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by Craig Stark

#117, 31 March 2008

Here's a frequently asked bookselling question: Are (book) auction catalogs worth anything? Sometimes yes, sometimes no, but I'd suggest that, before you put them up for sale, you examine them for their potential to help you learn more about the profession. Some, frankly, aren't of much use, but many of them are rich resources indeed that can teach you, among other things, how to describe faults and book elements, how to determine edition state and how to price books - all critical skills that inexperienced booksellers often come up short on. I'll be addressing each one of these skills in a series of four articles, beginning today with "How to Describe Faults."

Chris Lowenstein, our Accidental Antiquarian, is here today to discuss condition issues as well - in this case why it matters as much as it does to antiquarian booksellers.

A note to QMR subscribers: Issue #4 of BookThink's Quarterly Report of Common, Profitable Books was delivered last week. If you didn't receive it, please contact me ASAP at editor@bookthink.com.

QMR features 400 titles a year that are both common and typically sell for $30 and up - in most cases, for significantly more than $30. Find one or two of these books while scouting, and you'll quickly pay for your subscription. Relevant bibliographic details are included for each title, along with links to images and commentary which points to why these books have value. It's not enough these days to know which books sell for good money - the "what" of bookselling; if you understand here.

Finally, if you'd like a preview of the books we feature in our reports, subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter, The BookThinker, and receive one title every week, along with expanded commentary. This can be done here.

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