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The Captain's Book Buying Guide


YES, THE CAPTAIN BUYS BOOKS!

*Some restrictions [constraints], do apply...


He buys books, one at a time...

He buys a few books at a time...

He buys books in bulk.


He even buys Green Eggs and Ham!


What is it, that you are selling?


Bottom Line: The Captain buys science fiction, fantasy, Hard Boys / Nancy Drew, Dungeons & Dragons and horror in generally any condition.


He buys books about books to include author bibliographies.


He is currently buying LARGE PRINT BOOKS of any type (in good condition).


He accepts donations during normal business hours.


He makes house calls to examine large collections (fees and mileage charges, may apply).* Please call the store at (319) 351-3166 for more details.


He is currently not accepting any new commission sales projects.


He is not buying college textbooks.


This guide is repetitive. The Captain spent three decades in the U.S. military. Repetition is forged into the process. The Captain buys books the same way with every client. There is no secret to his book buying methods.


Is the Captain buying other kinds of books?

Answer is yes.

[Please call (319) 351-3166 to discuss.]

[Phone is a landline, meaning no texts.]


Please call the Shoppe to set up an appointment.


The Captain only buys books by appointment.



No appointments required for browsers and book buyers.


Fees*

The Captain enjoys assessing mysterious books. He looks forward to initially assessing your items at no charge if you have an appointment. He has a backlog of projects for paying clients expecting their book projects to be done on time. Thank you, for your understanding.


Initial consultation interview (by appointment): No Charge

Books Brought into Store (without an appointment): begins at $30

Mileage: .75 a mile to and from location. No mileage charge for North Liberty, Coralville, Iowa City (No mileage charge for locations within 15 miles of the store.)

Book Collection Consultation House Call Fee: Begins at $25 plus mileage to location.

*Fee waiver may be assessed on a case-by-case basis.



Captain’s Book Shoppe Limited Liability Company (LLC)


Book Buying Guide

Phone (319) 351-3166


1570 S. 1st Avenue, Suite H

Iowa City, Iowa 52240

USA


August 4, 2021

Updated October 28, 2022

Updated June 17, 2023

Updated October 9, 2023

Updated December 16, 2023

Updated January 5, 2024


1. Captain’s Book Shoppe buys books only by appointment. Please call before you bring books into the store.

  • Please set up an appointment by calling the bookstore landline phone at (319) 351-3166.

  • Please avoid coordinating your initial appointment via text or email. (The old-fashioned captain reads books, and rarely looks at digital communications.) Please use the phone and leave a message if you have to.

    • Numerous factors go into setting up an appointment.

    • A phone conversation between the buyer and seller is the preferred method to set up the initial appointment.

    • Some of the questions involve: Are you selling one book? A few books? Are the books fiction or non-fiction?

    • Photographs** are normally not necessary. If you feel that you must send photographs of your book(s), please send them to jeffrey@CaptainsBookShoppe.OnMicrosoft.com. Please do not send them to Jeff's cell phone. Please review the PHOTOS SECTION below before sending photos. (Thank you.)

  • Same day appointment availability is rare. Appointments are generally 30 - 60 days from the day you call.

Fees*

The Captain enjoys assessing mysterious books. He looks forward to initially assessing your items at no charge if you have an appointment. He has a backlog of projects for paying clients expecting their book projects to be done on time. Thank you, for your understanding.


Initial consultation interview (by appointment): No Charge

Books Brought into Store (without an appointment): begins at $30

Mileage: .75 a mile to and from location. No mileage charge for North Liberty, Coralville, Iowa City (No mileage charge for locations within 15 miles of the store.)

Book Collection Consultation House Call Fee: Begins at $25 plus mileage to location.

*Fee waiver may be assessed on a case-by-case basis.


2. This guide is how Captain's Book Shoppe LLC, as a singular, independent used book dealer, evaluates items for potential resale. Your item(s) may have value, and it maybe marketable with a different vendor or if you sell it yourself.


