Yesterday, in the midst of working hard to make a living, members of my household (spear headed by me) deemed it necessary to take a break and visit the used bookstore. Something we'd not done in almost two months.
|First Printings average around $100|
The first thing we noticed, as we were perusing the shelves, was the prices had gone up. Books that had once been priced at $4 to $6 were now, fairly uniformly, being priced at $10 and $12. Still a bargain, considering they're twice that at the regular bookstore, but this meant we had to be a bit more choosey in order to maintain our book buying budget. And, I suppose, everyone is feeling that pinch. I overheard one woman tell a friend that she could buy the same book online for less, so she put it back.
We wondered if this was just specific to the section in which we were looking, so we spread out & sure enough, we were hard pressed to find a $4 book that wasn't a paperback (and even the paperbacks had risen in price).
If there is prescribed meaning to the rise in prices, I couldn't tell you what it was. It could be a new business model, they could be taking advantage of the Holiday season and the fact that used books at $6 or at $10 are still cheaper than $24. Or it could be the pinch of the eReader finally taking its toll on the used sector. Although, I have to say, there was still quite a bit of traffic in the store & a long line at check out.
For the money, I got fewer books and ended up putting some back, but I did find another first printing of Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke (without the National Book Award Seal) - generally a $75-$100 value in fine/fine condition (unsigned).
Also found was a first of Alan Furst's A World at Night (Random House, 1996). This had clearly been in someone's collection. Not only was it wrapped in Brodart, but it was well taken care of. I've seen recent listings for between $40 and $105 for this title in fine/fine condition (unsigned). (which just makes me sad to think that someone sold it to the used bookstore for $2 or $4 in store credit).
AND, I was able to score a second copy of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass (first American Edition), in very good condition - again, generally listing from $75 to $100.
In addition to the collectibles, I found a few books to add to my reading pile, including a never opened Drood by Dan Simmons, a massive tome of suspense, Christopher Moore's You Suck, and a couple of barely read steampunk novels: a YA novel called Worldshaker and Stephen Hunt's The Kingdom Beyond the Waves. - should keep me well entertained through the holidays.
Labels: Alan Furst, Denis Johnson, Hypermodern collectible, Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass, The World at Night, Tree of Smoke