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What are the best sources people have found for old books? I have some favorite shops in the Boston area, but spend more time on ebay and abebooks, and poking around estate sales.
It's Ebay and auctions mostly for me. I also have found some at flea markets, junk stores and the best place - goodwill or salvation army - many old books there and they don't know what they have!
"Anything can be anywhere" Zack said, a statement that is to scouting what E=(MC)2 is to physics. (From Cadillac Jack, a marvelous book about scouting, by Larry McMurtry -- the author, screenwriter, bookstore owner and one of the great book scouts himself).
The antiquarian shop I work for has books online and books that are not - it's always a good thing to ask if you can't find it, since some booksellers have stock that might not be on the shelf yet. I recently went to a library sale and brought home some very nice books, including a new book on Persian art for my mom's birthday.
If anyone has any interest in books of Japanese or Asian art/scholarly texts, please leave me a message on my page and I'll send the URL to our new catalogue. Some wonderful things.
By the way, how many folks here will buy up "lots" when they can, and then get rid of those they don't want? I regularly do this on ebay, but also keep an eye out for estate sales where I can do it.
no, when I buy I keep. There is no way I can get rid of my books.....
Hello I always buy lots! That's how I end up with doubles later. I keep most of what I buy but if I already have the book I keep the best copy and go in search of for a good home for the extra. Sometimes this is Ebay or sometimes gifting to friends.
For duplicates, can I recommend BookCrossing? Very nice to be able to see where the book travels and if it's a duplicate you can see what other people think of it.
Well if you're ever in a portuguese speaking country (8 of them with 200+ million people) your first choice would almost certainly be the same as mine: "alfarrabistas". It translates (not very precisely) as antiquarian booksellers but though you can find many specialize in rare first editions others are a mixture of second-hand bookshops with art gallery perhaps doing a little bit of selling of original illustrarions, engravings, prints and the like that were comissioned for specific (usually famous) books and whose 'pedigree' can be verified but were ultimately not used in any of that book's editions.
Naturally enough, most alfarrabistas prefer to stick to their traditional way of selling books, but some are starting to go online. The most respectable (and affordable) to do so thus far can be found at
Sorry for such an extended post for such a niche market ;)
There is such a plethora of good used bookstores in the San Francisco Bay Area! Actually, the really good finds are at stores that are not "well-run" - the owner only knows where books are from memory, which is sometimes faulty; there are books miscataloged everywhere, etc. Those are the stores where nobody else gets to the good stuff before I do, because it's well-hidden.
The best online sources I've found have been abebooks.com, bookfinder.com, alibris.com, and of course ebay. All except for bookfinder let you have want lists and will e-mail you when a book you're looking for is found. You have to know the value of the book before you bid on ebay; too many times I've seen people overbid a book by at least double of what it is selling for on the other online book sites. There's four excellent used bookstores within 15 miles of me, two of which I have worked for in the past and am good friends with the owners and managers. They allow me to view the books before they are put out for sale, and one even calls me when he gets books on subjects that I collect. The other trick is to visit the used bookstores often and on weekdays when possible. There's a lot to be said for buying from local used bookstores. There's several books that I would've passed over online, but browsing through it in a store, you realize what a treasure it is and you buy it. And there's also those books which seem intriguing online, but turn out to be disappointing if you are able to see it at a bookstore. Both of those scenarios have happened for me within the last month.
Interesting that the overbid amount is about two times. For high-end stereo equipment the ratio's about the same - 75-100% above what you would pay through a more specialized site.
Does anybody know any good ways of finding specific types of estate sales in the Bay Area? My main interests are in 19th and early 20th printings in the humanities, particularly illustrated poetry (though my favourite book is "The Bird" by Michelet, with illustrations by Giacomelli -which is history). I've tried a few library book sales but I haven't been successful at finding good deals.
I agree with rudel519 - if you can, try to visit used book stores mid-week, and (again, if you can), try to make a repeat visit to selected stores quite soon again afterwards if you`ve bought a lot of books there.
The reason being, some particularly good items only go on the shelves for a short period, and are snapped up after only a couple of days. Also, if you make big spaces on the shelves, by buying a number of books, the owner will often make sure those spaces are filled with new stuff pronto.
I don`t personally find that asking staff/owners to keep an eye out for particular types of book helps at all, as in my experience they forget - rudel519 obviously has better luck than me !
Needless to say, while I always intend to follow my own advice in these matters, in real life I rarely make two visits to the same shop close together as I never have time. C`est la vie !
