Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do you have any books that are not listed on your website? Yes, I do. At any given time I probably have at least a couple of hundred books that you won’t find on-line here at Read’Em Again Books. You can use the Offline Search Service link in the lower left hand column of any page to notify me of any book that you are seeking.
Frequently, I sell books in eBay auctions that are not listed at this website; this link will take you to any eBay auction lots that I may currently have listed.
2. Will you help me find a book if you don’t have it on-hand?
Possibly. I don’t keep a want list except for my regular customers because, when it comes to hunting for books, my primary focus is finding books to sell for my business. That said, if you are a repeat customer, or if you are looking for a book that interests me, or if I happen to be in an especially good mood, I’ll make an effort to locate a copy and point you in the right direction so that you can complete the purchase yourself.
3. How do you pack and ship the books and other items that you sell?
I normally ship hardcover books priced at $50 or less in a padded envelope. Hardcover books priced over $50 are normally shipped with padding in a standard or adjustable box. Paperbacks are normally shipped with stiff cardboard protection. Sheet music is shipped flat, usually in a flattened priority mail box. Prints and maps will either be shipped in a flattened priority mail box or rolled in a cylindrical tube.
Of the thousands of books I've packed this way since I've been in business, I've only had one item damaged in shipment, and it was run over by a post office truck and would have been ruined no matter how much paper, bubblewrap, padding, or cardboard was used to protect it. That said, if you have any special packing requests, let me know, and I may be able to accomodate them.
My default shipping method is by delivery confirmed USPS Media or Priority Mail. I will ship by Express Mail when requested. Insurance—my own, not USPS—is included at no extra cost when shipped by these means; you may also purchase USPS postal insurance if you desire, but it really isn’t necessary.
4. Will you ship books outside of the United States?
Yes, I ship outside of the United States all the time. I only ship books outside the United States by USPS Priority Mail International, USPS Express Mail International, or USPS Registered First Class Mail International.
5. If I buy a book and don’t like it, may I return it for a refund?
Unless specifically noted in my book description, I accept returns for any reason for full refund (less any shipping and insurance fees) if I receive the returned books within 10 days of my shipment or 5 days of confirmed delivery to your address (whichever is documentably later) and they are received in the same condition as sent. In the unlikely event that any book you receive from me is ever determined to have it’s publishing/edition data incorrectly described or any signature found to be inauthentic, I will provide a full refund (to include shipping) at any time if returned by the original purchaser in the same condition as sent.
6. Is it possible to buy a gift card for someone?
Yes, it is. There is a link to purchase a gift card in the left column of the home page. You may purchase gift cards up to $200 in value. When you purchase a gift card for someone, they will be sent a unique, random, gift card code to be entered during the checkout process. It is very important that they safeguard this code as anyone who enters the code during checkout may spend the gift card credit.
7. Do you ever issue catalogues?
Occasionally, I will issue an e-mail catalogue. When I do, I send them only to customers who have purchased books from me in the past. If you’d like to be sure that you are included on my mailing list the next time I send out an e-mail catalogue, please send a note with your e-mail address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Do you buy books?
Yes, I buy the books that I sell. Seldom have I received any sellable books as gifts, although this did happen twice; both times from frustrated antique dealers who just wanted to get rid of their book inventory. I generally only buy quality books that interest me and that I believe are sellable. Right now, I’m buying some children’s series books in dust jackets, some photoplays in dust jackets, some older science fiction usually in dust jackets, some older mysteries in dust jackets, some illustrated books, some pop-up and moveable books, some older paperbacks, some sports (especially baseball, boxing, fishing, and hunting), some scouting, and other unusual non-fiction that piques my interest.
If you have books you’d like to sell, please send me an e-mail message listing the title, author, and publisher. There’s no need to provide more information than that in your first e-mail message. I’ll review your list and reply asking for more information about any books that I may be interested in buying. After I receive the additional information, I’ll be able to provide you with a tentative offer subject to my examination of the books. We can then make arrangements to meet and complete the transaction or you can send your books to me. If you send your books, I will promptly examine them and either send you payment or return the books that don’t meet my needs.
There are some types of books that I almost never (knowingly) buy. They are book club editions, fiction without dust jackets, damaged books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, large book sets, textbooks, and most importantly, common titles that that are already available for sale by the hundreds on the internet.