3. The book market changes with the tides. One day a specific out of print book by Otep Shamaya will be at $60. The next day, that very book will drop on the internet to five dollars. Book values and what is selling literally fluctuates like the stock market. If you desire to maximize your payout for the books that you sell to Captain’s Book Shoppe, please follow these tips.


4. The Captain and crew buys science fiction, fantasy, Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew and horror books in nearly any condition. He also buys softbound or hardbound graphic novels, if in superb condition. He occasionally buys pulp fiction, (condition matters). The Captain does not buy comic books.


5. Dungeon's and Dragons. Yes, the Captain buys all versions and editions of the books and associated items concerning Dungeons and Dragons in any condition and edition (condition and edition truly matters for payout).


6. Certain items have potential value such as comic books and certain magazines.


a. The Captain is currently not buying comic books but will accept donated comic books in any condition.


b. The Captain does not buy magazines.


A few exceptions to the "no magazines rule" are the following:

  • The Captain is interested in seeing an original: Collier's January 19, 1924. It is the first publication of the short story by Richard Connell, The Most Dangerous Game.

  • The Captain is interested in seeing an original: November 1936 Fortnightly Magazine (published in London.) George Orwell's essay "Bookshop Memories" was first published in that edition of Fortnightly.

  • The Captain is interested in seeing an original: 1944 Infantry Journal. It contains an abridged version of the U.S. Army's first translation of Rommel's 1937 Book Infanterie Greift An {Infantry Attacks}. (The U.S. Army's English translation was published in book form in 1943.) The original books in German and English [reportedly had a positive and substantial impact upon General George Patton's tactical knowledge]. The books are a bit more interesting than the magazine for the Captain.

  • The Captain buys Dragon Magazines published by Tactical Studies Rules (TSR). (Condition matters).

  • The Captain is interested in seeing an original: April 1955 Muscle Builder Magazine due to its portrayal of George F. Jowett by Charles Smith.


c. No musical recordings: "records/LPs/Cassettes/8 Tracs". Exceptions are if a book was published and it came with a 45 record... etc...


d. No VHS, DVD movies. (No cassette tapes). Exceptions are a book was published and a CD / DVD or other media came with the book.


f. Captain's Book Shoppe LLC will not buy textbooks.


7. The Captain's Book Shoppe LLC sells all genre of used fiction and non-fiction, therefore the Captain maybe interested in acquiring your books. Book condition is a critical factor.


8. The Book Shoppe accepts book donations during normal store hours. Captain's Book Shoppe LLC does not provide a written monetary valuation of the donated books. (Appraisals are invalid, if the appraiser had a financial interest in the items.)


9. This guide will be modified as conditions change.


Book Condition Matters.


The buyer prefers hardbound books published in 1980 or later to be in near perfect condition with a dustjacket. The Captain is less critical of book condition prior to 1980, but book condition remains a primary factor concerning book value. The store does not purchase modern books with a bad spine. Biblio.com defines “spine” as: “The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf. Also known as the back.”[1] Modern books with defects are easily obtainable at local thrift stores for a few dollars. Modern hardbound fiction requires few defects to have resale value. Therefore, the book buyer scrutinizes book condition.


The Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA) book condition definitions are at the following external website link: Condition Definitions | Independent Online Booksellers Association (ioba.org).


Biblio.com defines “cocked” as: “Refers to a state where the spine of a book is lightly "twisted" in such a way that the front and rear boards of a book do not align when the book is lying flat. Severity may differ.”[2]


The way to check for a cocked spine is to stand your book on a hard surface. Look down at the book. If the has difficulty standing or the spine is askew, the book will be difficult to sell. Few book collectors are looking for books with bad spines.



Book spines become cocked when too many books are squeezed onto a bookshelf. They also become cocked when a vast amount of weight is stacked on top of the book.


A way that might help you evaluate your book comes from book expert James D. Keeline. He recommends:


"Imagine a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being a perfect, like-new copy.

If a book was issued with a paper dust jacket, that should be there. Grade the jacket on a scale of 1 to 10 too. A 10/10 is "FINE CONDITION." "8/10 is VERY GOOD CONDITION," 6/10 is GOOD CONDITION, "4/10 is FAIR CONDITION. In terms of collectible value, 8/10 is about the minimum that interest collectors for most kinds of 20th Century and newer books. Lower grades are READING COPIES and need to be priced accordingly. "


"There are also some patterns to show how the value falls off with just a little condition damage. A hypothetical 10/10 might be $100. But an 8/10 could be $50 and slower to sell. A 6/10 might never sell at $25. A 4/10 is basically kindling for the fire."


"The jacket vs. no-jacket is a whole other matter in terms of the effect on value." January 3, 2024[3]


Understanding the true condition of your book will help dial your expectations when trying to sell it. Collectors rarely pay a lot of money for a book in poor condition. Age of a book is not the determining factor when it comes to value. Old books do not automatically mean they are worth a lot of money. The topic and condition are the driving factors.



Photos**


Clients setting up appointments must not send photographs. If you believe photographs will assist in setting up an appointment, please consider sending photographs that include the inside flap of the dustjacket. Dustjackets often have a price printed on the jacket. If yours does, that is a good sign. If there is no price and some verbiage about selection as the Book-of-the Month-Club, then your book is possibly less desirable (but there are exceptions).


The most important page to photograph is often the verso (backside) of the Main Title Page, often referred to as the copyright page. A legible photo of copyrights, and the line number may help in determining what print run the book was.


It is true that some first edition books have significant monetary value. Unfortunately, there are many books which are currently not in demand by the public and thus have minimal resale value. Book jacket and book condition matters. Book condition in the used book trade is a critical factor. Pictures that highlight the book's superb condition will catch the Captain's attention.


If you are convinced your book is a first edition, and feel inclined to send photos, please consider sending photos of the "points." Points are the specific signs that the book is truly a first edition. Some books have many points, others - only a few. The more legendary the book, the more the points are known and scrutinized. A quick starting point for many modern firsts is: FEdPo.com - First Edition Criteria and Points for Book Identification. Additionally, a critical step is often figuring out if the book is a book club or a true first edition. (Book Clubs often look just like a first edition. How Much is a Book Worth?)


If you choose to send photos, please consider sending photos of the spine, inside of the dust jacket if applicable, copyright page, and any significant defects to the book or points of the book that identifies when it may have been printed and by whom.



Book Boxes


There is no "proper" container for a book. People can bring them into the store in a sack or in a tote bag or Rubbermaid container, or a clean Pamper's Box. The following is for people that are considering selling books "in bulk" or "wholesale."


The Captain occasionally buys books in bulk. If you desire to sell your books in bulk [by the box], the following tips may assist you.


If you intend to sell the Captain books by the box, please consider small boxes. The smaller the box, the better. Various companies sell what is often referred to as: "The Banker's Box." If the "small" banker box has a sturdy lid and the box is in decent condition, the Captain normally calculates around a two - three dollar payment just for the box. The contents of the box are assessed and an additional figure is determined. There is no guarentee that the Captain will make you an offer for your books.


The Captain prefers small "Banker Boxes" due to their uniformity when stacking.

ULINE S-6321 is an ideal, but somewhat pricey choice.


The top left brown box is a U-LINE S-6321. Not pictured are egg boxes. Both egg boxes, UHAUL book boxes and small banker file boxes, are ideal options for containerizing books.


Stacking boxes that are the same size is a definite plus. Economically, some of the most cost effective boxes [other than free boxes from a grocery store] are probably from moving companies such as U-Haul. It will be tempting to get medium to large size moving or banker boxes. In the Captain's opinion, medium to large sized boxes are simply more trouble than they are worth over the long term. The Captain rarly buys boxes of books in medium sized moving boxes. Please stick to book or small boxes if you are selling boxes of books to the Captain.


U-Haul sells book boxes. They are called "book box." Book Box | U-Haul (uhaul.com)  The largest box of books the Captain normally accepts are the small U-Haul Boxes. Please avoid packing vast numbers of books into medium or large boxes. Bulk packs damage the spines of the books. Secondly, the boxes are incredibly heavy. Heavy, bulky boxes are not fun to handle and over the long term become dangerous.



Large boxes are very tempting for packing up an estate or when moving. The photo is an example of what not to do. You could have a $4,000 First Edition Catcher in the Rye book tucked in such a large box. What is simply one heavy, poorly packed box will turn into more and more. All stacked on top of each other. (Stack four heavy and poorly packed boxes on top of each other, will the collectable book remain unscarred?) Bring in a fifty pound box of back breaking and book-spine-breaking books; the book buyer may offer you one dollar for the entire box. The book buyer does not enjoy dealing with poorly packed heavy boxes of books. Please do not bring books with mold or insects into the store.


The book buyer will gladly go out to your vehicle and check the books that were at one time stored in a barn, attic, or basement. Yes, there could be a hidden treasure in those boxes. Books are often stored in harsh conditions. They maybe dusty. There might be a few leaves in the box... The crew has no issues checking the items outside of the store. Thank you, for your understanding and assistance in protecting the books that are in the Captain's Book Shoppe.


There is no magic box that will ensure an offer will be made to buy your books. The Captain has bought books brought into the store that were in plastic bags, in cloth tote bags, and the list goes on... Your books can be in any kind of box, if they are small boxes. [The Captain is not a fan of large boxes. (It is not a secret)]




Are My Books Worth a Lot of Money?


The tools on Captain's Book Shoppe's internet "Book Value Tab" will give you insights as to why some books gain value over time, such as Catcher in the Rye.


Note 1. While a few books make the news about sensational prices they sold for at auction, a comparable book at the next auction may sell for much less. Those events are often not reported in the news. Book prices go up, and they go down. If you are looking to make your own assessment of your book or books you may wish to start with: How Much is a Book Worth (Book Collecting Guide).



Note 2. The Captain does not pay full "secondary" retail value for books. Depending upon genre, and book condition as a general guideline, the Captain buys books for around 25% of the list price he estimates he can successfully sell the book. There are a lot of prices on the internet. If fifty copies of the same paperback are selling at .99 on the internet, and there is somebody selling the book at over $200... what price do you think the Captain will offer to buy the book?


The answer depends upon what the market is projected to do, but if there are fifty books in the market at .99, expecting a lot of money from a book buyer, is probably not a feasible expectation.



Note 3. There are free internet tools you can use to find the book you are desiring to sell. You can determine what other people are listing the book at and thus far, have not sold the book at that price. [Some sellers call it a race to the bottom of the market.] The following article may assist you in determining how the Captain determines a book price:







The Economics of Vintage Books that Have Been Digitized


Times change. Books that were once highly sought after and worth a fair sum of money, may not be successfully trading at the prices once remembered. There is certainly a chance the market for that specific book may trend back up, though the Captain remains in business because he buys low and sells a bit higher.




Conclusion


Thank you for giving Captain’s Book Shoppe LLC the opportunity to review your books. This guide was drafted to help buyers and sellers maximize their profits. The Captain welcomes your insights, comments and suggestions. Please give him a call during normal store hours.




Fees*

The Captain enjoys assessing mysterious books. He looks forward to initially assessing your items at no charge if you have an appointment. He has a backlog of projects for paying clients expecting their book projects to be done on time. Thank you, for your understanding.


Initial consultation interview (by appointment): No Charge

Books Brought into Store (without an appointment): begins at $30

Mileage: .75 a mile to and from location. No mileage charge for North Liberty, Coralville, Iowa City (No mileage charge for locations within 15 miles of the store.)

Book Collection Consultation House Call Fee: Begins at $25 plus mileage to location.

*Fee waiver may be assessed on a case-by-case basis.




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