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Hi John,

As you may know I have a sizable collection thanks to you. I am concerned about the detrimental conditions on books at the coast. What is the best avenue for selling a collection? Thanks for the enjoyment you have made possible.

Captain Rob

John replies:

Hi Capt'n!

You are correct - the increased moisture/humidity is very destructive for bound books. Dehumidifiers correct the humidity, but they are inconvenient and can be costly. Books would also have to be kept in the room with the dehumidifier to receive the optimal environment. It's really the only way to go, though.

Always keep to the book collecting protocol of:

1. Shelving upright
2. Do not overcrowd on the shelf
3. Keep out of direct sunlight
4. Sleeve trade paperbacks
5. Cover all dust jackets
6. Never loan them out! :-)
7. Keep a record of author, title, publisher, year of publication, printing edition, condition of the book, condition of the dust jacket, if signed and provenance.

As for selling your books - first step would be to create a detailed list as outlined above. Depending on the books in your collection, pricing for resale could be a challenge. When doing appraisals I use to determine the average market value of each title. I disregard the lowest price and highest price and try to seek a reasonable median value. If you'd like more information on our appraisal services let me know.

Booksellers, unfortunately, are unlikely to buy a full collection as most collections are filled with common material. Booksellers usually pay between 25-30% of average market value when they do buy.

The best way to sell your collection is either to consign it to a reputable retailer or establish your own account either on or eBay. In either instance you will have to be patient as the sales trickle in (and in the case of eBay the customer services issues arise).

Thank you for your questions,

Ask John at: [email protected]

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