9. Why should I sell my books to you, or any other dealer, when you are going sell them to another collector at a higher price? Why don’t I just do that myself?
That’s a good question. I know several part-time dealers who started selling books for just that reason, and you may enjoy selling books too. The big problem, though, is that you will need to find customers who want to buy your books, and that's not easy. So . . . if you are only looking to turn your on-hand books into cash, selling them yourself probably isn’t for you. You can open your own on-line bookstore and sell books via the internet, but you’ll incur significant costs to do so, you’ll have to comply with your state’s business and tax laws, it will likely be a while before you master writing descriptions that attract buyers, and you‘ll probably find that it takes what seems to be an eternity for your books to sell. As an alternative, you could try to sell your books via eBay auctions, but you may take a significant loss, or if you price them too high, the books may not sell at all, and you’ll still be out the numerous auction listing fees. However, if you sell your books to a dealer—me included—you will turn them into immediate cash. On the other hand, the dealer—again me included—may have his cost tied up in those books for some time until a buyer comes along.
10. Will you sell my books for me on consignment?
I’m sorry, but no. I have a hard enough time keeping up with my own on-line stock. If you’d like to sell your books to me, please see the answer to Question #8 above.
11. Will you appraise my books?
Possibly. First, you need to understand that I am not accredited by the American Society of Appraisers (ASA); neither am I licensed by any state board. Of course, many—probably most—booksellers who do appraisals aren’t accredited or licensed either. Second, why is it that you want to have your books appraised? If you want an appraisal for insurance purposes, income tax purposes, or a similar reason, you really should have a bookseller who is accredited by ASA do the job, and it won’t be cheap as this can be a long and complicated process.
If you just want a professional estimate of what an honest dealer might be willing to pay for your books or what you might be able to sell your books for if you sold them to a collector yourself, I can do that for you. While such an appraisal is not as formal as one by an accredited appraiser, it still takes time to do properly, and I charge by the hour. If you are interested in having me do such an appraisal of your books, let me know, and I’ll provide you with additional information. It won't be cheap.
You should be aware, however, I—like any dealer who would provide you with such an appraisal—am then ethically bound not to subsequently purchase your books. If you simply want me to make an offer to buy your books, that is something else entirely, and I don’t charge for that. See the answer to Question #8 above.
12. Have you read all of the books that you sell?
No, not hardly. I’ve read some of them, but please don’t expect that I’ll be able to answer questions about the plot of Tom Swift and His Ocean Airport or any of the biographical details provided in Henry Howe’s Historical Collections of Virginia.
13. What is the rarest/oldest/most expensive book that you have sold?
When it comes to true rarities, my stock is rather sparse. The preponderance of my sales are in the $50 to $300 range. That said, I have sold many books for $2,000-6,000 and several for between $10,000 and $20,000. The oldest item that I have sold was a leaf from a 13th century illuminated manuscript.
14. How can I tell if my book is a first edition?
I recommend consulting a specialized bibliography or similar reference work. Many of these are quite expensive (and elusive), so your best bet may be to ask for the work at your local library; if they don’t have it, they can get it via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). For my money, the best guides to modern first (fiction) editions are the Author Price Guides published by Quill & Brush Books. You can also consult a general purpose work like Bill McBride’s Points of Issue or A Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions; they both sell for around $16.00. There are also some websites that provide similar information to the McBride guides.
Since we're talking about first editions, you must be careful when buying. Many booksellers, especially eBay booksellers, may claim a book is a first edition, but that is not the same as a first printing. When knowledgeable book collectors or reputable booksellers speak of a "first edition," they are speaking of a "first edition, first printing, first state/issue/binding." Most assuredly, they are not speaking of a first edition, 32nd printing. They are also not speaking of a first book club edition. When you see the term "first edition" in any of my listings--without any other qualification--that means the book is a "first edition, first printing, first state/issue/binding." If you find a book, described by an eBay, Amazon, Alibris, abebooks, or Biblio seller as a "first edition," contact the seller before you place an order to be sure you are going to get exactly what you want; many of the booksellers who list on these sites routinely mis-describe first editions either through ignorance or a purposeful intent to deceive new collectors.
