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How does a book's condition affect its price?

  • 19-08-2021 10:38pm
    #1
    Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 71,190 Mod ✭✭✭✭ New Home


    Before I start, apologies if there's already a similar thread in here but I couldn't find it, in the "New Boards".

    I'm trying to find out if there's a rule of thumb that booksellers follow to price used books on the basis of their conditions.

    What I found on the web is that, generally, books are classified this way (please do correct me if this is wrong).

    • New: In perfect conditions, no signs or marks, never opened.
    • As new means that the book is in the state that it should have been in when it left the publisher. This is the equivalent of mint condition in numismatics.
    • Fine (F or FN) is "as new" but allowing for the normal effects of time on an unused book that has been protected. A fine book shows no damage.
    • Very good (VG) describes a book that is worn but untorn. For many collectors this is the minimum acceptable condition for all but the rarest items. Any defects must be noted.
    • Good (G) describes the condition of an average used worn book that is complete. Any defects must be noted.
    • Fair shows wear and tear but all the text pages and illustrations or maps are present. It may lack endpapers, half-title, and even the title page. All defects must be noted.
    • Poor describes a book that has the complete text but is so damaged that it is only of interest to a buyer who seeks a reading copy. If the damage renders the text illegible then the book is not even poor.
    • Ex-library copies must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book.
    • Book club copies must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book.
    • Binding copy describes a book in which the pages or leaves are perfect, but the binding is very bad, loose, off, or non-existent.

    Now, how much depreciation would there be between one category and the next, as a rule of thumb?

    Do used books immediately drop to 50% of their original price when new by virtue of being second-hand? Or is there a "degradation" scale?

    I'll admit I've a vested interest in this, I bought a hardcover book on-line, a collector's edition, which was supposed to be brand new. However, I got a second hand copy with some signs of damage on its spine in two places, and it had obviously been opened, because opening the cover wasn't as "crisp" a feeling as it would have been when new. Its conditions would be, at best, very good. I was offered a 30% discount - is that a cop out, or is that a reasonable offer?

    Thanks.



Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,024 ✭✭✭✭ banie01


    Interesting question NH.

    I'd caveat price variance for condition very much as a function of desirability and rarity. Is the book you bought available to buy anywhere in a 2nd hand condition similar to what you received? If so that would be a better guide on pricing imo.

    If it isn't, and this is solely comic experience. The difference between an NM and a VF can be easily be 30% and more.



  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 71,190 Mod ✭✭✭✭ New Home


    Thanks Banie. It seems that most of those books were duds. Look at the reviews in Amazon.

    Like some of these reviewers found, mine also had a label stuck to its back (getunderlined.com), which would confirm to me it's not new, even without the damage. If I remove the label, it'll damage the book even more.



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,024 ✭✭✭✭ banie01


    Second rate stock and faux vintage 😤 I'm guessing you bought direct from Amazon? Honestly I'd push them to refund or replace as what you have, will never be what you wanted. The flaws will remain regardless of a discount.



  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 71,190 Mod ✭✭✭✭ New Home


    No, not Amazon, but were taken over by them (Book Dept). First time I can really say they've given me any reason to complain, and I've been buying stuff from them for years and years.

    Yep, the flaws will always be there but I could look for another copy elsewhere (provided they're not all like this!) and use this as a "reading" copy, that's why I'm ambivalent about sending it back. The question is, would I have been able to buy this in similar condition upstairs in Chapters, let's say? I'm not going to Dublin any time soon, so I've no way of checking.



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 1,952 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Black Sheep


    You could ring Chapters, and its possible that one of the staff talk to you about it, or check the shelves for you. Their upstairs is, as you're probably aware, sprawling and a bit unpredictable in terms of what you can turn up. If I were to guess though, no, I don't think they would have something like you are talking there, it would seem unlikely.

    If you wanted that to be a collector's edition to be unread then yes, I would seek a full return / refund, because as the previous poster says... It's either a new / unread copy or it isn't. If you just wanted that edition and always intended to read it then to me 30% off is not bad, I would accept that



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  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 71,190 Mod ✭✭✭✭ New Home


    I got another email today - a few days ago they had asked me again whether I'd be happy with the 30% refund, I thought about it and I wrote back saying I'd have been happier with a full refund and to send me details on how to return the book. They told me they've processed the refund and that I can keep the book! Now, that's customer service!



  • Registered Users Posts: 28 veil




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