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Kurt Vonnegut, who some refer to as the modern day Mark Twain and who passed away last year, broke through in the literary world in 1969 with Slaughterhouse-Five. Ten thousand copies of the first edition were printed by Delacorte Press. These sold out very quickly, and most early copies were read many times. The result is that very few "almost new" copies exist today. Our price guide shows the value of this title to be:

Fine/fine: $1,500

Fine/Near fine: $1,250

NF/Very Good+: $750

VG+/VG: $400

VG/VG-: $250

Good/Good: $100

This book is very, very difficult to find in either of the top two grades. Most "nice" copies that are for sale are, in fact, no better than VG/VG-. The rarity of the book in a high grade condition is reflected in the large premium that books in these conditions demand. Collectors are doing themselves no favor when they focus on the $1,500 price, then get a VG/VG- copy for $250 and think that they are getting a bargain.

Our price guide provides a good estimate of a book's value only if all of the steps described in our previous articles have been followed. That doesn't mean that there aren't bargains out there. There are plenty of them. But inherent in the way that many books are sold today (i.e through sites such as eBay) is the concept of risk/reward. When a buyer can't actually see a book, he is rewarded for the risk he is taking by getting the book for a slightly lower price. The secret is to be able to recognize a bargain when you see it and not to be confused by a "wolf in sheep's clothing."

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Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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