Free book appraisals can help the book collector get an idea of how much a particular book is worth. These appraisals are often based on what similar books have sold for on auction sites like eBay. Because of this the actual value of the book may differ.
Finding Low Cost and Free Book Appraisals
If you would like to get a free appraisal, and you realize that it may not be the most accurate appraisal ever, then there are a few places you can try:
Do Your Own Research
You can often do your own appraisals and get as accurate an evaluation as when you try to get free book appraisals. You will just need to take some time and do a little research. You will quite likely be using the same venues of information as the appraiser.
- Take a look at your book. Be honest about the condition of it. Make note of the copyright date if there is one. Is there anything unique about it? Make a note of that, too. Books do not follow the same pattern of value that other antiques do. A book from the mid 1800s is not considered "old". Furthermore, just because a book is old does not make it valuable. For example, old family Bibles from the 1700s really are quite common and lower priced than you might think.
- Search eBay. It is a great way to see what items are selling for on a national level. You should search the completed auctions as well as the current auctions to get an idea of the price the book sold for. It is best if you take notes and keep track of the prices the book sold for over a period of time. Even if you can't find your exact copy you should be able to get an idea of the desirability of the book.
- Next do a search on several sites that specialize in locating antique, collectible, and hard to find books such as Amazon, AbeBooks, and Vintage Books. This should give you an idea what the books are being sold for.
Hopefully you will now have a low price and a high price. Your book should fit in this range. This is where your notes about the condition of your book will come in. Is it in near perfect condition? Then it should fall on the high end of the scale. If it is in tattered condition then it will be on the low end.
You Might Not Want a Free Appraisal
The old saying that you get what you pay for holds true in appraisals as well. While it is very possible to get a ballpark figure, a free appraisal should not be taken too seriously. Here is why:
- A local book dealer may have an interest in your book. It would benefit him to buy cheaply.
- On the Internet the person appraising the item can't see important details like condition of the pages or cover. The appraiser can't tell you whether or not the author's autograph is a forgery or not.
- You have to wonder why the appraiser is giving away his expertise.
There really are no licensing requirements to call yourself an appraiser. However the National Association of Professional Appraisers has a code of ethics that its members hold to. By using appraisers that are members of a reputable organization you can help ensure that you are not dealing with someone that is unscrupulous or lacks credibility. If you do get a free appraisal make sure that you know why you are getting it for free and make your decisions accordingly. If the appraiser seems overly interested in your book you may want to rethink your level of trust.
Free book appraisals can be helpful if you just want a general idea of what your book is worth. Since it isn't difficult to do your own research it may be in your best interests to find the value of your book yourself. If you need an accurate appraisal for insurance or other important purposes then you should go to a certified appraiser for the most accurate appraisal.