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    Adventures of a rare book dealer (and former small bookshop owner).

So many books…

Written on May 14, 2008

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I’ve spent the past two days going through over 300 boxes of books that were part of an estate. I estimate I looked at over 7500 books. Now, here’s a question. How many books/boxes did I go home with? Take a minute. I’ll wait.

Ready? Have your number?

Answer: Five boxes. About 150 or so books. Less than 2% of what I saw.

I’m often asked over the phone, “What books do you buy?” I’d like to answer “Very few.”

Sad truth most people don’t understand: The majority of books are worthless, or nearly so. Too damaged, too dated, too common, too many online, too little demand.

I know dealers who might have taken more than I did (and several who would have taken even less), but the larger truth remains: Books are a dime a dozen (and often not even that much).

Comments closed


  1. Comment by brian tanabe:

    Hey Brian,

    How long did it take you to evaluate the entire lot?

    August 26, 2008 @ 4:55 am
  2. Comment by Brian Cassidy:

    About 12 hours over the course of two days, as I recall. Worth the effort, ultimately. But what a lot of effort…

    August 26, 2008 @ 3:46 pm