15. What’s with dust jackets; is it really that important for a book to have one?
Yes, and no. For the most part, it is simply a matter of supply and demand. Any modern fiction book published after 1920 is almost impossible to sell without a dust jacket. Fiction published before 1920 may be sellable without a dust jacket, but the value of the book will ususually increase by a factor of four or five, or possibly even ten, if it has one.
You may encounter books with facsimile dust jackets. The truth of the matter is that although some dealers add a hefty premium to a book with a facsimile dust jacket, facsimile dust jackets add nothing to the value of a book. Some dealers refuse to ever sell a book with a facsimile dust jacket. Others may sell an occasional book with a facsimile dust jacket at no additional premium if it had the jacket when they acquired it. I’m of the latter camp; if I buy a book with a facsimile jacket, I’ll leave it on the book when I sell it, but be sure that I didn’t pay a premium for it, and I won’t charge a premium for it either.
For non-fiction books, dust jackets may add some value to a book, but usually not to the same extent as modern fiction.
16. Where can I get those clear, plastic covers that I see on some dust jackets?
The protective, clear, plastic covers are available on-line from any of the major library supply companies, e.g., Gaylord, Broadart, Demco, etc. If you decide to use these protective covers, I recommend that you only purchase ones that meet archival standards. If you don’t, you run the risk that, over time, the chemicals in the covers may cause damage to your dust jackets or books.
17. My book is signed by the author; how can I be sure the signature is authentic?
The only absolutely sure way to tell if the signature in your book is authentic is to witness the author doing the signing. The next best way is to have the signature authenticated by a recognized expert. An explosion of “flat-signed” first edition novels, whose authenticity is questionable, has hit the internet market—especially eBay—in recent years. A general rule of thumb is that if there is also some type of personalized inscription or statement of provenance accompanying the signature, it is far more likely to be genuine than a “flat-signed” autograph without an inscription. Additionally, if the signed book is a later printing and not a first edition, a signature is far more likely to be real; crooks investing the time and effort to forge signatures have long known that they can make much more money doing so with firsts in excellent condition than later printing that show some wear.
By the way, if you ever encounter a book described by a bookseller as "flat-signed," my advice is to avoid both like they carry the plague. Knowledgeable and reputable dealers simply don't use that term when describing books. If you are dealing with someone who does, use extreme caution. Various bookseller message boards and blogs are rife with reports of unsigned books being sold and then later turning up on-line--primarily, but not only, at Amazon and eBay--as "genuine flat-signed" editions by the person(s) who bought the books.
18. When I bought a signed book, it came with a Certificate of Authenticity from the seller. Does this make it more valuable?
No. Certificates of Authenticity are a dime a dozen; anyone can print one up. They are especially prevalent among some sellers on eBay. I’m a skeptical person, so I am always suspicious of dealers who offer such incentives as part of their marketing scheme. If you are buying a signed book, Bible leaf, print, or anything else, I recommend only buying from a dealer that you trust and who offers a 100% money back guarantee if you should later find that the signature or item is not authentic. I sell very few signed books, but for those that I do, I will always accept a return at any time for a full refund including shipping if a recognized expert determines that the signature is not authentic provided the book is returned to me by the original purchaser in the same condition as when it was sold.
19. It sounds like you are down on eBay. I thought eBay was a good place to buy and sell collectible books; is it?
Possibly yes. I’d estimate that well over 95% of the books for sale on eBay are either damaged, mis-described, or not worth the cost to ship them via media mail. The eBay bookselling world has been inundated with both novices and crooks. If you decide to buy books that are listed on eBay, pay close attention to a seller’s feedback; avoid bidding on any auction unless the seller has a feedback rating above 99% positive. Even that is no guarantee that the seller is either honest or knowledgeable; however, it’s a start. If publishing data and condition descriptions are not provided in detail—and preferably supported with photographs or scans—you’re better off passing on the item.
However, there are still many reputable booksellers on eBay, and you can often find some nice bargains if you have the time to sift through all of the junk. I’m an eBay Top-Rated Seller, I have an eBay store, and I frequently auction off well-described older stock on eBay that I've had hanging around a while; those can often be excellent bargains.