How to Price Used Books for Sale

A place where beginners can participate, ask questions, and post their views. However, beginners typically ask a lot of questions about sources, tricks, books, and so on. In fact, all magicians are interested (or should be) in the provenance of tricks, ideas, and related matters. This department will service these needs.

Postby Guest » 10/03/07 01:29 PM

Can anyone tell me how to determine the going rate on my used magic books? I don't know what to ask for, and some of my books are out of print. Is there a source or listing that I can use? Or, is there a general rule of thumb?


Postby Guest » 10/03/07 04:07 PM

The market will always set the price. I use ebay to help me figure out what a book might be worth. By keeping an eye on ebay you can see what the going rate is, given that may take some time to determine. The other option would be to check dealers prices on the web. Richard Hatch has a great websight that has many out of print books. Some dealers will give you an appraisal for a price, but they usually like to see your books in person. Best of luck.
Peace, Joe

Postby Guest » 10/04/07 09:53 AM

Search for the book on . That site aggregates other used book sites, include Alibris and Amazon. It'll give you a good idea of the book's scarceness and price range.


Postby Guest » 10/04/07 11:18 AM

Im not trying to dog Mark, but if you have no clue about book pricing, Addall has the potential to confuse you and grossly misinform you. Most of the dealers with magic books listed are not magic specialists, and they tend to think that all magic books are rare and thus they overprice them. I would never recommend that a neophyte use Addall to get a good idea of book value or scarcity. Really, the best way to inform yourself is to study price lists from magic book specialists (like Aladdin Books, H & R Magic, Byron Walker), and if you are curious about value for one or two books, all of those guys wont hesitate to help you out. They will get fussy if you ask them to price out your entire book list gratis.

Good luck!

Postby Guest » 10/04/07 07:41 PM

I second Clay's suggestion. All three people mentioned, John Cannon at Aladdin, Dick Hatch at H&R and Byron Walker are honest and ethical and won't steer you wrong.

Postby Guest » 10/04/07 08:19 PM

John Cannon recently closed Alladin books. That is a shame. However, Richard Hatch and Byron Walker are both very realistic about their prices.

Clay is right about non-magic book dealers. They have absolutely no clue what various magic books are worth. Also, they have no idea what books are scarce, rare or actually unobtainable. I prefer the term "unobtainable" to "out of print," because a book can easily be out of print and not be unobtainable.

There are a number of eBay sellers who often, if not consistently, list books as being rare, scarce or out of print when this is not the case at all.

Sometimes, they don't know any better. Other times, I know that they know better, but they don't change their listings when their errors are pointed out.

Postby Guest » 10/05/07 05:21 AM

Small correction, Bill. John closed his main open-to-the-public store. He works out of his warehouse by appointment and is still available by telephone.

Postby Guest » 10/06/07 11:54 AM

Another tool I've found useful in providing a ball park value to books is the Blue Book of Magic which comes out each year by Ron Cartlidge.
It is available directly from Ron's site and also from H & R Magic as well.

It shows the sale prices of books on eBay and other auctions for the previous year. Also shows prices on tricks, posters, DVDs and just about everything else magic.


Postby Guest » 10/07/07 09:22 AM

Yup, information from a magic specialist is the best way to price magic books (and you can replace "magic" with any other word in that sentence).

What the mass market sites show you is what prices and (more importantly) what quantities there are for books. If you see a dozen copies in Addall's results, and they're all for $50, that can tell you something (as long as you make sure they're not all the same copy!). If you see a single copy, that indicates the book is rarer. On the other hand, the price in that case is not useful.

Postby Guest » 10/07/07 11:01 AM

I've purchased from Alladin Books since the main store closed and the service was excellent, as was the selection.

Postby Guest » 10/07/07 01:18 PM

Originally posted by David Alexander:
Small correction, Bill. John closed his main open-to-the-public store. He works out of his warehouse by appointment and is still available by telephone.
I'm glad to learn that. John always dealt square with me, both as a buyer and a seller.

Postby Guest » 10/07/07 01:59 PM

It has been a few years since I sold my library of 250 books. Some were autographed and some were collectors items. Don't remember who I sold them to but they advertised in one of the monthly magic publications. They were located in either St. Louis, Mo. or Kansas city, Mo. I sent them a list of my books indicating whether they were hard cover or soft. I also indicated that I would not sell any piece-meal but all at once. They replied with an offer which I accepted and they drove directly to my home in Illinois to pick up the books.
P.S. I kept two only two books, Corinda's 13 steps and The trick Brain by Fitzkee. I sold the books because to my heirs they would have been worthless. This way I knew that someone would eventually be able to use them as I did.

Postby James Kernen » 10/07/07 02:13 PM

Although I often get jabbed at by my friends in magic, I buy and sell books based on what the books are worth to me...... Thank goodness there are some nice and honest dealers in books who refuse to overcharge me..despite my zealousness or stupidity...... and then there is ebay.... a friend and foe...

The magic market is an interesting place and a lot of it has to do with timing....

James Kernen
Posts: 712
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Arizona

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