in his ability to reason, to think and to record those thoughts in books for each generation to read. I was as astounded, as you might be, to learn that used and out-of-print books are valuable and some are even super-valuable. Take for example a first printing of "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland" - today worth about $725,000. Why should a simple child's book be worth so much money? Because it's "collectible"? Because it's old? Because it's a children's book? The answer is simple. And it took me sometime to accept the simplicity of it, but here it is: "Certain books are valuable because someone wants it and is willing and able to pay the price to own it". Collectors come in all shapes, sizes and interests and they are all over the world. Demand is huge and you’ll be surprised at the rate at which used books will sell.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t slow times but books move very fast into the hands that want them. Richard Fenn - old-rare-books.blogspot.com.
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