.......forgot to include the main point of my reply - has anyone bought from Antiqbook ?
Their terms for sellers are very good, but relatively few sellers seem to use the site.
Haven`t been on Library thing for a day or two, just seen your query - will send details to yr profile page.
`Scuse hasty note - busy day.
boekerij: I really do think Nederlands is such a wonderful language: "tweedehands boeken"! Makes one think of two-fisted reading - my kind of getting drunk.
20mrlibrarian First Message
I like to shop, in order of preference, although I've been known to hit several in one day:
1. Library book sales (I've been known to drive several states away for good ones) Here is a good site:
2. Estate Sales (Lots of forgotton treasures, usually very cheap)
3. Thrift Stores (As someone else said, they usually don't know what they have, very cheap)
4. Used Book Stores (We all have our favorites)
5. Antiques stores or Antique malls (Sometimes you come across surprising finds, usually a little pricier)
6. Flea Markets (cheap, but unorganized and lots of digging is required)
7. Garage Sales (hit or miss, some good finds to be had, especially newer books that people read and don't want to keep)
I used to work for a store in California. He closed the physical store years ago and went completely online. I've tried to find him, but have had no luck. He had some really wonderful old/antique books and I really trusted his expertise. Rats.
www.abebooks.com is another good online source.
Also, for remainders and overstocks, try
They will send you a very good catalog often if you sign up. Lots of good books, cheap and only a mimimal ($3.50 total) shipping and handling charge. I've used them for many years, since pre-Internet days.
mrlibrarian, I second that. I have used E.Hamilton for the past nineteen years and NEVER got disappointed. Also, at times you can find books published in the UK, which you would have difficulty finding here.
Another website I use quite a bit is www.bookfinder.com
i'll third the recommendation for EdwardHamilton. have been a customer off and on for at least 20 years. His prices arent as low as they used to be, but still an excellent source.
re:abebooks. check their european sites too. eg abebooks.fr, abebooks.de. the euro sites do not always overlap with the main abe site.
nickhoonaloon, I just bought a trilogy from a Netherlands shop using Antiqbook.com, and it came today (to Canada). Though this is my only experience with them, I give it thumbs up so far.
Spent a good afternoon in August at a rambling bookstore in northern Ontario (on a trip with my Dad to see the old haunts of his youth)..
Highway Book Shop...they specialize in Canadiana and have a lot of antiquities..very economically priced.
I picked up
The Silver Cache of the Pawnee by D. Lange -1918
Canadian Stories in Verse and Prose edited by William Kendrick - 1936
and an old leather-bound The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth by Wordsworth of course..-1888
they are listed with Abe's books under
oh..just joined this group..hello evey'1 !!
Flea markets. Junk stores. Pawn shops. Estate sales. Garage sales. My next door neighbors ("Oh, I never read that old book - go ahead, you can have it. It gets it out of the house.").
Abebooks is a good source and the books seem reasonably priced there. I only bid on ebay after I checked the market-price on other sites. zvab.de is also a pretty good source for old books, just a bit expensive sometimes (They also have a english website).
As I live in China at the moment the delivery costs of the books are often higher than the book price itself.... so I have to restrict myself in buying (pretty difficult, though ;) )
My university does a massive booksale every fall so I normally look at that. There are also a ton of amazing used books stores, my favorite being BMV (the annex location for anyone who lives in Toronto) because they have a large history section. I rarely buy online though, I prefer to be able to look it over before buying.
Bad link. Try http://www.danwymanbooks.com
Uh,oh. The search engine has already found one book (pamphlet, really) that I might have to have.
Used book stores, especially North State in Lincolnton, NC (except they usually haven't priced those yet, and my mom gets on their nerves by picking out about ten of them, asking the prices, and then only buying one or two). Also The Book Ex (or X, but I think the real name is the Durham Book Exchange or something like that) in Durham, NC. Library book sales, antique stores, and yard sales also sometimes have good used, if not antique, books for rather low prices. Antique stores sometimes have really good old books, some like a 1837 copy of the Iliad in fair condition for $11.
Some interesting things we've picked up:
two complete (or almost) works of Shakespeare, c. 1880-1890, several volume set at UNCG (maybe), library discards, possibly even free
complete works of Martin Luther in German (c. 1850), along with Evangeline in German, and (I think) a Latin book (c. 1915), from my mom's friend who got them at a yard sale
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