<<< Continued from previous page

Currently in its - count them - 64th edition, the so-called Red Book was first published in 1947, and a new edition has been issued annually ever since. Essentially, it's the bible for US coin collectors, a one-volume resource for identification, pricing and more. The publisher claims over 22,000,000 sales to date! The Red Book is instantly recognizable and, given its small size, typically in very good or better condition. It's also bookseller friendly in that, with the exception of the first edition (simply stamped "1947") the edition is stamped in gilt on the front panel.

The skinny is as follows: First editions sell for many hundreds of dollars, second editions usually climb to at least three figures, and third through ninth editions are usually worth bothering with (at $30 and up). If you stockpile later editions, runs of 10 or 15 or so can also get to or exceed the WBW threshold. Identification could not be easier, of course, and booksellers who know about this title can depend on it for a steady source of revenue indefinitely. There are many completists collectors, but consider also that purchases for earlier editions are made for historical pricing reference.

I like to feature books like this from time to time because they illustrate bookselling principles in bold relief. The principle of knowledge of value is first and foremost, certainly, as is "you can't always tell a book by its cover," but I'm especially interested in the insight one can gain from a market study of titles that command good prices in early printing states. Since so much historical pricing is available to us, questions like, "Why does this book have value?" or "How do I best market this book?" or "How do I identify different editions of this book?" and others are readily answered.

And I have one question for you: If you didn't know about the Red Book before reading this article, why not? Evidence of prices realized is abundant and readily available. Is it possible that you haven't been doing the necessary, dedicated research to grow your book business?

EDITOR'S NOTE: A master list of 20th-century non-fiction books collected as first and later printings will appear in the appendix to BookThink's Guide to Online Bookselling. You can't get it unless you subscribe. Do it here.

< to previous article          

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

| Forum | Store | Publications | BookLinks | BookSearch | BookTopics | Archives | Advertise | AboutUs | ContactUs | Search Site | Site Map | Google Site Map

Store - Specials | BookHunt | BookShelf | Gold Edition & BookThink's Quarterly Market Report | DomainsForSale | BookThinker newsletter - free

Copyright 2003-2011 by BookThink LLC

 Subscribe in a reader


Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment